"I've got to get out," Hal Yarrow could hear someone muttering from a great distance. "There must be a way out."
He woke up with a start, and he realized that he had been the one talking. Moreover, what he had said as he emerged from his dream had no connection at all to it. His half-waking words and the dream were two discrete events.
But what had he meant by those mumbled words? And where was he? Had he actually traveled in time or had he experienced a subjective dream? It had been so vivid that he was slow in returning to this level of the world.
A look at the man sitting beside him cleared his mind. He was in the coach to Sigmen City in the year 550 B.S. (Old Style 3050 A.D., his scholar's mind told him.) He was not, as in the time travel? dream? on a strange planet many light-years from here, many years from now. Nor was he face to face with the glorious Isaac Sigmen, the Forerunner, real be his name.
The man beside him looked sidewise at Hal. He was a lean fellow with high cheekbones, straight black hair, and brown eyes which had a slight Mongoloid fold. He was dressed in the light blue uniform of the engineering class and wore on his left breast an aluminum emblem which indicated he was in the upper echelon. Probably, he was an electronics engineer with a degree from one of the better trade schools.
The man cleared his throat, and he said, in American, "A thousand pardons, abba. I know I shouldn't be talking to you without permission. But you did say something to me as you awoke. And, since you're in this cabin, you have temporarily equated yourself. In any event, I've been dying to ask you a question. I'm not called Nosy Sam for nothing."
He laughed nervously and said, "Couldn't help overhearing what you told the stewardess when she challenged your right to sit here. Did I hear you right, or did you actually tell her you was a goat?"
Hal smiled and said, "No. Not a goat. I'm a joat. From the initial letters of jack-of-all-trades. You weren't too mistaken, however. In the professional fields, a joat has about as much prestige as a goat."
He sighed and thought of the humiliations endured because he had chosen not to be a narrow specialist. He looked out the window because he did not want to encourage his seatmate to talk, He saw a bright glow far off and up, undoubtedly a military spaceship entering the atmosphere. The few civilian ships made a slower and unobtrusive descent.
Copyright © 2005 by Philip José Farmer. The Lovers copyright 1961, 1979 by Philip José Farmer. (Brief magazine version appeared in Startling Stories, 1952, copyright 1952 Better Publications, Inc.)
Hailed by The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction as “[p]erhaps the most impish and anarchic” of the major SF writers, SFWA Grand Master and three-time Hugo winner Philip José Farmer was the first to explore sexuality in a human-alien context. The two complete novels and five novelettes collected here were some of the most controversial and groundbreaking stories of their time.
The Lovers: Sent by the religious tyranny of a future Earth to the planet Ozagen, Hal Yarrow meets Jeanette, an apparently human fugitive hiding in ancient ruins built by a long-vanished race. Unconsecrated contact with any female is forbidden to Yarrow—and love for an alien female is anathema. But Yarrow’s lifelong conditioning is no match for his strange attraction to Jeanette.
Flesh: After a voyage lasting 800 years, a starship captain returns to find a ravaged Earth ruled by ancient pagan rituals. He is crowned the “Sunhero”—a dubious honor, for unless he can escape, his six-month reign of promiscuity will conclude with a very unpleasant death.
Plumbing the mysteries of alien sex far deeper than once thought permissible, Strange Relations displays the boundless imagination that made Philip José Farmer an SF master.
Hardcover Book : 496 pages
Publisher: Baen Books ( January 29, 2008 )
Item #: 13-422481
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 inches
Product Weight: 19.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)