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Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest Paperback – February 9, 2017
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"Adventurers Bruce Boston and Robert Frazier have been exploring a magical land for decades, and here is the astonishing report of their discoveries in poems and stories. They have met those who come to the Mutant Rain Forest to seek escape or transcendence or a body to hold, and they have dwelt with the natives who live beneath the bright canopy of its gargantua trees and beside the murk of its swamps. These pages document the riotous and brutal fecundity of nature, which is everywhere expressed in this remarkable feat of literary imagination. Trust Frazier and Boston to guide you to the most exotic of its flora and fauna and introduce you to the strange characters who struggle to understand its secrets. Here's my warning and my promise: something in the Mutant Rain Forest will surely stick to you!" - James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards.
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Top customer reviews
In this thick and meaty work, the reader will find poems, flash fiction, and even a few longer stories. Many of these have appeared in other publications but there are also a number of new pieces. Boston and Frazier appear to have been writing of the mutant rain forest for quite a few years, and I’m glad to see this material collected together in one place by Crystal Lake Publishing. It certainly heightens and reinforces the impact of the individual pieces.
I’m very familiar with Bruce Boston’s work, less so with that of Robert Frazier. However, I thought the vision of these two writers meshed wonderfully throughout the collection. As I started reading, I was paying attention to which particular author did what. I soon stopped concerning myself with that as I got further immersed in the world. It didn’t matter any longer.
The greatest strengths here are word play, imagery, and resonance. Maybe word ‘play’ isn’t quite the right term, for the language is serious. Word “work” might be better. Others have remarked on the imagery as apocalyptic and hallucinatory. I concur. But there’s a bit more. The imagery is itself insidious—not in a negative sense but in the sense of entrapping and beguiling. It’s almost as if the spores of the mutant rain forest wash over you with every page you turn. You wonder if they might take root on your skin. What might be born from such a symbiosis? And there you have the resonance.
I must say the book is astonishing! The poetry and short stories all combine to lead one to the other. The story told is compelling; it follows a Rainforest of the future, either near or more distant. Some may feel this is Amazonian, perhaps this is true – I am not convinced.
I will say if you are not a fan of poetry, just hang in there for a poem or two and you will be utterly hooked. The Mutant Rainforest has treasures to be found: beauty and wondrous things. Terrible, horrible things. As I read, the lyrical poems lulled me into a sense of “all is right.” Then disquiet begins to arise. Terrible, horrible things sneak up on you. The best book of its kind I’ve ever read, and would read more by these authors if given the chance.
To read the full review, head over to This Is Horror
Still, I have managed to untangle myself long enough to write this review and warmly welcome new travelers to the wonders of bedazzling descriptions and captivating characteristics that encompass a continent-wide swath of rain forest out of control and on the warpath. Apparently occurring in some unspecified future, the rain forests of South America have adjusted and adapted to civilization’s assaults on the environment, linked up and gone on a territorial campaign to engulf the entire continent.
Authors and SFPA Grandmaster Poets Robert Frazier and Bruce Boston created the Mutant Rain Forest together and have explored it since the late 1980s in poems and stories, both collaborative and solo works. Their collaborative poem “Return to the Mutant Rain Forest” was named the All-Time Favorite Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror Poem in a 2006 Locus magazine reader survey.
VISIONS OF THE MUTANT RAIN FOREST collects eight stories and thirty-nine poems and verse, and is interspersed with a smattering of black and white illustrations. Two of the stories are original to this collection, as well as five new poems.
Rather than a linked narrative, the book reads more like a tropical travelogue. Yet, the descriptive passages contain such vivid images that glossy photographs could never do justice to them. The rain forest is simply too vast in length, width and depth that not even a panoramic lens could accurately picture its’ grandeur.
From necrophida moths and Kongii sloths to blue deundes and shadow monkeys the rain forest is awash in mutated lifeforms. Dispersed within the green foliage continually growing and spreading everywhere live neon toucans, diablo fantasmas, and howler monkeys. The gargantua trees grow as tall as skyscrapers and Jaguar men live in tree villages in the uppermost reaches. Large sentient termites communicate through a hive intelligence and have the ability to come together and form man-like shapes. Having the flora and fauna delineated through poetic verse allows them to manifest within the reader’s memory bank.
You won’t soon forget the images.
Rather than provide a map or an outline of who, when, where, why and how this transformation happened, authors Frazier and Boston leave us to find the pieces of revelation strewn throughout the poems. Most revealing are the poems “Prelude”, “Three Evocations of the Mutant Rain Forest”, “The Rain That Falls in the Mutant Rain Forest”, and “The Reach of the Mutant Rain Forest”.
Most disturbing is “The Death of a Dome City” which could serve as an end piece in it’s telling of the last outpost choked off by the surrounding forest.
The short stories are all memorable and chilling. Among the best are “Holos At An Exhibition of the Mutant Rain Forest”(a holographer searching the forest for a cat-like humanoid), “Going Green in the Mutant Rain Forest” (being absorbed by a tree), “Cruising Through Blueland” (rebels battle a high tech army in a restricted zone of war games), and “The Tale Within” (a jungle guide is more than meets the eye). We were especially impressed by “Surrounded by the Mutant Rain Forest” (a tale of love and transformation).
There are enough elements of science fiction, fantasy and horror within VISIONS OF THE MUTANT RAIN FOREST to satisfy all readers of these genres.
DISCLOSURE: A free digital copy was provided by the publisher, with the hope of an unbiased, honest review.