I remember reading a story about plastic collecting drones in a country in Africa, or another part of the world with mostly developing nations. I think the main protagonist is a dark-skinned girl.

If I remember correctly it's about drones showing up that start turning garbage into useful stuff, eliminating poverty in the process.

I thought it was written by Cory Doctorow but I can't find it back, even though all of Doctorow's stories are well indexed by Google. It might just be another author, but their style is much more like Doctorow's than like Iain M. Banks' style.

Let me try to add some more details. I must have read the story before 2010 and after 2005. It was a short story, something between 20 and 50 pages. It could have been part of a collection.

I'm also not 100% sure about this but I think I read it on a very early version of FBReader on my Nokia 770, which makes it 2006/2007.

There were no aliens but an AI singularity may have played a role.

It was memorable to me because it provided hope for those living in impoverished situations. I have used ideas from the story during my own travels in Africa. Also, I want to find it back and read it again so I can refresh my thinking about developing nations.

  • @fuzzyboots - Cheers for the bounty, albeit the OP has already confirmed that my answer wasn't the right one. I'll sling another bounty on it and see if that gets us anywhere. – Valorum Aug 30 '16 at 19:23
  • Kasper, can you have a read through the checklists here (How to ask a Good ID question) to see if there's any additional info that you can add, particularly about the characters, plotline or anything else you can think of. – Valorum Aug 30 '16 at 19:25
  • @Valorum :) Well, if I hadn't awarded it, half of it would go to waste on the auto-awarding. – FuzzyBoots Aug 30 '16 at 19:25
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    @FuzzyBoots - No worries. I've upped it a little, so hopefully the extra attention will get a correct answer. – Valorum Aug 30 '16 at 19:26
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    Thanks for the additional info! Was it in print form or online? – Adamant Aug 30 '16 at 20:31

Could this be "Cleaning up" by Iain M. Banks?

There's a strong theme about alien 'gifts' landing all over the Earth. The main character is an inventor who wants to help the Third World.

The first Gift fell onto a pig farm in New England. It popped into existence five metres above a ramshackle outhouse, dropped through the roof, bounced off a cistern and demolished a wheel-less tractor driving a band saw.

Bruce Losey came running out of the house clutching his sporting carbine and ready to blast any interloper to Kingdom Come. All he found was what looked like a gigantic bundle of Peacock feathers on top of his tractor, which was lying on its side leaking fuel and looking like it would never work again. Bruce looked up through the hole in the roof and spat into a pile of cut logs, 'Goddamned S.S.T.s.'

He tried to shift the object that had bust up his tractor, smashed his roof and dented his cistern, but leapt away when it burned his hands. He went back to the house watching the sky warily, and called the police.

Cesare Borges, head of the mighty Industrial Military Combines Corporation, sat in his office reading a fascinating article called Prayer: A Guide to Investment? The office intercom buzzed.

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    Interesting story, but not the one I'm looking for. – kqw Oct 6 '14 at 22:19
  • Should've specified this 2 years ago, but better late than never: I don't remember there being any aliens in the story. – kqw Aug 30 '16 at 20:22
  • @KasperSouren - If there's anything else you can recall, edit it into the question. If they weren't alien in origin, where did they come from, for example – Valorum Aug 30 '16 at 20:24

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