Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads


#StevesLibrary: Dr Tatiana’s Sex Advice to all Creation

Back when completing my Masters Degree, there was an optional afternoon in how to construct arguments for popular science writing. This was held by Olivia Judson (who I hadn’t heard of until that time) but I wish I had. She walked us through here though process, how to tackle certain challenges and how this had all culminated in the publication of her book Dr Tatiana’s Sex Advice to all Creation. I promptly bought a copy and set about reading it and I must say I was rather impressed. I’ve recently re-read Dr Tatiana’s Sex Advice to all Creation and so it’s now time to let you all know what I think.

In the books, Judson assumes the identity of Dr Tatiana who is a kind of agony aunt for the natural world. If there are animals (or other organisms) that are worried about their sex lives or the actions of their partners, they can submit their thoughts to Dr Tatiana who can help reassure them. In reality, this obviously doesn’t happen but it is a very interesting tool for delivering information related to a particular topic. There are multiple cases per chapter and the flow of information is balanced nicely with the humour to ensure that it is accessible to all. Of course by doing this, there is a fair bit of anthropomorphism but I feel this helps the reader relate to the organisms in question – especially if they’re not a zoologist or naturalist.

Throughout Dr Tatiana’s Sex Advice to all Creation we hear from a number of organisms trying to find answers to a number of their problems that can be broken down into three main categories (which are the three parts of the book). These are the differing sexual strategies employed by various species, sexual selection and whether males are needed in order for a species to procreate. All of this provides quite the entertainment and information. Some of it I was aware of through my studies or reading other books/literature but others were completely new to me (the first time around). As always this is another book that I thoroughly recommend as it is some enjoyable reading that is sure to put a smile on your face!

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