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I read this story in a sci-fi paperback magazine probably in the 1970s or 1980s, but it might have been published much earlier. It begins with a conversation between two young men (brothers?), the older of whom, it eventually transpires, has taken the place of the younger in serving as a host to insect-type creatures. The insect-types are the main form of life on the planet, and use the human interlopers/colonizers as hosts for the larval stages of their young.

Must have pre-dated the "Alien" movies because when I read it the idea of humans serving as larval hosts was new to me.

Don't remember how the story ends -- whether the emergence of the larva kills the human host.

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  • I still haven't figured out how duplicates work here, but this seems to be a duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/233115/… Feb 21, 2021 at 23:14
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    @Eike Pierstorff - The key thing to remember is that story ID threads should only be closed as duplicates if they both have accepted answers and are asking about the same story. Both those conditions have been met in this case, so one of these threads should be closed. I'll defer to more experienced users to decide which one that should be though. Feb 21, 2021 at 23:33
  • While probably not the book you're looking for, try this one as well for a similar theme: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/206732
    – Stilez
    Feb 22, 2021 at 7:24

1 Answer 1

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Sounds like this could be Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler, originally published in the June 1984 issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.

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The Wikipedia synopsis is broadly consistent with what you described:

"Bloodchild" describes the unusual bond between a race of insect-like lifeforms called the Tlic and a colony of humans who have escaped Earth and settled on the Tlic planet. When the Tlic realize that humans make excellent hosts for Tlic eggs, they establish the Preserve to protect the humans, and in return require that every family choose a child for implantation. A human thus implanted is called N'Tlic.

The story is narrated by Gan, a young boy chosen before birth to carry the eggs of a female Tlic named T’Gatoi. Gan and his sisters perceive being a host as a privilege; however, their elder brother Qui disagrees, having witnessed an N’Tlic birth when he was young. Gan's own opinion changes when he is forced to help T'Gatoi perform an emergency cesarean section on a pregnant male N'Tlic named Bram Lomas, who, abandoned by his Tlic, is being eaten alive by his hatched larvae. Gan uses an illegal rifle to kill an Achti, a large animal kept on the Preserve, to provide nonhuman sustenance for the larvae.

After witnessing the graphic surgery, Gan has second thoughts about being a host and entertains suicide rather than impregnation. He questions T’Gatoi about the relationship between humans and the Tlic. T'Gatoi, who must begin to lay her first eggs that night, asks Gan if she should impregnate Gan's sister instead. However, Gan consents to impregnation on the condition that T'Gatoi allows the family to keep the illegal gun. As T'Gatoi impregnates Gan, she lovingly promises him that she will take care of him and will never abandon him.

There's a preview of a book containing the story here.

And you can listen to an audio version of it here. (Warning: it's pretty gruesome in places.)

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    Maybe because I'm old and cynical, but my first thought is to wonder how the insects did this.
    – RonJohn
    Feb 22, 2021 at 9:40
  • @RonJohn Maybe the facehugger way?
    – Clockwork
    Feb 22, 2021 at 16:47
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    NSFW: Just read the story. It's a puncture around the abdomen and messing about the insides to find a deposit site. The paragraph reads like a hardcore insect hentai manga. The rest is more guro and snuff than anything else. Kind of hard core for 1984.
    – Kayot
    Feb 22, 2021 at 19:17
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    @RonJohn The same way wasps do it to caterpillars in real life?
    – DKNguyen
    Feb 23, 2021 at 2:32

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