The first manned Mars-mission plunges back onto Earth on March 13, 2054. The mission was a success, though spacewalker Veronica Vargas returns pregnant, which is a mystery to everybody, not the least to herself. Is one of the three male colleagues the father?
As the crew is released from quarantine, a silent pandemic begins to spread across the globe. Neither lives nor health are in danger, yet humankind and the society that it has built for centuries are threatened to be changed forever.
Will humanity descend into a dystopian future or rise to the ideals of a utopian society?
XX - The History of Mankind is an interesting sci-fi proposal by the German writer Eva Laurenson. A really ambitious idea whose execution is great, around the possibility of becoming extinct due to an illness that makes women clone themselves, eliminating the possibility of giving birth to male individuals.
The first expedition to Mars has returned to Earth; one of the female astronauts is mysteriously pregnant. While there are no data about who is the parent, as it is supposed to be among the crew of the mission; and when the public is aware of the news, the opinion gets divided between the extremes.
The reality is much more complicated, as a new virus has been spread among the crew, infecting the whole population in a matter of months. As a consequence, many women are experiencing pregnancies, but with a complicated condition: their new daughters are basically clones of themselves, meaning that at some point the population will lose the Y chromosome, leading to a population composed exclusively of female individuals. A small set of people seems to be immune.
While the plot is super interesting, I feel the pace around the central section becomes too slow, especially because it puts the spotlight more on the characters' individual lives. The dilemma shown by Laurenson about if freedom should be respected over the general interest is a great theme, and the setting works marvel at it.
With an open ending, I could see a sequel, as it could be continued with the utopia/dystopia created after the events in book one. A story with potential, and that makes me excited to see what more Laurenson is able to do.
I was born in Berlin, Germany. After studying agricultural sciences at the Humboldt University of Berlin, I studied and worked in the field of animal breeding and quantitative genetics in the Netherlands and Scotland. After earning a PhD, I moved to Australia in 2013, where I wrote and directed screenplays and short theater plays while continuing to work as a scientist.
In 2022, I am planning to move back to my hometown of Berlin as a full time writer.