Ectogenesis and Representations of Future Motherings in Helen Sedgwick’s The Growing Season

  • Jessica Aliaga-Lavrijsen Universidad de Zaragoza


After the boom of feminist science fiction in the 1970s, many such novels have tackled the different sociocultural understandings of gender and sexual reproduction. Conventionally, patriarchal thinking tends to posit a biological explanation for gender inequality: women are supposed to be child bearers and the primary caregivers, whereas men should provide for the family through their work. However, if men could share procreation, would these views change? A recent work of fiction exploring this question from multiple perspectives is Helen Sedgwick’s The Growing Season (2017), a novel that presents a near future in which babies can be grown in artificial wombs that can be carried around. As an analysis of the novel will show, The Growing Season creatively explores the existing tensions among contemporary understandings of motherhood and feminism(s), as well as developments in reproductive biotechnology, through the different perspectives offered by the heterodiegetic third-person narration and multiple focalisation. Ultimately, the voices of the different characters in the novel convey a polyhedral vision of possible future feminist motherhood(s) where ideas of personal freedom and codependency are radically reconceptualised—a rethinking that becomes especially important nowadays, for the biotechnological elements of this fictional dystopia are already a reality.

Author Biography

Jessica Aliaga-Lavrijsen, Universidad de Zaragoza
Jessica Aliaga-Lavrijsen is Lecturer in the Department of English and German Philology at the University of Zaragoza. She obtained her PhD with a thesis on Scottish identity in the work of Brian McCabe (Peter Lang, 2013). Her research interests are contemporary Scottish fiction, trauma studies, contemporary science fiction, feminism and transmodernity, on which she has published extensively.


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