What Would the World Look Like… Without Men?


Glasgow, 2025.

Dr Amanda Maclean is called to treat a patient with
flu-like symptoms. Within three hours he is dead.

This is how it begins.

The unknown virus sweeps through the hospital with
deadly speed.

The victims are all men.

Dr Maclean raises the alarm. But by the time the
authorities listen to her, the virus has spread to
every corner of the world. Threatening families.
Governments. Countries.

 

Written pre-Covid, The End of Men is an eerily prescient novel about the effects of a global pandemic with a virus that only affects men.

Reimagining our world through a female lens, the novel explores the impact of the loss of 90% of the male population on fertility, governance, politics, technology and more, whilst the careful and moving portrayals of love and relationships bind the pieces of this novel into something human and real.

Author Christina Sweeney-Baird was inspired after reading The Power by Naomi Alderman. She was fascinated by the portrayal of women’s increased physical power and started to contemplate what the world would look like without men.

A few months later, Christina nearly died from sepsis. Her near-death experience became the genesis for the plague in her novel, as the symptoms of the virus are identical to sepsis. Having also thought about the political, social and cultural landscape of a world without men, Christina’s fictional virus extinguishes 90 percent of men. She used her home city of Glasgow as the origins of the virus, with ‘patient zero’ coming from the Isle of Bute.

Christina writes from multiple viewpoints in The End of Men, including the Glaswegian doctor treating patient zero, a mother desperately trying to keep her son safe, and the Canadian scientist fighting to uncover a vaccine.

Through these narratives, Christina explores dating in a world where women outnumber men nine to one to the way the world evolves to prioritise women, highlighting the inequalities of living in a patriarchal society.

In her author’s note, Christina said “it’s an understatement to say it feels surreal that I wrote about a book about a pandemic disproportionately affecting men just before a pandemic disproportionately affecting me swept through the world.”

She said that her novel “felt like the ultimate thought experiment” to see how far she could take her imagination.

Christina expressed her relief that the coronavirus doesn’t have as high a death rate as the virus in her book. “The imaginary world I have written belongs safely in fiction, within the pages of a novel”.

The End of Men