Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tipping the Tree

Last week I sent in a review of the new L. Timmel Duchamp book Alanya to Alanya to Strange Horizons. It's a pretty good book, very political, and in the review I make some assertions linking it to Feminist SF, particuarly the Feminist SF written in the early 1970's. Along with Kelly Link and one or two other writers, Duchamp has been linked to a undercurrent trend in SF revitalizing feminist themes. Considering Duchamp also admits the heavy influence in the book's afterward section, I felt it a pretty good link to make in a book review.

Stange Horizons liked the review, and liked the links I made. But they wanted something more specific--metions of specific writers, stories or novels to tie into Duchamp and the themes of her new book. I know a little about the Feminist SF, but mostly the big names. Octavia Butler. Ursula K. LeGuin. And, of course, the grand master of it: Alice B. Sheldon, aka James Tiptree, jr. But I didn't feel informed enough to start making links to specific works.

So I've spent the last few days in my local library, combing through about 30 years of short fiction, book reviews and criticism. It's an interesting little subset of SF, and if there's one commonality at all it's that men and women see the world and think differently and the differences need to be explored and celebrated. Some stories go so far to suggest---ok, more than suggest---that if our societies were based more on the female-style of thinking instead of the power driven male style, the world would be a better place. With so much out there, it's a little daunting at the moment for me to choose which author, much less even which story, to focus on. But I'm thinking Tiptree is the way to go. A number of the basic ideas in Duchamp's novel seemed pulled right out of Tiptree, although Duchamp expands on puts her own stamp on them. I'm sleepy, and my brain is still a little muddled, but hopefully I'll get it done within the next day.

Coming soon, I should have a review up for Cherie Priest's ghosty novel, Four and Twenty Blackbirds.


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