Books of the Ocean, One Accurate and One Not. Pt. II

I asked Crissy Huffard, a cephalopod biologist, to look over Volume 3 (No. 164 of 307) of Haggis-On-Whey’s World of Unbelievable Brilliance: Animals of the Ocean, In Particular the Giant Squid. Here are her impressions.

This book is slightly less biologically accurate than Life Aquatic and significantly more tasteful than Snakes on a Plane, but no less entertaining. I cried with laughter.  If you’re the type more inclined to tinkle when you giggle, then you should consider changing into a wetsuit whilst reading it, because it’s socially acceptable to pee in your wetsuit but not in your pants.  If you have no sense of humor at all (especially dry wit) then stay in your tighty whities; you won’t enjoy this book. The authors clearly have an understanding of marine life which they then warp into an infinitely quotable series of off-the-wall anecdotes, pie charts, and life lessons. Lest you be concerned about the breadth of this book, fear ear not.  Haggis-On-Whey understands that the deep sea is a community of animals, not just a school of giant squids hiding in the darkness ready to eviscerate you with their beaks.  Haggis-On-Whey takes the time to incorporate Victorian-style illustrations adapted from the historical cephalopod literature. Do not use this book to study for the GRE. DO use this book to know which limbs to guard with armor when diving with giant squid, to know how to greet properly the animals of the sea, and to read the emotions of a tube worm. This book is livened by cameos from marine mammals, bread, and Ikea.  Clearly written at 4:20 am, even the non sequiturs have non sequiturs.  Somewhere this book must have a soundtrack.  I am a cephalopod biologist and I endorse this book.  And when my one of my cephalopod biologist friends gets back from vacation, I will brag that I have a copy and she doesn’t.  Luckily for her, it’s available on

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.