At Wired, this post: How Hard Could It Be to Repopulate the Planet?
IN THE 1950S many science fiction writers explored the idea of a global disaster that leaves behind only a single man and woman, who would then have to carry on the human race. According to science fiction editor Gordon Van Gelder, a popular variant of this idea featured a twist ending in which the last man and woman turn out to be Adam and Eve.
“It was one of those stories that science fiction would lend itself to so readily, and newbies would be drawn to it, like ants going to a sugar cube,” Van Gelder says in Episode 308 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.
The idea became so overused that magazines would specifically prohibit writers from submitting “Adam and Eve stories.” And while such stories would remain the bane of science fiction editors for decades, the theme of repopulation also produced a number of interesting thought experiments, many of which Van Gelder collected in his recent book Go Forth and Multiply.
Interesting! Also, a fun idea for a book.
Go Forth and Multiply came out last summer. It appears to be available only as a physical book, which seems like a peculiar decision. Perhaps there was some issue with copyrights or something?
Here’s what Amazon’s description says:
There was a time when science fiction magazines abounded with tales of repopulating a planet. Brave (well, sometimes they were brave) men and women teamed up in great acts of self-sacrifice to save humanity. These stories fell out of fashion over time, but now this volume collects a dozen of the finest – and a fine batch they are! ‘Mother to the World,’ Richard Wilson’s award-winning novella about the last man and woman on Earth. ‘No Land of Nod’ by Sherwood Springer, perhaps the paradigm of the repopulation story. ‘Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang’ by Kate Wilhelm, a classic of repopulation through cloning. ‘The Queen Bee’ by Randall Garrett, one of the most controversial stories ever published in the SF genre. Other contributors to the book include Poul Anderson, Marion Zimmer Bradley and John Jay Wells, John Brunner, Rex Jatko, Alice Eleanor Jones, Damon Knight, Robert Sheckley, and E. C. Tubb. Some of these stories are classics, others have never before been reprinted. Combined, they make for a great reading experience and a fascinating look at a compelling subgenre
I actually have Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang on my TBR shelves. The others, I don’t know. I’m curious about “The Queen Bee” now, though.