Last Flight of Dr. Ain, The by Tiptree, James, 1969

Last Flight of Dr. Ain, The by Tiptree, James

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THE LAST FLIGHT OF DR. AIN, 1969 in Galaxy Magazine, as by James Tiptree, Jr.: This story was told from a future perspective looking backward and in the voice of a criminal investigator. Dr. Ain traveled all over the globe by commercial aircraft, disembarking at as many layovers as possible to stretch his legs and feed the birds. All the while Ain was fantasizing about a very sensual woman who he longed for, but can never find. The Doctor's mental images of the woman were mixed alternatively with beautiful scenes of nature, and man-made disasters. In the non-fantasy scenes of the story Dr. Ain encountered a lot of people with the flu. Dr. Ain was an epidemiologist and in one city got off the airplane to attend a conference on contagious diseases. There he got drunk and after confirming that he was involved in the manufacture of biological weapons, admitted that he was an active carrier of a genetically modified virus that he had made to kill humans. After capture Ain was taken to Hawaii. On the trip he began to fantasize again about the woman, who was revealed to be the personification of Gaea. Ain's purpose was to kill humanity off so that the Earth could have the time it needed to recover from the ecological damage we have done to her. This one feels like its straight out of one of Tiptree's CIA threat meetings, and knowing what she did for a living makes it pretty chilling, with an unexpected twist at the end. Itís also an interesting twist on a motif that you will see again and again in Tiptreeís work, in which Tiptree substitutes the plight of her subject, for example an alien race, for that of women here on Earth. I think this story influenced the writers of the film 12 Monkeys a great deal. Themes: Plague, Catastrophe, Ecology, Crimes, Insanity, Sex, Genocide

Reviewed by GTT · Rating Rating of 0.5 star(s)

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