Ultra wild by Steve Mushin

cover image

Ultra Wild: An Audacious Plan to Rewild Every City on Earth is a BIG BOOK! Big in size, big on ideas, big on facts, and big on problem-solving. Written and illustrated by Steve Mushin, an industrial designer and inventor, this book will challenge the reader to question, imagine and rethink the realms of future possibilities for inventions and most importantly rewilding and saving our planet.

The colourful and striking front cover with shiny bold lettering provides a snapshot of the fantastical creations with the endpapers cleverly showcasing some of the 100+ inventions. These complex illustrations provide a clue to what is to be discussed within the book. The author gives a personal introduction in a graphic-style format which continues throughout and provides both written and visual clues to allow the reader to grasp an understanding of the thoughts and the scope of the inventions.

The contents pages show the chapters presented horizontally across a double page beginning with the Prologue - “Ludicrous ideas are bootcamp for brain” and ending with the Epilogue – “Over to you for the greatest design project in History”. In between are 14 chapters with headings such as Chapter One: The Mechanical Megafauna Project where the question asked is ‘Could we replicate the soil-creating work of large animals with composting-firing cannons?’ which is followed by a discussion about long-extinct creatures and how they spread massive amounts of manure. Chapter Six: The Sewersub Project asks the question, ‘Could we convert abandoned sewers into underground rivers and ride through them in submarines?’ This is followed by detailed information explaining how this might happen. Chapter Eleven: The One…Small…Problem… provides thought provoking words and images of extinct creatures in black and white and is worthy of further discussion and research. In the final pages are the Acknowledgements, Bibliography, Glossary, Index and an Afterword from the author - well worth reading.

As noted at the beginning of the review, this book and its information is huge. There is so much to learn, ponder over and wonder if it will ever be possible. It is a fabulous trip into the imagination of Steve Mushin, plus renowned scientists and designers who supported his work. The overall graphic-style presentation complemented by the stunning illustrations and diagrams will appeal to those readers who are fascinated by science, inventions, innovations and design, and perhaps those who have not read a book quite like this before.

The Ultrawide website has additional information and the technology and science references for each project plus spreadsheets for keen readers to further their understanding.

Themes: Inventions, Rewilding, Climate Change, Design, Science, STEM, Problem-solving, Graphic novel-style format, Humour.

Kathryn Beilby