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What is This Thing Called Love?


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"What Is This Thing Called Love?" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. The story was requested by Cele Goldsmith Lalli, editor of Amazing Stories, as a satire of a story in Playboy magazine called "Girls for the Slime God", which proposed — not too seriously — that all science fiction stories were concerned with aliens and sex. Asimov set out to write a story telling how a sex-interested alien and humans might really interact. The story appeared in the March 1961 issue of Amazing as "Playboy and the Slime God", but when Asimov included it in his 1969 collection Nightfall and Other Stories he retitled it "What Is This Thing Called Love?" Goldsmith Lalli rewrote the story's last three paragraphs, a change Asimov regarded as a great improvement, and which he kept.
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