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[Ebook] ➧ The Gate to Women's Country By Sheri S. Tepper – Blockdiagramwiring.co

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 LearningThe Resulting Manifold Responsibilities Are Seen Through The Life Of Stavia, From A Dreaming 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 Provocative Ideas


10 thoughts on “The Gate to Women's Country

  1. says:

    One reviewer on Goodreads calls The Gate to Women s Country gender essentialist, heterosexist, cissexist garbage, and it is, I suppose First published in 1988, The Gate to Women s Country is very second wave feminist and exhibits many of the problems one would expect from that description It s also beautiful and sad and, while exclusionary, an otherwise excellent and enjoyable treatment of the issues that it did deal with.The Gate to Women s Country examines an honestly not so unlikely hypothetical future in which a world ruled by men ended in an apocalypse that wrecked the planet and almost killed everyone In the aftermath of disaster, women and women supporting men took over, with a plan of breeding the violence out of humanity The central question of the novel is dependent on the premise that this goal can possibly attained and it is, simply, Is it worth it Tepper explores the ways in which the Women s Country plan makes life harder for the people who live there as well as the ways in which a plan that is intended to create a better humanity can be itself dehumanizing for nearly everyone involved.Even though, by the end of the novel, we can see evidence of the success of the plan, we re still left wondering if being able to do something makes it right to actually do it Does the end justify the means, or do we lose our humanity on the road to trying to save it


  2. says:

    Gender essentialist, heterosexist, cissexist garbage Avoid at all costs.


  3. says:

    I hate this book Maybe I should read it again, but there s so many other books I want to read, so many other books I d rather read again than this one.Maybe there was some sort of thing I missed the first time I read it in college, but mostly it made me mad.They got rid of homosexuality, most of the men are brutes and fascist and violent, except for the servitors Yet the women still have sex with the brutish men even as they are trying to breed them out of existence.Then you get some random scary people who shave women s heads and don t allow them to have freedom, and you get this dippy irritating book which for some reason so many feminists like, but I don t know why Read it again in 2014 AND I STILL HATE IT It still makes NO DAMN SENSE I wonder if the Servitors even get to get any It s just not believe enough to me I think other books do After the End better and I don t think you ll get rid of war just by breeding it out of men Come on Be logical, woman This premise just doesn t work You don t have wars because of men Animals fight too Folks fight over territory and over religion They fight over all kinds of things Even if you had everyone with enough food, enough clothes, enough money they would STILL find a reason to fight because some people are assholes and just like fighting.You can t breed this out of people To be fair, we can cooperate and work together If you want less warlike men, wouldn t, I don t know, NOT LETTING A BUNCH OF ASSHOLE WARRIORS CARE FOR THEM FROM FIVE UP WORK BETTER


  4. says:

    If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Hoodwinking Readers The Gate to Women s Country by Sheri S Tepper original review, 1987 The Gate to Women s Country , remains the best written and most provocative of the lot when it comes to Feminist SF It s one of the few books where I turned the last page and flipped back to the first and read it straight through again when I realized how deceptive the text, itself, was I love when Septimus Bird tips Tepper s hand by noting that all good magicians keep us riveted on the left hand when the real trick happens in the right That ends up being an ingenious clue about the ways we, as readers, are about to be hoodwinked It s the very rare book that surprises me my wife swears I have a seventh sense for foreshadowing and I thought I was just a regular guy but this one did


  5. says:

    Well, here s some fantastic feminist science fiction The Gate to Women s Country takes gender roles, pushes them to the limit and sees a way to both destroy and rebuild them It presents a compulsively drawn world, which looks forward and back as far as the ancient Greeks, to examine how defined the differences between society s views of men and women are On the surface, it s about how these roles are fixed with woman s place as the mother and man s as the warrior and the protector But in reality it s nothing so straightforward as that Clearly it s a book born from the twentieth century and works as an anti nuclear tract although, really, are there many novels which are pro nuclear tracts , yet its focus is wider than that Its subject is the way gender roles have been fixed and cemented for millennia, and where the power should really lie in the battle of the sexes.In the future, after the conflations of nuclear war, it s the women who have control They have their own cities where they run and administer everything Outside the city walls are the men, who form the garrisons which offer protection Despite the garrisons being military, the power lies in the knowledge, the skill and the organisation of the women Although separated, the two sexes are not wholly apart, with various carnivals taken place which are highly organised to allow men and women to congregate As a consequence children are born and at the age of five the boys are sent off to be with their fathers in the garrisons And this is where the real divide between the sexes is apparent, as women hope their sons and brothers return when they are allowed to at fifteen, while the men of the garrison see it as a dishonour not to continue in the military until the day they meet a marvellous death The narrative follows Stavia, daughter of one of the senior councilwomen and her relationship with Chernon the son of a neighbour, who unbeknownst to her has been instructed by his superiors to woo her to try and find out the real secrets of what goes on through the gates to women s country.It s a book which seems to be leading in one direction, to a conflict between men and women and yet it doesn t quite do that Instead like one of its characters, a magician it uses misdirection and sleight of hand raising Chekov s pistol but palming it and revealing it to be something else Cleverly it shows what could lie in the future of these characters is the return of man s domination, but it knows that we already understand what that looks like and so actually steers us in a different direction The book is interested in showing how men s roles and defined by women and vice versa It takes a truly extreme view of the masculinity which exists outside of women s country and not only examines it, drawing comparison with the world we have now, but then twists it around giving another extreme example hitting readers again and again with the horror of what men can do Those of us in the comfortable liberal west may pat ourselves on the back as to how far women s rights and feminism have come, but of course can be done Further there are places in the world and we all know that such places exist, even if most of us do not keep it in the forefront of our minds where terrible things are done to women because of the strictures of the society in to which they re born In that regard this is an angry book, angry about these things it pictures in the distant future but which we all know versions of are happening today, and it wants us to share its anger.Without a doubt one of the best books I ve read this year, a fascinating achievement which aims for and succeeds in real depth of character, heart breaking scenes, and hammers home a strident message without ever becoming pious or preachy.


  6. says:

    Tepper offers a fascinating meditation on how a post apocalyptic people might seek to limit the potential for future violence and thus avoid another devastating presumably nuclear holocaust The division of genders into Women s Country and the Warrior society is a deeply unsettling one The men live a Hobbesian life that is nasty, brutish, and short, while the women preserve a disconcertingly passive aggressive tyranny based on secrets and half truths and closeted eugenics programs The book suggests an easy answer to the question of where violence comes from men and then refuses to accept its own answer, because what else can the men become, if distrusted, denied education, and fed lies and propaganda In the effort not to repeat the mistakes of the distant past, both the women and men of Women s Country have locked themselves into a cycle of recent and still costly errors.The novel would have been compelling if not for its temporary detour into the caricaturish Holyland with its cardboard stereotypes and if only the reader came to know Servitors such as Joshua and Corrig better, these real men who choose to turn their back on the warriors and provide in ways than most realize for the women Tepper doesn t seem to know exactly what this alternative portrait of masculinity looks like up close, and her piece would be the stronger for some kind of three dimensional image Also, a few times, it seemed as though Tepper felt sorry and apologetic for the Damned Few, the female decision makers behind the curtain, than appropriately suspicious of the great authority they have granted themselves an authority capable of and sometimes amenable to wiping out entire populations This is a worthy classic for all of the difficult questions that it raises, even if its answers are incomplete and uncomfortable and perhaps less unambiguous than Tepper herself wished , and I look forward to the discussions it yields in the classroom.


  7. says:

    On my second reading I don t think I gave Tepper enough credit the first time I read this book The treatment of homosexuality still bothers me Although, as one commenter has said, it could be argued that this is simply an authorial choice to make it easier for Tepper to explore the specific issues she wishes to focus on, it strikes me as too simplistic to simply say, Oh, teh gay, we fixed that a while back, especially since the book is so much about questions of biology and essential natures and this particular issue as opposed to the issues of violence and masculinity seems to be rather taken for granted where it could be explored in very interesting ways Where I think I sold Tepper short on first reading is in her treatment of gender differences and biology Upon re reading, her approach to the issue of masculine versus feminine natures is quite complex Tepper reinforces biological essentialism through the plot mechanic of breeding for nonviolence among the men and through discussions of women s inherent nurturing natures but also simultaneously critiques it by painting the actions of the Council as, at the very least, morally ambiguous In the end, the women seem to be making some progress toward a world with no violence and no war, but, Tepper leads the reader to ask, is that acceptable if, to reach that world, they must engage in violence themselves As is said in the play within the novel, Iphigenia at Ilium,Dead or damned, that s the choice we make Either you men kill us and are honored for it, or we women kill you and are damned for it Dead or damned Women don t have to make choices like that in Hades There s no love there, nothing to betray Hades is Women s Country.The women who are in the know, therefore, are damned by their choices to kill men to save themselves and their sisters the women who live in Women s Country all unknowing most of the women there are in Hades, which is like dream without waking Like carrying water in a sieve Like coming into harbor after storm Barren harbor where the empty river runs through an endless desert into the sea Where all the burdens have been taken away They live in a hell of ignorance, lost choices, and emptiness This is quite a condemnation This is a fascinating exploration of the relationship and differences between men and women Set in a post apocalyptic world, The Gate to Women s Country presents a society in which men and women have two very different cultures The women live inside walled cities, growing food for both the men and the women, doing medicine and art and science and family the men live in the garrison, outside the city walls, fighting and preparing for war The women support the men and the men protect the women Except for some men, who, after spending their childhood from age 5 living in the garrison and being raised by the men to be warriors, choose to return to the city through the Women s Gate, to becomes servitors who live among the women and to learn to be productive members of that society instead of becoming warriors The book sets up several key dichotomies men women, warrior servitor, strong weak and then calls them, or at least our assumptions about them, into question In doing so, Tepper makes an argument for the women s cities as the beginning of a true feminist utopia, a utopia that is not without men but that is without a certain kind of men Morgot, a powerful leader of the women s community, explains Three hundred years ago almost everyone in the world had died in a great devastation brought about by men It was men who made the weapons and men who were the diplomats and men who made the speeches about national pride and defense And in the end it was men who did whatever they had to do, pushed the buttons or pulled the string to set the terrible things off And we died Almost all of us Women Children Martha a founder of women s country taught that the destruction had come about because of men s willingness even eagerness to fight, and she determined that this eagerness to fight must be bred out of our race, even though it might take a thousand years 301 2 Tepper, in this argument combines an argument against war as we know it with an argument for gender equality for the violence and destruction unleashed by this war is mirrored in the violence and destruction that had existed within human society e.g., domestic violence, rape, genital mutilation She is very careful, however, to again make the distinction between types of men and types of society, as Morgot says that it wasn t that bad as a general rule, I don t think Love existed, after all Some men and women have always loved one another Not all cultures oppressed women 292 There are problems with this book, however One is the essentialism of the argument Although Tepper does allow for those men who are not warriors, who return to the cities as servitors, she still bases her argument on the assumption that men and women are fundamentally different Men are, mostly, violent, aggressive, dominating women are, mostly, cooperative, pacifist, nurturing The fact that these things are changing as the women attempt to create a new kind of man, replacing the old kind through the process of genetic selection, could either be the saving grace or the final evidence that, in Tepper s world, men and women are fundamentally what biology says they are The relationship between biology and culture definitely needs to be furthered explored Another major problem is the treatment of homosexuality Basically, it doesn t exist any It s explained that even in pre convulsion times it was known that the so called gay syndrome was caused by aberrant hormone levels during pregnancy The women doctors now identified the condition as hormonal reproductive maladaption and corrected it before birth There were very few actual HNRMS called HenRams either male or female, born in Women s Country 76 This is troubling for the queer movement because it turns homosexuality into nothing than a disease to be cured and reasserts the hegemony of heterosexuality In a world where men and women are segregated, it seems that outlawing homosexual behavior or curing homosexuality as an orientation only serves to limit the kinds of love and desire available Frankly, it seems unreasonable It s an interesting counterpoint to other feminist utopias for instance, Joanna Russ s The Female Man and their treatment of female sexuality The other problem I have with the book is less theoretical and aesthetic Although I enjoyed the book greatly and found the ideas worth exploring even if I didn t always agree with the assumptions made by Tepper , sometimes the prose itself grated on me Mostly, it did this when it felt like Tepper was trying too hard to be artsy or complex For example, here s the opening paragraph of the novel Stavia saw herself as in a picture, from the outside, a darkly cloaked figure moving along a cobbled street, the stones sheened with a soft, early spring rain On either side the gutters ran with an infant chuckle and gurgle, baby streams being amused with themselves The corniced buildings smiled candlelit windows across at one another, their shoulders huddled protectively inward though not enough to keep the rain from streaking the windows and making the candlelight seem the least bit weepy, a luxurious weepiness, as after a two hanky drama of love lost or unrequited 1.Now while this does get the reader thinking immediately of love, loss, and children important in the upcoming scene and also introduces the concept of self division that Stavia describes occurring to her repeatedly throughout the book, it also creates a rather garbled set of metaphors There s joy in the gutters, protection in the windows, and sadness in the light that s a lot of emotion to lay on one street One example to make my point Septemius and his people were in the street when they saw Stavia next, she coming along the walk with her marketing bag on her shoulder, brow furrowed with concentration over something or other, so she almost bumped them before hearing Kostia and Tonia s greeting, a vibrating Hello, Medic, which hung on the air like the reverberation of a gong 170.The contrived word order and the sheer length of this sentence serve only to complicate what should be a very simple encounter on the street Not to mention the oddness of the description of Kostia and Tonia s greeting.I mention the style because it is a recurring issue while reading the book, but it is only an infrequently occurring issue Most of the time, Tepper s prose is perfectly clear and serves to advance the plot nicely Some of the time, the style is even good I particularly like the play within the novel and some of the descriptions of the landscape outside the walls of the city.In the end, because this is a book that I enjoyed, that raises interesting questions, and that isn t without ideological problems to be discussed and worked out, this would make a great book to teach, especially in conjunction with other feminist SF.


  8. says:

    This is the book that introduced me to Sheri Tepper It addresses questions of why humanity is so violent and possible solutions, of gender politics, of what a future might be like if men and women did not live together as a rule In this post apocalyptic future, matriarchal women live in walled towns, carrying on agriculture, arts, crafts and politics Men live outside the towns in warrior garrisons, to protect the women.The story is about our heroine and how she learns some of the secrets of her society, secrets that are hidden by putting them right out there in the open so anyone with the wit to notice can see Her personal story is framed beautifully by the device of a performance of Iphegenia at Ilium, a reworking of The Trojan Women, that examines the place of women, and their usual fates, in the patriarchal old times I love this book.


  9. says:

    Of all the books by Sheri S Tepper I have read, this is perhaps the most overtly feminist in that the post apocalyptic society she describes is clearly matriarchal Yet it is not an angry, man bashing diatribe Instead The Gate To Women s Country presents a fledgling eco utopian society where the ultimate aim is balance and equality between the sexes within a pacifist, non violent culture The means by which the Women s Council set out to achieve this balance, however, are both morally and ethically questionable As well as being a very well written story, with excellent characterisation and a strong plot, this book raises issues that stay with you long after the final page has been turned.The book opens with Stavia, the central character, meeting with her fifteen year old son who has made the decision to reject her and Women s Country for the life of a warrior in the garrison outside the town From this poignant opening the story shifts between Stavia as an adult and member of the Women s Council and her earlier life from the age of eleven onwards She grows up with her mother Morgot and older sister Myra in Marthatown a place where sons are given to their fathers at the age of five to be trained as warriors for ten years after which they have the choice to remain in the Spartan like garrison or return through the Women s Gate for a peaceful life of learning and servitude Women s Country is a low tech culture, still recovering from the destruction that occurred in the time of the convulsions when North America was devastated by nuclear war Farming, manufacturing, metallurgy, trade, education, medicine these are all undertaken by women within walled towns, protected by their warrior brothers, sons and lovers in the garrisons outside the gates Stavia is the daughter of a doctor and Council member and looks set to follow in her mother s path until she breaks the rules or ordinances by giving books to an older boy with whom she forms a close friendship However, we know that his motives are not as benign as Stavia thinks There are secrets in Women s Country and while the men in the garrisons do not know what these secrets are, they are very keen to find out, wanting power and influence in a society that pretty much excludes them.Without wishing to spoil the plot, the men are right to believe that the women are holding back significant information from them By segregating the sexes and restricting mens access to education and pre destruction knowledge, the women are able to manipulate the technology they have to make advances towards a non violent society How this is achieved is the secret that could destroy everything should the men uncover the truth It also raises a very real moral dilemma do the means justify the hoped for end result Certainly it gave me plenty to think about after I had finished reading the book Sheri S Tepper s writing is gentle and allows the plot to develop gradually over time I found Stavia to be a compelling narrator, particularly when she used her actor persona to hide her conflicting emotions I also really liked Joshua, the family servitor, who, although very much in the background, was wise and insightful and provided balance to an otherwise divided culture To some degree he was presented as an idealised male archetype, something the society strived for, yet because he had rejected the warrior life, he was also somehow lacking in honour and not always given the respect he deserved The men in the garrison, on the other hand, were largely stereotyped as aggressive, resentful and hungry for power and control Another group, the Holylanders , misogynistic polygamous descendents of fundamentalist type Christians were interesting in that they provided a stark contrast to the culture of the Women s Country.Throughout The Gate to Women s Country are scenes from Iphigenia of Ilium, the traditional play that the Council put on every year before the summer carnival This is a reworking of the Greek tragedy The Trojan Women and used as a guiding theme or leitmotif, as the adult Stavia prepares to play her part in the performance I found this particularly interesting as it was treated almost as a religious text, and indeed, highlighted certain aspects of this post apocalyptic society It is fair to say that I really enjoyed reading The Gate to Women s Country and found it gave me plenty to think about Would I enjoy living in such a matriarchal society, where, apart from the servitors, contact with men was limited to two carnivals every year While I appreciated the desire for a completely pacifist society, I am not sure I would be prepared to go along with the measures the Women s Council practiced in their attempt to achieve this To me this felt oppressive and lacking in basic respect for the men, and the secrecy surrounding this was deceitful to say the least However, this is a society still trying to rebuild itself some three hundred years after a nuclear war a war that was indiscriminate in selecting its millions of innocent victims and blighted large parts of the land a war that was started and fought predominantly by men our own current society.http speculativebookreview.blogspot


  10. says:

    I remember reading this book for a Science Fiction class I took in college Unlike probably everyone else in the class, except for my friend Chris, I hadn t ever gone through a scifi phase, or ever liked reading scifi books The closest I ever came was really liking Star Wars and other movies as a kid I d even tried once reading a Star Wars novel as a kid and thought it was stupid and gave up on it So I took this class in a genre I had no interest in, and the teacher was all gung ho about sf being all about being able to engage in interesting ideas and complex politics and stuff like that This book was one of those complex ideas What I remember is that women all live in this big gated community, with some eunuch like men who do their bidding, and I think they have some studs around to get them babies, oh wait no, now I remember they let the men in at one time each year to make babies with The men live out in the wilderness and are kept out of the civilization of the gated community Then there is someone who falls in love with a guy out in the wilderness or something like that and the women question their treatment of men or something I don t really remember I do remember thinking that the book was on the trite side, and it s grappling with serious issues was kind of weak and one dimensional I do remember that the book read really fast though and that while I withered in a chair in the school library about the simple minded political discourse going on, I also found myself pretty engaged in the story and wanting to keep on reading So three stars.