Paul McAuley. Wild Honey. (Asimovs August 2015)

asimovs201508A post-Collapse setting, but an unlikely one, with a bee keeper the main protagonist. But she’s not an ordinary apiarist, and they’re not ordinary bees…

Into the dusty outback where Mel lives under the termite hill-like beehives she tends, with bees of various tweaked types, who are networked, comes trouble, with a capital T. (I really should have said Trouble, with a capital T I suppose).

The Bad Guys are after the medicines she makes from the honey, and the honey beer she brews, and you just know, as she does, that there isn’t going to be a happy ending. So it’s down to her to draw on her own resources against great odds. She’s old, and feeling the draw of the ground where her predecessor bee-keepers are buried, and is looking for someone to take on her mantle, and there’s a young girl kept prisoner by the gang who appears to fit the bill.

There’s a neat denouement, which fills in some detail, and, appropriately, there’s a little bee sting at the end for the reader.

More from this issue here.

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