“Lively, thought-provoking . . . the plot is ingenious, packing a wallop of a surprise . . . Tepper knows how to write a well-made, on-moving story with strong characters. . . . She takes the mental risks that are the lifeblood of science fiction and all imaginative narrative.”—Ursula K. LeGuin, Los Angeles Times
Since the flames died three hundred years ago, human civilization has evolved into a dual society: Women’s Country, where walled towns enclose what’s left of past civilization, nurtured by women and a few nonviolent men; and the adjacent garrisons where warrior men live—the lost brothers, sons, and lovers of those in Women’s Country.
Two societies. Two competing dreams. Two ways of life, kept apart by walls stronger than stone. And yet there is a gate between them. . . .
“Tepper not only keeps us reading . . . she provokes a new look at the old issues.”—The Washington Post
“Tepper’s cast of both ordinary and extraordinary people play out a powerful drama whose significance goes beyond sex to deal with the toughest problem of all, the challenge of surmounting humanity’s most dangerous flaws so we can survive—despite ourselves.”—Locus
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 learning. The resulting manifold responsibilities are seen through the life of Stavia, from a dreaming 10-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 provoc ative ideas. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo.
Great dystopian fantasy
At first this society seems to oppress women.. but keep reading. A great page turner, a great commentary on women’s rights.
Great story from an SF Master, but...
What IS it about ebooks that they're plagued with nonsensical typos and formatting issues that aren't in the original book? In this age of computers, surely it's not so hard for editors to use the same edited manuscript for both hardcopy and ebook? Lines that run together, words combined so that sentences make no sense ("of ten" combined to "often", in one example, so the sentence makes no sense), misspellings -- don't editors bother actually reading? Or do they just run a spellchecker and hope for the best?
Anyway, all the typos and errors aside, this is one of my favorite SF stories, a very human, emotional tale about certain feminist and evangelical Christian ideologies taken out to their logical conclusion in a post-apocalyptic era. There's no right on either side, though horror and wrong abound on both sides. Unfortunately, one can see too many parallels in Women's Country garrisons to the jingoistic warmongering that's taken over segments of the US, for all that Gate was written long before 9/11.
You'll find yourself outraged and thoughtful in turns, and the characters will stay with you. The story is compelling, and heartbreaking. Highly recommended.
An experience worth repeating
I've read this book a few times, but many years ago. I am buying it to re-read, because it keeps coming back to me. The ideas, the triumphs, the culture of this world... They make me think. Yet it was a very fun read, too!