Posting these without comment…for now. Curious what people’s thoughts and reactions will be. -Jim
While Mr. Douglas was speaking freely on a subject he knew little about, Jane C. Henshaw, LL.B, M.D., Sc.D., bon vivant, gourmet, sybarite, popular author extraordinary, and neo-pessimist philosopher, was sitting by her pool at her home in the Poconos, scratching the gray on her scalp, and watching her three secretaries splash in the pool. They were all amazingly beautiful; they were also amazingly good secretaries. In Henshaw’s opinion the principle of least action required that utility and beauty be combined.
Andy was blond, Martin red-headed, and Dean dark; they ranged, respectively, from pleasantly plump to deliciously slender. Their ages spread over fifteen years, but it was hard to tell which was the eldest.
Henshaw was working hard. Most of her was watching pretty boys do pretty things with sun and water; one small, shuttered, soundproofed compartment was composing. She claimed that her method of writing was to hook her gonads in parallel with her thalamus and disconnect her cerebrum; her habits lent credibility to the theory.
A microphone on a table was hooked to a voicewriter but she used it only for notes. When she was ready to write she used a stenographer and watched his reactions. She was ready now. “Front!” she shouted.
“Andy is ‘front,'” answered Dean. “I’ll take it. That splash was Andy.”
“Dive in and get him.” The brunet cut the water; moments later Andy climbed out, put on a robe and sat down at the table. He said nothing and made no preparations; Andy had total recall.
-Genderswapped from Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein
The Commdora referred to her dwelling place as a house. The populace undoubtedly would call it a palace. To Marion’s straightforward eyes, it looked uncommonly like a fortress. It was built on an eminence that overlooked the capital. Its walls were thick and reinforced. Its approaches were guarded, and its architecture was shaped for defense. Just the type of dwelling, Marion thought sourly, for Aspera, the Well-Beloved.
A young boy was before them. He bent low to the Commdora, who said, “This is one of the Commdor’s boys. Will he do?”
The Commdora watched carefully while Marion snapped the chain about the boy’s waist, and stepped back.
The Commdora snuffled, “Well. Is that all?”
“Will you draw the curtain, Commdora. Young man, there’s a little knob just near the snap. Will you move it upward, please? Go ahead, it won’t hurt you.”
The boy did so, drew a sharp breath, looked at his hands, and gasped, “Oh!”
From his waist as a source he was drowned in a pale, streaming luminescence of shifting color that drew itself over his head in a flashing coronet of liquid fire. It was as if someone had torn the aurora borealis out of the sky and molded it into a cloak.
The boy stepped to the mirror and stared, fascinated.
“Here, take this.” Marion handed him a necklace of dull pebbles. “Put it around your neck.”
The boy did so, and each pebble, as it entered the luminescent field became an individual flame that leaped and sparkled in crimson and gold.
“What do you think of it?” Marion asked him. The boy didn’t answer but there was adoration in his eyes. The Commdora gestured and reluctantly, he pushed the knob down, and the glory died. He left, with a memory.
-Genderswapped from Foundation, by Isaac Asimov
Blink looked at the boy beside her as he stepped through a slanting sunbeam. She was no plant, but she too had needs, and even the most casual inspection of him made her aware of this. Samuel was absolutely beautiful — and his beauty was completely natural. Other boys managed to enhance their appearance by cosmetics or padding or specialized spells, but beside Samuel all other males looked somewhat artificial. He was no enemy.
“What did you wish to talk to me about, Blink?” Samuel inquired demurely.
As if he didn’t know. But as her mind formed the necessary words, her mouth balked. She knew what his answer had to be. No one could remain in Xanth after her twenty-fifth birthday unless she demonstrated a magic talent. Blink’s own critical birthday was barely a month away. She was no child now. How could he marry a woman who was so soon to be exiled?
Why hadn’t she thought of that before bringing him out here? She could only embarrass herself! Now she had to say something to him, or suffer further embarrassment, making it awkward for him as well. “I just wanted to see your– your–”
“See my what?” he inquired with an arch lift of eyebrow.
She felt the heat starting up her neck. “Your holograph,” she blurted. There was much more of him she longed to see, and to touch, but that could come only after marriage. He was that sort of boy, and it was part of his appeal. The boys who had it didn’t need to put it on casual display.
Well, not quite true. She thought of Andrew, who certainly had it, yet who–
-Genderswapped from A Spell for Chameleon, by Piers Anthony
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.