Party of the Two Parts (eBook)

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  • 10,398 Words
  • 35 Pages

Horace Gold’s editorial persona at GALAXY magazine was devoted to the proposition that the only way to tell the truth was through the back door and in costume; PARTY OF THE TWO PARTS (August 1954) is the most savage meditation on and destruction of pornography and its industry which had been published at the time it appeared, but William Tenn made sure that it was so funny that it could slide by as wicked comedy. By mid-1954 Philip Klass, the purveyor of this pseudonym, had settled fully into his role as the deadliest and most effective satirist of that group of satirists (Kornbluth, Knight, Sheckley) who had been nurtured by Gold into the central voices of his magazine. The hapless alien merchant of this novelette, an entrapped ameboid alien fugitive, deliberately circulates photographs of ameboid reproduction to Terran publishers of biology textbooks. For Terran schoolchildren the photographs are instruction, to the Cosmic Cops they are the most graphic and prurient of pornography and they seek his extradition. “Not pornography on Earth!” the alien’s lawyers protest, “Absolute pornography on his home planet!” respond the Cosmic Cops. The legal complexities and tirades expand. Seven years before LADY CHATTERLEY was hauled into the Supreme Court, Tenn’s portrayal of the matter is more expansive. “One of the twenty greatest science fiction stories and surely the funniest” ENGINES OF THE NIGHT notes.

Horace Gold’s editorial persona at GALAXY magazine was devoted to the proposition that the only way to tell the truth was through the back door and in costume; PARTY OF THE TWO PARTS (August 1954) is the most savage meditation on and destruction of pornography and its industry which had been published at the time it appeared, but William Tenn made sure that it was so funny that it could slide by as wicked comedy. By mid-1954 Philip Klass, the purveyor of this pseudonym, had settled fully into his role as the deadliest and most effective satirist of that group of satirists (Kornbluth, Knight, Sheckley) who had been nurtured by Gold into the central voices of his magazine. The hapless alien merchant of this novelette, an entrapped ameboid alien fugitive, deliberately circulates photographs of ameboid reproduction to Terran publishers of biology textbooks. For Terran schoolchildren the photographs are instruction, to the Cosmic Cops they are the most graphic and prurient of pornography and they seek his extradition. “Not pornography on Earth!” the alien’s lawyers protest, “Absolute pornography on his home planet!” respond the Cosmic Cops. The legal complexities and tirades expand. Seven years before LADY CHATTERLEY was hauled into the Supreme Court, Tenn’s portrayal of the matter is more expansive. “One of the twenty greatest science fiction stories and surely the funniest” ENGINES OF THE NIGHT notes.


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