Thursday, March 7, 2013

Manuel Van Loggem's "Pairpuppets" (short story): Speculating on the future of love & sex

Skip it if the discussion of explicit sex & lust bothers you.

This one, like one more I've read so far from the anthology "The Best from the Rest of the World: European Science Fiction", gives the impression of an imperfect translation. But it's translated by the author himself; so the warts all really belong to him!

While the story is an ordinary one, what makes it notable is the shock value. Plus the surprise ending made me laugh out loud.

Story summary.

A future that has solved the problem of our imperfect love & lust that results today in so many unhappy or broken hearts & homes. A computer can now find you the perfect love of today from your neighborhood. Early cultural indoctrination of children includes detailed instructions on how to behave correctly during intercourse & foreplay. Then there are "pairpuppets" (androids) produced specifically to satisfy the lust of men & women of all kinds of sexual preferences.

But is the human heart ever satisfied? The search for fulfilment will lead our protagonist to...

Fact sheet.

First published: in Dutch as "Paarpoppen" in Luitingh SF Verhalen, #6 (1974). [via ISFDB]
This post is based on the English translation by author himself.
Rating: A.