Table of Contents | 31 July 2023
The Childbearing Special Issue
An issue about agency, luck, vegetables, gods, bodies, and aliens.
The taste of dirt coats the back of her throat, sticky soil and nutrient-dense mud grit in her teeth like blackberry seeds. Aileen does not remember when she last ate a meal to satisfy her own hunger, so all she feels is the dirt clotting her tongue and esophagus. After swallowing the teeth that were not hers, she drank a jar of water and yet the rot of soil still clings to her mouth.
In the middle of the woods there is a run-down house of wood and stone and inside of it lives a little God of six. He has an early bedtime, a stuffed bear named Mingus, and a tiny hand mirror decorated with plastic rubies. At night, instead of sleeping, he bargains with his future.
Up in the hills, where the green shadows grow long, and far from all the student protests in San Juan, Gloria and her husband, Pedro, lived in a tiny house. An almost perfect square of concrete in the center of a space carved out of the surrounding jungle, their closest neighbors nearly a mile away.
a blackened spot dragging along the peripheral of my eye
our tentacles soft against the floor of the ship
A thousand years ago, come to think of it, my mother would have been a mountain or a hill.
A woman knows what it means to have her body disassembled and put back together the wrong way.
Given SF’s reputation as the gold standard for portrayals of reproduction, it is surprising to realize that science fiction as a genre contains almost no abortions at all. Yes, there are metaphors for abortion (Alien); yes, there are a plethora of novels that explore abortion bans (Annalee Newitz, The Future of Another Timeline); yes, there are dozens of works exploring forced birth (Octavia Butler, Dawn). But the act of abortion itself? It’s nearly nonexistent. If politicians decided to censor the portrayal of abortion in the media, science fiction would emerge nearly untouched. 
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