That lifetime has mostly involved the comprehensive study of a particular world that first intrigued him way back when: the world of ants. Much of what we know about social insects and the “superorganism” of the hive and nest has been a result of Wilson’s research and observation. Over six decades and 20 books he has detailed every aspect of ant societies: how they divide labour and spread knowledge, how they mate and fight, live and die. Wilson has used this wisdom – “sociobiology” – to make arguments about genetics and conditioning that have applications thoughout the living world, and which extend to our understanding of human nature and society. Much of that wisdom he has now brought to bear on Anthill, his debut novel, which has at its heart an extraordinary ant's eye view of the world, a social realist book-within-a-book of the rise and fall of a particular ant colony.