August 13th, 2012

techie

When It Changed.

isabelknight on whatwasthatbook, gave what I think is the best ever description of Joanna Russ's feminist short story "When It Changed" because she couldn't remember the names - only the important details:

OK, so I read a short story a while back about a long-neglected colony planet (with no space-travel-tech of its own) that has been female only for generations (they have a gene-combining/pregnancy technique that allows for couples to produce children (daughters) who are a mixture of their parents' traits - so there's a small distinction between "kids one bears" and "kids containing some of your genetic material that your partner bears", but it's a small one, because monogamous marriage is pretty common. Narrator makes a point of it NOT being straight-up parthenogenesis). The narrator is a bad-ass married to a different sort of bad-ass, and has a rivalry with one of the other respected community members. Duels occur sometimes. There are dangerous critters so most people carry firearms, except the narrators wife who doesn't, but drives like a mother-fucker and avoids guns because she doesn't trust her own impulse control. The story involves a few men (who died off for some reason centuries ago) returning as ambassadors/explorers as the colony is "rediscovered" by them, and how totally weirded out the women are by the way these guys treat them/make assumptions about them.

I think Joanna Russ would have been pleased by that description.
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