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The Margarets by Sheri S. Tepper

The Margarets (2007)

by Sheri S. Tepper

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
I kept catching myself reading this book slowly 1) because it had a very complicated storyline which followed seven different characters and 2) to make it last longer. As usual, Tepper delivered a fascinating and thought-provoking read, but, unfortunately the ending was less than satisfying and I’m afraid the environmental message may be too heavy-handed for some readers.

Some of the setting involving more advanced races and less advanced races reminded me a teensy bit of The Uplift Trilogy by David Brin. And the revelation of who has been orchestrating things for humanity reminded me a teensy bit of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
God, I love Sheri S Tepper. I haven't read a new book by her in years, but her books are some of my very favorite science fiction in the universe. Her particular attention to environmental themes and gender politics make me swoon.

The Margarets was no disappointment. It's a teensy bit dreary at first as you're caught up to speed in the ways that humans have ruined Earth. But it gets better, I promise. I loved following the different Margarets through their respective journeys, and though I predicted much of the outcome of the book, it still took me by surprise in a number of cases. It's a great what-if story - what might have happened, had we made the other choice (or a series of other choices?). And though much of the book seems Magical, I love how Tepper is dedicated to there being a scientific explanation for, well, everything. Mostly.

Some themes that make me uncomfortable are still there - what is the "right'" way to deal with overpopulation (Tepper's main pet issue, I think)? And yikes, those eugenics themes that we saw in The Gate to Women's Country are here, though very briefly. Lots of good ethical food for thought.

This is definitely a book that I'm sad to have finished, because I miss the world and the characters already. Sigh. ( )
  chessakat | Feb 5, 2016 |
I want to love Sheri Tepper's writing, and sometimes I do... but this wasn't one of those times. This felt like a lengthy outline more than a book; the pacing was erratic and very few of the Margarets were fleshed out enough to become characters rather than bit pieces in an intergalactic game. The storyline held promise, but I never felt it delivered; in fact, at many critical moments, I found myself rolling my eyes. I hate admitting that about a book I wanted to like. I keep coming up with excuses for Tepper-- maybe, maybe the deadline was rushed and she couldn't flesh things out as much as she'd like to, maybe she wanted to write another book more...

Moreover, I found it disconcerting the way complex ideology -eco-feminism, to be precise- was applied to flatly good and evil characters. Whole races are evil. Some people are apparently born bad and it is alright to sterilize them without their consent or even informing them (I'm referring specifically to the astonishingly large parade of conjoined twins). It makes me profoundly uncomfortable to read this in stories that are meant to have a progressive message.
( )
  eaterofwords | Nov 16, 2014 |
I liked this book about identities and working with others to make a difference. While at times the plot was confusing to me, at the end, it all came together nicely. I especially liked the part when the "Margarets" met each other and learned where they each came from. ( )
  krin5292 | Nov 12, 2014 |
In Earth's not-so-very distant future, we've basically killed the planet and continue to severely overpopulate it. An alien organization lays down the law regarding how humans are to fix this problem or else, and while the laws stop short of cruel, they are harsh. Margaret is an Earthian of above-average intelligence growing up on a Mars colony with her parents. Once she hits her twelfth birthday, every major life decision she makes causes her to split in two with one Margaret traveling each of the resulting life paths. The novel follows all of the Margarets through their lives, each of which adds a piece to the puzzle of how Earthians got so rotten at being custodians of a planet anyway. Tepper does a remarkable job of weaving her various story-lines together and of keeping the reader abreast of which Margaret is which. The overall story arc is a bit frustrating (Tepper almost, but not quite, hides the damn ball and that drives me nuts), but on the whole the novel does a good job envisioning a world and playing around in it. ( )
1 vote lycomayflower | Nov 4, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
If you're looking for a hard science fiction novel with realistic political intrigues, The Margarets probably won't work for you. But if you're willing to suspend disbelief and enter the echoing realms of the psyche along with spaceships to distant planets, you'll find this novel supremely satisfying. As ever Tepper is unafraid to ask the hard questions about human nature, and to propose radical solutions to it. And she manages to bring magic into a story whose human characters feel as real as people you meet every day on this insane planet whose future is anything but certain.
added by PhoenixTerran | editio9, Annalee Newitz (Apr 13, 2009)

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sheri S. Tepperprimary authorall editionscalculated
Iacobelli, James L.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manchikanti, SunilDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martiniere, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In fond memory of my friend of sixty-three years, LAMBERT J. LARSON, without whose encouragement I would never have written a word
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Once a very long time ago, between fifty and a hundred thousand years, a small group of humans fleeing from predators took refuge in a cave.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061170690, Mass Market Paperback)

The myriad alien civilizations populating far, distant worlds have many good reasons to detest the blight called "humankind" . . .

The only human child living in a work colony on the Martian satellite Phobos, little Margaret Bain has invented six imaginary companions to keep boredom and loneliness at bay. Each an extension of her personality, they are lost to her when she is forced to return to Earth. But they are not gone.

The time will come when Margaret, fully grown and wed, must leave this dying world as well—this Earth so denuded by thoughtlessness and chemistry that its only viable export is slaves. For now Margarets are scattered throughout the galaxy. And their creator must bring her selves home . . . or watch the human race perish.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:02 -0400)

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"The only human child living in a human work colony on the Martian satellite Phobos, little Margaret Bain has devised a system for keeping the suffocating demons of boredom and loneliness at bay: She invents six imaginary companions, each an extension of her own personality, to play with. When the unproductive Phobos project is shut down, and after Margaret is forced to return to Earth with her parents, the child's other selves are lost to her. But they are not gone. Left behind, each one flourishes - refining its own persona, acquiring its own history - before ultimately dispersing to far-flung destinations throughout the universe." "On a near-barren homeworld denuded by thoughtlessness and chemistry, Margaret grows to adulthood and marries, despite the seemingly utter hopelessness of humanity's future. The Earth is so impoverished that its inhabitants must import water and other basic necessities of life - trading the only viable product the planet has left to offer ... slaves." "The time will come when Margaret must leave this world as well, expelled as part of a desperate survival plan millennia in the making - an astonishing scheme that will require her to gather together the many Margarets who are now scattered throughout the galaxy. The creator of the Margarets must now bring all her selves home ... or watch her race perish."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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