wMay 15, 2008

Daughters of the North

Sarah Hall's Daughters of the North won the Tiptree Award, which is why I read it (also because the Wiscon Book Club selected it as this month's book). Overall, I was pretty underwhelmed with this book. Apparently, its plot (dystopian future in which women's right to have babies is limited by an Authoritarian government) is derivative of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which I haven't yet read.

The narrator is unreliable, but I really just spent the novel hating the writing style, which is overly descriptive to me.

Descriptions of the commune of women that broke away from society read like a modern-day liberal's wet dream; lengthy descriptions of organic food and farming nearly had me rolling my eyes.

This book doesn't do anything exciting for me. The feminists of the future have kept men, make their own sustainable living, and realize it's okay to have sex with each other, too. Yawn.

I'm frankly surprised that this book beat out Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man comic book series, which was on the Tiptree Award's notable mentions list. I much prefer Y to this.

As a random question: Are Tiptree Award winners selected based solely upon the way they deal with gender? Or does the quality of the writing play into it as well?

If you're looking for a last-minute novel to read before Wiscon, read Maureen F. McHugh's China Mountain Zhang instead.

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scribbled mystickeeper at 9:38 AM

Hi -- I have a technorati search feed set up to point me toward blogs that mention wiscon, which is how I came across your post.

Each year's Tiptree jury has quite a bit of autonomy over their selection process, but generally the jurors have reported selecting for writing quality (as they define it) along with exploring/expanding gender. I haven't read this year's winner yet, but I have read all but one of the other winners, and there have definitely been some that didn't work for me stylistically.

Heather, Tiptree archivist

By Blogger hhw, at 2:58 PM, May 15, 2008  

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