This introduction to fictional “fertility dystopias” presents literary examples of the rapid expansion or collapse of populations through the manipulation of fertility or the fraught inability or decision not to. Additionally, these fictions are periodized with their extraliterary social contexts, revealing roughly three intervals: pronatalism dominant before the 1950s, antinatalism ascendant from the 1950s to the early 1970s, and, beginning in the middle 1970s to the present, contestation between pronatalism and antinatalism. Despite the ascendance of antinatalism, fertility dystopias in the middle interval reveal antinatalist assumptions but with accompanying anxiety rather than complete endorsement. Today, tracking with global variations in local fertility rates and development levels, both antinatalist and pronatalist messages are expressed with equal vigor.

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