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Star Wars showed virgin birth of Anakin.

"There was no father."

- Shmi Skywalker (to Qui-Gon)

Which science fiction or fantasy work first showed virgin birth?

Note: Real-world mythologies and religions aren't allowed.

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    Do you mean by 'virgin birth' that there is a real female mother but no father? If so Ontological bootstrapping where the mother is also the father (Heinlein) could be said to count. [Time travel can perhaps be regarded as fantasy] – Simon Bucher-Jones Mar 20 '18 at 23:22
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    Does "being made out of clay and animated by a god" count? – Valorum Mar 20 '18 at 23:26
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    @Valorum No. That won't be called "birth" (you know what I mean).. – Lobo Mar 20 '18 at 23:29
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    It also depends what you mean by mythology. Real historical figures like Alexander the Great claimed to have had virgin births. Their claims, if false, are fiction. – Simon Bucher-Jones Mar 20 '18 at 23:31
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    Does this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_the_West count? A country of only female people where they get pregnant by drinking water from a near by river. – xiaofeng.li Mar 20 '18 at 23:31
9

1915: Herland, a novel by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, available at Project Gutenberg.

From Wikipedia:

Herland is a utopian novel from 1915, written by feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The book describes an isolated society composed entirely of women, who reproduce via parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction). The result is an ideal social order: free of war, conflict, and domination. It was first published in monthly installments as a serial in 1915 in The Forerunner, a magazine edited and written by Gilman between 1909 and 1916, with its sequel, With Her in Ourland beginning immediately thereafter in the January 1916 issue. The book is often considered to be the middle volume in her utopian trilogy; preceded by Moving the Mountain (1911), and followed by, With Her in Ourland (1916). It was not published in book form until 1979.

[. . . .]

The story is told from the perspective of Vandyck "Van" Jennings, a sociology student who, along with two friends, Terry O. Nicholson and Jeff Margrave, forms an expedition party to explore an area of uncharted land rumored to be home to a society consisting entirely of women. The three friends do not entirely believe the rumors because they are unable to think of a way how human reproduction could occur without males. The men speculate about what a society of women would be like, each guessing differently based on the stereotype of women which he holds most dear: Jeff regarding women as things to be served and protected; Terry viewing them as things to be conquered and won.

[. . . .]

Van gradually finds out more information about the women's society, discovering that most of the men were killed 2,000 years ago when a volcanic eruption sealed off the only pass out of Herland. The remaining men were mostly slaves who killed the sons of their dead masters and the old women, intending to take over the land and the young women with it. The women fought back, however, killing the slaves. After a period of hopelessness at the impending end of their race, cut off from the rest of the world and without any men, one woman among the survivors became pregnant and bore a female child, and five more female children after. The five daughters of this woman also grew up to bear five daughters each. This process rapidly expanded their population and led to the exaltation of motherhood. Ever since that time the women had devoted themselves to improving their minds, working together and raising their children; the position of teacher being one of the most revered and respected positions in the land.


1905: The War of the Sexes, a novel by Florence Ethel Young. Some may not consider it SFF because in the end the main character wakes up from his dream.

From Everett F. Bleiler's review in Science-Fiction: The Early Years:

As the book begins, it is centuries in the future and a woman's world. Back in the twentieth century Jacques Loeb of the University of Chicago discovered how to fertilize rabbits chemically; the process has since been extended to the human race. As a result, humanity now consists almost entirely of females, many of whom refuse to accept their chemical origin, insisting that they are a new evolutionary development.

In Great Britain, not too long before, there had been 432 men, but all except Geoffrey Sterndale were killed in a war against Russia. Recovering from a wound, he is now the only man left in the British Isles. By profession an independent research biologist he is trying to improve the parthenogenetic process so that it produces higher quality humans. He happens to be a shy man who fears and has no interest in women; the author often calls him the Misogynist.

On returning to his home in Denbigh, Devon, Sterndale undergoes perpetual violent sexual harassment. Some women simply want to talk to him; others want to marry him; and still others, like the famous danceuse La Papillon, simply want to go to bed with him. (It should be noted in this context that the future culture is exactly like Britain of 1906 in culture, morals, and material civilization.) Sterndale continues to repel the women, but is driven almost frantic by their attacks.

[. . . .]

It looks as if they both will die, when— Sterndale awakens. It has all been a nightmare. He is still in early twentieth-century Britain and is half-vowed to enlist for the Boer War. Sterndale takes thought.


1880–1881: Mizora: A Prophecy, a novel by Mary E. Bradley Lane, available at Project Gutenberg; published as a book in 1890 but according to the ISFDB, "First published anonymously (as Herself) as a serial in the Cincinnati Commercial in 1880-1881."

From Wikipedia:

Mizora is an utopian novel by Mary E. Bradley Lane, first published in 1880–81, when it was serialized in the Cincinnati Commercial newspaper. It appeared in book form in 1890. Mizora is "the first portrait of an all-female, self-sufficient society," and "the first feminist technological Utopia."

The book's full title is Mizora: A Prophecy: A Mss. Found Among the Private Papers of Princess Vera Zarovitch: Being a True and Faithful Account of her Journey to the Interior of the Earth, with a Careful Description of the Country and its Inhabitants, their Customs, Manners, and Government.

Mizora is one element in the wave of utopian and dystopian fiction that distinguished the later decades of the nineteenth century.

The novel is "the second known feminist utopian novel written by a woman," after Man's Rights (1870) by Annie Denton Cridge. The concept of an all-female society dates back at least to the Amazons of ancient Greek mythology — though the Amazons still needed men for procreation. In Lane's Mizora, reproduction is by parthenogenesis.

The book depicts an all-female "utopia" existing within the Earth. The Mizorans practice eugenics; all of them are blonde "Aryans," who disdain people of darker skin. (In modern terms their society is deliberately racist. That term is perhaps applicable to the book as well.) In its ancient history, the land was ruled by a military general elected president (a version of Ulysses Grant). When the general ran for a third term (as Grant was urged to do in 1880), the society of Mizora descended into chaos. Eventually a new all-female social order arose in Mizora. The last men were "eliminated" — though it is not clear whether they were overtly killed or left to die out. It is said that men are more forgotten than hated.

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