Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wyman Guin

     Wyman Guin (1915-1989) worked as a pharmacologist and advertising executive. He also produced 8 short stories and one novel, all in the realm of speculative fiction, within the subcategory of science fiction. Why am I mentioning this man that died 20 years ago? I am mentioning him because his science fiction was first rate, as good as Robert Heinlein and Philip Jose Farmer. He also had an odd streak, similar to that of Philip K. Dick.

     7 of his short stories are collected in this book:

     How did I find that book? I didn't actively seek it out, as Wyman Guin is not well-known among authors that are relatively unknown, making his work that less likely to stumble upon. I occasionally search ebay for huge lots of vintage science fiction books, simply because the price per book typically drops below 75 cents. This behavior of mine results in the acquisition of many doubles and even triples, but it's an efficient and cheap means of gaining access to new material. So I found that book among a lot of 90 others.
     The cover art does not reflect the content, as there are no cyclopean women. I would have preferred to see a volpla. A what? A volpla. The short story "Volpla" was satisfying beyond words. When I finished the story, I was reminded as to why I stopped watching television shows. You can't get this kind of imaginative storytelling from TV, the kind that generates abundant happiness. While it's more difficult to read than to watch TV, the rewards for reading far exceed those of staring at idiot boxes, or these days - idiot panels.
     Read what one of his peers had to say:

     "BEYOND BEDLAM, the final story of this collection, is a classic example of what can be done when a first-class imagination takes a far-out assumption and carefully builds it into a society thoroughly self-consistent and logical on its own terms; and repellent, horrifying and yet fascinating on ours. WYMAN GUIN'S gift for putting himself (and therefore the reader as well) completely into societies he builds is in healthy evidence in the other stories as well."
     -Isaac Asimov

     Reading Wyman Guin turned out to be educational, as I had not previously known what a bedlam was. I also learned the arabic word 'cipher' (from sifr) and the hebrew word 'baal'.

     I quickly purchased his one novel, The Standing Joy, and I had to buy it from a bookstore in England, since ebay didn't have any from American sellers. While the cover art is atrocious, it does seem fitting, provided one has read the book.

     The main character is Colin Collins, a precocious young man that has solved the problem of limited male orgasms, as well as amassing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Have you ever wondered why women can have multiple orgasms during intercourse, but not males? Once men achieve an orgasm through ejaculation, they need to recharge in order to continue. Women don't have the recharging problem, which frees them up for orgasmic bliss.
     Wyman Guin took Robert Heinlein's stance on prostitution in the sense it should be legalized and treated as a profession, similar to that of a lawyer or a doctor. While I found it interesting to read about the activities in a whore house, I agree much more strongly with what Philip Jose Farmer had to say about prostitution (in 1974):

     "I think it's a grim grisly exploitation which no healthy society would endure for a minute."

     How would you like to pay $150 every time you had to urinate? Imagine if every toilet required payments for using them. You see, sex is a normal activity, just like using the bathroom. Sex is not sinful, any more than taking a dump is sinful. We, us crazy humans, decided that sex before marriage is a sin. That doesn't mean it is, any more than running a 'red light' is sinful. Some things just cause problems.
     I don't think anyone should ever pay for sex. There is no need to make laws, either. A healthy society simply would not have prostitution. The fact that prostitutes exist indicates that we need to restructure our society.
     Through hormonal modification and chemical manipulation we could adjust male and female bodies in such a way that barrier bags (condoms) became obsolete, and diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea could be forgotten. We're not sexually free creatures. There are too many problems associated with sex, the most significant being that of unwanted pregnancy, since it sometimes forces men and women into a partnership that they do not want and makes children suffer. Almost everyone is sexually capable, but not everyone is financially capable. Thus, it confuses me as to why it's legal for people without sufficient incomes to engage in sexual behavior. We know that there are 800,000,000 starving people on this planet. Many of them are children, produced by men and women incapable of supporting them. This is why we need to modify human bodies, so we can have sex without worrying about producing children. People with sufficiently high incomes could be sexually armed, their reproductive functions activated. And those considered in a state of poverty would have their reproductive functions disabled, since they would be incapable of providing food for their children. If they rose to a higher income level, then their reproductive functions could become armed, if they chose that action. But everyone would be allowed to experience the joys of sex.

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