Favorite Feminist Reading

/ posted in: FeminismReading

The theme for The F Word this month is your feminist book/film/music/site recommendations.  Whenever I think of feminist book recommendations I always think of Sherri S. Tepper first.

She is the author of many sci-fi/fantasy books always featuring a feminist perspective.  Her books also discuss ecology and a distaste for fundamentalist religion.

She was born in Colorado in 1929 and worked for many years with Planned Parenthood.  Go read the biography on her website.  It is amazing.

The book of hers that I recommend most is The Fresco.

The FrescoThe Fresco by Sheri S. Tepper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Benita Alvarez-Shipton is a 36 year old bookstore employee in an abusive marriage when she is approached by two aliens to deliver the news of humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial life to the proper authorities.  Earth has been noticed by many alien races. The Pistach are envoys from a peaceful confederacy who want to get Earth under their protection before others decide to hunt on it.  In order to join though, humans are going to have to agree to adopt Neighborliness, the confederacy’s governing principle.  There can be no more racial strife or sexism or hurting the planet.  If you can’t get along on your own planet, how will you get along with others?  The Pistach realize that this will be hard for some humans so they are prepared to help.  It is for our own good.

There are two main stories told in the book in alternating chapters.  The first is Benita’s story.  She was chosen because she was ordinary but for the same reason, no one will believe her even though she has proof.  In order to be an effective ambassador she has to decide to stand up for herself against her abusive husband and her college-aged son who has been trained by his father to look down on her.  This is the story that I love the most.  It is profound and hilarious. As the aliens decide to “fix” Earth, panic ensues.  I love their fixes and wish they could happen.  For example, at one point the mediators for the confederacy are going to have to leave because it is time to lay their eggs.  Because it is a delicate time in the talks, they decide instead to forcibly impregnate certain men who have publicly said that no one should be able to have an abortion in case of rape because all life is precious.  They figure that these men will cherish the mediators’ unborn larvae and be grateful for the opportunity to host them.

The other story is the story of the Pistach.  They are a race that has a long tradition of reaching out to other races in peace.  This tradition is based on their religion which is recorded on a fresco.  The fresco is very old and so dirty that it can’t be seen well.  It is considered too holy and important to risk cleaning.  There is a commentary that explains each of the panels and why it is so important that the Pistach always choose peace.  Now a rebel faction have captured the fresco building and are going to clean it to see what the fresco really shows.  If the fresco isn’t the message of peace that they’ve been taught it is, what does that mean for Pistach culture and the negotiations currently underway on Earth?

Because I think every one should try her books, I’m giving away a copy of The Fresco.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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