Charlie Pye-Smith

Bloomin’ Foreigners

Invasive Aliens: The Plants and Animals From Over There That Are Over Here


William Collins 326pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

In the opening pages of Invasive Aliens, an exploration of the impact of non-native species on our flora, fauna, landscape and culture, Dan Eatherley deplores the use of emotive terminology. It isn’t just the preserve of tabloids, he writes; ‘even serious scientists will talk about “demon shrimps” and “killer algae”’. Furthermore, he claims that some of the language used when discussing invasive species has a xenophobic flavour. ‘Some argue that the current fixation with non-indigenous wildlife is bound up with subliminal, and not so subliminal, antipathy to arrivals of the human kind,’ he says. ‘Worries about many non-natives can be whipped up unnecessarily, and sometimes for unsavoury political ends.’

Eatherley fails to expand on this claim, so I have no idea whether or not it is true. My suspicion is that he is simply trying to grab the reader’s attention. Like the tabloids that hype up the threats posed by non-native species, he has a fondness for melodrama, which this fascinating subject doesn’t require. After all, as Eatherley points out, ‘the story of invasive species is the story of our own past, present and future’.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,