“No Light in the Window,” Kate Wilhelm, 1963 — Hank and Connie are two candidates for a space mission. The couple lives under constant scrutiny while specialized observers analyze their behavior in order to determine their fitness for the mission. While Hank is confident that they will both succeed in the program, Connie has doubts. She expresses her emotions, at one point venting some pent up frustration at one of the particularly smug psychologists. At the conclusion, the same psychologist reveals that it is Connie’s flexibility, emotional honesty, and ability to imagine defeat which make her worthy of space travel. Hank’s rigid expectations and emotional inflexibility have excluded him from consideration.
Comments: Read in Daughters of Earth; followed by a critical essay, “Cold War Masculinity in the Early Work of Kate Wilhelm” (2006) by Josh Lukin.