Woman on the Edge of Time: A Novel

Woman on the Edge of Time: A Novel

by Marge Piercy

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Hailed as a classic of speculative fiction, Marge Piercy’s landmark novel is a transformative vision of two futures—and what it takes to will one or the other into reality. Harrowing and prescient, Woman on the Edge of Time speaks to a new generation on whom these choices weigh more heavily than ever before.
Connie Ramos is a Mexican American woman living on the streets of New York. Once ambitious and proud, she has lost her child, her husband, her dignity—and now they want to take her sanity. After being unjustly committed to a mental institution, Connie is contacted by an envoy from the year 2137, who shows her a time of sexual and racial equality, environmental purity, and unprecedented self-actualization. But Connie also bears witness to another potential outcome: a society of grotesque exploitation in which the barrier between person and commodity has finally been eroded. One will become our world. And Connie herself may strike the decisive blow.
Praise for Woman on the Edge of Time
“This is one of those rare novels that leave us different people at the end than we were at the beginning. Whether you are reading Marge Piercy’s great work again or for the first time, it will remind you that we are creating the future with every choice we make.”—Gloria Steinem
“An ambitious, unusual novel about the possibilities for moral courage in contemporary society.”The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A stunning, even astonishing novel . . . marvelous and compelling.”Publishers Weekly
“Connie Ramos’s world is cuttingly real.”—Newsweek
“Absorbing and exciting.”The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307756398
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/25/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 182,417
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Marge Piercy has written seventeen novels including the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers, the national bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women, and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time, as well as He, She and It and Sex Wars; nineteen volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems 1980–2010, The Crooked Inheritance, and Made in Detroit; and the critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, and the recipient of four honorary doctorates, Piercy is active in antiwar, feminist, and environmental causes.

Read an Excerpt


Connie got up from her kitchen table and walked slowly to the door. Either I saw him or I didn’t and I’m crazy for real this time, she thought.

“It’s me—­Dolly!” Her niece was screaming in the hall. “Let me in! Hurry!”

“Momentito.” Connie fumbled with the bolt, the police lock, finally swinging the door wide. Dolly fell in past her, her face bloody. Connie clutched at Dolly, trying to see how badly she was hurt. “Qué pasa? Who did this?”

Blood was oozing from Dolly’s bruised mouth and she grasped a wad of matted paper handkerchiefs brown with old blood and spotted bright red with fresh. Her left eye was swollen shut. “Geraldo beat me.” Dolly let her peel off the blue winter coat trimmed with fur and press her broad hips in pink pants back into the kitchen chair. There Dolly collapsed and began to weep. Awkwardly Connie embraced her shoulders, her hands slipping on the satin of the blouse.

“The chair’s warm,” Dolly said after a few minutes. “Get me a handkerchief.”

Connie brought toilet paper from the hall bathroom—­she had nothing else—­and carefully locked the outside door again. Then she put some of the good Dominican coffee she saved for special into the drip pot and set water to boil in a kettle.

“It’s cold in here,” Dolly whimpered.

“I’ll make it warmer.” She lit the oven and turned on the burners. “Soon it’ll be like that hothouse of yours. . . . Geraldo beat you?”

Dolly opened her mouth wide, gaping. “Loo . . . Loo . . .”

As gently as she could she poked into Dolly’s bloody mouth. Her own flesh cringed.

Dolly jerked away. “He broke a tooth, didn’t he? That dirty rotten pimp! Will I lose a tooth?”

“I think you have one broken and maybe another loose. But who am I to say? I’m no dentist. You’re still bleeding!”

“He’s crazy, that pig! He wants to mess me up. Connie, how come you wouldn’t let me in? I was screaming in the hall forever.”

“It wasn’t five minutes. . . .”

“I thought I heard voices. Is somebody here?” Dolly looked toward the other room, the bedroom.

“Who would be here? I had the TV on.”

“It hurts so much. Give me something to kill the pain.”


“Oh, come on. It hurts!”

“Hija mía, how would I have anything?” Connie lifted her hands to show them empty, always empty.

“Those pills they made you take, from the State.”

“Let me give you ice.” Dolly had heard her talking with Luciente: therefore he existed. Or Dolly had heard her talking to herself. Dolly had said the chair was warm: she had been sitting in the other chair, in front of the plate from her supper of eggs and beans. She must not think about it now, with Dolly suffering. His story was unbelievable! No, don’t think about it. She wrapped ice cubes in a kitchen towel and brought them to Dolly. “That prescription ran out a year ago.” Not that she had taken the tranquilizers. She had sold the pills for a little extra money, for a piece of pork or chicken once a week, soap to wash with. She found it hard to believe anybody would take that poison intentionally, but you could peddle any kind of pill in El Barrio. Still, there had been the nuisance of going down to Bellevue, since she had been living near Dolly’s when she had been sent away and never could get her case transferred.

“Consuelo!” Dolly leaned her swollen cheek on Connie’s shoulder. “Everything hurts! I’m scared. He punched me in the belly, hard.”

“Why do you stay with him? What good is he? With your daughter, why have such a cabrón hanging around?”

Dolly gave her the mocking glance that would greet any comment she might make for the rest of her life on the subject of the welfare of children; or did she imagine it? “Consuelo, I feel so sick. I feel lousy through and through. I have to lie down. Oh, if he makes me lose this baby, I’ll kill him!”

As she supported her niece’s weight into the bedroom she felt a flash of fear or perhaps of hope that Luciente would still be there. But the tiny room held only her swaybacked bed, the chair with her alarm clock on it, the dresser, the wine jug full of dried flowers, the airshaft window incompletely covered with old curtains from better days. She undressed Dolly tenderly as a baby, but her niece groaned and cursed and wept more. The satin polka dot shirt was streaked with blood and blood had soaked through her black satin brassiere with the nipples cut out. “But it won’t show on your nice bra,” Connie promised as Dolly mourned her clothes, her body, her skin. Bruises had already clotted under the velvety skin of Dolly’s belly, her soft arms, her collarbone.

“Mira! Is there blood on my panties? See if he made me bleed there.”

“You aren’t bleeding there, I promise. Get under the covers. Oye, Dolly, it isn’t that easy to lose a baby! In the sixth month, if he beat you, maybe. But in the second month that baby is better protected than you are.” She put the alarm on the floor and sat in the straight chair beside the bed to hold Dolly’s limp hand. “Listen, I should take you to emergency. To Met.”

“Don’t make me go anyplace. I hurt too much.”

“They can give you something for the pain. I’ll get a gypsy cab to take us. It’s only fifteen blocks.”

“I’m ashamed. ‘What happened to you?’ ‘Oh, my pimp beat up on me.’ In the morning I’ll go to my own dentist. You take me down to him in the morning. Otera on Canal. You call him up at nine-­thirty in the morning and tell him to take me right away. Now hold the ice against my cheek.”

“Dolly, how do you know Geraldo won’t come charging up here?”

“Consuelo!” Dolly drawled her name in a long wail of pain. “Be nice to me! Don’t push me around too! I hurt, I want to rest. Be sweet to me. Give me a little yerba—­it’s in my purse. At the bottom of the cigarette pack.”

“Dolly! You’re crazy to run around with your face bleeding and dope in your purse! Suppose the cops pick you up?”

“I had a lot of time to sort my purse when I was leaving! Come on, get it for me!”

She was fumbling through Dolly’s big patent leather bag, clumsy prying in another woman’s purse, when she heard heavy steps climbing. Men in a hurry. She froze. Why? Men ran up and down the steps of the tenement all night. But she knew.

Geraldo pounded the door. She kept quiet. In the bedroom Dolly moaned and began to weep again.

Geraldo hit the door harder. “Open the door, you old bitch! Open or I’ll break it down. Bust your head in. Come on, open this fucking door!” He began kicking so hard the wood cracked and started to give way.

He would break it down. She yelled, “Wait! Wait! I’m coming!”

Not a door opened in the hallway. Nobody came to look out. She undid the locks and hopped back, before he could slam the door to the wall and crush her behind it. He strode in, thumping the door to the wall as she had known he would, followed by a scrawny older man in a buttoned-­up gray overcoat and a hulking bato loco named Slick she had seen with Geraldo before. They all crowded into her kitchen and Geraldo slammed the door behind.

Geraldo was Dolly’s boyfriend. He had been a vendadero and done well enough, keeping Dolly and her little girl, Nita, from her marriage. But some squeeze in the drug trade had cut him off after he had been busted, although he had not ended up serving time. Now he made Dolly work as a prostitute, selling her body to all the dirty men in the city. He had three other girls that perhaps he had been running all the time on the side. Dolly made four.

Connie hated him. It flowed like electric syrup through her veins how she hated him. Her hatred gave her a flush in the nerves like speed coming on. Geraldo was a medium-­tall grifo with fair skin, gray eyes, kinky hair—­pelo alambre—­that he wore in a symmetrical Afro. He was elegant. Every time her eyes grated upon him he was attired in some new costume of pimpish splendor. She dreamed of peeling off a sleekly polished antiqued lizard high-­heeled boot and pounding it down his lying throat. She dreamed of yanking off his finger the large grayish diamond he boasted matched his scheming eyes and using it to slit his throat, so his bad poisoned blood would run out.

“Tía Consuelo,” he crooned. “Caca de puta. Old bitch. Get your fat and worthless ass out of my way. Move!”

“Get out of my house! You hurt her enough. Get out!”

“Not anything like I’m going to hurt that bitch if she doesn’t shape up.” The back of his arm striking like a rattlesnake, he shoved her into the sink. Then he strolled over to lounge blocking the bedroom door. Always he was playing in some cold deathshead mirror, watching himself, polishing his cool. “Hey, cunt, stop blubbering. I brought you a doctor.”

“What kind of doctor?” Connie shrieked. She had slid under his blow and caught only the edge of the sink. She cowered, half crouching. “A butcher! That’s what kind of doctor!”

“That bughouse taught you all about doctors, um?”

“You leave her alone, Geraldo! She wants to have your baby so bad, she can stay with me.”

“So you can cut it up, you nut? Now turn it off or Slick will bust your lip.” Geraldo leaned on the doorframe, lighting a cigarette and dropping the lit match on the floor, where it slowly burned out, making a black hole in the worn linoleum. “Time to rise and fly. I brought a doctor to fix you. Up now. Move!”

“No! I don’t want him to touch me! Geraldo honey, I want this baby!”

“What shits you pushing? You think I sweat bricks for the kid of some stupid trick with dragging balls? You don’t even know what color worm you got turning in the apple.”

“It’s your baby! It is. In Puerto Rico I didn’t take my pills.”

“Woman, so many men been into you, it could have a whole subway car of daddies.”

“In San Juan I never took my pills. I told you already!”

“You tell me? Not in this life, baby. How you pass the time while I was busy in La Perla, um?” He flicked lint from his vest.

“You wouldn’t take me to meet your family!”

Geraldo had taken Dolly with him on vacation. Connie felt pretty sure Dolly had tried to get pregnant, believing that Geraldo would let her quit whoring. Dolly wanted to have another baby and stay home. Like figures of paper, like a manger scene of pasteboard figures, a fantasy had shone in Connie since her conversation with Dolly that morning: she and Dolly and Dolly’s children would live together. She would have a family again, finally.

She would be ever so careful and good and she would do anything, anything at all to keep them together. She would never be jealous of her niece no matter how many boyfriends she had. Dolly could stay out all night and go off on weekends and to Florida even and she would stay with Nita and the baby. As if anyone would ever again leave her alone with a child. The dream was like those paper dolls, the only dolls she had had as a child, dolls with blond paper hair and Anglo features and big paper smiles. That she knew in her heart of ashes the dream was futile did not make it less precious. Every soul needs a little sweetness. She thought of the stalks of sugar cane the kids bought at the fruit and vegetable man. Sweet in the mouth as you chewed it, and then you spat out the husks and they lay in the street. Hollow, flimsy, for a moment sweet in the mouth. Cane with which her grandmother had sweetened the chocolate long ago in El Paso.

“Shut off that fucking kettle!” Geraldo shouted at her and she jumped to put out the flame. The coffee she had never finished making. The kettle had boiled almost dry. She shut off the oven and the burners because now her two small rooms felt stifling hot. How she had jumped to the stove when he rapped out that curt command. She resented obeying him automatically, instinctively jerking at the loud masculine order.

His beauty only made him more hateful. His face with the big gray eyes, the broad nose, the full cruel mouth, the hands like long talons, the proud bearing—­he was the man who had pimped her favorite niece, her baby, the pimp who had beaten Dolly and sold her to pigs to empty themselves in. Who robbed Dolly and slapped her daughter Nita and took away the money squeezed out of the pollution of Dolly’s flesh to buy lizard boots and cocaine and other women. Geraldo was her father, who had beaten her every week of her childhood. Her second husband, who had sent her into emergency with blood running down her legs. He was El Muro, who had raped her and then beaten her because she would not lie and say she had enjoyed it. She had had the strength then to run, to cut her losses and run. On the evening bus the next day she had left her home in Chicago, her father and sisters, the graves of her mother and her first (her real) husband, Martín. Dolly lacked the coarse strength that had saved her that time.

But Dolly had Nita already and a baby in the oven. “Fíjate, Geraldo,” she screamed. “She’s carrying your child. She came back that way from San Juan. I told her she was carrying the first time I saw her back here. What kind of tailless wonder are you to have your own child butchered by that doctor of dogs?”

Pivoting, Geraldo cuffed her back into the stove. The hot metal seared her back in a broad line and she clamped her lips tight, unable to scream, unable to issue a sound from the suddenness of the pain. She sank to the floor and could not speak or move.

“Puta, get up and go with Dr. Medias, or I’ll have him do it on you right in that witch’s bed. Move!”

“No! No!” Dolly was thrashing around in bed, screaming and sobbing. Geraldo stepped into the bedroom, out of Connie’s line of sight. She tried to roll to her feet. The scrawny doctor sat on the edge of a kitchen chair. He was in his fifties. His clothes were new and conservative, his manner was tense, and his foot tapped, tapped. Slick was leaning against the outer door smoking a joint and grinning.

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Woman on the Edge of Time 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Woman on the Edge of Time' is not meant to be science fiction so much as a comment on the nature of power in US society. Some of the negative reviews on this site seem to respond more to the politics of author Marge Piercy's criticism of late 20th century institutions of authority. In my opinion as a former mental health worker and lifelong social critic, and a reader of much of Piercy's work, this is among Piercy's most ambitious novels,and one of her strongest. It is bitingly political without resorting to polemics it is a highly readable and engaging story about despair, power, love, and violence of many types. The protagonist is a woman striped of legitimacy in society: a Mexican-American living in New York City who has been labeled as mentally ill. She has lost her much-loved daughter to the child protection system and her lover, the tender blind pickpocket, to the penal system in which he has died. And her version of the truth about the world in which she lives, where her niece is being abused by a pimp, is discounted by all - after all, she is a mental patient and a convicted 'child abuser.' Somehow, she is contacted by a utopian agrarian non-hierarchical society in the next century who treat her far better than anyone has or will treated her in her everyday life. These people are themselves in danger from invasion from a parallel-universe dystopian group. Their struggle to survive mirrors Connie's more personal battles,and she becomes a heroic figure while fighting for her own dignity in a system that is designed to strip her of exactly that. Woman on the Edge of Time is a moving tale with the ring of authenticity about psychiatric power and its devastating effects of the poor and marginalized, alongside its science-fiction elements. This book was written decades ago, and its environmental and human rights messages ring at least as true today. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is possibly the best book ever written in the context of future societies, utopia/distopia and warning the possibility of a bleak period for humanity. The truly frightening thing about this book is that the political/economic/military/social factors all seem to be coming into formation for a New Technological Dark Ages to occurr, with the military expansionism of the 'war on terrorism', the eroding of civil liberties with the USA PATRIOT ACT, the rise of the Christian Fascist movements of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and how these forces are a major pillar of backing and influence in the Bush Administration. What has not fully come into formation like the plot of Marge Piercey's book is the resistance to this new technological Dark Ages, that is urgently needed in order to end the oppression of women and help liberate humanity.
CJ1952 More than 1 year ago
I read this book about 25 years ago and loved it. Upon reading it again, I wondered why I loved it so much. I decided that back then I was discovering myself, and this is a book of discovery as well as mystery. It was written in the throws of the "women's movement" (but then again we are always in the throws of the "women's movement"), and that rings loud and clear. It's a harsh look at a world of sadness and pain that I admit, I am not familiar with. I suggested it for my book group, and for the few of us who read the entire book, we had a great discussion. It's difficult to read subject matter wise, but easy to read style wise. I'm a big sci-fi reader, so this doesn't totally fit the bill. It's futuristic which to me can be different from my normal sci-fi need. For me sci-fi is totally "The Matrix" or "Avatar" which of course are futuristic as well. I just like technology and aliens in my sci-fi. Am I glad I read it again? Sure...it's worth the read and I love Marge Piercy's intellect and knowledge. Read her poem "Barbie Doll"...it's my favorite...go figure.
Rhonda Barovsky More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books of all time!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved it!! Woman on the Ege of Time has been my favorite book since I first read it in the mid-1980s. I re-read it at least once a year and always find something new to think about.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was introduced to this book through a friend for Women's History Month - Women Writers. It is now my all time favorite book and I am giving gift copies of it to everyone I know for the Holidays - women and men alike.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't let the first pages stop you, this is a great story with very interesting ideas in it about our society. The ideas about education and child care are surprising. Try it, you'll like it!
Anonymous 10 months ago
This book envisions an idylluc future that is so tangible and beautiful. Definitely recommend!
Virtual_Jo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Is she mad or is she really travelling to a future society? A classic feminist sci-fi.
AriadneAranea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The narrator, Connie, is wrongly committed to a mental institution but escapes (whether really or only by way of an extended fantasy of escape) to a utopian future world. The utopian vision may be problematic in some ways (that's the problem with utopias) but this is a masterful piece of work. Reminiscent of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, but much, much better.
DavidGreene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Influenced my work. Utopia and Dystopia all in one story.
justifiedsinner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The usual preachy, unworkable utopia. Whiney and humorless. Pekins Gilman did this a lot better.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story that tackled an ambitious set of themes: environmentalism, feminism, child rearing, treatment of the mentally ill, socialism, criminal justice, war, racial prejudice, genetic engineering...whew, and in just 376 pages! The basic premise of the plot is that Consuela Ramos is a woman with some history of violence who ends up in an infamous New York mental institution. She has episodes that, from her perspective, involve her traveling in time psychically to about 150 years in the future to a culture that has tackled many of the afore-mentioned issues head-on, and she is given some hints that her life might be somewhat pivotal in determining if that future actually comes to pass. Piercy is coy with the reader about whether these episodes are real or whether they are mental breaks.To some extent, it was a story whose ambition exceeded its grasp. While many of her thoughts are interesting...even fascinatingly novel (men taking temporary hormone treatments so they can experience the mother/child bonding of breast feeding)...there's an overarching ADD quality to the story line as Piercy tries to keep so many balls in the air. Moreover, it's difficult to read this as a quality example of any subgenre of science fiction.We can disregard technological science fiction right away; Piercy is too careless of the implications of future technology to make it satisfying. Piercy does make an attempt at an alternate futures story. The future characters state it explicitly, "...at certain cruxes of history...forces are in conflict....Alternate futures are equally or almost equally probable...We are struggling to exist." Unfortunately, she doesn't remain focused on it and is too vague in presenting the cause and effect that will make one future or another come true. Further, she commits the cardinal sin of introducing the Grandfather Paradox and then simply dropping further consideration with it unresolved. At best, we have to ignore this subplot and consider the time travel as merely a weak mechanism that allows Piercy to present her society.We're left with its social science fiction persona, the cautionary tale vs. utopian vision aspect. Piercy tackles this with gusto, presenting a culture that is focused upon erasing all the ills of our society. As I mentioned above, I found some of her visions interesting (even if they caused me to squirm a bit), particularly in regard to erasing the gender gap and elevating the "female" in our society. Quite frankly, I would have enjoyed this book quite a bit more if she had let most of her other subjects go and explored this a bit more. Yet, even this aspect of the book palled eventually because that society began to feel like the popular image of Michael Metelica's Brotherhood of the Spirit rather than some living and breathing society. It was as if Piercy took all the social dreams from the Summer of Love (1967) through when she wrote it (1976) and packaged them up in an Aquarian Age utopia rather than a logical extension of our future.If this doesn't work well as science fiction...if we take away that veneer...what do we have left? The answer is an indictment of our treatment of the have nots in our society, especially the treatment of the mentally ill. This theme is actually the bulk of the book's content and it's a forceful polemic against the warehousing, the lack of treatment and the basic abrogation of rights that exists in this area. Piercy made a good choice in her protagonist in this regard; Connie is a sympathetic character: poor, minority, likable, well-intentioned, unlucky, and mistreated by her family. And yet, for all that we do like her, she is what they say she is: violent, irresponsible and addicted. Some healing is appropriate. This aspect of the story becomes a grim pounding after a while (cut half of it and use those pages to fill in the gaps in the future story is my advice), but it is effective. In the end, I think this is a story you might
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is difficult to review this book without revealing more than one should know before reading it. Stasia sent me this quote from wikipedia which sums it up well:"Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) mixes a time travel story with issues of social justice, feminism, and the treatment of the mentally ill. This novel is considered a classic of Utopian "speculative" science fiction as well as a feminist classic. William Gibson has credited Woman on the Edge of Time as the birthplace of Cyberpunk."I found the book extremely intense, fascinating and compelling. I also found it often exasperating and difficult to read at times necessitating periodic breaks calm down, relax and to assimilate what I had read. This is a book that invites discussion among people who can argue without getting angry with each other. I would even suggest that it should be discussed in sections as the group is reading¿it would be difficult to discuss it all at once.
mostlyliterary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A friend of mine was reading this book recently, which reminded me I had read it -- a long time ago. I remember liking it, but the details have faded a bit.
gerleliz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did not like this book. I found it dated.
olliesmith160 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Piercy presents us with multiple worlds of utopia and dystopia which are both disorientating and fascinating to the reader. A really important feminist utopian novel which explores some key issues not only of its time, but of times before and after it. The unlikely heroine of the book 'travels' between times and realities to discover a future which is the complete opposite of her expectations. Piercy does not present us with a future of space crafts and techno-centric society. Rather, a wonderful mix of the rural, old and familiar is entwined with progressive thoughts on society and technology.This book is full of wonderful ideas and innovative style. However, it is a challenge to read and can demand a little too much patience from the reader. It can be read as somewhat of a bleak work, but there is beauty and hope in there too.A rewarding, if not somewhat challenging read.
cattriona on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I quite enjoyed this book, despite some of its darker themes. I think the portions about time travel were reasonable, non-sterotypical (rockets and lasers and all) and did not require me to suspend my belief to enjoy the book.
mariajackman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely adore this book because you don't really know if the main character is off her rocker and imagining what is taking place or it's real!!!
Citizenjoyce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Connie's ultimate crime is that she is poor and powerless, a woman and a member of an ethnic minority. People with a great deal or very little power sometimes use her as an example, sometimes harm her for their own enjoyment or to gain some little benefit for themselves but most of all she is ignored. Her capabilities are undervalued at all times and encouraged seldom. Her desires, her understanding of reality are completely irrelevant to almost everyone. There are some people who love and respect her, they mostly are people of color and always are people without power. Is she mentally ill? Does she hallucinate a world in which individuals and the earth are valued while wholesome people war with the ultimate capitalist culture, or does she really visit other times and other places through the strength of her mind? This book is as relevant as when it was written in the 1970's because the same fights remain, the rich and powerful do whatever they want, the poor and undereducated are made to stay in their place and be grateful for what they have. Three cheers for Connie.
ladybug74 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first couple of chapters were actually kind of interesting, then when Connie started talking more to the guy from the future, it went downhill fast for me. It was just a bit too strange and I quickly stopped enjoying it.
thesmellofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this when it first came out several millenia ago. I was working in a rape crisis centre at the time and was immersed in the women's movement in every aspect of my life. This was a very popular book among my friends, and I, being a long time science fiction and fantasy fan, was pleased to have a chance to read it and other sf with feminist themes. The actual book, however, does not stand out in my memory. It didn't move me terribly much as a story, though I liked it well enough to finish it. Still, it was important to have these ideas represented in fiction, and to have a chance to envision the world in these ways. In that sense it is historically important for me, if not in the sense of one of my favourite books.
owen1218 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I kind of hate Marge Piercy's idea of utopia, with its' androgynous people, birth machines, anomie, and cultural appropriation. I did not find her vision nearly radical enough. Yes, the people are now dedicated to restoring the planet, but they still see it as something to exploit for human interests. They still tamper with genetics, watch television, and domesticate rivers. They might not be greedy, but they're still basically self-centered and individualistic. The writing is also at its worst in these scenes. It is not very convincing. As in many utopias, the inhabitants lack conflict with one another (for the most part), and are just simply too aware of their own culture's beliefs and attitudes. Generally speaking when someone internalizes a value they aren't going to have an easy time articulating it, but that isn't the case for people here.On the other hand, I love most everything else about the book. All the scenes outside of the utopian future are excellent, and so are many of the author's insights. Her writing is very strong, and the conclusion was my favorite part of the whole book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago