What it’s about: This collection of four novellas certainly runs the gamut of genres that might be categorized as “speculative fiction.” The first, “To the Edges,” is set in an apocalyptic near future United States undergoing social collapse. Next is “Copper,” a futuristic tech noir detective story. “This Other World” is more straightforward social science fiction, set on an alien planet. The final offering, “The Second Wife,” is straight-up fantasy.
What ties these four novellas together is that the protagonist in each is an older woman going through a time of personal change as well as societal upheaval. In each story, the main character must set aside her previous life and discover a reservoir of inner strength and resolve to move forward into an unknown future. The strongly related themes and central narrative voices of each novella tie together these four very different offerings into an interesting, thought-provoking collection of feminist speculative fiction.
What I liked about it: While clearly these are new writers just finding their voices, all four of these novellas were absorbing reads with only some rough edges showing. My favorite was the second offering, “Copper,” about a tech-savvy insurance investigator trying to locate her own hijacked uterus; I would definitely read more novels by that author. The third offering, about a revolt on an alien planet, reminded me strongly of Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing and was probably the most polished of the four. The other two novellas didn’t stand out as much in my mind, but definitely showed promise.
You might like this if: you are interested in science fiction by women and about women.