Monday, August 24, 2009

Paperback 280: The Female Man / Joanna Russ (Bantam Q8765)

Paperback 280: Bantam Q8765 (PBO, 1975)

Title: The Female Man
Author: Joanna Russ
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $15

Best things about this cover:

  • "See, you thought I was a woman, but under these boobs ... no, wait, under these boobs ..."
  • You decide: crazy red hair that conveniently hides her (apparently faux) vagina? or monstrous red pubic hair that is attempting to eat her head?
  • "Dad, this stripper is scaring me. Can we go home now?"

Best things about this back cover:

  • "Reality Times 3" — sounds like a very bad educational / religious rap act.
  • Passive voice cavalcade in that fourth sentence is setting my teeth on edge.
  • Apparently a reference to Philip Wylie's "The Disappearance" meant something to someone at some point.

Page 123~

I want love. (she dropped her paper cup of lemonade and covered her face with her hands.)

Wow, they really screwed up her order.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Jamie Rosen said...

There's no passive voice in the second sentence. There's a bunch in the fourth, but I think it works well here.

Joanna Russ is something a first-generation feminist icon in the SF field. I have her non-fiction book How to Suppress Women's Writing sitting high up on my to be reread pile.

Rex Parker said...

Of course you are right that it's the fourth sentence. You are not right that it works well. I get that the subject is being hidden so you can get the "pow" effect of the reveal: there are no "men" (who would normally be the subject of those verbs in the active voice). But still ... "wildernesses conquered" is ugly icing on awkward cake.

I too have been meaning to read this for some time. It's like _Don Quixote_ in that respect, only I've tried and failed several times to read DQ. Not so w/ this one.


Nicole "Gidget" Kalstein said...

I'm confused. Isn't a man, by definition...not female? I mean, even if he is disguised as a female, that does not make him a female man.



Jamie Rosen said...

Lyndee -- It's a science fiction story where some of the characters come from a world where there is only one gender.

Rex, I see your point.

Alix said...

I won't debate the active/passive voice issue, but I do think the word "startling" is certainly apropos.

Elaine said...

Given that I recognize Frederick Pohl as an important writer in the SCI-FI genre, I might consider reading this book....except, Ewww, I AM judging this book by its cover.