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Mizora: A World of Women (Bison Frontiers of…

Mizora: A World of Women (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) (edition 1999)

by Mary E. Bradley Lane, Joan Saberhagen (Introduction)

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684270,273 (2.95)3
What would happen to our culture if men ceased to exist? Mary E. Bradley Lane explores this question in Mizora, the first known feminist utopian novel written by a woman.   Vera Zarovitch is a Russian noblewoman--heroic, outspoken, and determined. A political exile in Siberia, she escapes and flees north, eventually finding herself, adrift and exhausted, on a strange sea at the North Pole. Crossing a barrier of mist and brilliant light, Zarovitch is swept into the enchanted, inner world of Mizora. A haven of music, peace, universal education, and beneficial, advanced technology, Mizora is a world of women.   Mizora appeared anonymously in the Cincinnati Commercial in 1880 and 1881. Mary E. Bradley Lane concealed from her husband her role in writing the controversial story.… (more)
Title:Mizora: A World of Women (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)
Authors:Mary E. Bradley Lane
Other authors:Joan Saberhagen (Introduction)
Info:Bison Books (1999), Paperback, 143 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, novels, fantasy, science fiction, victorian, utopias, women's studies, gender studies, bison books, bedroom library

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Mizora: A World of Women by Mary E. Bradley Lane



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This is one of the earliest female utopian stories. Like a lot of utopian stories, there's no kind of plot or anything, more a tour of things the author thinks is interesting about the world they've created. (When and why did we readers turn on this at a literary form? Clearly people in the nineteenth century ate this kind of stuff up.) Interestingly, contrasted with the way some strands of feminism approach science in the present day, this feminist utopia is founded on science; even the cooking is done by chemists, who don't smell or stir their food, just measure it quantifiably. The women of Mizora have majestic, imaginative brains, observing the secrets of Nature and adopting them for their own use. They work as Nature does, they claim, and science is impartial-- it helps anyone willing to work. Not a place I'd want to live, even if I was a woman (the women were vengeful and cruel toward the men when they took over back in the past... and now there are none), I suspect, but a very fascinating book, a way into how scientific thinking was perceived in 1880s America.
  Stevil2001 | Jul 14, 2017 |
As feminist utopias go, this has a clear theme ("Universal education will solve everything!") about which the author is not shy, and some delightful descriptions of video conferencing, Roombas, and transparent silicone (aka "elastic glass").

Less fortunately, it's populated entirely by blondes, and although the narrator herself (a brunette) secretly confesses herself unconvinced that complexion has much to do with the society's success, the history of how these demographics were arrived at is expounded upon so consistently that it does rather convert the theme into "Universal education will solve everything, once women have seized control of the government(*), learned the secret of parthenogenesis(**), and stopped the breeding of any men(***), dark-complexioned folk(****), criminals(****), people with heritable illnesses/disabilities(****), or other undesirables(****)."

(*) So far so good.
(**) Neat stuff.
(***) Oh, hey, why not.
(****) Er, wait several minutes here.

I mean, I'm all up in the free education and free food freeing people up to work in the job best suited them, and the idea that this could make some pretty profound impacts on poverty thus disease thus crime. But couldn't we have stopped there without getting eugenics into the mix? Le sigh. ( )
1 vote zeborah | Feb 4, 2015 |
So, hm. Kinda more enjoyable than that other hollow-earth book The Coming Race, the two of which I think would work nicely together in a great contrast essay. The idealised utopian folks still practice the arts, to the point of crazy ability (they have flexible glass and all sorts of neat shit). There exists a lovely balance and interaction between science and art. I gotta wonder if the author and narrator's gender has anything to do with that. Bonus! The utopia is populated only by ladies.And these ladies have made a world where everybody gets educated all they need/want for free, nobody is hungry, or ever in need, thanks to a pretty damn involved State. Course, all this benefit comes from the no men and breeding out the dark-complexioned.Oh yeah, and romantic love and passion, like religious feeling, is a barbaric, ancient and outmoded thing, so it is actually a kind of boring utopia. Like all utopias. ( )
  bzedan | Nov 17, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary E. Bradley Laneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Anderson, Kristine J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saberhagen, JoanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teitler, StuartIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Having but little knowledge of rhetorical art, and possessing but a limited imagination, it is only a strong sense of the duty I owe to Science and the progressive minds of the age, that induces me to come before the public in the character of an author.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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