"The Big Space Fuck" is a 1972 Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. short story, first published in the science fiction anthology Again, Dangerous Visions (edited by Harlan Ellison), the second of a series (the third of which has never been published) of anthologies where Ellison asked writers to submit stories they felt could not be published in traditional writing markets due to controversial content or approach. Ellison's introduction to the story (which at just over 4 pages, is nearly as long as the just-over-5-page story) that "as this is the first time (to my knowledge) . . . that the word fuck has been used in a title, it becomes something of a minor literary landmark. . .sum of comment: nice title." Vonnegut in
Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut (1977) by William Rodney Allen, also said "I think I am the first writer to use 'fuck' in a title," though Charles Bukowski: Autobiographer, Gender Critic, Iconoclast (2005) by David Charlson, points out that Bukowski's story "The Fuck Machine" was published before 1972 in underground press vehicles, and 1972 in the collection Erections, so Bukowski may have a claim to the landmark.
The story itself is a darkly funny satire, set in a then-future world where "in 1977 it became possible in the United States of America for a young person to sue his parents for the way he had been raised," an effort to discourage reproduction (along with giving women "her choice of a bathroom scale or a table lamp" for having an abortion). Yet, although on Earth "everything had turned to shit and beer cans and old automobiles and Clorox bottles," in 1979 the U.S. stages the story's title event, "a rocket ship with eight hundred pounds of freeze-dried jizzum in its nose. It was going to be fired at the Andromeda Galaxy, two-million light years away." The idea is that humanity will continue somewhere in the universe even if the population of Earth kills itself off. The story shows us Dwayne and Grace Hoobler watching the spaceship Arthur C. Clarke launch on television in their Ohio home, alternating the news coverage with the conversation they have when a friend comes by with some more personal news for the Hooblers.
Again, Dangerous Visions, ed. Harlan Ellison. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1972.
Allen, William Rodney. Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut. University Press of Mississippi, 1977. (page 193) Accessed through Google Book Search.
Charlson, David. Charles Bukowski: Autobiographer, Gender Critic, Iconoclast. Trafford Publishing, 2005. (page 35) Accessed through Google Book Search.