Rendering Our Familiar Human Nature in a Strange World: Tactics for Speculative Fiction
Pitts, Amy Lapwing
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CitationPitts, Amy Lapwing. 2019. Rendering Our Familiar Human Nature in a Strange World: Tactics for Speculative Fiction. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis thesis is made up of two parts: a critical essay (I) and (II) three original linked short stories. The critical essay looks at two types of challenges I faced in writing the stories: tactics used by writers of speculative fiction to bring the reader into a strange world and at the same time maintain the focus on the characters whose struggles against this new environment belie their eternal human nature; and which futuristic aspects to develop of this speculative world.
The short stories are the first in a collection in progress called A Passing Breeze. They are set in mid-twenty-second century Massachusetts in a United States that has evolved into a matriarchy whose government and industries are led by female majorities. While some men make up a minority working in the public realm, their primary focus is the home and family. Gender-based social expectations have shifted places, changing the social dynamic between men and women. Women expect men to take care of the home and children, while men rely on women to be the primary breadwinners and to be the family’s resident expert and champion in any conflicts with the outside world. The subordination of men to women is enabled and perpetuated in part by an ongoing social campaign that persuades men to take a medication that lowers their testosterone levels, rendering that half of the populace less aggressive and less prone to violence. Women’s dominating role in business and industry is made possible by the off-loading of pregnancy to an artificial womb which has the secondary effect of making men equally able to care for babies and children as their wives, neither party being favored with the hormonal surge that a woman experiences when she gives birth.
The stories in this work examine the relationships of women to men in a few specific situations, including courtship, first year of a committed relationship, as well as a work place conflict between a male employee and his female boss.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004240