So I’m working on a large scope sci-fi work. In the back-story, a sub-light ark ship was sent out into the stars to colonise new worlds (same old, same old, you’ve read it a million times). Been working on this for a while, but last night it occurred to me that gender balance might be a real issue. say you’ve got 20,000 slots, wouldn’t it make sense to have 80-90% of those reserved for fertile women? Yes, you take the intellectual cream, but most of those could still be women in their fields. Top up the ship with massive amounts of stored data and some frozen sperm, and you’ve got all the knowledge you need and you almost double the genetic variation available for your first generation of colonists. Also, the natural womb is pretty efficient when it comes to nutrient and power consumption. What then becomes of that first generation of colonists? What sort of culture shifts are we looking at?
Do the males rise to power through that testosterone-fuelled need to compete? Are they relegated to Inara style companion status due to their value as a commodity, while the women make all the important decisions?
Then the second question that comes to mind is what happens in the next generation? Does the gender balance reassert itself, or are male births artificially suppressed?
So there’s the hypothetical question for today.
Your in-utero bay has all the genes that suggest they are going to be gay. (see article). You have access to the funds and technology to make genetic changes. Question: Do you ‘fix’ (yes I know fix is a loaded word) this. Do parents have the right to determine the sexuality, or even the sex, of their children? The child will naturally develop along pre-determined genetic dispositions, whether they are the original set or the modified set. So the child growing up is unlikely to ever regret being ‘forced’ into that role, societal pressures aside.
More importantly, if this sort of modification becomes cheap and easy is it likely to be adopted by Society. Would well-meaning parents effectively eliminate naturally occurring minority sexual orientations, or would the practice become socially abhorrent and be restricted to black-market clinics.
The question is especially interesting to me because I’m working on a SF world setting where genetic manipulation and organic technology has basically replaced a lot of solid-state technology.
Comments more than welcome…