Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Femdom's Final [Sci Fi] Frontier

Houston, Houston, Do You Read?

In a peaceful world without men, what would be the impact of just three of them? A 1967 sci fi novels deals with that topic, raising additional questions about gender-roles, patriarchy and feminism.

"Houston, Houston, Do You Read?", femdom, matriarchy, alice sheldon, james tiptree jr.
Wave the flag (Image: Greatest SF)

After reading my post on femdom sci fi and Star Wars, Subboyjoy sent an interesting suggestion, proving once again that kink and sci fi are indeed connected.

"Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" is a 1967 novella by James Tiptree, Jr. It won both a Hugo and a Nebula award - these awards a like the Nobel Prize for science fiction. James Tiptree, Jr. is the pseudonym of Alice Sheldon. Given the book's theme, I was initially surprised the author choose a male pseudonym. Most likely because female authors weren't treated with the same respect, male authors were, I thought. More likely however she did so, because Mrs. Sheldon was known for breaking down the barriers between writing perceived as inherently "male" or "female".

In the near future, solar flares have damaged the spaceship Sunbird. Lost in space, three male astronauts begin picking up strange radio communications, mostly female with a strong Australian accent. They can't make heads or tales of it. The crew has travelled through time and wonder what happened. A plague wiped out most human life, including all males. Only about 11,000 women survived, mostly concentrated in Australasia. The male-free society is a peaceful one.

The three astronauts are administered a truth serum, revealing their thoughts of violence and dominance. These traits are both unacceptable and unknown in this world of women. Introducing the men to their peaceful society, will put it at risk. Because of that, the three astronauts have to be killed.

As Subjoyboy writes: "The story explores sex, gender, sexism, patriarchy, and Feminism.  The narrative also touches upon Female superiority and domination."

The late 1960s, when the book was published, was at the height of the space race. Two years after "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?", the first man would set foot on the moon.

The book reminds me of the 1968 movie Planet of the Apes. Three astronauts land on a planet where apes rule. As it turns out, humanity finally did it, destroying itself in a nuclear Armageddon. In the post-apocalyptic world that follows, intelligent apes rule.

It also made me think of the Yapoo novel - men turned into objects. The only use for the three astronauts in Houston, Houston, Do You Read? is their addition to the gene pool.

One thing in the novel that struck me as odd is, that in order to protect their non-violent peaceful society, the men have to be killed for the greater good.

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