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Memoirs of a Spacewoman Paperback – July 1, 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: The Women's Press Ltd; New edition edition (July 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0704339706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704339705
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mithridates VI of Pontus VINE VOICE on September 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Naomi Mitchison’s first science fiction novel, Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962), is a brilliant episodic rumination on the nature of non-violent interaction with alien species that challenge (and transform) conceptions of ourselves and others. Although R. S. Lonati’s cover for the 1964 Four Square edition suggests a pulp adventure—replete with flashy spaceships, explosions, and traditional adventure—Memoirs is cut from an altogether different cloth.

The first sentence of the novel narrows in on Mitchison’s central themes:

“I think about my friends and the fathers of my children. I think about my children, and I think less about my four dear normals than I think about Viola. And I think about Ariel. And the other. I wonder sometimes how old would be if I counted the years of time blackout during exploration (5).”

Technological change (the crews of FTL spaceships experience time-dilation called “blackout”) yields a unique set of sociological problems. The conception of family is forced to evolve as the relationships between explorer parents and children who do not accompany them on voyages—and how each experiences time—generate distinctly different ways of living. Society also transforms as humankind contacts bizarre new lifeforms, attempts radical communication experiments, and interacts with neighboring aliens for prolonged periods of time.

Highly recommended for fans of thought-provoking 60s social science fiction (especially of the feminist bent). For those who are willing to read along the more esoteric and unjustly forgotten fringes will discover a wealth of worthwhile SF by women authors pre-Le Guin.

Caveat: Do not expect pulp heroes, space battles or political intrigue. This is social science fiction at its best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michele Wambaugh on September 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Naomi Mitchison is a genius! This naturally written "diary" is pure pleasure, always intelligent, it is so far advanced from when it was written. Highly amusing! I loved it & look forward to reading much more of her work!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barbara G. Louise on March 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A GREAT SENSE OF WONDER: A REVEW OF MEMOIRS OF A SPACEWOMAN.

Naomi Mitchison does not, apparently, really understand the elasticity of time we learned from Einstein. And she also does not understand what the word "galaxies" means.

Yet, her fictional view of Terran history and the adventure of exploring other worlds and meeting other species intelligent in ways different from humans is compelling and fills the reader with that sense of wonder so important in a good science fiction novel. Her view of the future in terms of women's sexuality is fresh and daring, and has been rarely surpassed by subsequent books in the field. She was brave enough and far-seeing enough to consider the possibility of an alien male trying so hard to communicate with her that he stimulated one of her eggs to grow parthenogenically. Which is a more realistic look than most SF writers at possible "cross fertilization" between sapient species from different planets.

I read this book as a child, and have always hung on to a copy of it, reading it every several years with much enjoyment. Unfortunately, she evidences no understanding of the existence and the normality of homosexual desire, but that is not strange in a book published in 1962. Otherwise, much of her outlook on human beings in the future, and the wonder of communication with other intelligent species was far far ahead of her time.

Her story is strange and other-worldly because she is a writer who is not an SF "insider," and I think, because she is woman concerned with women's issues.

Barbara G. Louize
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By Amazon Customer on September 14, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this book. The concept was brilliant. I'm a fan of sociological sf books. Women writers seem to really get that aspect well and it's missed in today's SF writing.
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By Gabrielle Henson on August 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Beautifully realized account of a future civilization.
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