Something a lot of people don’t know about me: I used to be a botanist. And no, it doesn’t mean I know about gardening. For my honors thesis I studied how much archaeological information could be gleaned from analyzing pollen grains in the strata of peat bogs in Central Scotland, I spent a year after graduating cataloging the plant fossil collection in the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, and I had an abortive attempt at doing a PhD in the causes of rot in apples as they ripen.
I also learned quite a lot about fungi. The pollen analysis stuff hasn’t made it into a story of mine yet, but the fungi have – there’s something insidious about the creeping of mycelium, something obscene in the flesh of the caps, something scary in the fact that they spend so much time in the dark, just sitting there… growing.
I started to get a germ (or should that be spore ) of an idea a few years back of a fungal takeover of the planet, and I tried it out in a piece of flash fiction that I sold to NATURE FUTURES ( you can read that one–> here. ) It was the one image I had in mind, of a dark sky and vast, endless fields of high fruiting bodies. The image wouldn’t leave me, and it came back in another story, THE KEW GROWTHS, in my Challenger collection where the Prof has to tackle a giant fungal menace threatening London.
That story was fun – but the image I had in my head was still for something a lot darker – something insidious, obscene and scary.
Then last year, another, accompanying, image came – a man in a HAZMAT suit, with nothing inside that was remotely human, just creeping filaments and bursting spores.
The story came out, fast and furious, and begins with spore-filled rain over Newfoundland. I’ve trashed my new homeland in this book. Sorry.
And now it’s ready to see the light. FUNGOID is coming soon from DarkFuse, and you lucky people can order the limited edition hardcover now, and it’s going to be in stock tomorrow. There’s only a few left, so if you want one, get it now or be prepared for eternal disappointment.
In the dark.
With the growing things.