A small boy in rural Guatemala discovers that the tuber of a certain dahlia plant (which are usually inedible) is a delicious narcotic, a single bite of which satisfies hunger for an entire day. Once cultivated, the plant quickly "conquers" the world, bringing peace and prosperity to all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Clifton (1906-1963) was an American science fiction writer, the co-winner of the second Hugo Award for best novel. He began publishing in May 1952 with the widely anthologized story "What Have I Done?".
About half of his work falls into two series: the "Bossy" series, about a computer with artificial intelligence, was written either alone or in collaboration with Alex Apostolides or Frank Riley; and the "Ralph Kennedy" series, which is more comical, and was written mostly solo, including the novel When They Come From Space, although there was one collaboration with Apostolides. Clifton gained his greatest success with his novel They'd Rather Be Right (also known as The Forever Machine), co-written with Riley, which was serialized in Astounding during 1954, and which was awarded the Hugo Award.
Clifton's other most popular short story is "Star Bright," the first of three appearances in Horace Gold's Galaxy (July 1952), about a super-intelligent toddler with psychic powers. From Clifton's correspondence we know that Gold "editorially savaged" the story, which appeared in severely truncated or altered form. The story has been compared favorably to Kuttner and Moore's "Mimsy Were the Borogoves," which was published in Astounding magazine nine years earlier.