And the winners are: Rakkelle and justdar826! Thanks, everybody!
Female Planet is my second novel, and is set a few hundred years in the future where there are no men left, and it’s about what happens when a woman becomes pregnant with a male baby, the first time this has ever happened in this world.
I had the idea years ago when I was at a party and someone said in the future women won’t need men, who will become redundant. This got me thinking, and I kicked some ideas around for a while – and in 2014 I wrote a treatment for it, and then started a screenplay.
The writing stalled while I focussed on other film projects, and also completed my first novel, The Forest of Life. After The Forest of Life, I was thinking what I should write next – I wanted something very story-focussed, and a bit zeitgeisty so I settled on Female Planet.
It took just under a year to write and has only just come out now. I developed the ideas a lot further than I had in the treatment and I decided I didn’t want it to be naive utopian world. Although in the novel women had outbred men because they were sick of all the abuse, I’ve seen some women do absolutely despicable things to other women and I wanted that to inform it as well. So there’s a real depth and complexity to the world and the characters themselves. But the world and the book is actually about examining the role of men in society, as much as women, and it made me realise that the problems we are experiencing now aren’t so much about gender as they are about behaviour.
The two leads Sal and Jodie were fun to write because they were such distinct characters and had a real love for each other. I know it’s quite a hot topic – writing characters that are outside of your culture or experience – but I think if it’s done in the right way it’s a very good thing. The cornerstone of doing this in the right way is just respecting the people in their own right, and listening and learning from them. I drew in part on my experiences with friends who are lesbians, and things that community has been expressing in a broader way. But in the end I just wrote them as two human beings who love each other, which I think is actually the point. And if you can do this kind of thing well it’s a testament to our joint humanity and that we can become closer together, and have more of an understanding of each other.
All the pregnancy material was drawn out of experiences my wife and I had – we have four children and as a stay at home Dad I was very involved in every part of it, and most of that came from memory and a letter my wife wrote at the time as well.
The book is out now as a paperback and eBook through Amazon, and selected book stores in Australia are carrying it. 2 eBook copies are available as a giveaway through Women and Words.
Got that? If you’d like to be entered into a drawing for an ebook copy of Female Planet, let us know in the comments! Thanks! We’ll pick winners 9 PM EST Wednesday the 25th!
Alexander Scot McPhie is an Australian author, film maker and anthropology student.