The Male Clock: A Futuristic Novel about a Fertility Crisis, Gender Politics, and Identity
In today’s world where the public is increasingly aware of the potential for bioterrorism, The Male Clock bridges the divide between science fiction and social science while attending to concerns relevant to the reproductive and biological sciences.
Our futuristic story, set primarily in the years 2034-2042, taps into the suffering and anxiety that result from terrorist acts. The plot focuses on an international fertility crisis unleashed by the debilitating virus, SGEV (Spermatogonia Eliminating Virus). SGEV affects the world more profoundly than the plagues of the Middle Ages, the wars of the past century, and the terrorists’ assaults on the United States in 2001—only this time it isn’t the number of dead that matters, but the number who will never be born.
I hope readers are compelled to imagine how they would react to a dire set of circumstances that creates a radically new sexual politics, severely constrains personal options to procreate, and compromises the fecundity of the world’s population.
My intrigue with this topic is anchored to my three decades of professional experience as a sociologist. Throughout my career, I’ve used a social psychological perspective to study family and gender issues, with a keen eye on themes related to men, masculinities, male reproductive health, and fathering.
For decades, my academic curiosity has pushed me to think in fresh ways about what I call the “procreative realm.” This broad area represents individuals’ diverse experiences with pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, fertility/infertility, assisted reproductive technologies, and contraception. In the early 1990s, my principle objective was to develop a conceptual map of men’s procreative consciousness, which represents their cognitive orientation toward, and emotional sensibilities associated with, the self-perceived ability or inability to procreate. When and how do men develop their procreative consciousness? How do men think about and react to their understanding that they can or cannot create human life? How are sexual partners implicated in the ways men express their procreative consciousness? How does seeing a sonogram of a fetus influence prospective fathers’ procreative identity? What types of personal turning points fundamentally change how men think about themselves as persons who are capable or incapable of creating human life? I’ve examined both procreative (e.g., pregnancy scare, abortion, miscarriage) as well as nonprocreative (e.g., father’s death, health problem, job loss, new career) turning points in men’s lives.
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