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"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Genetically Tailored Trees  
  Trees that had been genetically altered to produce and concentrate usable oil.  

Here, amid Freemon Dyson's old dream, he thought, we might be able to feel his way to something that he needed to know, here in what had once been known as the empty quarter, now and the norm us forest of genetically tailored trees larger than redwoods, their sap rising, they're programmed metabolism synthesizing petroleum which flowed down we're through a special set of vessels into roots which formed a living network of pipelines, connecting at various points to an artificial pipeline which conveyed it to the vast storage areas which constituted one of the worlds great petroleum reserves, against those functions which still required the substance. They filled what had once been a waste land, utilizing the abundant sunlight available there. Self repairing and timeless against the blue of the sky, they were both natural and the product of the technology which informed the planets culture, as surely as the trees of the street parks which delivered their own products, or the data net which, had he not disassociated himself from it, but at this moment deliver to him almost any information he needed.
From Eye of Cat, by Roger Zelazny.
Published by Pocket Books in 1982
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