This one is too cool for words. Asher takes us to a farm in the future where Mason laments his inability to afford a new harvester with fans that could blow the grain all the way to the top of a silo. Having Iowa farmers in the family and having helped haul corn when I was a teenager gives me a deep appreciation for not having to wait while the auger slowly spun conveying the gain from the loader in through the top of 10 story silo.
However, this has very little to do with farming and hulling grain and much more to do with highly evolved rats. Rats that have become primitive tool users that hunt Mason’s cats. A Tom & Jerry escalation ensues. Mason buys better traps. The rats create better tools to beat the supper traps. Until…
I won’t give it way. Asher has a point to make with this story. I will just say that the last sentence turns a great story into a heavy handed anecdote punch. However, it is a very funny and entertaining one. I will protect my cats if I can.
Asher, Neal. “Mason’s Rats.” Year’s Best SF 11. Ed. David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. New York: EOS, 2006. p. 78-84