Friday, July 10, 2009

Karl Schroeder & Tobias S Buckell's "Mitigation" (short story, environment): When a robbery did some good too!

"Svalbard seed vault", a library of world's plant seeds intended as defense against rapidly diminishing biodiversity, is the ultimate gold mine for folks kept out of genetic engineering business by gene patent hoarders.

A group of armed terrorists, backed by a national government, is planning on seizing the Svalbard Vault - either to threaten the governments to loosen patent controls, or to sequence rare seeds themselves. A mafia group is in knowledge of this terror plan, but is barely ahead.

Chauncie St Christie is the mafia's man - to get inside the vault, sequence a list of rare seeds (destroying seeds in the process), then transmit the resulting data wirelessly in return for good money. Things get complicated, of course, because he needs the green activist River Balleny's help entering the vault & because terrorists reach a bit before mafia planned for.

But all ends well... including for humanity, though not for terrorists.

Collected in.

  1. David Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer (Ed)'s "Year's Best SF 14" (2009).

Fact sheet.

First published: Lou Anders (Ed)'s "Fast Forward Two" (2008).
Rating: A.
Added to my "best of the year 2008" list.
Related: Green fiction.