Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death • 1973 • short story by James Tiptree, Jr.


Narrator Moggadeet, an intelligent spider, fights a two-way battle, one interior, her instincts, the other exterior, climatic change. Colder weather takes away the intellect from the spiders and they only follow their instincts. As the story follows the circle of life, it becomes clear that Moggadeet is doomed, can’t escape the plan. In bloodlust, she kills her brother Frim, and during winter, she eats up an older one. She enjoys life with her love, Lilliloo, but the cold is coming.


I loved the narrative voice, the strange character of Moggadeet, the language, the plot.  Concerning biological determinism, it is similar to A Momentary Taste of Being, where humanity follows mindlessly a greater plan of reproduction – Moggadeet tries to fight the Plan but exactly this was the Plan itself. That way, the ingenious title describes the whole story. Tiptree is really great at capturing the alien’s terrifying but sympathetic character, giving enough to relate without anthropomorphizing too much. This is why the failure to escape the Plan is emotional, a tragedy.


Meta: ISFDB. First published 1973 in The Alien Condition. I read it in the collection Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. It won the Nebula Award and is available online.


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