in today's San Francisco Chronicle about the physics of Superman, reminded my pal Vann Hall
of the classically hokey 1971 essay "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" by SF author Larry Niven
. It's all about the physiological difficulties that must make it difficult for Kal-El to father a child here on Earth. From the essay:
Assume a mating between Superman and a human woman designated LL for convenience.
Either Superman has gone completely schizo and believes himself to be Clark Kent; or he knows what he's doing, but no longer gives a damn. Thirty-one years is a long time. For Superman it has been even longer. He has X-ray vision; he knows just what he's missing. (*One should not think of Superman as a Peeping Tom. A biological ability must be used. As a child Superman may never have known that things had surfaces, until he learned to suppress his X-ray vision. If millions of people tend shamelessly to wear clothing with no lead in the weave, that is hardly Superman's fault.*)
The problem is this. Electroencephalograms taken of men and women during sexual intercourse show that orgasm resembles "a kind of pleasurable epileptic attack." One loses control over one's muscles.
Superman has been known to leave his fingerprints in steel and in hardened concrete, accidentally. What would he do to the woman in his arms during what amounts to an epileptic fit?
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