Most fantasy makes us want to close our eyes so we can see with our mind’s eye the world the author presents to us. A few allow us to imagine sounds so loud they block out reality or a quiet that beckons the reader to wish anything would fill it. Andrew Hiller in “A Halo of Mushrooms” presents us with a mouth-watering fantasy story of wonder about the power of another of our five senses–taste. The only other fiction I’ve read of comparable appeal to taste was “Like Water for Chocolate.”
The story Hiller tells is set on Earth, but an Earth viewed through the eyes of a stranger named Derik. To him, our world is a magical place full of wonders: flying carriages, instantaneous communications, medicines that heal sick, and food that is plentiful, but it is also a world shadowed by decline. Economic hardships, acidification, climate change cause shadows over the wonder. That failing Derik, believes, is a result of the withering of the mushrooms of the first fairy ring…. and so, he brings with him one of the last survivors to transplant. He is pursued though. Armed only with dessert, he must ward off monsters and hope Earth can provide a home to an ancient wonder.
The power of the fantasy writing and character creation in “A Halo of Mushrooms” seems almost Gunslinger like. I can only hope Andrew Hiller continues to write and produce original worlds in which I can lose myself with as much success as the Gunslinger author (Stephen King).
Right now, “A Halo of Mushrooms” can only be found at Amazon, but I hope this mushroom spreads quickly.