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Same OldQueer Theory, Literature and the Politics of Sameness$
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Ben Nichols

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526132833

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526132840

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

Reproductive

Reproductive

Chapter:
(p.75) 2 Reproductive
Source:
Same Old
Author(s):

Ben Nichols

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526132840.00006

This chapter examines lesbian feminist speculative fiction from across the twentieth century in order to reconsider queer theory’s widespread rejection of reproduction, particularly in the wake of Lee Edelman's critique of 'reproductive futurism’. In queer theory, reproduction often signifies as simply a dreary and repetitive commitment to more of the same thing, and is frequently linked intrinsically, in any form, to a dominant and conservative heteronormative order. However, the fiction that this chapter addresses demonstrates the value to queer worlds of biological, social and cultural reproduction. In novels ranging from Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland (1915) to Joanna Russ's The Female Man (1975), to Suzy McKee Charnas's Motherlines (1978) to Sally Miller Gearhart's The Wanderground (1979) to Nicola Griffith's Ammonite (1993), the women-only lesbian worlds presented are structured around forms of reproduction – both biological and social copying (sometimes literalised in the form of human cloning) – that are none the less in no way heteronormative or even heterosexual. Moreover, these novels dramatise the importance of structures for reproduction – for keeping things the same – especially where the conditions being reproduced are the result of minoritarian struggle.

Keywords:   feminist speculative fiction, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Joanna Russ, Suzy McKee Charnas, Sally Miller Gearhart, Nicola Griffith, reproduction, Lee Edelman, reproductive futurism

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