Aye, and Gomorrah

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"Aye, and Gomorrah..."
Author Samuel R. Delany
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction
Published in Dangerous Visions
Publication type Anthology
Publication date December 1967

"Aye, and Gomorrah..." is a science fiction short story by American writer Samuel R. Delany. It is the first short story Delany sold, and won the 1967 Nebula Award for best short story. Before it appeared in Driftglass and Aye, and Gomorrah, and other stories, it first appeared as the final story in Harlan Ellison's seminal 1967 anthology, Dangerous Visions. It was controversial because of its disturbing sexual subject matter, and has been called "one of the best stories by a gay man published in the 1960s." [1]

Graham Sleight has described it as a "revisionist take" on Cordwainer Smith's story "Scanners Live in Vain".[2]

Synopsis[edit]

The narrative involves a world where astronauts, known as Spacers, are neutered before puberty to avoid the effects of space radiation on gametes. Aside from making them sterile, the neutering also prevents puberty from occurring and results in androgynous adults whose birth-sex is unclear to others. Spacers are fetishized by a subculture of "frelks", those attracted by the Spacers' unattainability and unarousability ("free-fall-sexual-displacement complex"). The mischief-loving Spacers exploit this for amusement and money — and possibly out of loneliness and a desire to recapture their lost sexuality.

"Frelk" is used as a derogatory term by the Spacers in the story, who nonetheless engage in prostitution by accepting money to give frelks the pseudo-sexual contact they desire.

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