Monday, July 12, 2010

Joanna Russ' "When It Changed" (short story, free): It's a women's world!

Author introduces the key premise of this story in a note at the end of the copies linked below: "almost all the characterological sex differences we take for granted are in fact learned and not innate."

Story summary.

Human colonized world of Whileaway had a plague 600 years ago - an event that killed all men. Only women were spared. They figured out a way of breeding, & now have a normal all-women society.

Then come four men from long forgotten earth. And we get into serious (but sometimes funny) communications issues...

See also.

  1. Alice Sheldon's "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?": Time traveling men who arrived from the past must be killed, but only after harvesting their semen, in the all women society right here on earth (men died out long ago).

Fact sheet.

First published: Harlan Ellison's "Again, Dangerous Visions" (anthology, 1972).
Download full text from Internet Archive or Scribd (both links were very slow when I checked just before posting).
Rating: B.
Winner of Nebula Award 1972 in short story category.
Nominated for Hugo Award 1973 in short story category.
Among the Ellen Datlow's Sci Fiction's Classics.