Actually, SUNDRY DAYS are not here again. Maybe happy days are here again. At least, for me. My novel SUNDRY DAYS, at long last, is a fait accompli — a done deed. Want to know what happens when the female birth rate plummets and every woman must marry multiple husbands? Check it out on Amazon SUNDRY DAYS.
It could happen! It may already be happening. At least in China. I just read a recent article by Robert Foyle Hunwick in The Atlantic about how the shortage of females is already taking its toll men wanting to marry.
Hunwick writes: “For many men, permanent bachelorhood is not a hypothetical fear, but a real danger. Chinese parents have long prized male heirs, and the one-child policy, recently abolished after 35 years, led many parents to abort female fetuses. According to one estimate, the country will by 2020 have at least 24 million “surplus” men ages 20 to 45.”
In other news, SUNDRY DAYS is now completely done, edited, etc. The big question is, what do I do now?
I’m thinking of re-reading Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I read it when it was first published in the mid-80s, and then probably ten years later. It’s a feminist novel set in the near future. It’s what might happen if the United States became a theocracy, and women were subjugated.
I remember that the protagonist Offred (she was “of fred” because she belonged to the Commander whose name was Fred) was valued because she was fertile. Infertility was a major problem.
In Sundry Days, the problem is not infertility, but the fact that girls have become rare.
I’ve read that Atwood didn’t like her novel being categorized as science fiction. I’ve also seen it referred to as “literary science fiction.” But I don’t think Margaret would be happy with that, either.
I think of it as a “what if” novel.
Sundry Days is a “what if” novel, too. But I’m fine with science fiction, speculative fiction, anything, really.
So…I’m about a third of the way writing Sundry Days.
What kind of a novel is it? Hard to say. Science Fiction? Maybe. It’s set 600 years in the future. I chose that jump in time because that’s what Aldous Huxely did with “Brave New World,” and if it worked for him, maybe it can work for me. Aldous and I are so alike in so many ways.
I also have a superb beta reader. He spends much of his time navigating the finite, but he has also graciously agreed to provide feedback on Sundry Days chapter by chapter. Plus, he knows lots of things I don’t know. Like how things work, and how they might work 600 years from now in a world with considerably less land mass and technology, but enough hydro power to provide the basics.
Sundry Days, though, is not your typical Sci-Fi or fantasy novel.
In the world of Sundry Days, girls are rare. So rare, in fact, that women have to marry five or more husbands each, just to keep men reasonably content. That’s polyandry. Doesn’t sound so bad, you say? Well, you try satisfying five husbands.
More than anything, I think, Sundry Days is a love story. The two young protagonists are determined to mate only with each other. Which is a shocking thing in their society. They make their parents crazy. They try to escape to parts unknown, where monogamy may still exist. They have adventures. But not really sic-fi adventures. More like coming of age adventures.
I just read the wonderful novel “The Pearl that Broke Its Shell” by Nadia Hashimi. It’s set in Afghanistan in modern times (you should excuse the expression) and also a century ago. It follows two young women who had the misfortune of being born female in that country, where nothing much has changed gender-wise in more than a hundred years. People pray that their babies will be born male, because only boys are valued.
The thing is, from what I gather, people in most societies would much prefer having boy babies. Not everyone, of course. And not everywhere. But even here, in the United States, the majority of first time fathers-to-be (in a survey I’ll site in a future post) admit that they’d prefer having a boy baby. So… I got to wondering as I began work on a novel of my own. Suppose that for some reason (I’ll work out the details later) in a land and time that exists only in my imagination, it became a very rare occurrence for girls to be born.
How would men deal with the severe shortage of women? Would females become more valued and treated as precious commodities? Or would they be subject to greater abuse and subjugation? And what about the population as a whole? The birth rate would continue to diminish, and if only boys were born, how would the society continue to exist?
This is my first post. I’m very new to blogging, as I’m sure you’ve already surmised. I’ll be back soon with other thoughts.