The Geek Icon

Bee juice and science fiction. The products of a diseased mind.

Speaking of Honey

Originally written on 30/05/05.

Sugar never tasted so good
Sugar never tasted so good
Sugar never tasted good to me

-- The White Stripes, "Sugar Never Tasted So Good"

Neither sugar nor salt. Honey is the perfect thing to have on oat porridge. Especially organic ironbark honey bought in bulk from our neighborhood food co-operative. Yum.

I was thinking about honey this morning, maybe inevitably, as I drizzled it over my porridge (also containing some tasty dried currants from the aforementioned co-op), and sipped a hot steaming mug of lemon & honey drink (best thing for poor ravaged sore throats on a winter's morn). It struck me&emdash; why is honey never mentioned in science fiction? Granted, I haven't read every single sci-fi book in the universe, but I could be considered a fan of the genre, and I'm pretty comfortable with the respective oeuvres of many of the big names. Perhaps my memory is failing me or my ignorance is tantamount (and I'd happily stand corrected), but I don't seem to recall that any of them ever linger upon one of Earth's greatest science mysteries: honey.

Nobody knows how they make it (the bees, that is). Molecularly, it's just sugar, but clearly it has some very different properties. It never goes mouldy or bad. It takes on the distinctive flavours of the plants which contribute to its production. And a spoonful of it tastes way better than a mouthful of refined white sugar.

I imagined a science fiction plot where humans finally made contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence. After initial tense negotions, a tentative commerce arrangement was reached. But the only thing the intergalactic market was interested in from Earth was honey.

After utterly failing to find a scientific method for artificially producing honey or a close substitute, the Earth transforms into a global set of apiaries. Suburbia is slowly replaced with sweet-smelling meadows. Industry grinds to a lazy crawl as lucrative honey exports provide everyone with the best of intergalactic technology. Since no one can truly control a bee swarm, all have an equal shot at owning a few hives and the wealth of the world settles and redistributes like sediment at the bottom of a river.

I'd like to think I could turn the idea into a real story, but I suspect it would turn out to be like something Kilgore Trout would write.

Well, at least he actually got published.

At 03-08-2005 12:03PM Steen commented:

Actually, I've read a book that you'd probably like called "The Color of Distance". It somewhat qualifies as sci-fi, but it's really more fantasy set in the future in a rain forest on an alien planet and honey (or alien honey made by something like bees, to be specific) actually plays a significant role as food items go.

About the Geek Icon

This is the weblog of a computer geek with a thousand interests, documenting the ins and outs, ups and downs of her daily life. A dual citizen of the US and Australia who has settled (for the time being) in Sydney. Read more about her on the bio page.

Recently on JNGM