Improbable Botany

by stephenpalmersf

Wayward Plants have announced an anthology of plant-related SF stories in the forthcoming Improbable Botany. Wayward are a London-based company specialising in radical green architectural and urban living spaces, who have since 2006 carved out a niche for themselves including the Urban Physic Garden and the Union Street Urban Orchard.

I was asked to contribute by the book’s editor Gary Dalkin, who is a fan of my work and liked in particular my botanically exuberant debut Memory Seed. There’s a great author list, including Tricia Sullivan, Justina Robson, Lisa Tuttle, Eric Brown and Adam Roberts.


A Kickstarter campaign has been begun for this beautifully illustrated volume, which, if successful, is set for October publication. There are many options for fans and casual readers alike.

My story You Bringers Of Oxygen was written soon after I was asked by Gary to contribute, but, for various reasons, this was a number of years ago now, when I was in ‘London transformed’ mode (Hairy London etc). Gary described my story as “the most way-out one in the book,” which of course I was delighted to hear.

The illustrations and jacket design are by Jonathan Burton, who was worked for many of the best publishing houses and imprints in the business. He illustrated six of the stories, including mine (see below).

wayward inner

You Bringers Of Oxygen relates the tale of a number of London characters living in a botanically changed capital city. Its sub-text is how human beings through their activity change the environment, but how, as James Lovelock observed, it is unwise for them to assume the mantle of stewardship of the Earth.