Friday, September 18, 2009

Alice Sheldon's "Love is the Plan the Plan is Death" (as by James Tiptree, Jr) (short story, free): Fighting instincts can be fatal

A species of animals, physically alien but with sexual & reproductive behavior similar to many familiar animals. "Plan" in the title is a substitute for "instinct"; story is of an individual's futile fight against the instinct.

Story summary.

Told from the point of view of Moggadeet, a "male" of the species that hibernate in winter.

Born in winter, chased away with his litter by mother at the end of winter as the litter changed fur color from golden (babies) to black (males) & red (females).

His first summer alone. Instinct that takes him go to caves for hibernation at the beginning of winter. His meeting the "Old One" who instructs him on his species instincts, & whom he will eat for food in winter.

His second summer & coming of age. His killing of his brother Frim for the jointly coveted lady love, Lilliloo. His instinct to keep his lady love bound up in silks his body secretes & his loving care of her. Suspecting he will kill her for food in winter, he begins gathering food - so there will be plenty for both in winter.

Coming of winter & his sexual arousal, & finally impregnation of Lilliloo. Fighting instinct & against protests of Lilliloo, his releasing of her from silken bonds. Only she now is too big, & has the instinct to eat her male partner!

Fact sheet.

First published: Stephen Goldin (Ed)'s "The Alien Condition" (anthology, 1973).
Rating: A.
Download full text from Internet Archive.
Included in Classics section of Ellen Datlow's SciFiction.
Nebula Award 1973 winner in short story category.
Hugo Award 1974 nominee in novelette (?) category.
Related: Stories of Alice Sheldon (as by James Tiptree, Jr).award