Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bud Sparhawk's "Encounter in a Yellow Wood" (short story, free): There's a human problem with long gestation projects...

Quote from short story Encounter in a Yellow Wood by Bud Sparhawk
This is of a class of stories that speculate about human issues in very long gestation projects - so long that the people who slog will not be the beneficiaries; benefits will go to a future generation. Among the best reads of the class is Walter M Miller's "Crucifixus Etiam".

Note: There is a publisher's regret notice with the online copy of this story (linked below) at Analog - that printed version had errors & that this online version is clean. Only, the online version has atrocious paragraph spacing (at least in my Firefox) & totally wrong page title!

Story summary.

Two technological options, each spanning decades, to render cities' garbage dumps harmless: one involves repeated planting/cutting of genetically modified trees; other is faster but doesn't involve any tree planting & leaves the site unusable till the project is over. Which is a better option?

This story mostly focuses on the former, where the locals have come to love the intermediate woods & would rather not have the site completely cleaned up because this will make the site unusable to community during intervening years.

Fact sheet.

First published: Analog, March 2010.
Download full text from publisher's site.
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of Bud Sparhawk.