Tick, Tick, Tick, Birth

Leni Zumas' Red Clocks has proven incredibly popular here at the library. If you want more like it, I have a few suggestions. 

First of all, let me spread the gospel of The Red Clocks. Told in the alternating voices of four interconnected women, it takes place in a near future where abortion is illegal and so is in-vitro fertilization. Single people will soon be unable to adopt and Canada will turn you away if you head there for alternatives. The centerpiece of the book is a trial where a homeopathic healer is accused of providing an abortifacient to an abusive man's wife, causing her injury. As grim as all this sounds, this lyrical novel upends plot expectations and ends on a note of hope. Definitely worth the wait.

P.D. James wrote The Children of Men back in the early 90s, but it seems to grow more relevant by the day. The youngest person was born in 1995, and 26 years later, he's killed in a bar brawl. Theo is a disaffected professor and relative to Great Britain's Warden, who forces immigrants to work in virtual slavery and encourages mass suicide by the old. Theo tries to remonstrate with his cousin, but soon turns to insurgency when it turns out one of his students is pregnant. Another dystopian novel to end on a hopeful note, James' book is also like The Red Clocks in that it is character driven, intricately plotted, and conveys a strong sense of place.

Continuing the fertility theme is Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock. This is not necessarily a dystopian novel, but people have to struggle with the implications of the swift advance of reproductive technology in this multigenerational tale. As science moves from IVF to truly single parents and remote gestation, children cope with the manner of their creation and parents wonder if they've made good choices for their offspring. Much as this compelling book deals with technology, it's really about relationships between humans.

Back to the dystopias, Tarry This Night by Kristyn Dunnion is a retelling of the story of Lillith. Ruth is a member of a literally underground cult that extracted her from the violence above ground. The leader is racist, misogynistic, and polygamous, and none of his children is considered to belong to any one woman. He also has his eye on Ruth as yet another conquest. Ruth has to decide what she wants and believes, and whether she is willing to face the consequences of her actions. Dunnion shares a dystopian view with her fellow Canadian Margaret Atwood, where women are the real victims of climate disaster. 

Have any more good books about reproduction in the future? Share them in the comments.