Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death

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"Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death"
Short story by James Tiptree, Jr.
Genre(s)Science fiction short story
Published inThe Alien Condition
Publication typeAnthology
PublisherBallantine Books
Media typePrint
Publication dateApril 1973

"Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death" is a short story by James Tiptree, Jr., a pen name used by American writer Alice Sheldon. The novella won a Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 1974. It first appeared in the anthology The Alien Condition, edited by Stephen Goldin, published by Ballantine Books in April 1973.[1]


The story is told in the first person by Moggadeet, a self-aware male of a species which appears to be the apex predator of its environment. This possibly anthropoid species is apparently cold-blooded, with has various features that come into play in battle, whilst nurturing the young (for females), and sex. Unusually Moggadeet's mother and an older male have supplemented his instincts by making him aware of the Plan, i.e., the normal life-cycle of his species. The element of this Plan he most resists is the cannibalism of other members of his own species.

Moggadeet narrates his life from the moment he meets his mate in the spring of his second year, including his memories of his first year. After a while he remembers what his mate said at various points, expressing fears and concerns. By the end it becomes clear that Moggadeet is telling this story to his mate while she is eating him; he assumes she agrees with his recollections.


"Love is the Plan the Plan is Death" has appeared in the following collections:[2]


"Love is the Plan the Plan Is Death" won the 1974 Nebula Award for Best Short Story and was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and was ranked 3rd in the Locus Magazine poll for Best Short Fiction.

Kirkus Reviews called it "highly lauded."[3] The Washington Post considered that the "image (of) an intelligent species whose biological imperatives compel females to devour their mates (...) is dramatized with the directness of an arrow striking a bullseye".[4]


  1. ^ Von Ruf, Al. "Publication Listing 'The Alien Condition'". Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Bibliography: Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death". ISFDB. Retrieved June 11, 2013
  3. ^ The Slow Unveiling of James Tiptree Jr., by Andrew Liptak; published November 6, 2014; retrieved August 18, 2016
  4. ^ Love Is the Plan, the Plan Is Death, by Gregory Feeley; published August 19, 1990; retrieved August 18, 2016

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