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[personal profile] boxofdelights
[personal profile] lightreads reread Children of Morrow and Treasures of Morrow by H.M. Hoover, and I commented
There was a time when eugenics was all over SF written by women. And I was reading SF during that time, but I was a kid, and didn't notice it.

I am curious about it now, and I wonder:

What time period was that, exactly? [I'm thinking of the seventies]
Is my sense that it was more common in books by women than by men correct? If so, why?
What were they thinking?
Why did it stop?

Would you say that these are books I should include if I make an investigation of the phenomenon?


Can you think of any books I should include if I want to take a broad look at eugenics in SF? When I say eugenics I mean an attempt to improve the human race through selective breeding, not genetic engineering. And for this I'm not interested in books about breeding for The Perfect Child that has been foretold unto us, who will save the world; that trope is also creepy, but different.

Date: 2016-01-19 01:32 am (UTC)
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
From: [personal profile] sonia
My first thought for eugenics in SF is Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love," etc.

My sense for women's SF eugenics is breeding for psychic powers, Anne McCaffery for one.

I'll be very interested to see what you find!

Date: 2016-01-19 01:47 am (UTC)
ignipes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ignipes
I'm thinking of various sex-segregated post-apocalyptic sci fi novels of the 80s, like The Gate to Women's Country or The Shore of Women. I would agree with your impression that there was definitely a theme in woman-authored sci fi about selective/controlled breeding.

Date: 2016-01-19 02:08 am (UTC)
rivkat: Rivka as Wonder Woman (Default)
From: [personal profile] rivkat
Suzette Haden Elgin, which became increasingly creepier to me over time.

Date: 2016-01-19 10:25 am (UTC)
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
From: [personal profile] oursin
As I recall - it's years since I read the Native Tongue series - the Linguists were selectively breeding for communication skills, but I didn't think this was particularly authorially approved. Unlike pretty much anything by Sheri Tepper.

Date: 2016-01-19 04:15 am (UTC)
skygiants: the princes from Into the Woods, singing (agony)
From: [personal profile] skygiants
Jesus God, Sheri Tepper, who is STILL PROMOTING EUGENICS TODAY.

Date: 2016-01-19 05:06 am (UTC)
kathmandu: Genre Cooties sketch from the Ursula LeGuin 'genre zombie' incident. (Genre Cooties)
From: [personal profile] kathmandu
Darkover, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The Comyn, I think it was, bred for psionics.

Date: 2016-01-19 10:22 am (UTC)
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
From: [personal profile] oursin
Alexai Panshin's Rite of Passage implies that some fairly subtle eugenics is going on in the starship population - I think the narrator Mia does actually mention the ship's eugenicist at one point, but she and Jimmy are brought together in hopes they will reproduce together rather than told they must.

Naomi Mitchison's Solution Three (1975) (and to a lesser extent Memoirs of a Spacewoman, 1962) rather problematise the issue of 'breeding the best' - but Mitchison (b. 1897, sister of the communist geneticist JBS Haldane) had a long and complex history with reproductive politics, feminism, socialism, etc (I really must try and get the article I wrote on this published somewhere!).
Edited Date: 2016-01-19 10:26 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-01-19 12:44 pm (UTC)
futuransky: sepia-toned pen and ink drawing of bookshelves with owls (owl bookshelf)
From: [personal profile] futuransky
I have a chapter on the early twentieth-century history of this in my academic book, which will hopefully come out in 2017... One of the texts I wrote about, New Amazonia by Elizabeth Burgoyne Corbett, came out from Aqueduct in 2013 with an introduction you might find interesting for background. http://www.aqueductpress.com/books/978-1-61976-048-6.php

Date: 2016-01-19 08:17 pm (UTC)
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
From: [personal profile] oursin
Oh, this reminds me to mention Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland!

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