Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Transsexuals and Frederik Pohl's 1976 novel Man Plus

Finally, I have gotten around to reading bits and pieces of Visions of Mars: Essays on the Red Planet in Fiction and Science (McFarland 2011), a heavy academic volume examining the way Mars has been depicted in literature, film and popular culture that I purchased earlier this year for my Kindle e-reader.

One of the more fascinating sections is Appendix 2, “The Extreme Edge of Mars Today”, which is a transcript of a panel discussion with editor David G. Hartwell and authors Geoffrey A. Landis, Larry Niven, and Mary A. Turzillo that was conducted at the 2008 J. Lloyd Eaton Science Fiction Conference, held in Riverside, California.

In this excerpt, David “Duckie” Hartwell, an editor at Tor Books and publisher of the New York Review of Science Fiction, elaborates on "what kind of ideas about Martian stories would we throw around as possibilities to write now?”
And finally I think that the Man Plus Mars [written by Frederik Pohl, in which the protagonist is radically altered and even emasculated] has been woefully underexploited. Now I know, because I'm in science fiction, at least a dozen people who are transsexuals. I've talked to people who have gone through transsexual conversions and it's not pleasant and it's not fun, yet they do it because they feel that they must for health and other reasons. I know people who want to get rid of their bodies and get their consciousnesses downloaded into machines; I am personally acquainted with some of these people; I think they're nuts, 'cause I don't, okay, it's a different [thing for me], it's because of the way my mind works and my metabolism, versus somebody else's, you know, my sex is not somebody else's sex, okay, and everybody is entitled to volunteer, you know, and there would be volunteers, there would be volunteers and this would create a very, very different society, civilization, surround.
Man Plus, by Frederik Pohl, won the 1976 Nebula Award for Best Novel. Pohl teamed up with Thomas T. Thomas to write a sequel, Mars Plus, published in 1994.

No comments:

Post a Comment