Short Story Review: “The First Tree in the Forest” by Jean-Luc Andre D’Asciano

4 of 5 stars.

At the edge of existence there lies a certain type of madness. Whether it’s loneliness, or something worse and inexplicable. Sometimes the two are indistinguishable. Here, it comes across as fantastical, though no less dark.

Humans managed to make themselves nearly immortal if it weren’t for their own genetically engineered viruses and persistent world wars. 150 test subjects survived the war-spawned virus. Then their numbers dwindled. The narrator is the last surviving man. And in his long-lived life, the days blur into an endless loop starting each day on his terrace overlooking the vast dark forest.

His only companions are his companion “machine” that his house reconstructs every time the man destroys it out of fun or frustration, a white stag that the man has not managed to kill, and the little pills that warp his perspective of time and reality. Red, to forget. Green, to remember. Striped, to bend perception.

He also sees ghosts of the species long since driven into extinction and fantastical hybrids of other extinct species. Or maybe its just the striped pills. Maybe the white stag is the striped pills. Maybe everything is the striped pills . . .

This tale appears in the magazine Blindspot: Testing Reality, Issue #1 by the founders of Angle Mort. Their mission is to translate French science fiction into English to bridge the American and French science fiction communities. I received my copy of this issue directly from one of the editors through
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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