Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex by Larry Niven

Image result for alien sex book cover

Title: Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex
Author: Larry Niven
In: Alien Sex (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Humour, Superheroes
Dates read: 15th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: ROC
Year: 1990
5th sentence, 74th page: It would be unreasonable to assume otherwise for a kryptonian.

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Could the Man of Steel reproduce? How is he supposed to ensure the success of the next generation? This tale might just have all of the answers…


This might be one of the funniest stories I’ve read in a while… I was laughing out loud so much that my dogs got scared and ran away. There was just a great, sarcastic, satirical take on the Superman stories… one that I really hadn’t thought about. But now, I just can’t stop thinking about it…

Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex is a great tale that makes you wonder how Superman, or indeed, any superhero could reproduce. After all, their superpowers are going to affect their offspring and the way they have sex. Superman maybe more so than some others (although, can you imagine The Thing? On second thoughts, maybe don’t… get that insane image out of your brain…). There are so many questions that need to be answered after reading this… so many. And I’m also not sure that I want them answered, because this is just kinda… well, weird.

There are so many ways in which this short story could just be disgustingly ick. After all, we’re talking about reproduction of a prominent public figure. Yet, the way that Niven tells the story, the language he uses and the unique format… it was completely brilliant. It is only as I’m writing this review that I remember that there’s a bit of an ick factor there… mostly I just seriously enjoyed the tale and the questions that it raised.

 <- The Jamesburg Incubus ReviewThe First Time Review ->
Image source: Amazon

2 thoughts on “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex by Larry Niven

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