The Tale of the Last Man, Richard Shaver (1946)

Gradual winnowing of the population through sterility has resulted in the last man on Earth. He is elderly and lonely and much of the story is spent on him reflecting on the world that no longer exists, especially fixated on never having even seen a woman. He eventually clones himself (with half of the clones created as females) and repopulates the world. They call him “God” and he muses about the circularity of time.

Almost a text book example of the Shaggy God story, slightly hampered in achieving full cliché bloom by the fact that the protagonist understands that he is becoming “God” and reflects on the irony. Like the Genesis account, not a moment is spent on the genetics of populating the Earth with the offspring of gender-swapped clones. The story is quite maudlin as well, ascribing the universal sterility that lead to the depopulation of the Earth as:

“Women had ceased to conceive, for man was a being no longer capable of love (144)”

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