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Title: “Dread of the masses” : infertility in science fiction due to off-planet population control and as an occupational requirement
Authors: Grech, Victor E.
Vassallo, Clare
Callus, Ivan
Keywords: Infertility -- Fiction
Birth control
Infertility, Female, in literature
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Science Fiction Research Association
Citation: Grech, V. E., Vassallo, C., & Callus, I. (2017). “Dread of the masses” : infertility in science fiction due to off-planet population control and as an occupational requirement. SFRA Review, 320, 4-9.
Abstract: INFERTILITY IS COMMON, and it is estimated that the number of couples in developed countries with infertility will double within a decade, from one in seven today to one in three in ten years’ time. The reasons for this increase are legion and the most important include rising age at first attempt at pregnancy when fertility has already naturally declined, an increase in sexually transmitted diseases which damage the reproductive organs, a substantial increase in the general population’s level of obesity, which is known to adversely affect fertility, and a declining level of male sperm count and overall sperm quality. Infertility in Sci-Fi is too vast a subject to tackle in any reasonable length, and therefore this paper will focus on the intersection of infertility imposed on spaceships and extra-terrestrial bases and infertility as an occupational requirement. This paper will attempt a comprehensive reading of such narratives and all narrative forms will be entertained. Limitations of space will therefore preclude any more than a brief synopsis of each narrative. This study will also have an interdisciplinary slant as the author is a medical doctor who will also highlight scientific implausibilities that exceed acceptable poetic license since Sci-Fi “was, or should be, integral to scientific thought and research, […] judged on those grounds, and not on merely literary ones: or, one might say, not on literary grounds at all”.
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