Matthew J. Beier’s new novel "The Breeders," set in a dystopian future where homosexuals run the world and heterosexuals are being set on a path to extinction. Beier, an openly gay Minnesota native, hopes the political satire will add fuel to the nation’s debate over gay marriage, coming just in time to dovetail with Minnesota’s proposed amendment to ban it.
Beier knows something most heterosexual people don’t: what it’s like to be perceived as a threat—or even hated—due to his sexual orientation. In a unique reflection of his own life experience, "The Breeders" flips social norms upside down and imagines a future where homosexuals have figured out how to reproduce via genetic engineering, and heterosexuals are the disdained minority—kept around only as a backup plan for human survival. Inspiration for the novel came from the National Organization for Marriage, whose 2008 ad campaign equating gay marriage to “a coming storm” was both humorous and frustrating for the author.
“Despite the fact that I’ve been very fortunate in avoiding any life-altering instances of prejudice, I’m often on the outside, looking in,” he says of his experience living on the homosexual fringe. “When I see political agendas, news stories, or online news comments conveying fear or disgust over the GLBT community, I can’t help but think that most of the people behind them haven’t even bothered to put themselves in the place of those they are speaking out against. In developing 'The Breeders,' I asked myself, ‘What would happen if I imagined it for them?’”
What drew Beier’s attention was the idea of two heterosexuals conceiving a child in a future where reckless, unplanned reproduction is the most hated of human flaws. The book draws on current political, media, and scientific trends to make the dystopian future feel as realistic as possible.
“'The Breeders' takes this scenario to the extreme, but at its core is a story about two human beings trying to find their own worth in a society that drags them down,” Beier says. “I think the book is hitting at just the right time due to the public attention focused on gay marriage issues, bullying, and anti-gay prejudice. I’m often surprised to see just how diverse people’s beliefs and feelings are on these subjects, especially when hatred and violence are involved. One of the key problems is that there are so few conversation starters out there that encourage the differing camps to understand each other.”
While Beier hopes "The Breeders" will be entertaining for people of all political persuasions, he also hopes it will foster dialogue between people of differing opinions on human rights and social progress. “My dream,” he says, “is to help people to see that humanity is—to quote Albus Dumbledore—only as strong as it is united and as weak as it is divided. But if this novel simply makes anybody’s list of top books to read, that would be a thrill, too.”
Matthew J. Beier is a novelist, screenwriter, and photographer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Breeders is on sale both in print and eBook format wherever books are sold.