Was there a short story titled "Carnival" about alien beings who use humans as surrogate mothers. This is about an alien who treats a human as a pet, but still has him (?) carry the embryo. Is this the correct title, anyone know who the author is? I can't find anything. Probably published in 70's

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It could be Alien Carnival by Walt Liebscher. The actual short story by that name is about a spaceship crash, but the anthology by the same name opens with "Mama Hates Green", which is about a young girl visited by an alien and ends with her carrying his child when he leaves.


Wrong title, wrong decade, but the Hugo-winning 1984 novelette "Bloodchild" by Octavia E. Butler does feature aliens who use humans as "surrogate mothers" and treat them as pets. You can read it at WashingtonPost.com. Here is a summary by Matt Brauer:

“Bloodchild” takes place on an unnamed planet inhabited by an alien species called Tlic, who resemble three-meter long centipedes. Their society is dominated by females as the males have a very brief if sexually charged lifespan. The Tlic reproduce by laying their fertile eggs in other living organisms where the larvae feed off of the host creature’s blood. When the larvae hatch, they release a poison into the host’s body and begin eating out of their egg cases and then continuing to consume the host.

Humans arrived on the Tlic homeworld in a time of crisis: the host animals which the Tlic were accustomed to using evolved a natural defense against Tlic infestation and therefore posed a great threat to the future of Tlic existence. When the Terrans landed, fleeing persecution by other humans on another planet, the Tlic seized the opportunity to use the newcomers as host organisms, treating the humans as animals penned up in cages and fed only on the intoxicating and placating sterile Tlic eggs.

Eventually, the Tlic government did away with this system in favor of a more symbiotic relationship with humans. Instead of breaking up Terran families and treating them as dumb animals, the Tlic allow and encourage the Terrans to maintain a family, household, and livelihood in the Preserve – a specific set of land set aside for human use and protection. Each human family then is “adopted” by a Tlic female who deposits her eggs into one of the family’s children, usually a male so that the females can bear human children. Instead of leaving the humans to be consumed in birth, the larvae are extracted before they set to eating the host’s body.

T’Gatoi is a Tlic government official who is in charge of the Preserve. She is very close to her human family and describes their home as a “place of refuge.” She has been promised Gan, the younger son of the family, as a carrier for her eggs. On the day Gan is to be implanted with the larvae, an N’Tlic, a human who is carrying a Tlic’s eggs, stumbles upon the family’s house just as the larvae he carries are hatching. His Tlic is not present. T’Gatoi is forced to birth the larvae. All Tlic births are violent – the Tlic must cut open the human and remove all the larvae from the abdominal cavity. If the Tlic misses even one larva, that infant Tlic will poison and kill the Terran host. A birth performed by a Tlic other than the one whose eggs are hatching is even worse because the human N’Tlic cannot be fully anesthetized. Gan offers to help T’Gatoi with the birth despite her warnings against it and he finds that he is revolted and disgusted by the process, causing him to rethink his willingness to be N’Tlic for T’Gatoi, especially after he hears Qui tell him of a birth he witnessed where the Tlic allowed the larvae to completely consume the Terran host because the Tlic had nowhere else to put the voracious grubs.

Gan faces a crisis; he has grown up believing this relationship to be “good and necessary,” but now he is fundamentally repulsed by its very nature. He wants to believe there is more to the situation than just the base manipulation of humans to use them as hosts. He threatens to kill himself, then almost passes on the responsibility to his willing sister Xuan Hoa. Ultimately, however, he accepts his role as an N’Tlic voluntarily. While T’Gatoi implants her eggs in his abdomen, he admits to himself that he would not have wanted T’Gatoi to use anyone else because he wanted her for himself.

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