A bryologist enters an ancient piece of British woodland to research a rare strain of moss, only to discover an even more exotic specimen; a geologist explains the failures of the feminist movement to her teenage niece in terms of tectonic subduction; two Old Testament newlyweds scheme to make the most of their tightly negotiated dowry by applying 21st-century genetic engineering techniques--each story in this collection of short fiction fuses together specific pieces of scientific research with an ancient myth or folkloric archetype. In these stories, readers will encounter witches that can outwit botanists, religious soothsayers that read evolutionary biology in feverish dreams, and scientists who fall in love with the birds that they study. A specially written afterword penned by a scientist follows each story, expanding upon the theory within the story, be it quantum mechanics, planetary physics, game theory, or nanotechnology.
Sara Maitland is the author of Daughters of Jerusalem, for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award, as well as Brittle Joys, Home Truths, and Three Times Table. Her short story collections include A Book of Spells, On Becoming a Fairy Godmother, and Telling Tales.