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Aliens, abortion and baby machines: HG Wells & John Wyndham
Woman's Hour ran a fascinating interview today with novelist Kishwar Desai, about India's burgeoning surrogate baby industry. Her exploration of this massive business (an estimated 20,000 babies produced each year) seems to differ from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale only in that she is chronicling a dystopia that already exists. This piece is updated since it appeared last week in The Big Issue, exploring the connection between science fiction, political and market forces and women's fertility. Why does some science fiction still chill and engage us while other works are obsolete almost before they are finished? Take two tales of aliens landing on the village green and, after an eery silence, wreaking havoc on Middle England. HG Wells' 1898 novel, The War of The Worlds, sees Martians landing on Horsell Common in perfectly-evoked late Victorian Surrey. What is timeless and haunting is the horror of humans finding themselves puny against cold and ruthless invading forces,