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A botanist who claims she can electronically talk to plants creates problems for a by-the-book high school science teacher and his more playfully speculative son in "They're Playing God With Our Watermelons," a 33,000 word comedic E-novella for young adults.

A serious science story is comparatively rare for young adult novels, but "Watermelons" is leavened with humor throughout. This includes a weathercaster who must compete with low-pressure sensitive/weather predicting seniors, and a prognosticating Ficus benjamina plant as part of a TV ratings war.

In 2008, BBC-TV reported on a Japanese scientist with a talking plant that predicted the weather--described as the most popular living thing in Japan--complete with a plant to Japanese translator device. (Belgium had a similar plant a few years later.) These same details can be found in “Watermelons,” first drafted in the year 2000. Does life imitate art or vice versa? Perhaps these two patterns work in tandem and with feedback loops.

Perhaps the above points to ready-made markets and free publicity opportunities for the talking-plant story vacuum,never fully satisfied in the world of animation and cartooning, or by New Age horticulturalists and proselytizing vegetarians. Perhaps there's a deep seated need to connect with plants, routinely dismissed and exploited as little more than inanimate objects, especially good furniture. Plants are people too! Perhaps their similar DNA points to a straightjacketed intelligence kept apart because our communication systems simply do not mesh. Okay, perhaps not.

Fictie en literatuur
29 april
Steve Ross

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