“Just Do It” — Heather Lindsley

Heather Lindsley’s short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Greatest Uncommon Denominator, and Strange Horizons. This story first appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, was reprinted in Year’s Best SF #12 and Escape Pod, and has been translated into Polish and Romanian. Lindsley is also a graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop.

As America’s largest chemical company, DuPont is best known for its work creating fibers like nylon, Kevlar, and Teflon… and for developing CFCs, the refrigerants responsible for the hole in the ozone layer.  But beyond its products, DuPont has given society  a special gift.  In 1935, DuPont adopted the slogan “Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry.”  Other advertisers and cultural figures immediately jumped on this slogan, creating the infamous phrase better living through chemistry.

Chemistry has a bad rap these days.  The late twentieth-century is riddled with environmental and health disasters stemming from human abuse of chemistry.  From thalidomide babies to endangered eagles, it’s difficult to see a good side of the chemical industry.

And our next tale turns a scathing eye upon it.  Lindsley says “it’s about desire and how easy that is to manipulate.  But I’ll go a bit further and say I was also thinking about the ongoing conflict between doing the right thing and doing the comfortable, pleasurable thing.  It’s about having a compelling excuse to take the easier, ethically questionable path.  To just do it and blame somebody else’s chemical.”