Showing posts from June, 2015

Fungi in Fiction: The Fungus (1985)

Book Review: The Fungus by Harry Adam Knight (1985)
Though the structure of this novel is confusing and some of the story-telling strategies distracting, the science (IE mycology) is surprisingly well-informed for a story reminiscent of 1950s pulp sf.
The many species of fungi featured are described and named correctly as far as I can tell. Fungal processes such as mycelial growth are up to date (to 1985) and for the sake of those surprises, The Fungus is quite an interesting read.
The first four chapters are pure pulp, describing the spread of a mysterious fungal plague in lurid detail, with each chapter following an unfortunate human to his or her end.
Chapter five is the beginning proper, and skips back in time to before the spread of the plague described previously, leaving a reader to wonder how these previous chapters are involved.
Jane Wilson, mycologist, cradles the result of her experimentation, a giant Agaricus bisporus. Quote: “For one thing its pileus, or cap – which wa…

A New Beginning

Today, just for the heck of it, I started Monster-Moored in a totally different place. One page into the existing chapter, at the actual point of contact between the Protagonist, Tardi Mack, and his burden.

1: Tardi Possessed Tardi swam frantically down and back. A white boat keel came straight at him through the blue underwater morning. The boat lifted over a final little swell and crashed onto his surfboard. Bet the bastard did it on purpose.
A million bubbles hiding a dozen pieces of his board punched him back down the sunlit water column, onto the old trawler’s wreck he’d been filming. His back shredded over the mysterious silver-barbed coral.
Aah! He gulped water trying to get air for a scream. The pain! Up! He had to get to the surface!
Wait, said a thing in his mind. A huge tongue slurped over his back.

Orb in a Shop Window

This is a shop window I pass walking to the CBD in Mullumbimby. I love the way the cherub as magnified in the orb almost looks right-way-up. Only on looking closer do you realise it's not a plain reflection.

Style: Sentences & Sentence Fragments

One thing I won't be doing in my latest edit, or anything else I'm rewriting, is getting rid of sentence fragments. This is one of the things that every editor and all reviewers have noted in my writing for the five years I've been asking for feedback.

Every book I read contains verbless sentences, usually to good account. Jeff Vandermeer's Finch is a recent find. A brilliant fantasy if you enjoy noir, detective fiction and fungi.

The first sentence reads:
Finch, at the apartment door, breathing heavy from five flights of stairs, taken fast.
Though there are two verbs, breathing and taken, they are the wrong forms to make this a complete sentence. But the effects are a sense of immediacy and the feeling that you, the reader, are right there at the apartment door with Finch.  
The second sentence has a couple more no-no's. Two, mark that well, two passive verbs! How often are we told passive verbs are not allowed on the first page?
The message that'd brought him f…

When You Can't Type ...

I see I've been off-line for almost a month. I've been recovering from a combination of overusing my wrists, elbows and shoulders without moving my shoulder blades adequately. This how interpret the Osteopath's comments, and the exercises he set. Sitting still and typing too often and too long is another way of putting it.

I'll be well content if I can get myself fit enough to do my Tai Chi warm up routine every day, as taught me by Michael Rose who learned from Patrick Kelly.

As well as hundreds of arm and shoulder exercises, I've been walking. However, this view is accessible only from a Bed & Breakfast place where I visited a while ago. All my recent walking has been around Mullumbimby which lies to the upper left just out of the frame.