Review: Falling From Trees by Mike Fiorito

by Caleigh

Are you into sci-fi, but only want to have a short love affair with each story? Read on for my review of Falling From Trees, and find out why it might be right for your TBR List!

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The Summary

Falling From Trees is a collection of futuristic and sci-fi short stories, written with pretty prose, creative soul, and a childlike heart. In total, this small book of only 115 pages boasts 21 vignettes. Lose yourself in this very quotable book, filled with excellent titles such as “The Love of a Dandelion” and “Everybody’s Perfect, Nobody’s Human”.

We are everywhere at all times. In fact, we are with you now. We are like invisible ghosts swarming around you. We live your sadness and fears. And joys. We are whispering to you, hoping someday you’ll hear us. We want to take you into our bosom. We want to shower you in our tears until we are all joined in one gentle downpour of the purest rain.

(From “The Purest Rain”, pages 47-49).

My Review

Ok so first and foremost, I have to apologize for my “The Truth is Out There” throwback styling for my cover image. What can I say, I was feeling an X-Files vibe today.

So down to the review. What is Falling From Trees? It’s a compilation of ideas from Mr. Fiorito’s imagination. A gentler version of some of the greats, I found myself feeling alternately sad and hopeful with each passing story. The short stories reverberate with the energy of Gaia, or Mother Earth, and form a really beautiful collection. When I started flipping back to write this review, I was looking for my Top 3. It became increasingly clear that unlike some books I’ve read (and reviewed!), I really enjoyed them all for different reasons. But my tops are:

  1. “The Long Way”: This short story is about heartbreak and lost time, and it made me think about my own past experiences. It was my favourite by far, probably due to personal proximity.
  2. The Smith “triad”: Ok, this is totally cheating. There are 3 short stories near the end of the novel about Smith, an extra-terrestrial transplant to Earth (“A Star in Time”, “The Numbers Man”, and “The Productions of Time”). I loved them all, and wished they were a whole novella.
  3. “Twilight”: I guess I might actually love sadness? This story is about a lost astronaut, and his last conversation with his wife. An autistic man, I absolutely loved how real the setting felt, as a lost cause reaches back one last time.

I’m not sure who needs to read this book. I think anyone who is feeling a little lost in the world right now could enjoy some of the themes. Certainly anyone who has an autistic loved one will appreciate some of the nods to the brilliance of other intelligence. I think Falling From Trees would be a great gift (maybe to yourself 😉 ). It’s such a small investment of time to read each story that I feel like even a non-reader might really enjoy this, taking one small “bite” at a time. I feel so lucky to have gotten a copy of this as an early read from TLC (as of writing this, the Goodreads page doesn’t have the published cover yet even!!). Please enjoy, and of course let me know if you pick it up and enjoy it as much as I did!

It turns out that the universe is made of music.

(From “Climbing Time”, pages 1-3).

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

About the Author

Mike Fiorito is an Associate Editor for Mad Swirl Magazine and a regular contributor to the Red Hook Star Revue. Mike is the author of Call Me Guido published by Ovunque Siamo Press. He is also the author of Freud’s Haberdashery Habits published by Alien Buddha Press. Mike lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two sons. He is currently working on a novel.

Mike Fiorito is an Associate Editor for Mad Swirl Magazine and a regular contributor to the Red Hook Star Revue. Mike is the author of Call Me Guido published by Ovunque Siamo Press. He is also the author of Freud’s Haberdashery Habits published by Alien Buddha Press. Mike lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two sons. He is currently working on a novel.

Praise for Falling From Trees

“Fiorito uses a surreal and dream style to outline his characters, children who draw alone and see “the immortality of yellow, or aliens that bring special gifts to humanity: first and foremost, the meaning of life. And so, thanks to their gifts, all of us finally “have a purpose” and “discover” that the universe is made of music.” —Maria Rosa Curtrufelli, Italian author and journalist, Author of The Woman Outlaw

“The atmospheres conjured up stay with you long after reading, by turns wistful, illogical, and deeply human. A diverting book with a unique flavor.” – Nikki Wyrd, Editor of the Psychedelic Press Journal

“Treading the trails of futurists such as Aldous Huxley and Buckminster Fuller, Mike Fiorito envisions a utopia where there is no need for greed, hunger, or war. These extra temporal tales give an inkling of what could be if we are open to the beauty behind the stars.”— Mike Cobb, Writer

Exploring the possibility of sentient knowledge, FALLING FROM TREES by Mike Fiorito is a unique collection of short stories with sci-fi undertones. Perfectly  pitched and paced, they are a refreshing addition to the short story genre in the tradition of Italo Calvino, Stanislaw Lem, and Philip K. Dick. Fiorito’s stories grab the reader from the very first sentence and never let go. In clear, provocative and often poetic prose, they explore love, consciousness, identity and the human condition—and succeed in elevating the commonplace to the surreal. Fiorito invites us to interrogate our thinking. “These are not cynical tales,” he writes in the book’s preface. “In fact, they celebrate our potential salvation.”

Heartfelt, with longing and humor, Fiorito’s stories are written in short bursts of other-worldly auras as they knowingly vacillate between science fiction, speculative and literary genres. A few of the stories portray quasi-realistic scenes from the lives of couples and families. Others create worlds that are strange and sad, hopeful and poignant, brilliant and mysterious.

In “Climbing Time,” the first story in FALLING FROM TREES, aliens reach out to individuals with Asperger’s, communicating through vivid, wordless dreams. Other stories contemplate the disastrous impact of climate change. The interconnected “Pale Leviathan” and “Tomorrow’s Ghost” depict the ferocity of the sun invading homes cooled with “freezing air units” and the claustrophobia of a world where children are forced to stay indoors. “The Numbers Man,” “A Star in Time,” and other interconnected stories follow the enigmatic alien Smith through believable yet mysterious encounters with humans in a homeless encampment, a National Park, a beach town and a bar.

While often fantastic, the twenty-one stories in FALLING FROM TREES are ultimately about our lives and the relationships that mean the most to us. “Fiorito teaches us we need not look across the universe for universal truth,” writes Chad Frame, Director of the Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program. “Indeed his characters are as genuine and relatable as they are vast and mysterious. Through them, we can come to understand our place in it a little bit better.”ola College/Apprentice House

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1 comment

Sara Strand March 6, 2021 - 9:10 pm

Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours


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