The Adventures of Alyx

The Adventures of Alyx

by Joanna Russ

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671459000
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 08/28/1983

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The Adventures of Alyx 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
shawjonathan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are three short stories in this book featuring Alyx, little more than active character sketches really, and a much longer narrative, then a final short story that, as far as I can tell, doesn¿t have anything to do with Alyx.Alyx the adventuress from ancient Tyre is a marvellous character, so the sketches ¿ in which Alyx respectively helps a young noblewoman escape a potentially lethal marriage, escapes her own marriage to take up with a pirate, and deals with a gross man who claims to have created the world ¿ are engaging. The first two happen entirely in a version of earthly antiquity. So does the third, though the nasty patriarchal figure has the language and paraphernalia of a time traveller rather than those of a demigod. In the fourth and longest piece, `Picnic in Paradise¿, Alyx is transported by the Polysyllabic Agency for Temporal Gobbledygook (or something like that) to a future where her skills ¿ and her lack of knowledge of technology ¿ equip her perfectly to shepherd a group of tourists out of a war zone. In this piece the book well and truly transcends the `of historical interest¿ niche. It¿s funny, touching, and sexy in an over the top way. It points vicious satire at the Prozac generation before the name. Then, just as one is thinking of Alyx as a kind of moral touchstone, one who keeps her head when all around are losing theirs, a role model even, she confounds all expectations by going so far off the rails it¿s hard to understand how the story manages to keep us sympathising with her. She¿s a real hero, and the story brilliantly refuses to be neat.Then the last, short story, as far as I can tell, is not an Alyx story at all. A teenage girl in rural USA in 1925 is visited by a strange woman who turns out to be her descendant from the distant future. The young heroine (and we with her) understands only a fraction of what her strange visitor is up to. She helps her to kill another visitor from the future, but we¿re left with only glimpses the relationship between the two visitors. And there¿s more. It¿s a tantalising narrative in which all the huge world-changing events happen offstage and/or in a language we don¿t understand. Yet it¿s also a satisfying coming of age story. After all, what teenager understands the world s/he finds him/herself part of.
nebula61 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alyx is hands-down the BEST female character in science fiction, heck, maybe in all of fiction, except for perhaps Smilla of Dutch author Peter Hoeg's _Smilla's Sense of Snow_. She also has a rival in Kage Baker's time-traveling genetically-enhanced female character, Mendoza, in the Company series."Picnic in Paradise" by Russ is the jewel in this collection, although "The Second Inquisition" garnered more awards and attention.
wrmjr66 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Adventures of Alyx is a collection of four short stories and a novella. The first three short stories follow a small-time tough named Alyx on a series of typical fantasy adventures. Alyx is an engaging character who fights and battles with her wits against sea monsters and pirates. The third story, "The Barbarian," shows a bit of a turn, as Russ has Alyx do battle against a sort of Faustian figure. At this point, Alyx as a character seems to have sparked Russ' creative interest, as the stories now go beyond the standard fantasy fare.The most ambitious of the items in this collection is the novella "Picnic on Paradise." Russ puts Alyx into a future where a "commercial war" is being fought, and her job is to transport a group to a port on a planet called Paradise. When they arrive at the location of the port, they find it has been destroyed. They then trek for two months across Paradise to find a safe haven. Through that journey, Alyx battles monsters and human attackers, feels love, and experiences loss, as Paradise dishes out as much hell as possible. While the story wanders a bit during this trek, it shows Russ growing in her abilities as a writer.The final story, "The Second Inquisition," is a bit of a departure. The narrator is not named, and she does not act or seem like Alyx in many ways. However, we are clearly meant to see her as such, not only because of the story's inclusion in this volume, but also because the tag-line that ends all the stories takes on a variation in this story. The story here is an inter-textual sci-fi story that relies as much on H.G. Wells as it does on standard sci-fi conventions. Russ is also at her most feminist in this story--thus pointing toward her future writing--and her prose is crisp and quick moving. While "The Second Inquisition" is an odd end to this collection, it is the strongest entry in this uneven collection.
wrmjr66RM More than 1 year ago
The Adventures of Alyx is a collection of four short stories and a novella. The first three short stories follow a small-time tough named Alyx on a series of typical fantasy adventures. Alyx is an engaging character who fights and battles with her wits against sea monsters and pirates. The third story, "The Barbarian," shows a bit of a turn, as Russ has Alyx do battle against a sort of Faustian figure. At this point, Alyx as a character seems to have sparked Russ' creative interest, as the stories now go beyond the standard fantasy fare. The most ambitious of the items in this collection is the novella "Picnic on Paradise." Russ puts Alyx into a future where a "commercial war" is being fought, and her job is to transport a group to a port on a planet called Paradise. When they arrive at the location of the port, they find it has been destroyed. They then trek for two months across Paradise to find a safe haven. Through that journey, Alyx battles monsters and human attackers, feels love, and experiences loss, as Paradise dishes out as much hell as possible. While the story wanders a bit during this trek, it shows Russ growing in her abilities as a writer. The final story, "The Second Inquisition," is a bit of a departure. The narrator is not named, and she does not act or seem like Alyx in many ways. However, we are clearly meant to see her as such, not only because of the story's inclusion in this volume, but also because the tag-line that ends all the stories takes on a variation in this story. The story here is an inter-textual sci-fi story that relies as much on H.G. Wells as it does on standard sci-fi conventions. Russ is also at her most feminist in this story--thus pointing toward her future writing--and her prose is crisp and quick moving. While "The Second Inquisition" is an odd end to this collection, it is the strongest entry in this uneven collection.