“With the Best of Intentions” by Paul Doherty and Pat Murphy
Card Picked: Ace♥️
From: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July-August 2017
People like to think in terms of cause and effect. We want things to be simple: You do X and you get Y.
But then it comes to natural systems, it’s just not that simple. You do X and you get a cascading alphabet of effects. And some of those double back to become new causes.
I ended up switching out the story I originally had planned for the Ace of Hearts; I realized I had already read it. When setting up my Deal Me In list, I slotted in the short stories from my remaining unread issues of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, but I’d forgotten that I’d already read a few from the July/August 2017 issue. So, instead, I decided to read the science essay from that issue.
“With the Best of Intentions” is about bees. Honeybees and bumblebees mostly. We tend to value the honeybee because, well, honey, but over look the contributions to pollination by the fuzzy, buzzy bumblebee. If we project a future with less pollinator bees, we could have less fruits like apples, but also less birds who eat fruits like apples, and less small predators who eat birds, etc.
I don’t mean to be a denier of these possible outcomes, but I am also an inherent optimist. While our authors acknowledge that we have problems predicting outcomes, they stick to dire consequences. I take a more Ian Malcolm approach: