ShareThe blurb on the thirty-five cent Ace paperback likens Charles Eric Maine’s 1958 novel World without Men to George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’sBrave New World. Ordinarily – and in consideration of the genre and the lurid cover – one would regard such a comparison skeptically. Nevertheless, while not rising to the artistic level of the Orwell and Huxley masterpieces, World without Men merits being rescued from the large catalogue of 1950s paperback throwaways, not least because of Maine’s vision of an ideological dystopia is based on criticism, not of socialism or communism per se nor of technocracy per se, but rather of feminism. Maine saw in the nascent feminism of his day (the immediate postwar period) a dehumanizing and destructive force, tending towards totalitarianism, which had the potential to deform society in radical, unnatural ways. Maine grasped that feminism – the dogmatic delusion that women are morally and intellectually superior to men – derived its fundamental premises from hatred of, not respect for, the natural order; he grasped also that feminism entailed a fantastic rebellion against sexual dimorphism, which therefore also entailed a total rejection of inherited morality.
In World without Men, Maine asserts that the encouragement of sexual hedonism, the spread of pornography into the mainstream of public culture, and the proscription of masculinity are inevitable consequences of the feminist program, once established. The fifty years since the novel’s publication – as a thirty-five cent paperback – have vindicated Maine’s notable prescience as a social commentator.