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.



This essay of mine was published at The New Inquiry two months ago. Better late than never to log it on my blog, right? It’s called AMNIOTECHNICS, which is the name of the concept I’d like to explore in a book.

Amniotechnics is the art of holding and caring even while being ripped into, at the same time as being held. It is protecting water and protecting people from water. I want a generalized praxis of this, which doesn’t forget the importance of holding mothers and thwarted mothers and, yes, even wannabe “single fathers,” afloat in the juice; breathing but hydrated; well-watered but dry. I hope it is possible even for fantasists of ectogenetic progeny, like Frankenstein, who have dreamed of a birth unsullied by a womb, to become capable amniotechnicians in time. Their worldviews may not hold water, but I think they too have to be held. It is possible for any of us to learn that it is the holders—not the delusional “authors,” self-replicators and “patenters”—who truly people the world. “Water management” may sound unexciting, but I suspect it contains the secrets to the kinmaking practices of the future.


If this grabs you, go read the rest of it over at TNI, email or tweet at me with your thoughts and criticisms, and watch this space for a longer version.