1 Critters is an American everyday idiom for varmints of all sorts. Scientists talk of
their “critters” all the time; and so do ordinary people all over the U.S., but perhaps
especially in the South. The taint of “creatures” and “creation” does not stick to
“critters”; if you see such a semiotic barnacle, scrape it off. In this book, “critters”
refers promiscuously to microbes, plants, animals, humans and nonhumans, and
sometimes even to machines.
2 Less simple was deciding how to spell Chthulucene so that it led to diverse and
bumptious chthonic dividuals and powers and not to Chthulhu, Cthulhu, or any
other singleton monster or deity. A fastidious Greek speller might insist on the “h”
between the last “l” and “u”; but both for English pronunciation and for avoiding
the grasp of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, I dropped that “h.” This is a metaplasm.
Chapter 1: Playing String Figures with Companion Species
1 In languages attuned to partial translation, in U.S. English string figures are called
cat’s cradle; in French, jeux de ficelle; in Navajo, na’atl’o’. See Haraway, “sf: Science
Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far.”
2 For a mathematical joke-exposition of Terrapolis, see Haraway, sf: Speculative Fab-
ulation and String Figures.
3 From Proto-Germanic and Old English, guman later became human, but both come
soiled with the earth and its critters, rich in humus, humaine, earthly beings as