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Thy Name Is Woman   By: (1918-1988)

Thy Name Is Woman by Bryce Walton

First Page:

Thy Name Is WOMAN

By Kenneth O'Hara

Illustrated by Zimmerman

[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from IF Worlds of Science Fiction March 1953. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Illustration: There wasn't a woman left on earth. They had just packed their bags and left. ]

[Sidenote: Women of earth had finally attained their objective: a new world all their own and without men! But was it? ]

After the Doctor gave him the hypo and left the ship, Bowren lay in absolute darkness wondering when the change would start. There would be pain, the Doctor had said. "Then you won't be aware of anything anything at all."

That was a devil of a thing, Bowren thought, not to be aware of the greatest adventure any man ever had. He, Eddie Bowren, the first to escape the Earth into space, the first man to Mars!

He was on his back in a small square steel cubicle, a secretly constructed room in the wall of the cargo bin of the big spaceship cradled at the New Chicago Port. He was not without fear. But before the ship blasted he wouldn't care he would be changed by then. He would start turning any minute now, becoming something else; he didn't know exactly what, but that wouldn't matter. After it was over, he wouldn't remember because the higher brain centers, the cortex, the analytical mind, would be completely cut off, short circuited, during the alteration.

The cubicle was close, hot, sound proofed, like a tomb. "You will probably make loud unpleasant noises," the Doctor had said, "but no one will hear you. Don't worry about anything until you get to Mars."

That was right, Bowren thought. My only problem is to observe, compute, and get back into this dungeon without being observed, and back to Earth.

The idea was to keep it from the women. The women wouldn't go for this at all. They would object. The women would be able to bring into effect several laws dealing with spaceflight, among them the one against stowaways, and especially that particular one about aberrated males sneaking into space and committing suicide.

A lot of men had tried it, in the beginning. Some of them had managed it, but they had all died. For a long time, the men's egos hadn't been able to admit that the male organism was incapable of standing the rigors of acceleration. Women had had laws passed, and if the women caught him doing this, the punishment would be extreme for him, personally, and a lot more extreme for Earth civilization in general. If you could call it a civilization. You could call it anything, Bowren groaned but it didn't make sense. A world without women. A birthrate reduced to zero.

A trickle of sweat slid past Bowren's eyes, loosening a nervous flush along his back that prickled painfully. His throat was tense and his heart pounded loud in the hot dark.

A sharp pain ran up his body and exploded in his head. He tried to swallow, but something gagged in his throat. He was afraid of retching. He lay with his mouth open, spittle dribbling over his lips. The pain returned, hammered at his entrails. He fought the pain numbly, like a man grappling in the dark.

The wave subsided and he lay there gasping, his fists clenched.

"The pain will come in increasingly powerful waves," the Doctor had said. "At a certain point, it will be so great, the analytical mind will completely short circuit. It will stay that way enroute to Mars, and meanwhile your body will rapidly change into that of a beast. Don't worry about it. A catalytic agent will return you to normal before you reach the planet. If you live, you'll be human again."

A male human couldn't stand the acceleration. But a woman could. Animals could. They had experimented on human males and animals in the giant centrifuges, and learned what to do... Continue reading book >>

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