I read this in a UK anthology approx 12 years ago, I can't think of any of the other stories, or any describer of the book itself.

The story is a sequence of reports to the Governing Council, who seem to be a super strict politically correct body. The reports are assessed to ensure all is still ok after this incident, otherwise crew termination will be carried out.

There is a Earth youth in his late teens, I think he's ranked as Ensign, he is the main protagonist, the ship diverts to pick up an extra crew member, this man is from a colony world that has only been back in contact for a few years.

En Route to collect him, the protagonist and a Timber Wolf (male as well I think) have sex, this is perceived as normal and mentally healthy by the Council. There are also some whales and, I think, one class of Great Ape that are also aboard and inter species sexual encounters are commonplace.

New crew member arrives and is a bit aloof and abrasive, the Council takes a very keen interest in all his interactions with the crew. One day they are doing these like political indoctrination lessons and new guy propounds a theory that some species became extinct because they liked being hunted.

A couple of minutes later they've en masse spaced him through an airlock . He's screaming "you're all animals!" as he is bundled into it.

The Council assess all crew and the verdict is they are still fine and no cross contamination of ideology occurred so the crew are allowed to live

The Timber Wolf and the other animals had some kind of communication device strapped to them and it was the Ensigns immediate superior officer but also his friend.

Update: I've been thinking about this story, there was a bit of backstory, there was only one class of wolf that was found to have true sapience, the other breeds didn't make the grade, it was the same (I think!) with the Great Ape, one type of gorilla that had it but the other breeds were just dumb.

Also there might, but I'm not sure, have been something about a sloth

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    When you say "interspecies sexual encounters", do you mean between humans and actual animals? Dec 20, 2019 at 19:31
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    @SpaceWolf1701 Your username seems especially relevant to this question. Dec 20, 2019 at 19:42
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    He's screaming "you're all animals!" In his case, this is not an insult, but an indication that he is attracted to them. Dec 20, 2019 at 20:22
  • 6
    Well, there goes my search history...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 21, 2019 at 0:10
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    @FuzzyBoots - I can only imagine when the author delivered this saga of interstellar spaceships and homoerotic bestiality, the publisher sighed and wrote "how utterly mundane. Can you spice it up with some mass murders?" on the cover and send it back
    – Valorum
    Dec 21, 2019 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


A slight correction. I believe this is a short story Restricted to the Necessary in the 1998 short story collection Apocalypses and Apostrophes by John Barnes.

In it as you have noted the male protagonist has intimate relations with a wolf commander/captain. As I recall the Timberwolf has a very silver colored coat which the protagonist finds particularly attractive.

The "villain" effectively commits a heretical crime by stating that the crew members (which are other animal descendant species) enjoy or otherwise want to be dominated/hunted by humans as part of their genetic background. As you indicated he is summarily executed by being ejected out the airlock.

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    I had the right anthology but initially wrong short story title from the collection. That has been corrected. Sorry for any confusion.
    – beichst
    Dec 21, 2019 at 23:21
  • Curiously, the anthology seems to be published with both word orders, Apostrophes and Apocalypses (1998) and also Apocalypses and Apostrophes (1999). Nov 10, 2022 at 1:02

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