The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

After two apocalyptic wars, Earth is slowly repopulated by survivors. Hal Yarrow and his wife, Mary, share a small apartment in Sigmen City with another couple. The Yarrows sleep at night, the other couple during the day. A rigid church/state structure, the Sturch, controls the society. Married couples are required to engage in sexual relations, and each partner must report the other for any lawbreaking activity. Hal and Mary are not compatible, and Hal has difficulty relating to Mary and to the rules of the Sturch.

Luckily for Hal, he is selected to travel to a distant planet, Ozagen, to act as a translator for an exploratory group. The group ostensibly will visit the planet as a scientific team but actually is planning to poison the inhabitants with a gas attack. Hal signs on for the trip on the spaceship Gabriel because he wants to escape the restrictions of Sigmen City and to obtain a divorce. The divorce will be granted automatically because the trip will take about forty years, making his marriage untenable.

Pornsen, Hal’s gapt (lifetime mentor), suspects Hal’s secret reasons for the trip. As Hal’s gapt, Pornsen has the duty of watching over Hal. Hal has developed a hatred for Pornsen and tries to avoid him.

Once on Ozagen, Hal learns the native language with the help of Fobo, one of the Ozagens’ leaders. He gradually overcomes his dislike of the Ozagens. At a huge shrine, Hal hears someone calling out for...

(The entire section is 548 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Farmer sees the conscious mind of twentieth-century humanity as out of touch with the deepest center of its being and offers passionate love...

(The entire section is 349 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Farmer has written three different work called "The Lovers." The first is the 1952 story which shook up the science fiction establishment by...

(The entire section is 426 words.)

Techniques / Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Farmer's basic strategy in The Lovers is to combine a passionate love story with a political satire in a dystopian setting. There is...

(The entire section is 495 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Farmer has written three different works called "The Lovers." ("The Lovers" [1952], story, expanded into a novel [1961], revised and...

(The entire section is 489 words.)