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Age Regression Science Fiction
What is Age Regression Science Fiction?
Age Regression stories revolve around the actual physical reversal of the aging of the body—grandpa becomes a teenager again. Usually age regression means a lengthening of the lifespan and sometimes near immortality. The process of reversing age can take many forms—viral, mechanical, technological, or maybe some kind of time paradox—and can affect whole societies, or only certain members. Age regression is all about becoming young again, but there is also a segment of fiction that focuses on age progression, and sometimes both regression and progression are possible. The regression is sometimes purely physical, but sometimes mental regression is a part of the process, and sometimes the mind is aged backwards and not the body.
Other Features of Age Regression Science Fiction
- Level of Real Science
Moderate-High. In a Sci Fi version of an Age Regression story science is an integral part to reversal of aging. It may be purely medical, as in the form of a serum or a virus or involve more of the mechanical or technical side. Regardless of the cause, age reversal has a scientific reason. Sometimes though, the science will not be explained in the same level of detail as a Hard Sci Fi tale.
- Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications
Low or High. Age Regression can take the form of a farce—something comic rather than deeply meaningful. In these stories, the exploration of ideas and social implications is minimal. However, people living longer or indefinitely will absolutely have social implications. Age is something that very much affects social structures and if it is no longer relevant, or is only relevant for certain groups of people, then society will change. This change will be very important to the development of any Age Regression story.
- Level of Characterization
High. The act of age regression is a powerful plot point, but the meat of the story will likely begin after that. Age Regression plots will often have complications, conflicts, or twists that are unintended or unexpected.
- Level of Plot Complexity
High. To truly understand a political idea and its effects, readers need to see the idea in action, which requires a well crafted plot.
- Level of Violence
Variable. Age Regression stories are defined by the use of a trope and this trope can be used in any type of story really—a violent story about soldiers, a hopeful tale about grandfathers, or even a philosophical inquiry. Violence may or may not be a part of the story.
Related Science Fiction subgenres
Biopunk. Genetic and biological manipulation—a good starting point for an age regression process.
Erotica Science Fiction. Age Regression has a bit of niche in the adult fiction genre.
Age Regression Science Fiction isn't for you if...
If you don’t like physical stories. Age Regression stories have a strong physicality—and their popularity in more adult content is proof of this—it’s not all high minded Sci Fi.
- 1 Rollback
By Robert Sawyer. A brilliant scientist tries to decode an alien message and a wealthy benefactor pays for her to undergo an experimental rejuvenation procedure, and her husband. It works for him, but not for her.
- 2 Regression
By Kathy Bell. In this first novel of the Infinion trilogy, the past, present, and future seem to meet and Adya Jordan, a forty year old mother, finds herself a teenager again.
- 3 Rewind
By Terry England. Seventeen humans enter an alien vessel and return as nine-year-old children—and the world doesn’t know what to make of this “gift.”
- 4 Hyperion Cantos
By Dan Simmons. Temporal disruption comes up quite frequently. Specifically, the character of Rachel Weintraub experiences aging backwards.
- 5 Turnabout
By Margaret Peterson Haddix. Two old women are offered the chance to be young again. The experiment works, but it could be deadly.
- 6 Counter-Clock World
By Philip K. Dick. The entire world begins to move backward—including the dead. The book tackles some big questions, both theological and philosophical.
- 7 Monday Begins on Saturday
- 8 Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
By Roald Dahl. Not strictly a science fiction story, but they do end up in space. Charlie’s grandparents take pills that take twenty years off their lives—but Grandma takes too many.
- 9 Night’s Black Agents
By Fritz Leiber, Jr. This collection of short series includes one called “The Man Who Never Grew Young” and time runs backwards in this universe, but one man does not.
- 10 The The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
By F. Scotth Fitzgerald. This is perhaps the most recognizable example of the Age Regression sub-genre, though it is more of a Fantasy. A boy is born old, and ages backwards. It is a classic story and it’s nearly impossible to talk about Age Regression without mentioning this book.