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The Gate to Women's Country Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (February 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553280643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553280647
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

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Customer Reviews

The characters are interesting, the plot moves well.
kacunnin
At its best, science fiction should create a new world to explore, and bring a new perspective to issues that are relevent to readers in our current society.
Jen Dutcher
This is a science fiction, fantasy novel at its best.
A. G Primack

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is controversial because it's accused of man-bashing. Even the author's publisher said he read it with some discomfort! But Gate to Women's Country doesn't bash men, it bashes human behavior that leads to war and destruction.
The time is post-nuclear apocalypse, several centuries afterward. The tattered remnants of society are isolated clusters of cities. One such cluster is Women's Country. Founded by Martha Evesdaughter, as she called herself, the society is a loose confederation of walled towns, each defended from bandits and each other by a garrison. The boys, at five, go to live with their warrior fathers in the garrison. At 15, they may choose to become a defender and stay in the garrison and take up the art of war, or they may return to become servitors and assist the women in the running of farms and the general economy. Life is not easy; electric power is limited by the wood that can be gathered and burned in the one remaining power plant in just one of the towns. Much knowledge has been lost in the apocalypse; each woman must take up a science, a craft, and an art and study and work her whole life, not only to provide food, medical services and the means of living, but to maintain and grow the knowledge that was once lost. The towns are run under strict ordinances, governed by councils of older women. Servitors have no say in the council, nor do the warriors. Women's Country is...women's country.
This is the backdrop for the story of Stavia Morgotsdaughter, daughter of a doctor and member of the town council of Marthatown. She struggles with adolescent emotions such as rebellion against the ordinances and stirrings of feeling towards a young man. Her sister Myra struggles as well, as teens do, against rules and for becoming independent.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a fantastic book! I read it in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down.
It is not an anti-male, if-only-women-were-in-charge-there-would-be-no-war book. It's a lot deeper than that, so try thinking beyond the surface when you read it. Through the seemingly-innocent dialogue, Tepper cleverly reveals not only the properties of the world she has created, but also the properties of our own world. Her neat reversal of which gender is perceived as the "normal," "default" human points out all the invisible places where women are seen as different, deviant, and non-standard in today's society.
Most significantly, Tepper does not create a utopia where women are in charge, and everyone is happy (can't you just picture the birds singing, the flowers growing...?-- there is none of this). This is *not* a perfect world, nor is it completely stable. It is fascinating to get a glimpse of a *well-thought-out* world in which women play a much more powerful role. It's much better than the unrealistic and wishful creations of other feminist authors.
I highly recommend this book, especially to young women and men of all ages, the two groups that benefit the most from seeing powerful women.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading the other reviews for this book, I realized that the point of the book was lost on some of the readers, especially the person who thinks Tepper is offering eugenics as a "solution." This book is not putting forth a utopian society that Tepper is saying is the "way to go." The whole point is that what is happening in the book is bad. The men's society is bad, and the women's answer to it is just as bad. The women are denying the men an education and thus a means to better themselves, and they are manipulating the men into fighting with each other. What Tepper is showing is not the way to make a male-bashing world that angry women would love -- what she is showing is the very real problem of governing, of deciding what truly is "the lesser of the evils," of the terrible choices at stake in this particular society. She is not holding up the women as heroes and the men as villains. It is much more complex and rich than that. It's an incredible story about being human, about government, and about what sort of mistakes a female government might make, and how those might differ from men's mistakes (but be just as bad in the long run).
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Hartman on November 5, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I find it curious that other reviewers have leveled the accusation of man-bashing or soldier-hating at Ms. Tepper because of the society she depicts in this book. It's not as simple as "woman good, man evil." There are female characters (most notably Myra) who are selfish, whiny, and stupid. The female Gypsy prostitutes, for example, also demonstrate short-sighted behavior--indulging in unprotected sex, drinking, and smoking. There are male characters (most notably Joshua and Corrig) who are calm, thoughtful, considerate, and quite capable of defending themselves physically, who are citizen-soldiers in the best sense of the word. Most veterans I know are more like Joshua and Corrig, in fact, and not like Chernon, Michael, or the other garrison warriors--not the kind of soldiers who brag about their uniform giving them a "license to kill," but the kind of soldiers who take their oath to protect our Constitution seriously, who continue to honor the spirit of their service oaths even after they have been discharged. If I have to choose between defenders, I'll take the second kind, thank you very much.
What is often ignored is how skilfully Ms. Tepper controls her revelations about the society of Women's Country. Bit by bit the clues are laid before you, until the final disclosure. Definitely a book that deserves more than one reading.
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