A husband and wife team are escorting a young woman to a planet; all planets are first colonised by men, and when it is deemed safe, one woman is sent. If she can safely have normal children, the planet is opened up for colonisation.

Most of the story/novella is set on the ship, with her arrival being the climax; and all the male colonists greeting her with jubilation. It's an honour to be chosen, but the husband and wife are sorry for her; as she doesn't realise that she is the final "proof" of the planet being safe to colonise or not.

1 Answer 1


Sounds a lot like First Lady by J. T. McIntosh, published in Galaxy in June 1953, and later in Edmund Crispin's Best SF.

If so, it has a nasty twist ending. In fact, the planet is almost certainly unsuitable, but the colonists won't have all their hopes dashed without the final test, so the lady concerned is, presumably, going to have a deformed kid, or something of the sort.

  • Thank you-that's the one.
    – sueelleker
    Feb 22, 2021 at 12:28
  • @sueelleker You should accept the answer by clicking the checkmark at the upper left. Jul 19, 2022 at 20:58

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