Margaret Atwood, Neal Stephenson, and other sci-fi writers on reproductive rights.

Sci-Fi Writers and Filmmakers Tackle the Future of Reproductive Freedom

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Feb. 23 2012 2:18 PM

Sci-Fi Writers and Filmmakers Tackle the Future of Reproductive Freedom

Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood.

Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images

Over on IO9, the always-interesting Annalee Newitz offers a thorough look at the future of reproductive rights, as imagined by science-fiction writers.  “What will happen if the state takes control of human reproduction? The answers could be weirder than you think — and might terrify pro-life politicians as much as pro-choice advocates,” she writes. In discussing well-known cautionary stories like The Handmaid’s Tale and Brave New World, overlooked classics like Herland, and campy B-flicks like A Boy and His Dog, Newitz examines post-apocalyptic societies with reduced fertility, all-female societies, scientific discoveries that give women complete reproductive control, and other scenarios.

“Right now, we live in a world that ignores the importance, expense, and labor of child-rearing. The more we neglect these issues, the more likely it is that our children won't mature into the kinds of autonomous adults who can prevent the equally horrific futures of The Handmaid's Tale. …” Newitz warns.


This was a nice antidote to the recent reminder that sci-fi was for too long interested exclusively in men.

Read more on IO9.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

  Slate Plus
Medical Examiner
March 27 2015 5:16 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Alison Griswold describes her experience reporting on the Germanwings tragedy.