(First published in Anders, Live Without a Net, 2003. Reprinted
in Hartwell, 9th Year's Best and Dozois, 21st Year's Best
I think this is my favorite Stross short story
so far -- which is saying something, as I've never yet read a Stross
short (or long) I haven't liked, and some are great. Such as
"Missile Gap" and "Jury
Service" and "A
Colder War" and "Antibodies" and.... www.antipope.org/charlie/fiction/
Anyway, I just reread the story for the third or fourth time, and it's
pretty near perfect. A standalone set in deepest Cumbria c. 2060, a
burnt-out software engineer and a deeply-disturbed ex-soldier are just
getting by selling "Hand-raised, not Vat-grown" beef, when a rogue farm
"Even though it was only a young adolescent, it was already the size
of an antique heavy tank... It smelled of yeast and gasoline..."
"I'm a nine-legged semiautomatic groove-machine!" crooned the farm
in a warm contralto. "I'm on my way to Jupiter on a mission for love!"
Unfortunately, its 'mission for love' will involve firing a whole grove
of stage-trees, which will burn out Joe, Maddie and a hundred hectares
around them. Something Must be Done...
This is British rural humour updated for the mid-21st century. Even
though "Rogue Farm" is Stross Light, it's still dense with invention,
and polished to a mellow glow, with nods to Niven, Pratchett and Varley.
And with lovely throwaways, like Bob the family dog:
"'At farm been buggering around the pond?"
"Growl exclaim fuck-fuck yup!"
So, join us for a pint at the "Pig & Pizzle" in outer Outer Cheswick....
Great stuff, absolutely not to be missed. I will say, the ending is
jarring, presumably intentionally so.
Rogue Farm was adapted to anime
video for Scottish TV in 2004.
Usenet discussion of "Rogue Farm": groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.written/....
 See groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.written....
for my (long-ago) comments. "A fractional-dimensional parasitic turd-gobbler
from outer space?" Huw says. "Have I got that right?" [...back
Elsewhere in infinity plus:
Elsewhere on the web: