On the whole, I found Merlin's book an okay read. I have listened to him talk on various podcasts, and it was interesting to visit the source of his thoughts. I feel it is a confession of a mycophilic, heavily spun from reference material, doctoral studies, and associates in the field. It was more like a thesis than a text on field research. But, and there is a big but, I can't fault Sheldrake's bringing all this material together in one text, peppered by his boyish enthusiasm. It is lovely to indulge in someone's own passion, regardless of how they present it.
Sometimes, I felt the adulation for psilocybin to be laboured and at times pontifical. I think if one is going to dip into social science, there might the other side of the coin mentioned when psilocybin has caused psychosis, or done nothing at all in the way of expanding a sense of universal awareness. However, this thought only crossed my mind because the reference to McKenna and the psychedelic properties of fungi were considerable. I think bringing McKenna to the table of mycelium research these days is like reading aloud Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance at a nursing home. I just think, most know, most have been there, read that. Let's carry on.
There was a lot in this book I had already known about, hence Sheldrake's bibliography is extensive (about forty pages long), and much has been espoused in some way or another. I would have liked Merlin to have chosen less broadcast or published concepts concerning mycelium to examine. His notes are a good read though, and should have been included in the main body of the text. To be fair, he exerts his own twist on referenced material which I enjoyed.
I think it is a good read however, as an introduction to the fascinating connection life has with fungi, and through Sheldrake's experience, can only be unique. I really look forward to his further writing on the subject. Personally, his ponderous, linguistic thoughts on the concept of mycelium and fungi tickled me, and I enjoyed his turn of phrase. He is a good writer, but green. I am sure that future work will be more focussed and comprehensive, and have deepened views on particular aspects of his research. At the end of the day, he is vocalising in an understandable tongue what others may not be able to do due to using a more formal or technical language.
This book is a pep talk on fungi. It can only assist in achieving wider enthusiasm for the field of research and understanding of the subject.