15

I'm trying to find a book I read a very long time ago that I read at my local public library, didn't check it out but just flipped through and read parts of it there. It was an older looking book, my best guess is it was likely published in the 60's or 70's, and it was a collection of science fiction short stories.

What really makes it stand out in my mind is one particularly bizarre story in it that is, so weird my friends thought I was making it up. From what I can remember, an astronaut travels either to another planet or another dimension, and on this planet they have humans, but they're larger than normal humans, have much less intelligence, and the aliens that populate the world treat them exactly as we would cattle. Everyone is naked, and of course the vast majority of the cattle/people are naked women, except for some male studs kept to breed more stock. The astronaut is captured and I guess they just think he's a runt or something? And they have him start having sex with these really large women to fertilize them. The aliens actually are milking them just like we would cows.

It was apparent it was some writer's really messed up fantasy but it was so weird it was hilarious. It's probably next to impossible for me to locate just based on the information I can still remember, but figured it couldn't hurt to try.

  • Hi there! :) that's an odd-looking one, ahah. There's a good chunk of info already but you might want to take a look at this guide on how to ask good story-ID questions, see if that triggers any more memories you could edit into your post. For instance, any recollection of what the cover looked like? – Jenayah Jul 29 '18 at 3:33
  • 4
    As @user14111 noted, it's "In the Barn" by Piers Anthony. Now that you've mercifully forgotten most of it, can I suggest you NOT read it again? Brain bleach should be a thing. – Moriarty Jul 29 '18 at 7:13
  • 3
    @Moriarty - The book with a "messed up" sexual fantasy turned out to be by Piers Anthony. I'm shocked, shocked. – Adamant Jul 30 '18 at 4:07
17

Perhaps "In the Barn", a novelette by Piers Anthony.You might have read it in Again, Dangerous Visions, a 1972 original-stories anthology edited by Harlan Ellison. The only other possibility I know of (assuming you read it in English) is Anthony's 1985 colllection Anthonology.

Excerpt from the story:

As his eyes adjusted completely, Hitch felt a paralysis of shock coming over him. These were not bovine or caprine snouts greeting him; these were human heads. The fair features and lank tresses of healthy young women. Each stood in her stall, naked, hands grasping the slats since there was room only for the head to poke through. Blondes, brunettes, redheads; tall, petite, voluptuous—all types were represented. This group, clothed, could have mixed enhancingly into any festive Earth-Prime crowd.

Except for two things. First, their bosoms. The breasts were enormous and pendulous, in some cases hanging down to waist-level, and quite ample in proportion. Hitch was sure no conventional brassiere could confine these melons. They were long beyond cosmetic control. It would require a plastic surgeon with a sadistic nature to make even a start on the job.

Second, the girls' expressions. They were the blank, amiable stares of idiocy.

Milkers . . .


Plot summary from Variety SF:

Imagine a parallel earth ("Counter-Earth #772") where there are no mammals save humans. Add slavery to the picture - some humans are the property of others. Now distort slavery to a point where slaves become truly animal:

1. Newborn babies are immediately separated from their mothers, have the use of thumb of their hands physically curtailed, tongue surgically cut off to ensure they will never speak, deprived of all sensory experience during their development years by being confined to a tank where they cannot sense anything & to a dark cell in older years, consciously malnourished so they will develop as mental retards, ...

2. Females are grown as "cows" in barns, & are used primarily as milk animals. With living conditions similar to those we see in cow sheds here.

3. Most male newborns are killed because they're useless. Only a few potential "studs" are saved for breeding.

The whole setup is to contrast the situation of these "animals" with the treatment cattle receive in our cowsheds.

Story is from the point of view of Hitch, an investigator from "Earth-Prime" (presumably our earth) to a newly discovered parallel one. He's out to discover why this world is overrun with barns, when there are no cattle. He will spend a day as a barn-hand there.

2

Larry Niven's "Bordered in Black" fits, as well. Space travellers arrive, see oceans covered in "food yeast", and the shoreline packed with humans (Kzinti prey?).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.