Mushroom Blues

Mushroom Blues

by Adrian M Gibson
Genres: Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Published on April 2, 2024
Pages: 364
Format: eBook Source: Kindle Unlimited

Two years after a devastating defeat in the decade-long Spore War, the island nation of Hippon and its capital city of Neo Kinoko are occupied by invading Coprinian forces. Its fungal citizens are in dire straits, wracked by food shortages, poverty and an influx of war refugees. Even worse, the corrupt occupiers exploit their power, hounding the native population.

As a winter storm looms over the metropolis, NKPD homicide detective Henrietta Hofmann begrudgingly partners up with mushroom-headed patrol officer Koji Nameko to investigate the mysterious murders of fungal and half-breed children. Their investigation drags them deep into the seedy underbelly of a war-torn city, one brimming with colonizers, criminal gangs, racial division and moral decay.

In order to solve the case and unravel the truth, Hofmann must challenge her past and embrace fungal ways. What she and Nameko uncover in the midst of this frigid wasteland will chill them to the core, but will they make it through the storm alive?

I heard about this book a few months before it came out. I wanted to read it as soon as I heard about mushroom people. I wanted to see how that would work.

This story was weird. I don’t know that I would have stuck with it without the mushroom people angle. I had to see that one through.

There was a war. Now is it over and the humans won. They are on a Japan-inspired island that was previously the fungal people’s homeland. The mushroom people are being treated terribly. They are living as internal refugees in bad conditions. Henrietta is a recovering alcoholic human cop who has been sent here as a punishment. As further punishment she is given a case of a murdered fungal child to solve. She is partnered with the only fungal cop on the force.

There is a lot of racism against the fungals in the human population. The book is written well enough that it is actually uncomfortable to read even though the insults are completely made up. You can just sense that they are nasty.

In investigating, Henrietta realizes that many fungal children have gone missing. The police have done nothing. The fungal population is on the verge of rioting over it. She gets drawn deeper and deeper into the world of her partner to understand what is going on. Henrietta is also very racist against fungals so this is not easy for anyone.

I’m fascinated in mushroom biology so it was interesting to see how that would work merged with human biology. The fungals could communicate with spores and mycelium, for example. I found Koji, the fungal cop’s, and Henrietta’s emotional journeys more intriguing than the main mystery. Both were prejudiced against the other species but had to learn to work together. This isn’t a “And they all lived happily ever after” story but they do gain some appreciation for each other.

This is a sci-fi noir police story with the added draw of mushroom people. That’s not my normal genre but I think I’d follow the mushroom people around for a while because they are cool.