Mushroom Blues (The Hoffman Report #1), by Adrian M. Gibson

22 Mar 2024

The Book

Mushroom Blues
Series: The Hoffman Report
Pages: 398
Age Group: Adult
Published on 19 Mar 2024
Publisher: Self-Published
Available on:



Blade RunnerTrue Detective and District 9 meld with the weird worlds of Jeff VanderMeer, Philip K. Dick and China Miéville in Adrian M. Gibson’s hallucinatory, fungalpunk noir debut.

Two years after a devastating defeat in the decade-long Spore War, the island nation of Hōppon and its capital city of Neo Kinoko are occupied by invading Coprinian forces. Its fungal citizens are in dire straits, wracked by food shortages, poverty and an influx of war refugees. Even worse, the corrupt occupiers exploit their power, hounding the native population.

As a winter storm looms over the metropolis, NKPD homicide detective Henrietta Hofmann begrudgingly partners up with mushroom-headed patrol officer Koji Nameko to investigate the mysterious murders of fungal and half-breed children. Their investigation drags them deep into the seedy underbelly of a war-torn city, one brimming with colonizers, criminal gangs, racial division and moral decay.

In order to solve the case and unravel the truth, Hofmann must challenge her past and embrace fungal ways. What she and Nameko uncover in the midst of this frigid wasteland will chill them to the core, but will they make it through the storm alive?  

My Review

Mushroom Blues is the mold breaking debut novel of Adrian M. Gibson, the first book in the noir fungalpunk series The Hoffman Report, a deliciously dark and weird proposal which tells a compelling story while doing a deep social commentary partly based in the post WWII Japan (and you can totally see many of the influences of it in the city of Neo Kinoko, and in the Hōpponese culture in general).

Two years after its defeat in the Spore War, the island nation of Hōppon is under the occupation of the Coprinian forces, with its native fungal inhabitants suffering a difficult situation, shortages and the corruption of the ocuppiers; tension is rising as a consequence. Detective Henrietta Hoffman has been transferred to NKPD as a sort of punishment, and the apparition of the body of half-breed child forces her to pair with mushroom-headed officer Koji Nameko as part of her investigation; one that will take her on a trip into the heart of a city in the brief of war, crime gangs, and the corruption of the own colonizers.

All the story is told using a close first-person narrative voice, from the perspective of Henrietta, perfect to reflect the change she experiences alongside her vision and knowledge about the native population of Hōppon is expanded and increased. Hoffman is a character tortured by her past, who starts with a point of view that is incredibly racist against the fungal population, partly due to her lack of knowledge, and the perspective of war winner, but who progressively changes, opening herself, in a gradual trip (and sometimes quite literal).

Gibson has made a masterful work portraying through fantasy many of the problems created after the WWII and the American occupation of Japan, but not keeping it at the superficial aspects, but exploring often overlooked parts of the society, such as the rise of crime due to shortage and corruption and the own abuse made by the colonizers (general MacArthur is a good example). All paired with mushroom derived elements that add a layer of originality to his narration, creating some psychedelic situations.

A police procedural story that is not afraid to go deep and, as a result, we have an excellent debut novel; Adrian M. Gibson has created something unique that I can't recommend enough. I need the second book as soon as possible, because I want to return to Neo Kinoko.

The Author/s

Adrian M. Gibson

Adrian M. Gibson

ADRIAN M. GIBSON is a Canadian author, podcaster and illustrator (as well as occasional tattoo artist). He was born in Ontario, Canada, but grew up in British Columbia. He studied English Literature and has worked in music journalism, restaurants, tattoo studios, clothing stores and a bevy of odd jobs. In 2021, he created the SFF Addicts podcast, which he co-hosts with fellow author M. J. Kuhn. The two host in-depth interviews with an array of science fiction and fantasy authors, as well as writing masterclasses.

Adrian has a not-so-casual obsession with mushrooms, relishes in the vastness of nature and is a self-proclaimed “child of the mountains.” He enjoys cooking, music, video games, politics and science, as well as reading fiction and comic books. He lives in Quito, Ecuador with his wife and sons.

Mushroom Blues is his debut novel.