Type ShortStory
Date 1972-03
Tags science fiction, aliens, sex

And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side

An engineer on a space station warns a reporter of the hidden danger of aliens:

"What I'm trying to tell you, this is a trap. We've hit the supernormal stimulus. Man is exogamous—all our history is one long drive to find and impregnate the stranger. Or get impregnated by him, it works for women too. Anything different-colored, different nose, ass, anything, man has to fuck it or die trying. That's a drive, y'know, it's built in. Because it works fine as long as the stranger is human. For millions of years that kept the genes circulating. But now we've met aliens we can't screw, and we're about to die trying. . . . Do you think I can touch my wife?"

"But—"

"Look. Y'know, if you give a bird a fake egg like its own but bigger and brighter-marked, it'll roll its own egg out of the nest and sit on the fake? What's what we're doing."

So humans will make themselves willing slaves for the chance to be near--and, perhaps, fruitlessly attempt to breed with--aliens.

One paragraph in particular leapt out at me:

She'd been making it with the two Sirians, y'know. The males do it in pairs. Said to be the total sexual thing for a woman, if she can stand the damage from those beaks. I wouldn't know. She talked to me a couple of times after they finished with her. No use for men whatever. She drove off the P Street bridge.

There was a relevant event in Tiptree's life:

Finally Alice got to be alone with Adele, on the couch in a ladies’ restroom at a party. They sat close together; Alice felt Adele’s hair brush her cheek and was “paralysed with love.” But when Adele spoke, it was to ask her if she’d ever been with two men at once. Adele had, and it was wonderful. She would never make love to just one again.

Alice had profoundly wanted to believe that the girl she admired was also a virgin, that within her beauty she, too, sheltered a shy, solitary intensity. Now Alice’s own crush felt tainted and perverse. Then, as Alice was still trying to take in her friend’s words, Adele became violently sick to her stomach. The vomiting went on and on, while Alice held her friend’s head, until “there were phone calls to people I didn’t know, and she went away, or was taken. A very short while later she was dead of septic abortion.”

Might this event have been on Tiptree's mind, in writing this story?

Name Role
James Tiptree, Jr. Author

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