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  • TITLE: The Trees
  • AUTHOR: Ali Shaw
  • GENRE: Science Fiction



"By day we can garden together," she'd said, "and in the evening eat the vegetables you've grown."

. . . "Mother Nature is a psychopath," he'd told Michelle, "and I won't spend my weekends on my hands and knees, painting her toenails."

"Now you say that," she'd said, tears springing down her cheeks, "after we've been to so much trouble. What else are you only pretending to enjoy?"

p. 37


You gotta have carnations in the cranium before you plant this opening scenario. Trees rise out of the ground. All types, all sizes, fully mature, ah, trees. It's a blithering scene; one that an author could rub his palms together and cackle like a wizard in a pointy hat. And, wow! What a visual. Cars, houses, dead people, asphalt, animalsyou name it. If it was on the ground, it is now a twisty wreck or hangin' in the trees like Christmas ornaments. All systems down. No explanation. Hints of creatures never seen before in this New Age forest.(1) Nature is now an Armageddon for people-stuff. Wow.

The obligatory outta-here caravan is led by Hanna, with her 16-yr old I-want-my-MTV son, Seb. The protagonist, however, is an estranged husband named Adrien Thomas who is afraid of everything except ostrichs' behavior of sticking their heads in the ground during trauma. He is set up as the average whitebread surburban, boringly out of his element. His whinings quickly become above irritating, and into the leave-'em-behind mode. Then, along the way, this triad picks up a necessary Hunter member to balance with Gatherer Hanna: Hiroko, a Japanese girl who is Ramba with a slingshot. Ah, The Meat Slayer. Now there's pheasant along with 'shrums for dinner.

Destination? Well, Hanna has a brother named Zach conveniently within walking distance who is cosplaying John Muir in an isolated cabin deep in the woods. When they find him, he's not much help, considering he has a gunshot hole in his chest and all his pigs are either runaways or slaughtered. This engenders the first real-'n'-meaningful, direct-'n'-personal confontation with the New Forest's ethical considerations. The murderer is captured, but before Hannatie-die, commune-dreaming, green-thumbed vegatarian Hannaputs a bullet in his brain, he foams out this defense:


"There are no good men and there are no bad men. Good and bad are just ideas, made up by priests and the power-mad. There is just earth and appetite, nothing more."



Welcome to the new-'n'-improved Natural Selection Forest, Homo Sapien Level 101.







1) In my copya UK HBthere's a small drawing of a rather tame and non-threatening woody-like animaloid (hint! hint!) on the otherwise blank page just before Chapter One begins.

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