For the Fungi anthology, we asked contributors to tell us why they had written about fungi. Today, Simon Strantzas answers this question. We also talk about how his story ended in our anthology.
Who is he?
Simon Strantzas is the critically acclaimed author of Nightingale Songs, Cold to the Touch, and Beneath the Surface — three collections of the strange and supernatural from Dark Regions Press. His award-nominated fiction has appeared previously in the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror series, Postscripts, and Cemetery Dance. He still lives in Toronto, Canada, with his ever-patient wife and an unyielding hunger for the flesh of the living.
Why write about fungi?
Below is Simon’s answer to our question:
There is something inherently off-putting about fungus. Certainly, it could be the unconscious connection to rot, to decay, but that does not seem to be enough to explain it. The bizarre patterns of the slime mould, the bulbous shape of the mushroom, the crepuscular nature of their blooms… Despite what the so-called scientists tell us, these are not natural things. They cannot be. Instead, the fungus seems more likely a messenger from elsewhere, some malformed alien explorer sent to infiltrate our world. Why else lurk only in the damp forgotten shadows, those places life — true life — fears to tread? No, I do not trust the fungus. I do not trust it at all. This is why I write about it; in hope to reveal the true nature of this uncaring infestor before it lays waste to us all. The pod people were fungus, you know. So were the triffids. Do not say you were not forewarned.
Way back at Readercon in 2009, when Fungi was still just a fevered idea in Orrin’s mind, Simon was one of the authors sitting around the table who first got to hear about the concept of an all-fungus anthology. He immediately said that he’d contribute something to it if it ever got off the ground, so when the time came to solicit authors, Simon was de facto on the list. When he sent in the haunting “Go Home Again,” he claimed that, while it might not be the fungus story we wanted (it turns out that it was), it was the fungus story we deserved.