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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humane, readable and engaging.
I greatly enjoyed Grass recently and was keen to learn more about this author, who was new to me. I was a bit surprised to find that she is considered (and occasionally disparaged as) a feminist author; "Grass" has a likeable heroine and - I *suppose* - the villains are all paternalistic men, but for me that book took many more swipes at organised religion and social...
Published 16 months ago by Behan

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The gate to women's country
Thoughtful subject matter with more depth than at first appears. A little didactic in tone and at times thin on characterization in places but a good read nonetheless
Published 19 months ago by I A Smyth


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humane, readable and engaging., 8 April 2013
This review is from: The Gate to Women's Country (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I greatly enjoyed Grass recently and was keen to learn more about this author, who was new to me. I was a bit surprised to find that she is considered (and occasionally disparaged as) a feminist author; "Grass" has a likeable heroine and - I *suppose* - the villains are all paternalistic men, but for me that book took many more swipes at organised religion and social conservatism, even at women, than it did at men per se.

So "The Gate..." must surely be the incendiary work of feminist ideology that earned Tepper this reputation?

No, not really. In contrast to, say, The Female Man (a book that I found too complicated and whimsical to finish) this is not a thinly-veiled, 400-page dissertation on feminism. The format here is to contrast two wildly different and theoretical social systems - one an oppressive patriarchy, the other a contrived, but benign matriarchy - using the post-apocalypse genre in the same way that Ursula K Le Guin uses space colonies in The Dispossessed to compare unlikely political regimes. There isn't an overt agenda or moral here, just a good story that plays with lots of aspects of gender politics. Also, Women's Country is not a Utopia: it is first portrayed as pragmatic and dogmatic, and then slowly revealed to serve a purpose that is rather sinister.

We can suspend our disbelief in Tepper's gender-segregated society because we are drawn into a kitchen-sink drama about the growing pains of a level-headed tomboy, living with her tough single mother and petulant teenage sister. The inquisitive lass becomes a woman over a series of adventures, and we discover the mysteries of her world by watching over her shoulder. I won't reveal too much more of the plot here, because it's all about slowly unfolding revelations to maintain a sense of intrigue and tension.

Now, there will be some, drawn by the promise of an "SF Masterwork", to whom this book will not appeal. Despite the post-apocalypse setting, this is an occasionally implausible story that owes more to medieval fantasy than science-fiction; there are some recovered technologies and clairvoyant powers and the denouement has a scientific element, but it's not hard SF. Also, one of the central devices of the story is a play that is rehearsed by the citizens of women's country, based on classical myth. ...That may seem charming and clever to some, but will be distracting literary grandstanding to others. These caveats in place, I would recommend "...Women's Country" as an exciting and thought-provoking vacation from robots, space travel and little green men.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars truly a book that should be a must, 8 Aug 2007
I found this book spellbinding. the plot is great, the premise is great, but the real draw is the working through of highly political feminist ideas in a very matter of fact way. shall give this book to my daughter as soon as she hits the strop years.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read, 17 July 2003
By 
elainelawrence (Kinross, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
having read the two previous reviews of The Gate to the
Womens Country, I have to wonder if I read the same book? The one I
read was exciting, thoughtful, inventive and offered interesting
insights into the traditional sociological roles of men and
women. Her characters are believably fallible, no stereo types
here! Sheri Tepper has a neat, quirky sense of humour, an eye
for absurities. This is a good read, hell it's a damm good read!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gender-seperated society struggles to regain civilisation., 2 Dec 1998
By A Customer
In the big picture, this is the story of the struggles that a society headed by women face in a post-nuclear holocaust Earth. Inside the cities that have been established the women live; governing and working at their chosen trade. Seperated by the city walls are the garrisons, where Spartan type male warriors are taken from their mothers at the age of five to train in the ways of war. The contrasts between the two societies are great. The women continue to make scientific advances to try and recover what they lost before civilisation was destroyed while the men do war crave the power of past times and scheme to take over the cities from the women. There are also similarities between the two: they both feel the unfairness about the barriers surrounding them. In closer detail the book covers the life in particular of a a girl, Stavia. She suffers the removal of her brother at five, falls in love with a warrior and is eventually betrayed. There is much subterfuge throughout the book and many surprises. Sheri S Tepper Writes it well and creates a very melancholy atmosphere and although it does have the obligatory boy v girl element she shows both sides to the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gate To women's Country, 26 Dec 2009
By 
K. Chard (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I read this book many years ago and enjoyed it then, have just recently purchased a copy and am so glad i did, couldnt put it down once i had picked it up.

The story is about survival of the human race, thanks to the women and their selective(ish) breeding, organisational skills and ability to keep it all together, keep the cogs turning, providing all with food and clothes etc. Its not an anti men book, but the women are in reality in control and their select few men that come back to women's country......
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars costing me money, 7 Sep 2002
By A Customer
I've owned this book twice now, and twice carelessly leant it to other ppl and twice had it not returned. This must say something about it!
IMO this is a great book, thought provoking on one level, yet accessible and enjoyable as an SF novel as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The gate to women's country, 7 Jan 2013
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Thoughtful subject matter with more depth than at first appears. A little didactic in tone and at times thin on characterization in places but a good read nonetheless
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insight, 8 Nov 2012
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I first read this book many years ago, borrowed it form the library. But now I have my own copy on my kindle. Love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but..., 19 Sep 2012
I am a big fan of feminist sci-fi, and I loved the interweaving with the Greek play and mythology, but certain aspects of this novel left me cold. The core theme centres around how to manage a population, and explores this in an interesting way, comparing the views of different groups (though not exactly balanced, different voices are expressed).

Some aspects were just too flippant; for example, the casual reference to how one of the first things the group did (hundreds of years ago, when they first established their society) was to breed out homosexuality. As if it's that abhorrent and that easy to do.

The religious, polygamous southerners reminded me of the society in Esther Freisner's Psalms of Herod, a really bleak novel but one I preferred to Gate to Women's Country.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sci-fi with tragical scope, 23 Feb 2003
this is the first Tepper novel I've read and I love the tragedy implied in the story. It's not only the references to the war of Troy, but also that when the victims of that war (women, according to the author)finally get their revenge (after many centuries and an implied nuclear holocaust), they are left with a feeling of bitterness. Is it possible to govern a world, to make tough life-or-death decissions, and not be unfair? Is it possible to play the role that men have traditionally played and not make the same mistakes? Tragedy and food for thought.
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The Gate to Women's Country (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The Gate to Women's Country (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Sheri S. Tepper (Paperback - 14 Mar 2013)
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