Thursday, March 22, 2007

Worlds Apart

from the diary: “Monday 1/26/87

“[P]icked up a book I requested from the library -- Worlds Apart -- gay SF short fiction.”

Social arrangements in science fiction were so conventional, so 20th Century American standard. SF authors could extrapolate technology, could picture themselves on other worlds or bopping between dimensions, but anything other than boy-girl (note the order) was just beyond their imaginations. It always seemed to me that should not be so.

The stories in Worlds Apart, as I recall, weren’t exactly gays in space. Rather, they offered variant sexualities. Which was okay, but not what I was hoping for. Of the authors included I’ve gone on to read more Samuel Delany and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Jewelle Gomez read for the Poetry & Pizza series.

7 comments:

A. D. said...

Have you read much Heinlein? His future has everyone shacking up with everyone else.

I Will Fear No Evil was interesting for examining gender and sexuality especially.

A. D. said...

Though it does kind of have a horny-old-hetero-guy thing going on.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

The "horny-old-hetero-guy" vibe was what I got from Heinlein's enthusiasts. This does not mean I never intended to read Heinlein. I own a couple of his novels; maybe someday.

I got a kick out of the movie version of Starship Troopers (boys & girls showering together! and everybody so shiny! plus giant bugs!); though I don't recall any suggestion of non-hetero behavior. I got the idea the Heinlein purists were less than thrilled with the movie.

David Lee said...

I can only remember running into hetero sex in Heinlein. Unconventional hetero sex and relationships but still pretty hetero. And pretty chauvinistic. Heinlein was ahead of his time but still of his time.

A. D. said...

Well, about I Will Fear No Evil from Wiki: "The novel is also notable as one of SF's first sympathetic fictional portrayals of a same-sex couple."

The creepy, hetero old man vibe comes in because the story involves an old man having his brain transplanted into a lithe young woman's body—plus allusions to girl on girl action. Some of that Heinlein chauvinism there, too.

One aspect worth reading involves the old man brain/woman body admitting romantic love with a man who'd been his friend when he had his man body—and vice versa. Man on man brain love at least (or something).

David Lee said...

There's a lot of Heinlein that I haven't read. He was obviously imagining more socially liberal worlds than most of the other old school scifi writers.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Man on man brain love! I'll look into that one.

The brain -- the largest sexual organ.