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woman who reads too much

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05:47 pm: eugenics in SF
[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.

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[User Picture]
Date:January 23rd, 2016 03:26 pm (UTC)
I don't have a good sense of whether this happened more in books by women because I read more books by women, but I would not be surprised because it tended to be a "solution" to the problem of men taking over everything and fucking up the world, which was not a theme that most men were interested in exploring (other than that guy who created Wonder Woman).

It started much earlier than the 70s. Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, was published in 1915 and prominently features eugenics. Not only is there parthenogenesis and no male births, but the state controls the number of kids each individual woman is allowed to have. If a woman is deemed unfit, she's not allowed to have any, and if she defies the order and has one anyway, her kid is taken away from her. Of course everyone's mysteriously white even though they live in South (or is it Central?) America.

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