Guest Post: “If A Fungus Had A Brain” by David Walton + International Giveaway!
***The giveaway is now over, thanks to everyone who entered!***
Today I am thrilled to welcome author David Walton to The BiblioSanctum to talk about his latest novel The Genius Plague, a science fiction-thriller about a fungal pandemic. I’m sure we’ve all read our fair share of books about nasty diseases, infections and outbreaks, all with a pretty bad prognosis for the human race. But this book has a special twist! What if an infection that you thought would kill you made you more intelligent instead? I had an incredible time with this tremendously smart and well-researched novel, which is why I’m excited to have David himself chime in on the very topic of fungi and give a glimpse into why they some of the hardiest life forms on the planet. The Genius Plague is out today and available wherever books are sold, so check it out! Don’t forget to also enter our giveaway which is open internationally! Happy reading!
IF A FUNGUS HAD A BRAIN
by David Walton
Science fiction is full of intelligent non-humans, whether aliens or computers or uplifted mammals. We’ve seen intelligent life floating in the clouds of Jupiter, inhabiting the inside of suns, or even entire intelligent planets. But nobody thinks a fungus could be intelligent, do they? An intelligent mold? Intelligent athlete’s foot? It’s ridiculous. Or is it?
Fungi are secretly dominating this planet. They stretch microscopic tendrils through acres of soil, infect plants and animals of all kinds, and survive in the harshest of environments. Many are microscopic, but some single organisms weigh more than a blue whale. More than a hundred blue whales. And live for thousands of years.
These gigantic fungi–the largest living organisms on Earth–are all but invisible in a walk through the forest. They stretch underneath your feet, in miles upon miles of mycelia, a giant neural network that routes information–as well as carbon, nitrogen, and water–to different parts of the forest.
Wait, you say. A neural network? You mean like our brains? Well, yes, in a way. Mycelia are not nerves, but they do pass complex information in a giant, connected network that makes sophisticated decisions. So, maybe that intelligent fungus isn’t so ridiculous after all…
In my latest novel, THE GENIUS PLAGUE, I take these true facts and spin them into a tale of a fungus that spreads far beyond the bounds of its Amazon rainforest home. Fungus can influence not only the plants of a forest, but the animals as well, taking up residence inside their bodies. This infestation sometimes benefits the animal, but it always benefits the fungus.
So what happens when humanity becomes part of the fungus’s sphere of influence? We breathe in its spores, which take root in our lungs and send microscopic tendrils into our brains. If we survive it, we benefit from the symbiosis with better intelligence, memory, and ability to communicate. The fungus has made humanity better… but at what cost? Is it serving our needs, or are we serving its? Are our choices truly our own?
I first started on the idea for this novel from the suggestion that wheat is the dominant lifeform on our planet, having domesticated humans and trained us, not only to plant wheat all over the planet, but also to carefully work to remove weeds, pests, and anything else that would interfere with its growth and survival. I started with the idea of a plant that spread and influenced people to work for its benefit, until a friend pointed out how ideally fungus met the criteria I was looking for. And so the intelligent fungus of The Genius Plague was born.
Look for THE GENIUS PLAGUE online or at your local bookstore!
David Walton is the author of the international bestseller SUPERPOSITION, a quantum physics murder mystery, and its sequel, SUPERSYMMETRY. David’s first novel, TERMINAL MIND, won the 2008 Philip K. Dick Award for the best SF paperback published in the United States for that year. In his latest book, THE GENIUS PLAGUE, a pandemic threatens to destabilize world governments by exerting a subtle mind control over survivors.
“David Walton is one of our very best writers of science-fiction thrillers”
–Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Quantum Night
“This is the way sci-fi ought to be.”
—WALL STREET JOURNAL
David lives near Philadelphia with his wife and seven children.
The Genius Plague Giveaway
Interested in the book? Well, here’s your chance to win a copy of your very own! With thanks to the publisher, The BiblioSanctum has two print copies of The Genius Plague up for grabs! This giveaway is open internationally so everyone is free to join in the fun! To enter, all you have to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your Name and valid Mailing Address using the subject line “THE GENIUS PLAGUE” by 11:59pm Eastern time on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.
Only one entry per household, please. Two winners will be randomly selected when the giveaway ends and then be notified by email. All information will only be used for the purposes of contacting the winners and sending them their prize. Once the giveaway ends all entry emails will be deleted.
So what are you waiting for? Enter to win! Good luck!