The Female Man

By Joanna Russ,

Book cover of The Female Man

Book description

A landmark book in the fields of science fiction and feminism.

Four women living in parallel worlds, each with a different gender landscape. When they begin to travel to each other's worlds each woman's preconceptions on gender and what it means to be a woman are challenged.

Acclaimed as one…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Female Man as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This science fiction and mystery story is about an astronaut from a world without men crashes on Earth and blows all our minds… except we’re also reading a story about a woman living in our 1970s, and a parallel Earth where WWII never happened… it gets a little confusing, in a really fun way.

Russ uses this engaging, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic multiverse story to explore topics of sex essentialism and gender fluidity in a way that still feels bracing and mind-expanding today.

You could say this is as much a philosophical treatise as a novel but that makes…

Joanna Russ is one of the most bold, creative, sharp, and ruthless writers of feminist utopia.

I love to re-read her when I feel like I am losing my edge.

The Female Man is a revolutionary landmark in utopian storytelling from 1975. It is set in different probable realities ranging from an ironically utopian ideal of a “woman-only” world, to a dystopian 20th century USA stuck in economic depression, to a dystopian war zone populated by killer cyborgs.

Still, none of these settings are behaving as is suggested by these crude short descriptions. Russ’ writing is complex, witty, and…

The Female Man gives the reader a slice of the 1970s up close and personal from the perspective of young women who don’t fit it, who don’t want to be used as an object, who both come from and see into a different way of life. A challenging read, but as one of my students said when you get finished, you have so much to talk about you could talk for days. Russ, too, is somewhat overlooked today, which is a shame because she was brilliant, funny, and angry, really, really angry and somehow, I appreciate the depth of that…

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