Sci Fi Quotes – Iain M Banks

“The drone went on … ‘The dominant species is humanoid but, very unusually – and certain analyses claim this too has been a factor in the survival of the empire as a special system – is composed of three sexes.’ Three figures appeared in the centre of Gurgeh’s field of vision as though standing in the middle of the ragged sphere of stars . They were rather shorter than Gurgeh if the scale was right. Each of them looked odd in different ways but they shared what looked to Gurgeh to be rather short legs and slightly bloated, flat and very pale faces. ‘The one on the left’ Worthil said ‘is a male, carrying testes and penis. The middle one is equipped with a kind of reversible vagina, and ovaries. The vagina turns inside out to implant the fertilised egg in the third sex, on the right, which has a womb. The one in the middle is the dominant sex … the intermediate – or ‘Apex’ – sex … controls the society and the empire. Generally, the males are used as soldiery and the females as possessions. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that, but you get the idea ….”


From the Player of Games by Iain M Banks (1987)


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