An oversized pop-up survey of mutated life forms in the 49th century’s heavily polluted, still-radioactive Cagoan District, the ruins of a fictional future Chicago.
Readers in 4847 may be pleased by this report that the bioremediation of the devastated district is proceeding apace thanks to a “robust ecosystem” of recently evolved creatures who concentrate heavy metals, dissolve concrete, metabolize methane, and even consume the polycarbonate plastics once used to make CDs. Twenty-first century readers, on the other hand, will be positively thrilled by the eight examples—from the fiercely predatory brownfield pigeon, which lives on oil-soaked wastelands and so has developed wing pouches to carry offspring, to a rex roach the size of a puppy—that rear up from alternate spreads as layered, intricately articulated, near (or even more than) life-size models sculpted in muted monochromes. Solano (Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon, 2017, etc.) complements Sheehy’s (Welcome to the Neighborwood, 2015, etc.) stylized monsters with more naturalistic painted portraits on each following spread and charts the exotic menagerie’s sometimes-complex interrelationships at the end. Along with introductory remarks, the author provides helpful field notes on each selected subject’s physical characteristics, enhanced resistance to radiation, and general behaviors. This imaginative work will both entertain readers and provoke their concern over the state of our environment.
A deliciously hideous glimpse of what’s in store following the ongoing Anthropocene extinction. (author’s note) (Pop-up science fiction. 12-15)