Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death
|"Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death"|
|Author||James Tiptree, Jr.|
|Genre(s)||Science fiction short story|
|Published in||The Alien Condition|
|Publication date||April 1973|
"Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death" is a short story by James Tiptree, Jr. which won a Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 1973. The novella first appeared in the anthology The Alien Condition, edited by Stephen Goldin, published by Ballantine Books in April 1973.
The story is unusual in that it involves no human characters, but is told entirely from the perspective of a giant spider-like creature. The creature is initially attempting to resist his instincts (the 'Plan' of the title). His species' life-cycle is exceptionally violent, and as the seasons pass into winter, members of the species become more and more unthinking, working only upon instinct.
The creature tells the story of how his mother drives him and his siblings away when winter comes, and how he survives and grows, eventually killing one of his own brothers to capture a female for mating. The creature relates his regret when instinct drives him to acts of murder and cannibalism against other members of his species, his struggles against the loss of sentience when the cold comes, and his concern in realizing that the climate is changing, and the winters are becoming longer and longer. The creature attempts to resist his instincts by capturing and storing prey for himself and his mate during the summer, but the food does not last the winter. At the end of the story it is revealed that the pregnant female (which has grown larger than the male) has succumbed to the 'Plan' and is slowly devouring him.
"Love is the Plan the Plan is Death" has appeared in the following collections:
- The Alien Condition edited by Stephen Goldin (1973)
- Nebula Award Stories 9 edited by Kate Wilhelm (1974)
- Warm Worlds and Otherwise by James Tiptree Jr (1975)
- The Future I edited by Joseph D. Olander, Martin H. Greenberg, and Isaac Asimov (1981)
- Great Science Fiction: Stories by the World's Great Scientists edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh (1985)
- Byte Beautiful: Eight Science Fiction Stories by James Tiptree Jr (1985)
- The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume IV edited by Terry Carr (1986)
- The Best of the Nebulas edited by Ben Bova (1989)
- Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr (1990)
"Love is the Plan the Plan Is Death" won or was nominated for several awards:
- 1974 Hugo Award—Best Novelette (Nominated)
- 1974 Locus Magazine Poll Award—Best Short Fiction (Place: 3)
- 1974 Nebula Award—Short Story (Win)
- Clute and Nicholls 1995, p. 1231.
- Von Ruf, Al. "Publication Listing "The Alien Condition"". Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Bibliography: Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death". ISFDB. Retrieved June 11, 2013