Children of Men

Children of Men Reproduction in Science Fiction

In addition to Children of Men, many other science fiction books and films are concerned with the phenomenon of human reproduction. These pieces focus on a number of themes within this larger category, including, in many cases, large-scale infertility. This focus calls to attention many of the social, political, and biological consequences of reproduction, a phenomenon so natural to us that we rarely look at it through a critical lens.

Many of these works explore alternative means of reproduction—concepts like in vitro fertilization or genetic engineering—and the implications of such technology. Brave New World, a famous dystopian novel by Alduous Huxley with numerous existing movie adaptations, is set in the future when developments in reproductive technology have allowed humans to abolish natural reproduction entirely, instead breeding children and raising embryos artificially. Works like these often question the ethics of employing such methods, and what humanity loses through the absence of reproduction.

A subset of this theme is cloning, which is an additional way to disturb the process of natural reproduction. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro centers on the idea of breeding clones for the sole purpose of organ donation. Again, this questions the ethics of such a process as well as how high a value to place on individuality.

Reproductive themes have also called into question gender politics, as, in many cases, governments take control of a female's body and pregnancy in works such as The Handmaid's Tale and The Giver. These draw attention to the importance of female autonomy while highlighting other forms of oppression that women may face at the hands of a controlling society.