mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Sasquach, Ness, & Dream melons.

Field Guide to Surreal Botany edited by Janet Chui & Jason Erik Lundberg.

I'm of mixed thoughts regarding this, which is wholly a result of the multiple authors. What this book does is compile, by continent, a Borgesian taxonomy of imaginary plants. In some of the best entries, heavy shadowed trees, digital ascii flowers & their ilk present believable (if fanciful) ecologies. These have some oomph, as do some of the sillier ones, like the Explanatum obviosis, or The Big Yellow Flower of Unnecessary Obvious Information, whose article is written chock-full of unnecessary information, as well as asides on the subspecies Explanatum densis & Explanatum absurdus. Other entries are duds—every time an entry says something like “it is the only plants that _____,” it is inevitably within a few pages of someone else’s plant that does exactly the same thing. A singing tree or walking flower is not something you & you alone have thought of! Other entries somehow manage to be…preachy? Like the cabbage variant that grows from tears & semen & is a screed against abstinence education, or the fungus responsible for the election of Bush Jr. Yawn. The solid, redeeming aspect of these, & the whole book, is the art. The sepia tones with water damage give a nice design ambiance, & the drawings of the plants are thankfully restrained; they present the ludicrous in an understated way that really helps sell them.
Tags: books

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