Book Review: Spread: Tales of Deadly Flora, R. A. Clarke (editor)

Book Review: Spread: Tales of Deadly Flora, R. A. Clarke (editor)



SciFi/Fantasy/Horror Story Collection: Spread: Tales of Deadly Flora, R. A. Clarke (editor)


Sometimes even after you’ve read a description of a book, you find yourself completely unprepared for the story at hand. Spread: Tales of Deadly Flora is one of those books. A collection of short stories written at the intersection of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, the women behind these stories have turned green into a much darker shade.


The first story might be my favorite. Settlers who fled an apocalyptic earth, almost uninhabitable due to pollution and climate change, have found a planet to colonize. There they find only plants, but those plants pose a variety of dangers. One, though, seems to be not only friendly but helpful, easing stress, relieving heartache, and promoting good feelings. Until it isn’t.


Many of the later stories involve some kind of genetic engineering gone horribly astray. Plants intended to defend against terrorism and other threats suddenly become threats themselves. Plants designed to be allergen-free pets and companions take on much more troubling roles. (In some cases, literally.) Humans genetically modified to process chlorophyll take on many additional plant attributes. GMO may be the wave of the future–probably already the wave of the present–but it takes on a much more dreadful aspect when coupled with a gifted writer’s imagination.


Other stories are much more a part of the horror oeuvre. Alien plants sprout and hybridize earth species after a meteorite lands. Other plants work to kill humans in a variety of ways. I’m suddenly much more concerned about walking through forests and meadows than I was this morning. As is the case with any good writing, part of my brain enjoys the journey with the author’s imagination, while another part of my brain is asking, “What if she’s right?”


Foliage fiction is dangerous.


Most of the writers are based in the US, although other English-speaking countries are represented as well. The editor of this anthology has done a spectacular job both in cultivating the stories and in pruning out errors. Like any good short-story compilation, these can be read piece by piece over lunch, during bus rides, on vacation, or whenever the reader can grab a few minutes to read. Or, you could do like I did and read the whole thing altogether and then fret all night about the grass plotting with the trees to ruin your day. 


Our thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for our copy of Spread: Tales of Deadly Flora, given so we could write an honest review. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.



Book Review: Spread: Tales of Deadly Flora, R. A. Clarke (editor)

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