May 17, 2007
Wet Nanotech: 1938
From Seeds of the Dusk by Raymond Z. Gallun
Astounding Science Fiction, June 1938
In the distant future, in the remote desert, a highly evolved corvid confronts an unusual visitor. An invader from Mars. Unnerved, the plucky post-raven hunter-gatherer imagines the worst. But really, how dangerous could an intelligent and civilized plant be?
It was a bulging, slightly flattened sphere, perhaps a yard across. From it projected flat, oval things of a gray-green color, like the leaves of a cactus. And from these, in turn, grew club-like protuberances of a hard, horny texture--spore-pods. One of them was blasted open, doubtless by the pressure of gas accumulated within it...
Instead of taking the easy way out, and envisioning motile sapient plants(Morticia's beloved African Strangler comes to mind), Gallun tried to work out how a real plant intelligence might evolve. They say he was known as an idea man. Obviously, fire and metallurgy would be problematic for them.
Being plants, I suppose the notion of growing what they needed struck him as more reasonable.
It is not to be supposed that it must always lack, by its very nature, an understanding of physics and chemistry and biological science. It possessed no test tubes or delicate instruments, as such things were understood by men. But it was gifted with something--call it an introspective sense--which enabled it to study in minute detail every single chemical and physical process that went on within its own substance.
Meanwhile, back on the dying Earth, the invasion proceeds apace...
Now Kaw had but one thought, and that was to get away. Still dazed and groggy, he leaped into the air. From behind him, in his hurried departure, he heard a dull plop.
posted by Justin on 05.17.07 at 11:55 AM
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