Saturday, March 25, 2017

Rise of the Rain Forest: A Book Review

Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest: By Robert Frazier and Bruce Boston: Crystal Lake Publishing, 2017, 245 pages.


In an undefined future, the rain forest has taken on a grotesquely beautiful life. It and everything in it mutates wildly, incessantly. The only laws governing the changes appear to be chaos and rage. Some humans survive at the jungle’s ever hungry and expanding frontier; their existence is precarious. The people who live within the forest itself are no longer human.  Perhaps they are more, perhaps less. The cities fight back with flame and chemical warfare. The forest attacks with spores and vines and strange beasts. In the end, everything succumbs.

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.







13 comments:

sage said...

The revenge of the rain forest... After we've done so much to chop 'em down, we'd better watch out!

Charles Gramlich said...

Sage, it has a reason to be angry.

Jenny Baranick said...

This was a great review and the book sounds wonderful, but I am so tired right now, that my first thought was how exhausting it sounds to be one of those poor humans fighting to survive in the forest.

Charles Gramlich said...

Jenny, there's an 'evolutionary' feel to the whole collection. I sometimes think of how exhausting it must have been for our ancient relatives to fight every minute for survival. A similar kind of thing perhaps.

Cloudia said...

What a clever gambit, Charles!

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, good stuff.

David Cranmer said...

Thanks for the review, Charles.

the walking man said...

The forests fight back--I could see that.

Riot Kitty said...

That is a really interesting way to review a book! Intriguing.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Thanks for the review, Charles. Both are new writers for me. Mental imagery is what I find appealing about fantasy and speculative fiction.

Erik Donald France said...

Sounds very cool, Charles. Excellent review ! I remember as a kid seeing the films 'Frogs' and 'Prophecy' that had a similar eco-horror/evolutionary mutation kind of feel. Good premise, certainly.

Charles Gramlich said...

David, I have fun writing them when I have time

Mark, it might be nice if they had better weapons.

Riot Kitty, glad you enjoyed.

Prashant, yes, it really feeds my head.

Erik, and it was held very consistently throughout

oscar case said...

The jungles of South America were in the new recently for slowly being exterminated. I don't think I'll be reading the stories, it's scary enough in actuality. Enjoyed the review, though, Charles.