Mycology! Tell my about it...
November 2, 2020 3:53 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of giving my character an interest, or maybe even degree, in mycology. I'm working in the life sciences but besides hunting mushrooms in my childhood and seeing a bizzare documentary about slime molds or lichen have no clue about the field. Is there some book/film/documentary where I can pick up something about it?

My book has a slightly humorous take overall, and what drew me to mycology in the first place is that mushrooms have some really great names in german like "unverschämter rübling" (shameless turnipling) or "gemeiner Mooswinzling" (vulgar mossgnome) that can easily double as hilarious insults.
I would like something aimed at the layperson and then maybe read a real mycology paper just to get a feel for the slang and whats hot in mycology. Is there something hot going on on mycology?
Just tell me whats cool in the field and I'll have a look at it.
BTW, I'm a big fan of Jeff VanderMeer and know about Ambergris and it's great. I also know about the fungus that enslaves ants, more of that please as the setting is Science Fiction and naturally should include the more horrifying aspects of fungology.
posted by SweetLiesOfBokonon to Science & Nature (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake. You can also find him on YouTube.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 5:06 AM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Secret Lives of Fungi, an article from the New Yorker is an excellent primer into both the characters of "modern" mycology as well as the history.

On a related note is the film Fantastic Fungi which is amazing all by itself, but the website has links and resources to keep you occupied for quite a while.
posted by jeremias at 5:16 AM on November 2, 2020

There's the book with David Arora and a mushroom and a trumpet on the cover. Apparently everyone knows and loves that cover.

Do an image search for "All the rain promises and more" and then figure out a way to include that scene in your book.
posted by aniola at 6:37 AM on November 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

Mushrooms Demystified, David Arora When I lived in Santa Cruz, my friend David mounted the Fungus Fair at the Natural History Museum. He also led travel workshops. His writing is really accessible and funny. I hope it's helpful.
posted by effluvia at 6:39 AM on November 2, 2020

Lobster mushrooms.
posted by aniola at 6:39 AM on November 2, 2020

Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy. It's a fantastic cross between regular topical non-fiction and a textbook. It gives you some basic insight into many common fungi, and includes a lot of information on growing different things yourself (if that's your interest).
posted by _DB_ at 7:13 AM on November 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Is there something hot going on on mycology?

Even if you’re lot local to the US, I would dip your toes into the MAPS research efforts on psilocybin containing mushrooms for the treatment of treatment resistant depression and PTSD. They’re a legit org and do good, thorough work.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:14 AM on November 2, 2020

You might like this Ologies podcast on Mycology.
posted by gnutron at 8:14 AM on November 2, 2020

I would also check to see if there is a local Mycology Society chapter near you. Our local has some very knowledgeable folks, and you could go mushroom hunting with them!
posted by dbmcd at 8:59 AM on November 2, 2020

Mycological remediation of pollution could have a lot of plot attached. Plus it’s fascinating chemistry.
posted by clew at 9:24 AM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Suzanne Stamets is a professor studying tree communication via their symbiotic root fungi, she also has a TED talk. I think this is the closest to legit "sci fi" feeling research in mycology.

Also see Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets (he also has TED talks, etc. online). He's done a lot with mycological remediation.

How ectomycorrizal fungi and their hosts decide to become symbiotes and how they exchange nutrients is also an active topic of research, but probably not what you're looking for.
posted by momus_window at 9:26 AM on November 2, 2020

« Older Windows 10 desktop screen brightness shenanigans   |   Which store-brand products are exactly identical... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments