by Jodi Cleghorn
Publication Date 22/12/2019
Genre Science Fiction
Sub Genre Dystopia, Birthpunk
Paperback 978-0-6486706-2-9
eBook 978-0-6486706-3-6
Kindle ASIN B082H55JFV
Pages 194
Paperback $23.99
eBook $4.99

Sylvie wants her freedom, but The Deme is forever.

In a world where natural birth is a violation of The Biocratic Mandate and midwives are considered terrorists, Sylvie’s life is a deadly game of cat-and-mouse which she did not choose.

Months after the violent death of her mother, desperate for a life of her own, one of The City’s most powerful men appears with an offer she cannot refuse: he will get her off the island and beyond The City’s control in exchange for attending the birth of his first child. But when Sylvie decides to attend one final illegal birth for The Deme, the fallout from its unexpected change of direction jeopardises her well-organised plans.

Suddenly beyond the control of The Deme and grappling again with the loss of the boy she loved in the underground, Sylvie is thrust into a new and precarious self-determination among those who have outlived their reproductive worth. If she cannot ignore the rekindled yearning for Daniel, relentlessly back her dream of freedom and trust the help that’s offered, she won’t survive long enough to rendezvous with Joseph and his wife.

But once in the heart of The Dead Zone, Sylvie discovers there are more terrifying realities to face than a firing squad.

Her First Reality, Darkness is a cross-genre, reproductive dystopia with a literary flourish. If you like fierce heroines and fast-paced storytelling with a feminist bent, then you’ll love Jodi Cleghorn’s provocative novella, the first in The Birthpunk Constellation octet of interconnected stories.



“A poetic sci-fi thriller of birth and self-determination.”

— Rivqa Rafael, award winning co-editor of Mother of Invention.

“Cleghorn’s prose is as provocative, political, and powerful as ever in this eye-opening speculative take on reproductive realities. The first in a series of interconnected novels, Her First Reality, Darkness is an ‘endorphin bomb’ of a book.”

— Lee Murray, two-time Bram Stoker nominee, and author of Into the Mist.

“Cleghorn throws down the gauntlet in this, the first volume of her birthpunk octet. Her imploding world, and the flight and fight of her gutsy, exhausted heroine, the midwife Sylvie, thematically replay the process of labour, its wonders, its terrors, its overwhelming power. Violent, bitter, glorious—I can’t wait to see where this series goes!”

Margo Lanagan, multi-award winner, and author of Tender Morsels and Sea-Hearts.