Short Stories sara maitland omnivore review

Published on December 8th, 2013


Moss Witch and Other Stories by Sara Maitland

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Blurb: A bryologist enters an ancient piece of British woodland to research a rare strain of moss, only to discover an even more exotic specimen; a geologist explains the failures of the feminist movement to her teenage niece in terms of tectonic subduction; two Old Testament newlyweds scheme to make the most of their tightly negotiated dowry by applying 21st-century genetic engineering techniques—each story in this collection of short fiction fuses together specific pieces of scientific research with an ancient myth or folkloric archetype. In these stories, readers will encounter witches that can outwit botanists, religious soothsayers that read evolutionary biology in feverish dreams, and scientists who fall in love with the birds that they study. A specially written afterword penned by a scientist follows each story, expanding upon the theory within the story, be it quantum mechanics, planetary physics, game theory, or nanotechnology. (Comma, 2013)

Jane Housham, The Observer

“Maitland’s ways in are various: the metaphorical, the historical, the whimsical, the sensual – some stretch one’s imaginative elastic to the limit, some feel revelatory, all are of interest. She has built bridges that may tempt new minds across to science. How ingenious.”

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David Evans, The Financial Times

Each story is appended with a response from a scientist on the topic in question; some of these seem redundant, but the best of them tease out the creative uses Maitland has made of cutting-edge research.”

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