2018-07-11 06:32:22 UTC
Earth is so crowded and short on food (with everyone limited to just a few hundred calories a day) that births are banned for 30 years. In an effort to satisfy women's maternal instincts, the World Government provides them with mechanical babies so realistic that they will accept feedings (which would
seem to defeat the food saving purpose of the Edict!). Even then, the women have to undergo psychonarcosynthesis to make their subconsciousnesses believe that the babies are real. However, the psychonarcosynthesis doesn't always hold, and the women awaken from their fantasy and become revolted by the fake babies. Some couples have babies in violation of the Edict. If they are caught, they are suffocated. The protagonists, Russ and Carole Evans, have a baby and must hide it from everyone. When their neighbors George and Edna Borden find out, Edna insists on partial custody of the baby. Edna takes
greater and greater control of the baby, so Russ and Carole must escape to an island off shore.