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He, She and It Mass Market Paperback – January 23, 1993


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this diverting tale of the 21st century, Piercy explores a world where information has become a commodity more precious than gold.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This is Piercy's first full-fledged foray into science fiction, although Woman on the Edge of Time ( LJ 6/1/76) flirted with the genre. In the 21st century the world has been ravaged by environmental disaster and war, with much of the populace living in corporate domes. Depressed over child custody problems with Josh, her ex-husband, Shira Shipman returns to her childhood home, one of the few free Jewish towns. There she falls in love with Yod, an illegal cyborg created to defend the town against attack. Filled with fantastic technological description, the plot zooms to a page-turning climax. A story of a golem in 17th-century Prague told by Shira's warmhearted grandmother mirrors the action. While not as visionary as Doris Lessing's "Canopus in Argos" novels, this projection of a world with a computer for a soul has the ring of reality. As usual, Piercy's women are strong and sympathetic. With the exception of Yod, her men are either frivolous or cold. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/91.
- Harriet Gottfried, NYPL
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; Reprint edition (January 23, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449220605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449220603
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The characters are well developed and the story lines moves quickly along.
Amazon Customer
He feared an economic elite and felt that the most important role of the executive branch was to resist the formation of such an economic elite.
Robert Moore
He, She and It by Marge Piercy He, She and It by Marge Piercy is my all-time favorite science fiction novel.
Brad Hawley Brad at FanLit

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read Chapter 3 and was hooked("Malkah Tells Yod a Bedtime Story" - pure poetry)! I felt right at home. Rarely have I read a science fiction novel which explores inner life so well. Nor one which so successfully analyzes its moral issues from the intelligent woman's point of view. One is reminded of Golda Meir, holding informal cabinet meetings in her kitchen while making chicken soup. The book examines the high-tech net as a tool for a simple low-tech ethnic collective which can exist on its own apart from impersonal futurist worlds nearby seeking to invade. The characters debate the destiny of their advanced, powerful protective robot. One of the robot's creators is a (high-tech) grandmother who tells the robot the Yiddish fable of a Golem who was created to protect the Jews of Prague from pogroms in 1600. We keep returning to the fable - it creates just the intuitive symbolism we need to explore the novel's ethical concepts without losing track of the action. The book unfolds as a mystery, a love story, a question - I found myself reading to answer the unexplained, enjoying the beautifully crafted journey, and staying up all night to do so.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Had this book not been a gift, I would never have thought to pick it up. Science fiction, Jewish mysticism; these are not subjects which immediately draw most people in. I'm eternally grateful I did give this book a chance, however, for it is definately one of the best books I have ever read. Weaving together two parallel stories, (the legend of a "Golem" created to protect the Jews in Prague's Jewish Ghetto in the 1600s, and the contemporary story of the cyborg Yod), Piercy has created a view of the future a la Margaret Atwood. Yet Piercy's view of the future, while almost as threatening as Atwood's in The Handmaid's Tale, contains the ever present spectre of redemption. While the characters in He, She, and It may live in a forebidding time when corporations rule the world, they maintain a level of autonomy over their own lives, and the knowledge and power to someday create a world more suited to freedom than that in which they currently reside. Piercy's book is fascinating on a number of levels. It is simultaneously the story of a mother's love for her child and the lengths she will go to when that relationship is threatened, a strong community and the familial, religious, and communal ties that bind a group of people together, a cautionary tale of corporate domination, a fascinating hypothesis of both the possibilities and dangers of modern technology, and above all, a romance. The elements of Jewish history and mysticism add to the excitement and passion of the book, enabling the parallel Piercy draws between the past and the future to flow naturally, and add to rather than detract from the book's clarity. Nor are the characters sacrificed for a well-developed plot. Piercy spends just as much time creating the characters who enable her story as she does on the story itself.Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By richard smith on May 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I originally read this book as a required college text in modern literature. I've since lost the book but plan on buying a replacement copy.
I've read all 14 of the previous reviews and I have to agree with them all. Yes, feminism and an arguement against corporate - political states and male - dominated societies are present in this book. True as well that there are unfavorable stereotypes in the novel. The novel still has great merit.
At its best, "He, She and It" is a thought provoking parable about the consequences of the paths we may find ourselves on. At its worst, it's a new addition to the cyberpunk genre which is far better than anything Gibson has produced to date. Whether you agree with the views expressed in the novel or not (I personally don't), the story is still an entertaining and well-written diversion.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas O. Gray on December 25, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is #1 on my all-time SF list--a stunning, beautifully written book with new ideas and insights on every page. Piercy examines in minute detail the question of what a "perfect" artificial man might really be like, working mostly from the viewpoint of his lover (an expert in artificial intelligence who has worked for one of the multinational corporations that dominate future Earth). A deeply thoughtful book with excellent characterization and an all-too-believable, if somewhat depressing, picture of future society. While I am primarily an SF fan, I was so impressed with this that I have delved into a number of Piercy's other books, many of which are not SF. "Gone for Soldiers" is also highly satisfying and readable (and of course, her other SF novel, "Woman on the Edge of Time"). It's wonderful--especially for someone like me who has followed SF since the 1950s--to have a writer of Piercy's talent using SF as a medium.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Laurie on May 2, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Marge Piercey's He, She, and It is a slightly different twist on the usual futuristic narrative of corporate control and artificial intelligence. Piercey takes readers on an emotionally and intellectually challenging visit to the near future, where humanity, sexuality, gender, family, community, and spirituality all have different meanings than they do today. The novel questions the definition of these concepts, both in the fictional world, and in contemporary society.
The book allows Shira Shipman, the main character, as she moves from the corporate enclave where she works and lives, to the Jewish settlement where she was raised by her grandmother. Central to the development of the story is Shira's interactions with Yod, a "cyborg" (really an android) built to protect the Jewish settlement from coprporate attackers.
When the novel opens, we learn that Shira's marriage is falling apart, and that her life in the corporate enclave is less than satisfying. She loses her son in divorce proceedings, and when her gradmother asks Shira to return to Tikva, the settlement where she was raised, and to accept a job working for a family friend, Shira agrees.
Shira's new job is to train Yod, the cyborg built to protect the settlement. Yod is the tenth creation of Avram, a Tikva resident who works with artificial intelligence defense systems. Unlike his nine predecessors, Yod is almost flawless: he is practically indistinguishable from a human, except for his behavior. Shira is to teach Yod how to be human, so that he can blend in with the population of Tikva. This is crucial, because in the twenty-first century world of Piercey's novel, a creature like Yod is illegal. Artificially intelligent machines cannot resemble humans.
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