Mutant Message is a first person story about a American woman who travels through the Australian outback for three months with a group of Aboriginals. During her ordeal, Morgan is given no choice but to follow the tribe as they attempt to enlighten her about their way of life and beliefs. She learns to cope with heat, thirst, flies, strange food and a host of other unpleasant experiences. She learns that the tribe communicates through telepathy and that their knowledge of weather, topography, plant and animal life is astounding. Eventually Morgan comes to accept the aboriginal ways as superior to the wasteful and superficial western lifestyle. She is sent back to her civilized world with a message for the mutants (ie: the rest of us) which is essentially to stop squandering the planet’s resources and learn to live again in harmony with the natural world. Originally published as non-fiction, this book was later re-released as a work of fiction. Morgan maintains that the events depicted in the book are, nonetheless, factual and actually occurred. She states that the book was re-released as fiction in order to protect the identity of the tribe that sheltered her.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
This story was a load of hogwash. Whether it was fiction or non-fiction, magic-realism or fable, the actions and thoughts of the protagonist were completely out of character for a sheltered, middle-aged woman. In Chapter one for example, Morgan apparently takes off all her clothes in front of a group of complete strangers and then makes no protest when they burn all her belongings (including some jewellery with sentimental value). While the actual message of the book is certainly meaningful -it becomes lost in the controversy surrounding the book and its tissue- thin plot.