Gene Thieves – Misogyny in Sci-Fi
A warning post, in case anyone feminist-minded, is accidentally sucked in to reading this.
The sci-fi thriller ‘Gene Thieves’ by Maria Quinn is being hailed in book reviewer circles, including in the Lawyers Weekly.
I could not get past page 70-something after the surrogate mother is killed, because the woman-hating misogyny was so depressing. A near-future world where women are still nothing but pornified fucktoys, air-headed bimbos and walking incubators. And of course, all the men are Heros – with a capital H – (especially the lawyers).
My only excuse for picking it up was the blurb synopsis sounded interesting.
In this future world, marriage has long gone, and replaced by Conjugal Contracts for up to 5 years. Few people have their own children, other than the desperately poor, and the use of surrogacy through IVF is common, by singles or couples under contract. Surrogate women are paid very well for their services. It is common for young women to undertake a surrogacy contract to obtain their own ‘Nest Egg’.
Dr Mitchell “Piggy” Brown, is a lonely genetic scientist who strikes it rich and desperately wants a child, but somewhat different, as he wants to use an embryo from his own parents eggs and sperm. Not quite legal, he turns to a lawyer, “Dancer” for help. Dancer recognises Piggy from boyhood school days as a boy taunted for his unfortunate looks, where the nickname Piggy comes from. In guilt for his childhood bullying, Dancer agrees to help.
Dancer turns to ‘The Nest’, the official centre for surrogates, and obtains the service of a surrogate who wont ask too many questions about the baby she will be incubating for Piggy, and ends up with Angela, who comes with a 6-year old daughter, Molly.
The book then turns into a crime thriller, many of the characters have secrets within secrets, and Angela is murdered, the baby boy is kidnapped for ransom by a multinational pharmaceutical company cartel, as Piggy Brown has discovered the secret of the genetic ‘fountain of youth’, the immortality gene. Dancer and Piggy are joined by Jack Lee, Chief Investigator for the UN Ethical Science Council – and our Holy Trinity of squeaky-clean angelic male Heros is complete – as the blurb says so dramatically: “Jack has to take charge of the case – for the sake of humanity’s future”
While the book is being lauded for its exploration of “ethics”, the ethics of female-subordination and exploitation is never questioned, indeed it is extended and improved upon.
For example, Marina, Dancer’s current Conjugal Contract “wife” is the resident psychiatrist at The Nest, and is an unprofessional pornified fucktoy, responsible for the “mental health” of the surrogates. At one point she calls Angela “a cow of a mother” and discusses her personal opinions about her surrogate clients at home in bed with Dancer – how’s that for professional ethics? Indeed, everybody hates Angela, she’s not very pretty for a start. Piggy Brown is not very pretty either, obviously, but everybody feels sorry for him.
Since Angela is such a terrible mother (not that we see any real evidence of this), cute little Molly forms a loving bond with Piggy, to become her “dad”.
There are many comments about how some couples are so fussy that the surrogate must look pretty and be well-educated. Some say, they dont understand, its just the uterus, doesn’t matter if she’s mentally retarded, fat and ugly.
All the women put men first before children (a few put sons first – but never daughters – if no man around), but Angela is hated because she puts herself first before children or men, and is presented as a rare psychotic syndrome.
The male characters are either fucking women left, right and centre and giggling about it, or are found pontificating in poetic drama about their sainted dead mothers, and Dancer is heartbroken and devastated when he finds out his mother did something illegal before she died. Or, they are bonding with each other in deep personal friendships. Whereas the women all hate each other, and act petty and spiteful. Both Dancer and his male partner in the law firm, have children without mothers in the picture – Dancer has a 16-year-old daughter Daisy who is an air-headed teen bimbo worrying about her toe-nail colour. The message is loud and clear, men are the best parents and mothers should just fuck off and/or die.
There are hints with the crime thriller theme, that one of the undercover operatives of the multinationals is a big muscled butch dyke. When Angela is violently murdered during labour giving birth to Piggy’s genetic brother, NOBODY gives a stuff – she is not considered human. It was not even considered much of a crime by the major characters. (She was insane anyway).
Thats when I had to throw the book away as I couldn’t tolerate it anymore.