I read this in the UK but it was forty plus years ago so the details are hazy. It could have been a novelette.

There are two Earthmen on some alien planet, I can't remember what their mission was. The inhabitants are very similar to humanity but possibly longer legs and very slender.

The females give some kind of medallions out to males if a satisfactory sexual coupling takes place, the more a male has, the higher his social status. Because the Earthmen have a sturdier build than the native males they score much higher and are very successful.

One Earthmen develops his own score system, so instead (for example) of having several dozen silver medals pinned to his chest he has a gold that's worth ten of the silvers - please note that I'm not cognisant on these specific colours, I'm just trying to recall the actuality.

1 Answer 1


This is a John Boyd novel, possibly The Rakehells of Heaven (1969).

"The girl, Harla, wishes for Red, with the maple-leaf award, to tutor her in Earth biology."
Red reached for the translator, beating me to the button by a hair. "In honor of the girl with green eyes, the greatest wish of my heart is to tutor her in Earth biology." Before the machine could emit the translation, I was pressing the "input" button and feeding it a question: "What does the maple-leaf award signify?"
They listened and Hedrik spoke again into his translator, turned and stepped on the platform. As Harla hoisted the machine aboard, its answer came loud and clear, branding Red O'Hara an adulterer and the girl with the aura of spirituality a harlot.
"Excellence in fornication."

"Two Earthmen on an alien planet with lots of sex" would do for a description for several of his books.

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    If you want to refresh your memories of the book and improve your answer, it can be borrowed (for free but registration required) from the Internet Archive: archive.org/details/rakehellsofheave0000boyd_q9h7
    – user14111
    Dec 1, 2023 at 23:57
  • Yes! That's it - "Rakehells of Heaven" I've got a copy now and the medals are actually mini maple leaf symbols, the Earthman known as Red introduces the Gold ones to leave space on his tunic
    – Danny Mc G
    Dec 2, 2023 at 1:04
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    I've taken the liberty of adding in a short quote.
    – Valorum
    Dec 2, 2023 at 9:06
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    Wow, Harla the harlot, and Red O'Hara branded an adulterer (with a scarlet letter, no doubt). Subtle Boyd was not.
    – Adamant
    Dec 2, 2023 at 9:58
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    @Adamant I've read two other Boyd novels: Sex and the High Command and The Pollinators of Eden. Both demonstrate Boyd's un-subtlety quite well. He had a good niche (oversexed stories told without explicit language) and he stuck to it. Dec 2, 2023 at 19:55

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