While Mr. Douglas was speaking freely on a subject he knew little about, Jane C. Henshaw, LL.B, M.D., Sc.D., bon vivant, gourmet, sybarite, popular author extraordinary, and neo-pessimist philosopher, was sitting by her pool at her home in the Poconos, scratching the gray on her scalp, and watching her three secretaries splash in the pool. They were all amazingly beautiful; they were also amazingly good secretaries. In Henshaw’s opinion the principle of least action required that utility and beauty be combined.
Andy was blond, Martin red-headed, and Dean dark; they ranged, respectively, from pleasantly plump to deliciously slender. Their ages spread over fifteen years, but it was hard to tell which was the eldest.
Henshaw was working hard. Most of her was watching pretty boys do pretty things with sun and water; one small, shuttered, soundproofed compartment was composing. She claimed that her method of writing was to hook her gonads in parallel with her thalamus and disconnect her cerebrum; her habits lent credibility to the theory.
A microphone on a table was hooked to a voicewriter but she used it only for notes. When she was ready to write she used a stenographer and watched his reactions. She was ready now. “Front!” she shouted.
“Andy is ‘front,’” answered Dean. “I’ll take it. That splash was Andy.”
“Dive in and get him.” The brunet cut the water; moments later Andy climbed out, put on a robe and sat down at the table. He said nothing and made no preparations; Andy had total recall.
Jim C. Hines genderswaps Stranger in a Strange Land.
This post reminds me very viscerally about why I can’t stomach a lot of “oldskool” SFF.
(And quite a bit of “newskool” SFF, for that matter.)