The best science fiction books exploring societal control of the human body

Who am I?

I’ve always had a passion for story-telling, particularly when it involves a moral tale, or a strong moral theme. After a successful career in science and engineering, spanning more than three decades, I left the corporate world to make stringed instruments and to write fiction and non-fiction. I wrote my first novel, An Accident of Birth, after reading a scientific study showing a generation-on-generation decline in male fertility. My second novel is the space opera, Galactic Alliance: Betrayal, and I’ve written a non-fiction reference book Brass and Glass: Optical Instruments and Their Makers. I live in Kent, England with my wife, Margo, and our cat.


I wrote...

An Accident of Birth

By Tony Benson,

Book cover of An Accident of Birth

What is my book about?

Twenty-year-old Francesca was born with a rare gift – fertility. The government imprisons her and forces her to breed children for the infertile masses. She has waited four long years for her boyfriend Dominic to rescue her. Now desperate, he hires a black-market rescuer, Baron Craig Drake, a fertile who has escaped the government's clutches and thrives on exploiting others. Unbeknownst to Dominic, Drake has his own plans for Francesca. When Dominic attempts to free her from the government's prison, he finds himself struggling to keep her from becoming another victim of the ruthless Baron… and to free the woman he loves once and for all.

The books I picked & why

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The Children of Men

By P. D. James,

Book cover of The Children of Men

Why this book?

Written in P.D. James’ inimitable style this is, nonetheless, quite unlike her crime fiction. The fertility of men has plummeted to zero, and this dystopian classic explores the political and social response now that humanity’s last generation has already been born. Society’s response is political apathy, resulting in an autocratic government with enforced male fertility tests and female gynecological tests. Non-elite people over 60 are expected to commit suicide, and some are forced to do so, or be murdered. This is the story of a struggle against oppression, and the human toll of that struggle.

The Children of Men

By P. D. James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Children of Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Told with P. D. James's trademark suspense, insightful characterization, and riveting storytelling, The Children of Men is a story of a world with no children and no future. The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and…

The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood,

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

Why this book?

Although Margaret Atwood’s story has been adapted for TV, this book is still an important and gripping read about the extremes of a patriarchal society in which women are treated as second-class citizens and worse. There are few fertile women left, and an oppressive regime forces fertile women to bear children for the elite men. The main character, Offred, is one such woman. An underground resistance network aims to overthrow the government, but punishments for transgressions are severe. This is a story of survival, hope, and helplessness.

The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Handmaid's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** THE SUNDAY TIMES NO. 1 BESTSELLER **
**A BBC BETWEEN COVERS BIG JUBILEE READ**

Go back to where it all began with the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it' Guardian

I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford -…


Implosion

By D. F. Jones,

Book cover of Implosion

Why this book?

Published in the 1960s, this is the earliest book on my list, and the storytelling will keep you hooked. A biological attack on Britain renders most people infertile. Fertile women are kept in camps where they are forced to breed. When the minister of health discovers that his wife is fertile, he is faced with a dilemma. The story is about how his approach to this dilemma shows shows the character of the man, and how his wife hardens to her situation and finds her strength. The end comes with some unexpected twists.

Implosion

By D. F. Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Implosion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Breeding machines and fertility camps.

When a foreign power puts a sterility drug in Britain's reservoirs, the result is all too predictable.

The birth-rate plummets and the country's future looks bleak. There is only one way to save the nation; all women with a natural immunity to the drug must be placed in special camps where they can be bred from like prize cattle.

They must be given special hormone treatment and artificial insemination so that they can produce triplets, quads, quins time after time until they die of exhaustion.

They must become Nation Mums, the sole hope of a…


Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang

By Kate Wilhelm,

Book cover of Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang

Why this book?

In this tale, the world is in post-apocalyptic decline, and human fertility has collapsed to zero. A family set up a cloning facility, hoping to overcome the odds and produce a fertile population. The clones, once mature, have other ideas. They take over the facility and marginalise the non-clones. Only rarely is a fertile clone produced, and they are kept as ‘breeders’. As the story progresses, the desire of a naturally born individual for self-determination, and conflicting values between individual and clone, lead to a tension that cannot go unresolved. The storytelling cleverly slips between omniscient in the scenes with the clones, and third person in the scenes with the individual characters.

Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang

By Kate Wilhelm,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sumner family can read the signs: the droughts and floods, the blighted crops, the shortages, the rampant diseases and plagues, and, above all, the increasing sterility all point to one thing. Their isolated farm in the Appalachian Mountains gives them the ideal place to survive the coming breakdown, and their wealth and know-how gives them the means. Men and women must clone themselves for humanity to survive. But what then?

Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Book cover of Never Let Me Go

Why this book?

This is a whole different take on human cloning. Never Let Me Go depicts a world in which people are cloned to create organ donors for the sick, necessarily limiting the lifespan of the clones. It is the story of the passions, relationships, and emotions of the clones and their attempts to delay their fate. As with any book by Kazuo Ishiguro, this is beautifully written, and an insightful study of human nature.

Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Never Let Me Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most acclaimed novels of the 21st Century, from the Nobel Prize-winning author

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense…

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