Thursday, September 30, 2010

Samuel R Delany's "Aye, and Gomorrah" (short story, free): Fetish of sexually normal towards sexually abnormal

This is my second or third Delany story; none have worked for me so far. May be it will work better with readers familiar with US of 1960s? In any case, it appears to be among the better known stories of author.

I've no idea how the title relates to the story.

Story summary.

Maintenance of infrastructure on moon, Mars, & the satellites of Jupiter requires "altered" people ("Spacers"), because of long exposure to radiation. This alteration kills their sexual nature - they're now neither male nor female. The operation is done when they're still kids - "children whose sexual responses are hopelessly retarded at puberty."

Among the normal are "frelks", people with a sexual fetish for spacers. And spacers often oblige, for money.

This story is a collection of vignettes about these contacts - spacers vs frelks. Narrated by an unnamed spacer, part of a group on ground holidays.

Fact sheet.

First published: Harlan Ellison (ed)'s "Dangerous Visions" (1967).
Download full text from Internet Archive.
Rating: B.
Winner of Nebula Award 1967 in short story category.
Nominated for Hugo Award 1968 in short story category.
Among the Ellen Datlow's Sci Fiction's classics.

4 comments:

Larry said...

Hmm, the only Delaney work I've read is the Jewels of Aptor, his first novel and very much like fantasy. I've been warned that his later stuff gets weird (Dhalgren, Babel-17)
I have Dangerous Visions upstairs (new edition, signed by Ellison) so will read it in there

Tinkoo said...

I didn't know Dangerous Visions was still in print.

Larry said...

Oh it got reissued-the one I have is the 35th anniversary edition.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Gomorrah title is a reference to the homosexual activity allegedly common in Sodom and Gomorrah of the bible.