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The Gate to Women's Country (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 14 Mar 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (14 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575131047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575131040
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Poignant and profound… I’m deeply moved’
Stephen Donaldson

‘Lively, thought-provoking… the plot is ingenious, packing a wallop of a surprise’
Ursula K. LeGuin

‘Shocking and entertaining… a wonderful fantasy which explores the role of the sexes’
Fear

‘It’s grand… one of the most involving, serious and deeply felt studies of the relations between the sexes that I have ever read’
Marion Zimmer Bradley

‘Tepper not only keeps us reading, she provokes a new look at the old issues’
Washington Post

‘Remember reading? Really reading, I mean – for knowledge, transformation, survival – that’s how I found myself reading Sheri S. Tepper’
Village Voice

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

One of the great works of feminist SF, from the acclaimed author of Beauty and Grass.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Sheri Tepper and have read and re-read virtually everything she's ever written (though I couldn't get along with the Marianne, Mavin Manyshaped and King's Blood series which are all a bit too heavy on the total fantasy aspects for my taste).

I couldn't decide when I read the blurb whether I'd read Gate to Women's Country before. It turned out I had, but it must have been a long time ago and I think I got a lot more out of it this time. Tepper doesn't pull her punches. It's very clever the way she interweaves the Greek Play alongside the main story as it sheds so much light on the way Women's Country works. The things these women had to do to bring their society up to a decent level of civilisation. Wow - these are some strong women.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent piece of political science fiction, the book itself has an introduction, which provides some interpretation of the text itself, and which should be skipped by anyone who is reading book for the first time as it could be considered to contain some spoilers.

I found the ending/ultimate conclusion of this book a lot more predictable than many of the reviews, and the introduction, seemed to suggest and wondered about or waited on supposed twists which I did not feel arrived. However, that said I did really enjoy the book, I felt that pace and style of writing were perfect, it is plot driven more than character driven, as a lot of political science fiction as it engages in "world building" or examinations of specific social structural change, or satirises the present somehow. Although this said, there do emerge protagonists and antagonists within the story who are well developed and display enough depth to be interesting, they are not simply "cut outs" or one-dimensional distractions from descriptions of a particular social-political order.

The story features the life of Stavia, a resident of woman's country, a matriarchal society which co-exists with the patriarchal garrison, children are given up at the age of five to their fathers, and can elect either to live the life of a warrior or return to the matriarchal society as servitors, a deceptively servile social position which predictably turns out to be more than it seems. The introduction displays some good insights into how the story unfolds, just what the key differences between the matriarchal and patriarchal societies are, one being long term in its perspective and strategy, the other more short term.
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