Make Mine Homogenized
By Rick Raphael
Published by Librivox
Read by Jeanie
So if you’re a farmer, what do you do if you wake up one day to find that, instead of milk, your cows is giving you a foul tasting liquid that if mixed with water at a ratio of 1:100 makes an excellent substitute for gasoline? What if your hens are laying golden eggs loaded with some sort of clear liquid and a solid red yolk that quickly turns into powder? You probably die a horrible, but eventually a mysterious death, but not in this story, although two of the characters do have near misses.
They start off with, I think, the most reasonable plan and start working out how they can become fabulously rich by selling the new fuel. However, they soon discover the hard way that mixing the milk with the eggs creates an explosion as powerful as an atomic bomb but without the radio-activity. Somehow the woman driving the truck on which that happens survives and maybe that why they all willingly give it all away to the government as their patriotic duty. Seems to me they should have at least gotten a reasonable royalty when the milk us used as rocket fuel. But what happens when the cow goes dry? Cows do go dry from time to time, after all.
Well, for that I suggest reading the story. It’s a slightly dated but interesting tale from the pages of Astonishing Science Fiction, April 1960. It’s not hard, grounded science fiction by any means, but a fun story nonetheless and typical of its time. Serious SF fans should appreciate this one for both the light-hearted story and a glimpse and reminder of what the genre used to be.
There were two versions this book available at Librivox, but having heard quite a few read by the talented Gregg Margarite, I chose this one because I had not previously listened to the reader who calls herself Jeanie. My reaction varied as I listened to it.
Jeanie reads with a very pronounced Mississippi accent. As she lives in Mississippi, she comes by it honestly and had I not, in my misspent youth, spent four years in that state, my Yankee ears might have thought she was just putting it on to match the story. As it is, at first I did think she might have exaggerated her own accent for the story, but that was the dialogue as written by Mister Raphael. I’m sure if I were saying some of the things his ranchers say I’d sound like a hick too. But actually, Jeanie’s accent is not a hick accent. To my ear, while thick, it sounds like a fairly refined Southern accent, it’s just that the dialogue was that of a hick.
As I listened I realized the story takes place in Nevada, not the deep South so neither Jeanie nor I would really read the dialogue in the correct accent and at that point I realized she was not acting, she was simply reading the story like most Librivox readers do. Once I understood that I was able to listen to the rest of the story without judging her performance as one attempting “funny voices.”
Actually, Jeanie reads very well and by the end of the audiobook, I found I had enjoyed both the story and her reading of it. Download it for yourself and enjoy!