the force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Green Thumb, by Tom Cardamone; Published by Brazenhead; Available in Paperback (2012)
Although he and his nanny found refuge on an isolated island in the Florida Keys, his parents never made it. Growing into a young man, he feels the effects of the changes wrought on him by the genie box – he has been transformed into bizarre hybrid of human and flower – able to live on sunlight alone. In time his elderly nanny dies and he is left alone – until Scallop arrives.
Scallop and his father sail their boat between the scattered remnant communities of the Keys, avoiding the slaver ships and eeking out a living as sailors. Leaf and Scallop become attached and when Scallop needs help, Leaf is drawn away from his island sanctuary, into the brutal world of the Red War’s aftermath. In flooded cities, hardened refugees (many touched by genie boxes as well) scrape by and try to avoid capture by the forces of the hideous hybrid Pelican Kings with their insatiable hunger for slaves to fight back the tide of mutant kudzu growing across what’s left of the viable land.
Poetic and surreal, Cardamone’s prose and vision remind one of a more romantic Philip K Dick.
Despite it’s brutish, post-apocalyptic setting, the book is also surprisingly erotic, as Leaf’s altered body chemistry has surprising effects on the boys and girls that are drawn to him.
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