Every first and third Friday of the month there will be two story excerpts from the Shine anthology. This is the ninth one: “Seeds” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia:
Two teenagers bolted past him, running so fast James almost lost his balance and dropped his multi-text device, which would have been a major problem because he had no idea how to get back to the main road. The paths had twisted and turned a dozen times before he had finally parked his car close to the town square with its double arcades.
James glared at the teenagers but they kept running. He was sure they had bumped into him on purpose. They probably recognize the logo on his suitcase.
He didn’t get it. Just on Sunday he watched a group of UNAM students parading around the Angel of Independence, wearing black and white Zapata t-shirts and yelling “maiz y libertad.” Like a perfect seed and a perfect crop was somehow wrong and Germingen was the devil. It all sounded suspiciously anarchistic to him.
Fine, it was copyrighted technology and the seeds were sterile unless they were treated with Germingen’s very own Germingrow. If the user agreement was not followed exactly as intended, Germingen would trigger the Trojan Horse built into the genetic map of the seed, but so what? You got large, perfect crops in return. In the end, they were doing these people a favor.
James shook his head, straightened his clothes and kept on walking until he reached the fountain in the middle of the plaza. Without people wearing a geo-location unit, all he could do was squint and wait under the harsh sun for his contact to arrive, guessing, rather than knowing, if any of the townsfolk headed his way were Mr. Totol.
The wind blew a cloud of dust in James face and he sputtered and swore. His suit was nano-treated, but the dirt was probably pullulating with dog faeces and some nasty germs.
When the cloud dissipated a man wearing white linen pants, a matching shirt and hat approached him and extended his hand.
“I’m Alejandro Totol,” he said. “You’ve got to be from Germingen.”
James had all of his data on the multi-text but it was going to do no good if Mr. Totol did not carry his own multi-text. By the looks of it, all the farmer had with him was a crude knapsack. He would have to introduce himself the old-fashioned way.
“James Clark, Customer Satisfaction and Services Representative, Germingen, Mexico and Caribbean division. At Germingen we develop the most resistant, innovative crops to supply the farms of tomorrow—”
“That’s nice,” said Mr. Totol, interrupting James before he could finish his speech.
“Bigger, better, stronger crops make a bigger, better, stronger world,” James ran his thumb across his multi-text device. “It says here, Mr. Totol, that you are one of our silver maize seed users. Ten-year contract, eight percent copyright and user fee and insured GM seeds, right?”
“It’s not my contract.”
“It’s not my contract. The governor got the contract for the whole state and we have to use the seeds. Everyone in Oaxaca has to do it. They have this state levy on us for the stuff.”
- Teotitlan Maiz: via Globe Trotters;
- Maiz y Libertad: via YouTube;
- Mr. Totol: via Menédez y Menéndez Opus;
- Question mark maiz: via UITA;
Silvia Moreno-Garcia was born in the north of Mexico and moved to Canada several years ago. She lives in beautiful, rainy British Columbia with her husband, children and two cats. She writes fantasy, magic realism and Science Fiction. Her short stories have appeared in Fantasy Magazine, Futurismic, Shimmer and Tesseracts Thirteen. With the help of editor Paula R. Stiles and a band of eldritch writers she publishes the online zine Innsmouth Free Press. Silvia is also working on her first novel and be found online at http://www.silviamoreno-garcia.com/.
Seeds by Silvia Moreno-Garcia made me think of the too glib car salesman who breezes into town with his goods to sell and then unexpectedly comes up against a customer who is probably that little bit too clever for said salesman to make his sale. Tightly written with a lot of show not tell by the author, Seeds left me with a big grin on my face!
Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Seeds pits a multinational agricultural corporation and all of its genetically modified seeds against some oppressed Mexican farmers and a delicious fungus that tastes great in a quesadilla.
Then there’s Seeds, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a story about messing with GMO corn, which offers some stick-it-to-the-man glee, but the tale is too short for much else.
The Solnet Ascendancy by Lavie Tidhar and Seeds by Silva Moreno-Garcia are, for the most part, trickster stories, but they work within the context of the theme.
Another short and funny story with a twist, this time about Mexican farmers outwitting a multinational corporation that tries to control their livelihood.
An interactive Google Map of story locations from the SHINE anthology: