ENTANGLED LIFE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Entangled Life By Merlin Sheldrake

“If you only take one thing from Entangled Life take this; Mycorrhizal Relationships are the bedrock of life on earth.”

— DR. C. A. Hampson Ph.D.
TitleEntangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change
Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
AuthorMerlin Sheldrake
PublisherRandom House; Illustrated edition (May 12, 2020)
FormatKindle
Pages352
GenreMushrooms in Biological Sciences Ecology Biology
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/130525510311 / 978-0525510314

AUTHOR

Meet Dr. Merlin Sheldrake Ph.D.

SYNOPSIS

Entangled Life abounds with astounding facts about fungi. Sheldrake’s seminal work is densely packed with a plethora of scientific research, amazing facts and humor. Sheldrake has created a revolutionary narrative and is a must read for all ages.

Through Sheldrake’s eyes you will discover how mycelium networks manage to have such a superior ability to communicate over great distances at incredible speeds. Sheldrake describes how the communication methods include not just mushrooms or fungi, but insects, animals, plants and codependencies that are so eco-dependent that they become life and death. You will learn how mycelium computers could be in our foreseeable future.

The author explains how the very ground we stand on only exists because of fungi dating back into ancient history. Your forest walk will be forever changed when Sheldrake explains how ubiquitous the vast mycelium network is below ground. You will learn how fungi can assist urban rail architects in designing the most efficient routes. 

Sheldrake provides the historic context of fungi across eons of time. He explains how, from an experts perspective; the interconnectedness of mycelium has literally been central to earths evolution. In addition, he covers a myriad of practical applications and uses for mushrooms. Entangled Life covers every aspect of the importance of fungi from scientific advances in research that include the development of mycelium based neural computers. Then there are the revelations of fungi based medical advances that may provide improved treatments for depression and anxiety. The examples don’t end there; Entangled Life also contains detailed information relating to the complexity and quotidian nature of mycelium networks and structures. There isn’t a forest on the planet that doesn’t hum with activity of mycelium in epic underground networks across endless spaces of our global arboretum. 

Sheldrake further discusses the Wood Wide Web Labyrinth – AKA Mycorrhizal Relationships (the original WWW – Fungi, plants, bacteria, and trees). He details how fungi use chemicals to control or alter behaviors in plants, animals and insects. Zombie Ants are prime examples of how Ophiocordyceps, the zombie fungus, became totally dependent upon the Carpenter Ant. Even more exciting, is the possible environmental impact of fungi. Sheldrake reveals how in a process of mycoremediation, fungi are being used to decontaminate the environment.

Perhaps the most gratifying section of the book is the discussion on how mycelium networks manage complex communications in the absence of a central nervous system. Including the possibility of fungi based complex computer networks in the future.

If you are currently watching the latest Star Trek show then you know the Starship Discovery has a Spore drive. It allows the starship to instantly transport to any place along the mycelium network. A theory taken from some of the research described in Sheldrake’s book.

Zombie Ants and Ophiocordyceps

CONCLUSION

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake is a stupendous publication. It is engaging, awe-inspiring in its breadth and span, and it challenges the reader’s world-view with every turn of the page. It is less of a book and more of a journey that once you begin, you have to complete. If you want to expand your knowledge of our world from the edge of space to the depths below, Entangled Life is a work that will thrill you. 

To write exciting and interesting prose takes a special kind of academic writer. We find such a scrivener in Merlin Sheldrake. It is even rarer to find an author that doesn’t dumb down the science. Sheldrake doesn’t patronize his audience, but through his expert knowledge and communication, he elevates the reader to the appropriate level of comprehension. The reader gains more from Entangled Life than a mere text book, the reader gets a whole new weltanschauung or world view.

If you are the kind of reader who wants to learn while you have fun reading, then this is definitely the book for you. A thoroughly enjoyable sojourn into the alien world that is just below our feet.

I am already looking forward to re-reading Entangled Life again in the near future. I was saddened and reluctant to put it down. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Merlin Sheldrake, NetGalley, and Random House for affording me the opportunity to review Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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ADDITIONAL READING

The Mycelium as a network

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