On Rebekah Sheldon’s The Child To Come

Do you hunger for rich and mend-bending yet principled and careful queer (non-)reproduction theory – something in the vein of Lee Edelman’s No Future, but more feminist? I’ve discovered a magical (literally: magic-oriented) thinker who is based in Bloomington, Indiana, and I’ve written about her book The Child to Come: Life After the Human Catastrophe. Pending its publication somewhere else, I’ve posted this short-ish essay on my Patreon page* … It’s titled Relinquish Mission Control: Queer Eco-Pessimism, Communist Magic, and Non-Nihilistic Non-Reproduction. Read it there; here’s the first paragraph.

child to come

As readers may recall, in Alfonso Cuarón heavily-theorised film adaptation of the PD James novel Children of Men (2006), probably the prime example of the Anthropocene-associated genre Rebekah Sheldon calls ‘sterility apocalypse’ (p.153), the UK government in the year 2027 is “hunting Fugees [refugees] like cockroaches” and mass-distributing suicide kits. Eighteen years have elapsed since the last baby on Earth was born, and that particular human (a global celebrity) has just been murdered. British nationals, free from the cages in which migrants are kept, lay wreaths for ‘Baby Diego’, sobbing and keening for the lost future, yet, as the protagonist Theo remarks meta-textually, “it was too late before the infertility thing happened, for fuck’s sake.” A couple of minutes later, the film again questions whether irrevocable, pre-given lostness really is the ultimate horror when, in the aftermath of a bomb attack, freedom-fighters slam a hood over Theo’s head: “You know that ringing in your ears, that eeeeeeeeeee? That’s the sound of the ear cells dying, like, their swan song. Once it’s gone you’ll never hear that frequency again! Enjoy it while it lasts!”

* thanks in advance for anything you can donate – albeit Venmo-ing me @Sophie-Lewis-8. is probably better, since it won’t incur a fee.

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