One of the slight drawbacks of the Twelve Tomorrow’s anthology is that with the focus being on near-future extrapolations of technology developments, and stories being mostly on the shorter side, it can be a case of set up the scenario – explore some extrapolations – exit.
Here McAuley looks at biotech and ‘a-life’ – artificially created organisms. Here the plants created to mine minerals, drawing up trace metals into their roots, which are then harvested, have mutated, and the protagonist is part of a team protecting an area that has been zoned off, as a clean-up operation is in place.
He explores some of the issues with a scientist he finds in the territory, who he subsequently bumps into later – but not by chance. It’s nicely down in its ten pages, but you know that McAuley could do a whole lot more with a bit more space.
More about ‘Twelve Tomorrows’ here.
Update : reprinted in Lightspeed Magazine in Feb 2016