“Uncalculated Risk,” Christopher Anvil (Harry Crosby), 1962 — General Berenger is skeptical about the roles of science and technology will be able to play in maintaining America’s military advantage. In fact, he’s of the opinion that the world might be better off if Science had never been invented. An eager scientist takes him into his confidence to prove him wrong–technology, he argues, plays a role in maintaining the U.S.’s economic and diplomatic advantage. The scientist explains that a new soil texturing agent has been developed that will increase yields considerably. While the U.S. already has surpluses, America’s allies and the “neutrals” desperately need food. Providing them with this advantage will strengthen the U.S.’s position and weaken its enemies. The general learns that the texturing agent is being rushed to market even though the relatively untested product has the potential to cause a chain reaction that could turn all soil into mud. He stages a mini-catastrophe in order to get the attention of the President and force a recall.
Comments: Read in Nightmare Age. Online text.
Author: Wikipedia: “Christopher Anvil (March 11, 1925 – November 30, 2009) is a pseudonym used by American author Harry Christopher Crosby. He began publishing science fiction with the story “Cinderella, Inc.” in the December 1952 issue of the science fiction magazine Imagination. By 1956, he had adopted his pseudonym and was being published in Astounding Magazine.”