Genre Science Fiction Publisher Benbella Year Published 2004 Review Posted on 3/29/2007 Reviewer Rating
9 out of 10
Shore of Women, by Pamela Sargent
Reviewed by Phillip A. Ellis
If you've read this book, why not
Shore of Women is speculative fiction of a
high order. It speculates, that is, what may happen
after a nuclear war, where women and men have become
segregated and live apart. It is women who live in
cities, and it is they who keep the men in a
semi-barbaric state. And, when men develop too far,
they are destroyed. The old order, and the destruction
of humanity, must be averted at all costs, and this
occurs through the subjugation of men.
So, when two women are expelled from the city, the
results are such that this fragile order becomes
threatened. A relationship develops, an honest, real
relationship, between one of these exiles, Birana, and
Avril, a young man. And they seek a haven where men
and women can co-exist in equality and peace, the
shore of women of the title.
Shore of Women is both an excellent example
of speculative, and of feminist fiction. It asks the
necessary "What if?" and, in answering, critiques our
assumptions of human behaviour, male and female. It
takes the processes of binary opposition, and
challenges the resultant assumptions. And, in doing
so, it never becomes didactic, less than fiction: this
is far more than mere propaganda.
Shore of Women is ill-served if only read
by feminists, even, mainly, women. It is a rich book,
a wise book that fulfills what many speculative
fictions promise but fail to deliver. This is one book
I want to share with friends, family, you.
Shore of Women has been called a classic of
feminist science fiction: it is more, it is classic
science fiction, full stop.