In high school, I remember reading a story about a future in which the ozone layer has depleted to the point that blacks were required by law to marry only whites, in order to make the population more able to deal with the UV-rays. A young black couple was on the run from authorities because they chose to marry within their race. The main story was about the couple and society, and not dealing with the science of ozone depletion. I can't remember if it was a short story or what, but it was very thought provoking thinking about how it took an environmental disaster to get people to discard any racial bigotry.

I graduated from high school in 1976, so the story had to have been written about that time or earlier. I believe it was a short story.

  • 2
    Mentioned here but no story name. The poster thinks it was reprinted in 'The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction'
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


Is it possible you have the date wrong?

I ask because there is a story called "Next" by Terry Bisson with a very similar theme. However this was published in 1992, not the '60s, in the 1992 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It was collected the following year in an anthology called Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories, which can be found on Amazon.

I found a copy using Google but I suspect it's not kosher, so I'm reluctant to share the link. However Googling for Melanin Heritage Conservation Act should point you in the right direction.

In the story the black couple wants to get married because the girl is pregnant, and they're trying to get a certificate that allows them to do so:

"Hello, I’m not even sure we’re in the right line. We want to get one of those special certificates. To get married."
"A same-race certificate. You’re in the right line. But under the Equal Access Provisions of the Melanin Conservation Act, we can’t just hand those out. You have to have an Ozone Waiver to even apply for one."

It doesn't end happily!

  • Very likely. IIRC ozone depletion wasn't common knowledge till the early 80s. Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 12:24

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