“A Touch of Strange,” by Theodore Sturgeon

from F&SF (1958)

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Oh no. Not the mermaids again. Sturgeon’s story describes a strange meet cute, in which two humans, each smitten with their own mer-person, instead fall in love themselves. Kudos to Sturgeon for addressing the physical realities of the situation, at least indirectly. Given that mer-fatuation has an obvious sexual component, what does it mean if the locus of that desire is a kind of gross, mischievous alien? All the same, the story’s prudish double standard – “sure, he fucked his mermaid, but surely she didn’t fuck hers, right?” – is a fascinating amber relic of a genre ever more cognizant of and nonetheless beholden to the thoroughgoing misogyny of the age. Regardless, no more mermaids. It takes a certain type of shamelessness to pen this story not a year after the articulation of your more famous “law.” Hats off, though—what are you going to do, not write?

Published by fictionreview

https://fictionsreview.wordpress.com/about/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: