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Wednesday 08 October 2008


Proclamations of the Red Queen

28th February 2008

Review: Theodore Sturgeon: Venus Plus X (1960)

Posted by: Craig Young

book.jpgThis neglected SF classic described a future post-apocalyptic society where intersexed humans had created a utopian civilisation- and it was written in 1960!

The plot summary is as follows. Charley Johns, a young American civil engineer, wakes up in the utopian future society of Ledom. In this world, violent interpersonal conflict, war, famine and epidemic disease are all unknown. And everyone is intersexed!

Charley is perplexed by this situation. Evidently, Ledom arose from a benign human mutation that led to increased birth rates for fertile intersexed humans, which gradually replaced the baseline, dual gendered subspecies of homo sapiens, leading to the extinction of the latter. Or did it? Neither Charley or Ledom are what they seem.

As one can note from the above, this work was written well before the rise of second-wave feminism and LGBT rights politics in the late sixties, and some time before the coalescence of modern intersexed rights activism in the nineties. It predicts feminist criticisms of sex role stereotyping, took an inclusive attitude toward lesbians and gay men at a time when homosexuality was still considered a psychopathology, and even recognised that intersexed anatomy was not ‘pathological’ or requiring ‘remedial’ surgery. Indeed, here it becomes the key to saving the human species from total extinction. But can homo sapiens coexist with their highly evolved and technologically advanced cousins, or will the latter expire in a spate of nuclear exchanges?

Tags: General

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