Welcome to this installment of the Stirrup Queens book tour! Per the rules of the tour, I’ve selected five questions from the list and you can see my answers below. To find the rest of the participating reviewers, go here. Now on with the show!
3. One of the story’s responses to mass infertility was that couples stopped having sex since there didn’t seem to be any point in it. How has IF affected your sex life with your partner? Did you have different experiences at different times along the way?
I’ll be honest: this was my question, and it was inspired by all of the different experiences infertile bloggers have described. Some couples seem to lose interest in sex when it becomes obvious that it won’t end up in a baby, and some seem to take more interest in it for the same reason.
For us, sex has always been important in and of itself. Manly could not care less whether or not it’s going to produce a baby or not; for him it’s having a connection with me that matters. For me, it’s more stressful. I’m the one who has to keep track of dates and when we NEED to, and when it doesn’t really matter if we do or don’t. I really do enjoy sex more when we’re not in the 2ww — and I’m not sure if that’s because of the hormones, or because of the stress of waiting. I think it’s more of the latter, because I was much less hung up over sex when we were taking a break over the holidays.
4. Do you think this was based on James’ own experiences with infertility? Also, what did you think of the fact that Julian was a religious person and became pregnant. Is religion her solution, as it were, to infertility? Which is probably two questions…
I do not think that this book was based on James’ personal experience with infertility. To me, the IF seemed to be a plot device more than anything else, a backdrop for the story about power. Part of the reason I believe this is because most of us who have gone through IF know how much it fucking hurts, how much pain is involved. The narrator, man or not, seemed to care less that HE Personally was infertile. And all of the craziness that went on in the book was attributed to women, women who weren’t actually infertile! I can’t believe that an entire planet full of men could have been so disassociated with their own problem.
I’ve talked earlier about my beliefs about IF and religion; you can find that entry here.
6. Would you be able to go through all that Julian went through in order to have her baby in peace and safety?
If I hadn’t gone through IF, I might have had the notion that having the ideal birth experience was worth anything to me. But now that I’ve had to go through doctors and nurses and drugs and ultrasounds and all the crap that comes along with IF, I just want a healthy baby, no matter what the birth experience ends up being like.
And if I was in Julian’s place, I would have milked that situation for all it was worth. Being the mother of the only baby on the planet? I guess I’m a selfish bitch, but I would have made damn sure that I got everything out of it that I could squeeze from the government, media, etc.
12. In speaking of Theo’s preparation to attend the Quietus, the author says, “It had been his habit all his life to devise small pleasures as palliatives to unpleasant duties.” Do you have any habits or coping mechanisms that have a soothing effect on days that you expect to be unpleasant?
Oh, yes! My favorite thing to do to make myself feel better is to go shopping after an unpleasant appointment. And it doesn’t have to be for clothes or jewelry; just going to the grocery store and picking out something to make my favorite dinner is calming. A lot of times I’ll go to the craft store, or through TJ Maxx or Target and just look. It’s not so much spending money that makes me feel better, as it is taking time by myself and doing something only for me. It’s enjoying the beauty of nice things and daydreaming about how I would put them together to show off their quality.
The other thing that I indulge with is a mocha from Starbucks. They are so rich and so overpriced that I have trouble just going out and buying one for no reason. But as an occasional treat, they’re perfect.
13. Once Rolf discovers the truth about his child, in his anguish, he rubs his skin raw against the bark of a tree. Do you think he is mourning his wife’s adulturous affair or his new-found knowledge of his own infertility (since he thought he had impregnanted his wife)?
I don’t think he was mourning either of those. I think he had already planned ahead to how much power he was going to have as the only fertile male on the planet and was in anguish over losing that power (even though he never actually had it).
Now I’m going to add another question for discussion because I forgot about it when I sent Mel my original question. In the book, there was absolutely no mention of using cloning as a way to save the human race. Despite all the moral objections to the practice of cloning humans, do you think that it would be allowed if there was no other way to save the human species or would it still be considered an “abomination”?
Edited to add: I got to thinking about cloning after reading the sci-fi short story Houston, Houston, Do You Read? by James Tiptree, Jr. (whose real name was Alice Sheldon). Written in 1976, it is another story about universal male infertility — but the human race saves itself by cloning females. A very good comparative read for Children of Men if you can find it, and only about 50 pages long.