Aye, and Gomorrah  

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Nebula Award-winning short story "Aye, and Gomorrah" posits the development of neutered human astronauts and then depicts the people who become sexually oriented toward them. By imagining a new gender and resultant sexual orientation, the story allows readers to reflect on the real world while maintaining an estranging distance.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"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."

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

Synopsis

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.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Aye, and Gomorrah" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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