Age Regression in Literature

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Poofybutt

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Couldn't really think of where to post this, but the Off-Topic section seemed about right, so here goes.

Does anyone know of any examples of Age Regression in literature, mainstream or otherwise? I'm not talking about stories written strictly for the AB crowd, just books that use age regression as part of the story or as a significant plot device.

I've always thought it was interesting that age regression worked it's way into literature before ABDL was even a term. I often wonder who thought of age regression in the first place and who first decided to write literature surrounding it? I have to imagine that not every author who has penned a piece of regression fiction was secretly an AB with regression fantasies.

I know of a few examples off the top of my head. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald comes to mind, I thought that was an interesting, occasionally humorous and bittersweet take on the trope. I have also read J.G. Ballard's short story Mr. F is Mr. F a much more disturbing take on age regression, wherein the titular character begins de-aging and realizes that he is swiftly becoming his wife's expectant baby, let's just say the ending is rather chilling.

Of course, some of the earliest examples that I can recall stumbling upon are within the Goosebumps books. The Cuckoo Clock of Doom is entirely centred around age regression and I believe in a couple of the Choose Your Own Adventure style Goosebumps books there were some bad endings that had you regressing to an infant. I remember one ending in the book Lost in Stink-Eye Swamp in particular had you regressing to an infant, being adopted and taken care of by the books antagonist and it ends with you needing a diaper change (methinks this in particular may have been what got the gears turning with regards to my own regression fantasies, although I wanted to be a baby again well before reading that particular book).

I find it curious that in so much of the literature I know of that focusses on Age Regression, age regression is used as a horror tactic/device, I was always rather perplexed by this. As a child, when I was just learning of my baby-side and having a hard time adjusting to the responsibilities of school, I always thought that the age regression endings and elements in books like the previously aforementioned Goosebumps ones weren't scary at all, but rather pleasant, I liked the idea of becoming a baby again, I failed to see how there could be any down side. Of course, nowadays, if I were to suddenly wake up in the body of a infant with zero agency and control I would probably be mighty terrified and upset. As much as I enjoy being a big baby, I rather like having the luxury of switching back and forth between baby and adult and I'd be lying if I said there weren't aspects of adulthood that I greatly enjoy. It's just interesting that age regression seems to be a horror element in literature. I'm curious if there are any positive and uplifting age regression books/stories?

So yeah, sorry to prattle on there. What are your thoughts on age regression in literature? Do you know of other books that use age regression as a major story element?
 

RompingBulbasaur

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Interesting topic! I haven't personally read really anything that had age regression in it for good or for bad, but I also think it's an interesting thing to include and talk about.

I think I can understand why regression is usually used in a horror sense. One of the things the majority of people find most terrifying is when they have no control over themselves or their surroundings, so when you pair the loss of control that being a literal baby entails with a monster like antagonist, that could impact the reader fairly strongly.

Personally I'd like to see it used more as a positive device. Obviously I have some bias here, but I feel like it can have an equally strong positive effect as it can negative. Showing a character to be very innocent or childlike through regression in a positive, safe environment, could go a long way in establishing that person's character for the reader, and hopefully if written well, make that character be more endeared to the audience, similar to how regressing in a bad environment could make the audience more fearful for them.

I know this is wishful thinking, but I'd love to see a main character of a fairly popular book actually be AB/DL in the future. I feel like there's a lot of interesting emotion and thought that could be conveyed through showing that character's struggle, and would provide a rich dichotomy for a character that's fresh and never been done before.
 
M

Maxx

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Flowers for Algernon isn't age regression, exactly, but it had a similar feel to me.
 
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