Missives from the Front Lines: Steam, Frogs, and Fungal Invasions

(Helsinki: vanguard of a new fungal invasion?)

A few reports came in from the front lines this week, starting off with good news regarding the spore blitzkrieg…

Juha Tupasela reports that “It seems that the latest fad in houseplants here in Helsinki are mushrooms, in particular a Chinese mushroom called Ling Zhi. The flowershops I’ve seen them in translate the name as ‘herb of spiritual potency’ and Wikipedia also gives it the name ‘mushroom of immortality’. They come in stylish little metal pots.”

Juha goes on to write: “I was in the midst of reading some of your Ambergris texts when I started seeing these around, and I got the crazy idea that maybe the gray caps found a way from Ambergris to Helsinki and are attempting to expand their domain. I’ve only seen the mushrooms in question in certain upscale flowershops, so it could be that the gray caps are planning to infiltrate and convert the economic elite first, before moving on to consolidate their hold. Of course, this theory is based on the assumption that Helsinki would be worth the gray caps’ attention. I’m not sure how gray caps would manage in the cold. I’ll let you know if I see any other signs of imminent invasion.” So, in short, everything is going according to plan…

In other news, the Steampunk invasion continues, with John Coulthart reporting on a unique use of the Steampunk equation art:

And, finally, really cute fan mail from the future–Mark Wingenfeld’s daughter Bethany wrote to me about “Henry and the Frog“…

…an as-yet unpublished children’s story that got stuck in with published works Mark’s including in a bibliography of my fiction:


  1. Samuel S says

    During my first visit to Helsinki my friends and I were approached by a photographist at the Helsinki Zoo and asked to pose as meerkats. She told us she was working on a project with pictures of humans posing as animals. We never asked for her name and haven’t heard from her since.

    Could it be that Helsinki is under the influence of both the gray caps and Quin? I’ve been living here for six months now and the evidence is everywhere…

  2. JuhaT says

    In related news, a friend of mine who I told about the mushroom infiltrators reminded me about the surge of semi-feral urban rabbits that have taken over Helsinki’s parks. They show no fear of humans, and the latest reports are that they have learned to climb trees in search of food. The municipal government has established an official post to deal with the threat, but it might already be too late. If they can climb trees, it’s might only be a matter of time before they start climbing in windows.

  3. Samuel S says

    Every morning on my way to work I pass through the Kaisaniemi Park where I’ve hade the privilege to behold these rabbits on quite many occasions. Truly they are awe-inspiring creatures, being both invincible and extremely cute. As of yet, despite my attempts, I have failed to make contact with them.