The Darkling Wood (A Scientific Fantasy) by Brian Stableford
Review by Sally Startup
Entomologist, John Hazard, reluctantly finds himself advising the doomed protectors of a rather sickly, supposedly ancient, woodland. He is forced to accept the company of various ecowarriors, along with a formidable historian, a post graduate biochemist and a reporter from the Fortean Times. In spite of all his misgivings, his curiosity is engaged and he becomes involved.
The woodland appears to have some purpose of its own. John Hazard, as a scientist, must try to guess what it is and why it might be important. In the process, he uncovers a deeper understanding of himself and opens to the beginnings of some possible friendships. Nevertheless, he remains so much of a scientist that he is willing to pursue a new discovery even when doing so will put him beyond the support of the establishment. Science is, after all, a matter of exploration.
I found this story quite thrilling because of its plausibility. Something so far undiscovered (by humans) and unrecorded, almost certainly does exist, somewhere. The geographical area that is fictionalised in the novel is not far from where I live. There is no reason such a story should not take place close to my home, or anyone else’s.