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The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S.…

The Gate to Women's Country (1988)

by Sheri S. Tepper

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,674394,276 (4.07)136

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» See also 136 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
I have returned to this novel several times for the insights and questions Tepper explores in its pages. She covers a lot of ground in this novel of what seems like a post-Apocalypse world: male-female relations, violence, the nature of freedom. Big questions, well handled. This should be required reading. ( )
  nmele | Jun 16, 2017 |
Set in a post-holocaust, feminist dystopia. ( )
1 vote FoxTribeMama | Sep 20, 2016 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
  Lunapilot | Jul 19, 2016 |
Halfway through. Finding it a dreary slog. I don't like this world; I don't want to read about these people. It's too much negative energy in my life. So, I'm thinking about putting it down, despite trusted friends' rave reviews. To help me decide, I'm reading other GR members' reviews. I find myself agreeing 100% with a certain one-star review...

Decided to finish.

O. M. G. It does develop. Revelations. Pieces of the puzzle. Drama. Brilliance. The play. The distinction between Stavia the actor and Stavia the observer.

I can't say I 'enjoyed' the book. And it does have a very high 'yuck factor.' But I highly recommend it to *everyone* with a strong enough stomach. I especially recommend it to book clubs & BotM discussion groups, because there's not only a lot to discuss here, there's a lot just to understand. That reviewer who gave it only one star missed a lot. Heck, I probably did, too.

Here's some of what I did get (but it's very spoilery, so don't read until you're at least 3/4 through the book):

Yes the servitors 'get some.' They are the fathers of all the children, and they are beloved. The assignations are a way to make the warriors think they still have a role, so they don't become as brutish as the polygamists down south. If, at the beginning of the book, you don't see any reason to want to live in Women's Country, imagine living with the polygamists! Fortunately, they are dying out due to inbreeding.

Also, sending boys between the ages of 5 and 15 to become warriors does 1. use up some of their natural aggressive energy, and 2. give them strength and training, and 3. provide a way to get information for the Women on the doings of the warriors, and 4. give the truly violent youth a role and community of their own.

And the women have been working on this selective breeding program for 300 years, while at the same time recovering from the devastation (nuclear war, I assume, as much land is still raw & radiated) and rebuilding civilization. They have achieved results, too: in the very beginning 5/century came back, between the ages of 15 & 25, and by the time Stavia was in her 30s, it was up to 20/ century. (Remember, a century is the 100 boy babies born each year, though some fudging is done so the men can have their even ranks.)

Yes, this book isn't queer-friendly. But for its time, it could have been worse. At least homosexuality is seen by the Women as a disease, not a sin. And they do need all the good genes they can get, so 'curing' the healthy, peaceful men is key to the long-term plans.

The Women aren't perfectly happy (think how tired Morgot is all the time), but they're doing the best they can.

The play, too, needs to be read carefully. It's billed as a comedy, but it sure doesn't read as one. Only at the very end do we realize that's more like a comedy in the classic sense, not a tragedy, and that's because it ends with a sort of revenge. I'd be willing to bet there's more to the play, and the whole book, that I'm not getting, too.

Glad I read it. Would love to discuss in the SF&F group. Would give it 5 stars for genius and value, but since I didn't actually *like* it, I'm going to withhold a rating, at least for now.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Sometime in the future, the remaining people have created a new world. The book is focused in the woman's country, where women rule. Some interesting ideas about the roles of men and women, power and how the future can be managed. ( )
  PaulaCheg | Jan 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
"I confess this book defeated me. I didn't finish it and came away with a very low opinion of Tepper's work, which I had not previously read."
"This is, unquestionably, a serious, ambitious novel, about the roles of the sexes ..." "My advice for the future is that someone, either Ms. Tepper or her editor, slog through the dense elephant grass of her prose armed with a blue pencil and, whenever wandering herds of adjectives appear - shoot to kill."
added by RBeffa | editAboriginal Science Fiction, Darrell Schweitzer (Mar 1, 1989)
Tepper's finest novel to date is set in a post-holocaust feminist dystopia that offers only two political alternatives: a repressive polygamist sect that is slowly self-destructing through inbreeding and the matriarchal dictatorship called Women's Country. Here, in a desperate effort to prevent another world war, the women have segregated most men into closed military garrisons and have taken on themselves every other function of government, industry, agriculture, science and learning. The resulting manifold responsibilities are seen through the life of Stavia, from a dreaming 10-year-old to maturity as doctor, mother and member of the Marthatown Women's Council. As in Tepper's Awakeners series books, the rigid social systems are tempered by the voices of individual experience and, here, by an imaginative reworking of The Trojan Woman that runs through the text. A rewarding and challenging novel that is to be valued for its provoc ative ideas.
added by cmwilson101 | editPublishers Weekly

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sheri S. Tepperprimary authorall editionscalculated
Di Marino, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harman, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacobus, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jääskeläinen, JukkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McLean, WilsonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oklander, AdrianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olbinski, RafalCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tate, IawaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Stavia saw herself as in a picture, from the outside, a darkly cloaked figure moving along a cobbled street, the stones sheened with a soft, early spring rain.
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Three hundred years ago, the world all but burned to ash in the flames of a nuclear holocaust. Before the embers had cooled, the survivors swore that it would never happen again. Civilization as it once was evolved into a society of two disparate parts. In Women's Country, walled towns enclose waht is left of the best of the past, nurtured by women and capable but non-violent men. Outposts of safety and security in a hostile world, places like Marthatown raise children, feed and clothe the populace, and cultivate the lost biological sciences. In adjacent garrisons are sons, brothers, lovers, lost to a code of violence and false glory once they embrace the warrior life.
This is the world that Stavia and Chernon were born to live in, a world bound by rules too strict for some children to understand. Rules too harsh for a child like Stavia to obey.
When only a girl, Stavia tried to convince Chernon to return to Women's Country. She brought him books that most men had been forbidden to read for as long as anyone could remember. Chernon took the books, but rejected Stavia and her world. Now a young medic, Stavia still hopes to win Chernon by reminding him of the love they shared nearly ten years before. Though Chernon is a stranger to her now, Stavia gives in to the voice that begs her to trust him, allowing him to accompany her on a mission to the southern borderlands.
Their journey is filled with love, hate, lust, and betrayal that divide their worlds. And when sudden violence engulfs them both, not even the secrets of Women's Country can prevent the death of Stavia's innocence. Stavia is left with no choice but to take on the responsibility for her transgressions if she is to prevent a far greater tragedy - one which could destroy humanity completely.

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In a futuristic society where the sexes are separated, men are warriors, and women cultivate the arts, Stavia disobeys the group's prohibitions by loving a man forbidden to her, setting the stage for a momentous decision.

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