A little-known gem of utopian/dystopian fiction published in 1919 tells
the story of a eugenically engineered society of the future.
It is the year 2218. In "Villautopia," the capital of a Central American nation, the
state selects young, biologically desirable citizens to act as breeders. Embryos
are implanted in males to increase a flagging population rate, and the offspring
are raised in state facilities until old enough to choose their own, nonnuclear
families. Sterilization of children with mental or physical abnormalities further
ensures the purity of the gene pool.
Written two years before Yevgeny Zamyatin's We and twelve years before
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Eugenia recounts the story of Ernesto, who at age twenty-three is selected as a breeder. Celiana, his thirty-eight-year-old lover
and an accomplished scholar, is deemed unfit for reproduction. To cope with
her feelings of guilt and hopelessness, she increasingly turns to marijuana, and
her scholarly productivity declines. Meanwhile Ernesto falls in love with a fellow
breeder, a young woman named Eugenia—but the life they ultimately choose is
not quite what the state had envisioned.
Taking up important challenges of modern society—population growth,
reproductive behavior and technologies, experimentation with gender roles,
and changes in family dynamics—Eugenia is published here in English for the
first time. Sarah A. Buck Kachaluba and Aaron Dziubinskyj provide a critical
apparatus helping readers to understand the novel's literary genesis and genealogy
as well as its historical context. Arising from its twentieth-century origins, yet
remarkably contemporary, Eugenia is a treasure of speculative fiction.