Baby, You Were Great

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"Baby, You Were Great" is a 1968 science fiction short story by American writer Kate Wilhelm. It was first published in Orbit 2.

Damon Knight — Wilhelm's husband — stated that "Baby, You Were Great" was inspired by his 1964 story, "Semper Fi", "with whose point of view Wilhelm disagreed", and that it is "in a sense, the same story [as "Semper Fi", but] with an entirely different plot, setting, and cast of characters."[1]


In a world where technology allows the direct recording and replaying of emotional states and subjective physical sensory experiences, a casting director holds auditions to find a woman who will have a suitable reaction to being raped.


"Baby, You Were Great" was a finalist for the 1968 Nebula Award for Best Short Story.[2] It has been described as "an indictment of men's exercising technological control over women's bodies",[3] while Strange Horizons emphasizes that the story "does not suffer in quality simply because the technology [for recording and transmitting emotions] it imagined shows no signs of arriving soon."[4]


  1. ^ introduction to "Baby, You Were Great", by Damon Knight, in "Best stories from Orbit, Volumes 1-10"; published 1975; via Google Books
  2. ^ Baby, You Were Great at Science Fiction Writers of America; retrieved January 19, 2017
  3. ^ Cold War Masculinity in the Work of Kate Wilhelm, by Josh Lukin, in Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century; edited by Justine Larbalestier; published May 22, 2006, by Wesleyan University Press; via Google Books
  4. ^ Future Media, edited by Rick Wilber, reviewed by T.S. Miller; published November 14, 2011; retrieved January 19, 2017

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