This dissertation will attempt to highlight varying prophecies of the future of reproduction and what this will mean to society. From the extremes of cloning to the commonplace In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) the moral implications will be explored and their fictional counterparts investigated. It is common knowledge that dystopian fictions, and often all speculative fiction, reflect the societal fears of the time of writing. Due to this the key texts used must be treated from different angles, the nineteen thirties’ Brave New World has had many of it’s ideas established within science and technology, however, Huoellebecq’s Possibility of an Island from year 2000 is yet to have had time for it’s ideas to materialise.
The first chapter focuses on Brave New World, a book synonymous with the ideas of IVF as well as many other revolutionary ideas. The underlying theme of this novel is humans as commodities and the loss of individuality, epitomised by the worship of Henry T Ford as the creator of mass production. Huxley’s background is quintessential to the success of his writing as he was integrated in the cultures of both science and literature, thus proving to give his work more integrity than many speculative authors at the time. Haldane was a scientist associate of Huxley and his predictions, considered extreme at the time, were essential for the creation of Brave New World. The key areas of research for this chapter are IVF, human conditioning, eugenics and government control. Most of the ideas from Brave New World have evolved in some form through history to present day, some positively and some in ways which cause unimaginable grief.
The second chapter addresses more technological matters of human reproduction in Huoellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island. The key idea in this chapter is the issue of cloning and whether it is the natural evolution of man or unnatural intervention. J.D Bernal’s theory of the three stages of man is essential to this human progression. This dystopian novel focuses on the loss of human individuality and interaction provided by the redundancy of physical reproduction. The reality of cloning is something not yet seen in humans but is in the foreseeable future. This chapter also examines the more tangible issue of gene therapy. The most prolific argument surrounding this method is the loss of belonging and identity of those who are subjects. The chapter ultimately questions how long human experimentation can continue until it goes too far and those created are more like specimens than the children they are intended to be.
The final chapter takes a look at the more realistic threats to reproduction and society, through viewing population and fertility. The novels The Children of Men and The Handmaid’s Tale provide an insight into possible futures if fertility drastically reduces. Both of them provide alternatives to childbirth which represent adoption and surrogacy within modern society. This chapter also explores what society may face if nothing is altered within reproduction and population continues to increase exponentially. These novels are both written by female authors and allow the examination of women in the process of reproductive technologies. Is it possible that there will become a time when the woman is simply a vessel to provide a child?
This dissertation aims to provide a comprehensive comparison between fiction and reality in speculative writing. What is the future for reproductive technologies and what will their implications mean for the human race?