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It’s all coming in small and dry at the sinking end of summer; Stark looks glumly over the shriveled crop and wonders whether they’ll provide any juice at all.

“Are they supposed to look like that?” asks Antonia.

“They didn’t used to,” Stark admits. They follow the reaper along the elevated walkway into the big barn.

“You tried fertilizer?”

Stark shakes his head. “Costs money.”


“They can swat their own flies.”

“Crop rotation? Irrigation? Er, compost? Anything?”

“Look,” snaps Stark, “if I wanted to tend to something I’d grow corn,” as the brain harvest squishes out onto the threshing floor.