Friday, July 5, 2013

Jon McGoran explores the danger of GMOs in "Drift," his new thriller | Books | Arts and Culture | Philadelphia Weekly

Jon McGoran explores the danger of GMOs in "Drift," his new thriller | Books | Arts and Culture | Philadelphia Weekly:

Where’d you get the idea for Drift?

I’ve been writing about food and sustainability for a long time, as editor of Weavers Way Co-op’s newspaper, The Shuttle, and now as editor of Grid magazine. Over the years, I’ve seen the news about food getting weirder and weirder as our food systems have gotten more and more dysfunctional. There have been a number of food issues that seemed like they were more appropriate for thrillers or science fiction than the dinner plate—factory farms, irradiation, the rise of super bugs because of the way antibiotics are used. But with [genetically modified organisms], it hit a new level, both in how crazy, frightening and ill-conceived the actual story is, and in the level of possibilities for a writer looking for plot ideas. I’ve often said that the story of how GMOs have been pushed onto the world reads like a thriller on its own: corporations spreading new bio-engineered life forms across the globe and onto unsuspecting people’s dinner plates without any serious long-term study. That’s a scary story right there, but it also presents many different possible directions for where the story could go from there, and unfortunately, many of them are very plausible and could definitely come to pass. So, I’ve been writing about this journalistically, and at times satirically, but I have also been working as an advocate in support of labeling GMOs, alongside groups like Just Label It, Food & Water Watch and GMO-Free PA. I think it is an extremely important issue. And I have been struck by the lack of  coverage of the issue, and how uninformed so many people are about how pervasive and under-researched GMOs are. Fiction presents different ways to explore an issue and to present it to people who might not be reached in other ways. So, on the one hand, I saw this really intriguing premise for a book, and on the other hand, I saw an important issue that would greatly benefit from a more thorough discussion. Drift is like a perfect storm for me: a compelling backstory

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