In writing my new novelette Holy Trinity, I was able to learn a lot about Pacific Northwest lichens. Lichens are a fascinating species, not merely because they have never been bred or artificially synthesized by human beings, but also because they’ve influenced so much of human history. Yet they’re largely invisible to literature. Perhaps, with my story Holy Trinity, I can go a little way to changing that status.
I am sure my main character, March Wong, would find lichens entrancing. In my story, March turns his bedroom into a lichen incubation laboratory, and discovers something new to science — I’m told by reputable lichenologists that this kind of discovery does happen semi-regularly in real life. So who knows, if you learn more about lichens, you could discover something interesting as well!
Here are a few of the books I recommend to people interested in learning more about this fascinating species:
- Holy Trinity: An Eagle Tree Story is my own (fictional) contribution to the field of lichen studies.
- Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest is a great guide to lichen species in the Northwest area.
- Lichens of North America is the definitive guide to lichens across the United States, Canad and Mexico. This comprehensive guide is referenced in my story and used by March as a resource.
- Lichens, an overview book that is part of the Smithsonian’s Natural World series, touches on lichens from around the world.
- Keys to Lichens of North America is very helpful as an identification tool for lichens, and is used by scientists in the field to identify lichens.
- Mosses, Lichens and Ferns of North America is a great photographic field guide and a classic resource.
- Lichen Biology is the standard academic overview and a valuable reference for both students and researchers interested in lichenology.
- A field guide to California Lichens is a useful guide if you happen to live in California.