‘Unchosen Love’ by Ursula K. Le Guin

“Sex, for everybody, on every world, is a complicated business”, wrote Ursula, and she wrote a body of stories exploring sex and gender by taking it to other worlds where things are entirely different from our own, and yet strangely familiar. Sometimes I want to laugh at the strange concepts she comes up with, and the ersatz scifi ‘foreign planet’ names; but mostly I can spend a long time wondering what she is really telling us about fidelity, trust, intimacy, sex, love and relationships. This story asks: what does it mean if one person loves more than another? And how much is the relationship worth in comparison to the people within it? What does it mean if a marriage begins with a dishonesty? 

First appeared in Amazing Stories, Fall 1994. Collected in The Birthday of the World and Other Stories, HarperCollins/Gollancz, 2002/3

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