Hal Yarrow is a lowly ''joat'' linguist living in the oppressive Haijac Union, one of the major World powers in 3050 A.C. The Haijac Union is a puritan Theocracy based on a future religion founded by a prophet called Isaac Sigmen called Serialism , an offshoot of Judeochristian beliefs mixed with a pseudo-scientific temporal theory called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_William_Dunne Dunnology]]. Adherence to ''realist'' actions is a matter of life and death, as citizens are rated regularly in their morals and those who consistently slip are "sent to H". Yarrow, unfortunately, is prone to ''unreal'' thinking, and he's not helped by his wife Marie, a proper, frigid, passive-agressive Sigmenite who feels forced to rat out every minor ''unreality'' to their resident ''gapt'' Pornsen, a combination of confessor and political commisary.

Eventually Yarrow's stubborn lack of specialization is his salvation, as he gets recruited (and thus saved from "H") for a top secret mission; be the resident linguist for a diplomatic expedition to Ozagen, the first inhabitable world found by the Haijac space program. Ozagen is populated by friendly, highly evolved sentient arthropods whose technological level is comparable to that of the early 20th century, derisively named ''wogglebugs'' (wogs for short) by the Haijacs; the expedition, though, is actually a genocidal mission who plans to kill the whole species using a SyntheticPlague. Wogs would join in extinction the other sentient species they used to share their planet with, [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality a mammalian anthropoid astonishingly similar to humans.]] It is while exploring some ruins of these man-like aliens that Yarrow meets one mysterious girl that shouldn't be there, or even exist, who makes him feel for the first time what his ''Sturch''-appointed wife never did. This and his growing friendship with Fobo, a wog psychologist, sends him into a downward spiral of ''unreality''.

This novel launched the career of Creator/PhilipJoseFarmer, won an Hugo in 1953, it is often listed as a landmark in ScienceFiction... and it pretty much stopped Farmer's professional writing career for the next decade, as it was a shining example of a book ahead of its time that no publisher in TheFifties would touch with a ten foot pole (in fact, it wasn't published in book form until 1961). ''The Lovers'' is credited with introducing Sex into ScienceFiction beyond the GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe, and mixing it with Religion, Politics, Psychology and [[PulpMagazine Pulp]], Farmer's favourite subjects.

There's another novel by Farmer sharing the same setting, ''Day of Timestop'' (a.k.a. as ''Timestop'' or ''A Woman A Day''), but it's not actually a sequel.

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!!''The Lovers'' has ''shib'' examples of:

* ATasteOfTheLash: The favoured disciplining tool of ''gapts'' and urielites (priests) is the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scourge scourge]].
* AcceptableBreakFromReality: [[spoiler: The book's twist hinges on Ozagen evolution leading to an HumanAlien, something highly unlikely made more so since Ozagen evolution took very different paths early on.]]
* AgainstMyReligion
* AlienLunch: Beetle juice, ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.
* AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame: This book is mostly known for its TwistEnding, to the point that pretty much every SF history article and essay mentioning the book or Farmer's work in general gives it away. This wiki included.
* AlternateCalendar: 3050 A.C. becomes 550 A.S. for the Haijac Union.
* ArrangedMarriage: Marriages are arranged by the ''Sturch'' through their ''gapts''. Citizens can disagree, theoretically.
* AsYouKnow: It is a tad weird having Fobo explain how the ''gapt'' system is structured to Yarrow.
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler: Pornsen.]]
* AuthorTract: Farmer is clearly on the side of GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex against the puritan Big Brother.
* AwfulTruth: [[spoiler: Jeannette thinks that Yarrow would be disgusted if he knew she's not biologically human in the least.]]
* BatmanInMyBasement: Yarrow goes to great lengths to hide Jeanette from both the wogs and his fellows Haijacs.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: The wogs' friendly demeanor seems genuine, just don't forget they exterminated the Ozagen humanoids. [[spoiler: And Yarrow can put up quite a fight when cornered.]]
* BigBrotherIsEmployingYou
* BigBrotherIsWatching: Anyone can be an uzzite spy. No one is beyond suspicion.
* BigCreepyCrawlies: Ozagen is full of these, as arthropods learned a lot of tricks to bypass their size limits.
* [[spoiler:BittersweetEnding]]: [[spoiler: The Haijac plot against the wogs is stopped, Yarrow is free and he's a dad... but Jeannette is dead.]]
* BizarreAlienReproduction: The ''lalithas'' reproductive cycle is... convoluted.
* BodyHorror: [[spoiler: ''Lalithas'' pregnancy looks like this to humans.]]
* BringMyBrownPants: Wogs have this as a vestigial defense mechanism that is triggered by stress.
* CantGetAwayWithNuthin: The ''gapt'' system, [[BlatantLies perfect]] lie detectors, and religious indoctrination that requires snitching on the slightest ''unrealities'' of your co-workers, friends and spouse means that even skipping the mandatory chaste kissing of your wife will become a black mark on your morality records.
* CallingTheOldManOut: Figuratively (all kids are raised as wards of the ''Sturch'').
* ChekhovsSkill: Yarrow's knowledge of almost-dead French.
* ChestBurster: [[spoiler: ''Lalitha'' nymphs.]]
* ColorCodedPatrician
* CrashIntoHello: Sort of.
* CultureClash: The major World Powers of 3050 A.C. go from the dystopian theocracy of the Haijac Union to the telepathic ''gestalt'' of the Bantu nation, with the Malaysian and Israeli democratic republics in the middle. And then Yarrow meets the wogs, whose way of thinking is actually quite relatable for 21st century Westerners, but are a completely ''unreal'' culture from a Haijac citizen's point of view.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: [[spoiler: Pornsen's death. The guy was a jerk, but his last moments were terrifying.]]
* CursedWithAwesome: [[spoiler: ''Lalithas'' can live forever, eternally young and pretty, as long as they don't want to have kids.]]
* DamselInDistress
* DepopulationBomb: Used by the Martian colonists in the past to wipe out most of Mankind on Earth, giving rise to the ethnic and political variety of the world of 3050 A.C. The Haijacs decide to borrow the idea to solve the Wog problem.
* TheDulcineaEffect: A short conversation under the moonlight and Yarrow is out to risk his life for Jeannette.
* {{Dystopia}}: The Haijac Union is an overbearing theocracy.
* DystopianEdict: Among many prohibitions and taboos, ''eating'' is given the same treatment as sex; people must wear special "eating hats" to cover their mouths and chew silently.
* EthicalSlut: Jeannette, very much so.
* EveryoneLooksSexierIfFrench: Jeannette Rastignac is half French.
* EverythingSoundsSexierInFrench: Corrupted French, though.
* TheEvilsOfFreeWill: Stray from ''reality'' (Sigmen's path) too much and you'll be sent to "H" for the crime of hindering the coming of the Timestop, the day Sigmen will return and give every good sigmenite an universe to rule over. Oh, and everything bad that ever happens to you is your fault for straying off the real path.
* FatBastard: Pornsen.
* FeminineWomenCanCook
* FunWithAcronyms: ''Gapt'' (Guardian Angel Pro-Tempore), Haijac (Hawaii Australia Iceland Japan America Caucasus), ''joat'' (Jack Of All Trades).
* FutureSlang: Besides the NewSpeak additions, American has gotten a few loan words from polynesian and semithic languages.
* GaiasLament: At least in the Haijac territories.
* HalfHumanHybrid: Jeannette. [[spoiler: In a very broad sense.]]
* HardDrinkingPartyGirl: Jeannette.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Given that ''lalithas'' die during childbirth and they can avoid pregnancy easily and live forever, every ''lalitha'''s mother willingly embraced death to conceive them.]]
* HumanAliens: [[spoiler: ''Lalithas'' are to all the senses human.]]
* [[spoiler: IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim]]
* ImmortalProcreationClause: [[spoiler: DeathByChildbirth is a fact of life for ''lalithas''.]]
* [[spoiler: ImmortalityImmorality]]: What ultimately led to the extinction of the Ozagen humanoids.
* InfoDump: Given the large amount of FutureSlang and radically changed political and ethnic background of the world, they are welcome.
* InnocentFanserviceGirl
* InsectoidAliens: Wogs are what could be described as mammal-like arthropods.
* [[spoiler: InterspeciesRomance]]: [[spoiler: Jeannette may look human but she's actually a ''lalitha'', a highly evolved arthropod.]]
* IntimatePsychotherapy
* LackOfEmpathy: Acording to Serialism, anything bad that happens to an individual is because he/she allowed it.
* LampshadeHanging: Yarrow points out how Jeannette's existence breaks every rule in Biochemistry and Biology. She takes offense.
* LieBackAndThinkOfEngland: Sex for reproductive purposes is mandatory; [[NoSexAllowed enjoying it is ''unreal'']], though.
* LivingForeverIsAwesome: ''Lalithas'' like living forever, Or at least a long time.
* LieDetector: The Elohimeter.
* LostColony: ''Wubobpaí'', the lost French colony from whence Jeannette's father came.
* LoveRedeems
* MysteriousWoman: Finding a member of an humanoid species from another planet that you've been previously told was extinct would be surprising enough, but when said member starts speaking in broken French...
* NewSpeak: Sending people to "H", the ''Sturch'' (State Church), ''real'' and ''unreal'' behaviour and of course, loving your neighbour is mandatory. Love might involve sending him/her to "H", though.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: [[spoiler: Yarrow's tragically misguided attempt to cure Jeannette's alcoholism.]]
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: Everything in Ozagen can be safely consumed by humans.
* [[spoiler:NonhumanLoverReveal]]: [[spoiler: By the time Yarrow finds out Jeannette is completely alien, he is far more devastated by her death.]]
* NubileSavage
* NuclearOption: [[spoiler: Only in case the DepopulationBomb fails...]]
* OneGenderRace: ''Lalithas''
* [[spoiler: OutGambitted]]: [[spoiler: The wogs aren't ''that'' trusting.]]
* PaperThinDisguise: Pornsen wouldn't make a good spy.
* PlanetaryRomance: After the action moves to Ozagen, the book adds to the dystopian tale a mysterious NubileSavage found in the ruins of a mysterious civilization, {{Bar Brawl}}s in exotic locales, fights with the insidious local fauna and a LostColony.
* {{Portmanteau}}: ''Sturch'' (State Church), [[ShoutOut Ozagen (Oz Again)]].
* PsychicDreamsForEveryone: A tenet of Serialism taken ''very seriously'' by sigmenites. Ironically, Yarrow's dream at the opening of the novel is the only one that (kind of) comes true.
* [[RaisedCatholic Raised Sigmenite]]: Yarrow still clings to some sigmenite customs even after he begins sheltering Jeannette. [[spoiler: With tragical results.]]
* ScienceMarchesOn: Dunne's Time theory is almost forgotten today, but it was the rage in TheThirties.
* ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem: Lamedians are theoretically above suspicion since they are scientifically proved ''shib'', and so they get away with quirks and attitudes that would get lower citizens sent to "H".
* ShutUpHannibal: [[spoiler: Fobo stopping Macneff's TheReasonYouSuckSpeech.]]
* StarfishLanguage: Siddonite, the language of the biggest wog nation and Fobo's language, is absurdly complicated. Note that Yarrow mentions wogs have a variety of languages, some far easier to learn and speak for an American-speaking human.
* StateSec: The uzzites.
* TheSymbiote: [[spoiler: ''Lalithas'' had a mostly parasytical relationship with the Ozagen humanoids that eventually led to their extinction at the hands of the wogs.]]
* SyntheticPlague: The payload of the DepopulationBomb mentioned above.
* ThanatosGambit: The Haijacs have even planned for the remote possibility that the wogs manage to get wind of their impending genocide and somehow manage to successfully capture their ship; the Earth maps aboard have the locations of the Haijac Union and their eternal enemies the Israeli republics reversed. [[spoiler: Too bad they didn't think of giving the wogs a history of Earth that didn't mention a cheap and effective genocidal bioweapon.]]
* ThemeNaming: Haijacs love using names of Judeochristian angels.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: The Haijac Union has no psychologists. If you are a good sigmenite, everything is ''shib''; if not, there's "H". On the other hand, Fobo is a wog shrink.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Yarrow and Fobo become fast friends.
* WorkingClassPeopleAreMorons: By design.
* WhyDidYouMakeMeHitYou: Pornsen's motto, and of sigmenites in general.
* YouRebelScum: [[spoiler: Sandalphon Macneff angry tirade at Yarrow after the AwfulTruth comes out, followed by TheReasonYouSuckSpeech.]]
* ZeeRust: {{Flying Car}}s, but no computers... Although Farmer does an AuthorsSavingThrow in ''Timestop'' and mentions sigmenites abhor thinking machines on religious principles.
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