HONEYMOON IN HELL appeared in the second issue of GALAXY dated November 1950. (Brown’s THE LAST MARTIAN had appeared in the first issue a month previous.) Brown’s name on the table of contents of the first two issues, along with the names of other major contributors to ASTOUNDING--Clifford Simak, Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, Fritz Leiber, Anthony Boucher--made clear that Gold was going directly after John W. Campbell’s audience and the stories which he had printed were of a different order from what these writers had sold ASTOUNDING. They were darker, more socially aware, in cases (Richard Matheson’s COMING ATTRACTION) sexually frank in a fashion inconceivable in Campbell’s magazine. This novelette, dealing frankly with copulation and its desired consequences, was managed in a way far less euphemistic than had been the Campbellian norm and Brown, as he was to do often in the stories to follow, used a satirical attack which if it did not question magazine taboos certainly parodied them. The covers of pulp magazines such as PLANET or STARTLING depicted monsters putting near-naked females in peril, but the narratives under the cover by design offered no equivalent. Brown’s hastily married couple, sent to the Moon to see if they could breed a male child (all births on Earth over recent months have been female), encounter problems emotional as well as practical. Difficult as it may be to understand sixty years later, the employment of the word “hell” in a magazine cover title was also an act of provocation. The story was a provocation in its entirety, although, of course--and as Paul di Filippo suggests in his introduction--perhaps you had to be there.
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