Assume a mating between Superman and a human woman designated LL for
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 to to the woman in his arms during what
amounts to an epileptic fit?
Consider the driving urge between a man and a woman, the monomaniacal urge to
achieve greater and greater penetration. Remember also that we are dealing with
Superman would literally crush LL's body in his arms, while simultaneously
ripping her open from crotch to sternum, gutting her like a trout.
Lastly, he'd blow off the top of her head.
Ejaculation of semen is entirely involuntary in the human male, and in all other
forms of terrestrial life. It would be unreasonable to assume otherwise for a
kryptonian. But with kryptonian muscles behind it, Kal-El's semen would emerge
with the muzzle velocity of a machine gun bullet. (*One can imagine that the
Kent home in Smallville was riddled with holes during Superboy's puberty. And
why did Lana Lang never notice that?*)
In view of the foregoing, normal sex is impossible between LL and Superman.
Artificial insemination may give us better results.
First we must collect the semen. The globules will emerge at transsonic speeds.
Superman must first ejaculate, then fly frantically after the stuff to catch it
in a test tube. We assume that he is on the Moon, both for privacy and to
prevent the semen from exploding into vapor on hitting the air at such speeds.
He can catch the semen, of course, before it evaporates in vacuum. He's faster
than a speeding bullet.
But can he keep it?
All known forms of kryptonian life have superpowers. The same must hold true of
living kryptonian sperm. We may reasonably assume that kryptonian sperm are
vulnerable only to starvation and to green kryptonite; that they can travel with
equal ease through water, air, vacuum, glass, brick, boiling steel, solid steel,
liquid helium, or the core of a star; and that they are capable of translight
What kind of a test tube will hold such beasties?
Kryptonian sperm and their unusual powers will give us further trouble. For the
moment we will assume (because we must) that they tend to stay in the seminal
fluid, which tends to stay in a simple glass tube. Thus Superman and LL can
perform artificial insemination.
At least there will be another generation of kryptonians.
Or will there?
A ripened but unfertilized egg leaves LL's ovary, begins its voyage down her
Some time later, tens of millions of sperm, released from a test tube, begin
their own voyage up LL's Fallopian tube.
The magic moment approaches...
Can human breed with kryptonian? Do we even use the same genetic code? On the
face of it, LL could more easily breed with an ear of corn than with Kal-El. But
coincidence does happen. If the genes match...
One sperm arrives before the others. It penetrates the egg, forms a lump on it's
surface, the cell wall now thickens to prevent other sperm From entering. Within
the now-fertilized egg, changes take place...
And ten million kryptonian sperm arrive slightly late.
Were they human sperm, they would be out of luck. But these tiny blind things
are more powerful than a locomotive. A thickened cell wall won't stop them. They
will *all* enter the egg, obliterating it entirely in an orgy of microscopic
gang rape. So much for artificial insemination.
But LL's problems are just beginning.
Within her body there are still tens of millions of frustrated kryptonian sperm.
The single egg is now too diffuse to be a target. The sperm scatter.
They scatter without regard to what is in their path. They leave curved
channels, microscopically small. Presently all will have found their way to the
That leaves LL with several million microscopic perforations all leading deep
into her abdomen. Most of the channels will intersect one or more loops of
Peritonitis is inevitable. LL becomes desperately ill.
Meanwhile, tens of millions of sperm swarm in the air over Metropolis. P>
This is more serious than it looks.
Consider: these sperm are virtually indestructible. Within days or weeks they
will die for lack of nourishment. Meanwhile they cannot be affected by heat,
cold, vacuum, toxins, or anything short of green kryptonite. (*And other forms
of kryptonite. For instance, there are chunks of red kryptonite that make giants
of kryptonians. Imagine ten million earthworm size spermatozoa swarming over a
Metropolis beach, diving to fertilize the beach balls... but I digress.*) There
they are, minuscule but dangerous; for each has supernormal powers.
Metropolis is shaken by tiny sonic booms. Wormholes, charred by meteoric heat,
sprout magically in all kinds of things: plate glass, masonry, antique ceramics,
electric mixers, wood, household pets, and citizens. Some of the sperm will
crack lightspeed. The Metropolis night comes alive with a network of narrow,
eerie blue lines of Cherenkov radiation.
And women whom Superman has never met find themselves in a delicate condition.
Consider: LL won't get pregnant because there were too many of the blind
mindless beasts. But whenever one sperm approaches an unfertilized human egg in
its panic flight, it will attack.
How close is close enough? A few centimeters? Are sperm attracted by chemical
cues? It seems likely. Metropolis had a population of millions; and kryptonian
sperm could travel a long and crooked path, billions of miles, before it gives
up and dies.
Several thousand blessed events seem not unlikely. (*If the pubescent Superboy
plays with himself, we have the same problem over Smallville.*)
Several thousand lawsuits would follow. Not that Superman can't afford to pay.
There's a trick where you squeeze a lump of coal into its allotropic diamond
"Man of Steel, woman of Kleenex" by Larry Niven