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. Sexual Universes

. Sexual Universes

(p.53) II. Sexual Universes
Alien Plots
Inez Van Der Spek

James Tiptree Jr's ‘A Momentary Taste of Being’, a story about alien encounter, is divided into four parts, in which the events are chronologically narrated. Dr Aaron Kaye, resident psychiatrist of the spaceship Centaur, is the focalising agency throughout the story and is also the narrator, but only in the last part; the first three parts are told by an external narrator, an impersonal agency. This chapter examines Kaye's narrative viewpoint and the series of dreams that haunt him. It considers the kind of masculinity that Kaye represents and how it relates to the overall tenor of the text. In particular, the chapter looks at what visions of sexuality and reproduction emerge from the text when Kaye's perspective is followed. It also analyses the concept of the grotesque and the model of entropy/dissipation, before concluding with a discussion of the pervasive – predominantly phallic – sexual imagery of ‘A Momentary Taste of Being’.

Keywords:   dreams, James Tiptree Jr, Taste of Being, masculinity, sexuality, grotesque, entropy, dissipation, sexual imagery, alien encounter

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