Exile from Space: a short Judith Merril story

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I’ve been wanting to read more Judith Merril since Helen Merrick’s Secret Feminist Cabal, since Merril features pretty prominently in the early years. The lady wrote “That only a Mother could love” – a seriously amazing piece of fiction that I’m sure Russ would have dismissed as ‘galactic suburbia’ but I think is staggering in its suggestion about life for the ordinary woman in The Future.

Anyway, “Exile from Space” – the basic story is young woman going to the city for the first time, but there’s clearly something a bit odd about this young woman because of how she talks about her education, and about other people… and it quickly becomes apparent that she has not been living with other humans, at least for her teen years. So although she herself is human and passes for human, she has to deal with all these weird things like eating, and shopping, and interacting with humans – such that she might as well be an alien. Oh, the many levels of ‘alien’. And then, of course, there’s a man…

Merril’s writing is delightful and elegant, and conveys the sheer weirdness of human existence simply and clearly. So many things we take for granted…. This story makes me wish I could find more of Merril’s work, but I keep coming up with nothing wherever I look. I got this story from The Gutenberg Project.

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