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Previous Book Clubs > " Southcrop Forest " by Lorne Rothman (Spring 2010)

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message 1: by M (last edited Feb 28, 2010 12:14PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments For The Year of Biodiversity, The Spring Book Club 2010 start its readings, discussions with a green fiction and explore a new genre in which Biodiversity (e.g. trees, insects, wildflowers, fungi) is a feature of the story.

Part fantasy-quest, part natural history, Lorne Rothman's novel wins...

Best Book—Nature & Environment, and Finalist—Fantasy, 2009 Indie Book Awards
Best Book—Eastern Canada, and 3rd place—Fantasy, Reader Views 2009 Literary Awards
Finalist—Nature Writing, National Best Books 2008 Awards, USA Book News.

A magical story of mystery, and discovery, this ecological tale tells of a legendary creature who embarks on a perilous quest to save the forest’s greatest treasure from destruction.

message 2: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments Southcrop Forest takes the reader into the natural world like few other books have before. It is told through the 'eyes' of the Southcrop Trees and the colony of crawlers who calls itself Fur. Southcrop Forest is under threat from deforestation by the rollers (man) and have to protect both themselves and their gift of Southcrop Vision before it is too late. To do so they need to pass on their gift to the surrounding forests from which they have been isolated by the man trails and false rock (roads and tarmac). Enter Fur, a special colony of crawlers that is able to communicate with the trees and who agrees to take the journey across the forest, trails and rivers to deliver their gift to the rest of the tree world.

This book reminded me of The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann and as this was my favourite childhood book (and still is), this is meant as a huge compliment. Rothman has told the story of mankind's relationship with nature in a similar way through the eyes of the natural world itself. A thoroughly enjoyable read and one that I am certain to read again

message 3: by Lorne (last edited Apr 03, 2010 07:08AM) (new)

Lorne Rothman Hello Green Group!
My name is Lorne Rothman. I joined Goodreads and the Green Group late in 2009. Though I have visited other book sites and environmentally themed groups therein, I’ve found the Green Group to be the most active and interesting. The moderators and participating members are knowledgeable and one can engage in discussion and learn a thing or two in the process.

I joined the Green Group because of my long-standing interest in ecology, natural history and green issues, having studied Ecology & Evolution at several Canadian universities. I no longer work in an environmental field, but spend much of my spare time writing about the environment and volunteering for a local Canadian green organization. Take note: I have a soft spot for trees.

My debut novel, "Southcrop Forest", was released in 2008. The Green Group moderators and members have been kind enough to feature it for the Spring Book Club. “Southcrop Forest” is an ecological fantasy quest and a fable about trees, their remarkable powers, and their declining civilization in a world we humans are rapidly changing. The story is steeped in the natural sciences and Native American history, made accessible through an engaging, Tolkienesque narrative. A menagerie of plants and animals parades across its pages. Threats from urban sprawl, deforestation and climate change are central to the plot.

"Southcrop Forest" has won awards for environmental and nature writing, as well as fantasy. I’d say the audience would be mid-grade youngsters and up. I tried to write a story that might educate as well as entertain; the book has been featured in schools in Canada and the US.

I am currently working on a sequel that will delve further into the rich and ancient culture of trees and the challenges trees face, but this time closer to home in a more urban setting; I am particularly interested in the plight of our urban forests.

If you have any questions about “Southcrop Forest" or wish to discuss issues or themes raised in the story, please visit:

Kind Regards

Southcrop Forest by Lorne Rothman Lorne Rothman

message 4: by M (last edited Apr 03, 2010 07:45AM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Thank you Lorne, for The Green Group, its moderators and its members. Southcrop Forest is a delightful reading and we're looking forward to discuss with you issues and themes of your ecological fantasy quest and fable about trees.

Kind Regards,


message 5: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) I've started the book and I have to say that I am hooked by the story being related by trees. I am a lover of trees in all ways rational and irrational.

Must finish this book right away!

message 6: by Sam (last edited Apr 09, 2010 01:31AM) (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments Melissa wrote: "I've started the book and I have to say that I am hooked by the story being related by trees. I am a lover of trees in all ways rational and irrational.

Must finish this book right away!"

In that case Melissa, I bet you'll love this book, it is very much about the trees fighting back in their own way against the destruction that humanity has wrought, which is a premise I just loved.

message 7: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) I'm wondering, as a question for Lorne, what motivated the development of the character of "Fur" to be a colony, rather than an individual? And what inspired you to select tent caterpillars?

message 8: by Lorne (new)

Lorne Rothman Hi Melissa

Those are two excellent questions that really dig under the surface of this story for youngsters.

I have always been fascinated by field of complexity theory, and in particular the subject of self-organizing systems. It has always amazed me the way simple behaviours of creatures within groups can lead to some very complex, and often times beautiful emergent patterns(e.g. consider ants and bees in colonies, or birds or fish in flocks and schools). The book At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity was an important influence on the concept and development of Fur. (And it is no coincidence that the picture on the book cover that looks like a forest is actually a fractal image from the Mandelbrot set: another example of the emergence of beauty from a simple rule or mathematical formula.)

Furthermore, the character Fur, in his 'one-ness', represents all that tree civilization strives for. It is the reason trees developed Southcrop Vision: to combat the separation imposed upon them by fragmentation and sprawl. Though it is never explicitly stated, trees do wish to join together and become one being, just like Fur. It is one of the reasons why trees have such reverence for Fur.

I suppose I could have worked with ants or wasps. However, I wanted to use a defoliating insect that feeds on trees, because I felt the connection between trees and such a creature would be more direct.

And finally... I do have a fondness for tent caterpillars. I spent my PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowship studying them.

I do apologize for being long-winded but it's nice to be asked such penetrating questions.


message 9: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) I recognized the fractal cover and was amazed at how much it resembles the canopy of trees. Never occurred to me before.

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