Sunday, June 19, 2011


Short Story by Genevieve Valentine
Published free in Text & Audio at Clarkesworld

Valentine opens and closes this story with a with something between a thesis statement and a rallying cry.
Inevitably, eventually, you started to care.
The story follows two thieves embedded in deep cover at the Seed Bank in Svalbard. They work for some sort of idealistic underground organization in a dystopian future where the seas have risen so high they're swallowing up cities and a Global Coalition works to keep member states isolated and subjugated. The Global Coalition moves in to take over new countries when flooding gets too bad and when it does, it sells seed banks, coal mines, and anything else to big companies. (I like that the biggest corporate threat in this world is called MediaVox rather than an oil or engineering type company.) Anyway, it seems seed banks get mishandled and shut down by these companies and the Coalition and the protagonist is there to steal some of the seeds before it's too late.

But his partner isn't a true believer, she likes birds, but is just in the seed business for the money. The story is really her story, observed by her partner as he frets about seeds and the state of international politics, he watches her decide what principles she really supports.

Valentine is urging readers to wake up and give a damn, but the message comes quietly, against an evocatively described background of a very hot future. I would have liked to see more detail, ideology of their organization, but it's a thoughtful story.

4 bird of paradise seeds out of 5.

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