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Future Eves

Future Eves by Jean Marie Stine
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How will women affect the future, and how will the future affect the lives of women? You'll find out in Future Eves: Great Science Fiction by Women About Women edited by Jean Marie Stine. Written between 1931 and 1959, these stories show how different women have, in different eras, envisioned the future of their sex.

Leslie F. Stone was so far ahead of her time that nothing like her novelette, 'The Conquest of Gola' (1931), an encounter with Earth males told from the point-of-view of an alien matriarch, would be attempted again in science fiction until the work of Alice Sheldon (AKA James Tiptree, Jr.) in the 1970s.

The scientific detective story is a subgenre of science fiction that flourished in the early 1900s with the adventures of Arthur B. Reeve's Craig Kennedy character; and Margarette Rea is one of the few women of the time to have, in 'Delilah' (1933), written in the subgenre (in this instance utilizing the newly emergent science of 'psychology').

Hazel Heald's novelette, 'The Man of Stone,' is searingly feminist, all the more so since her heroine, like so many women of the time, takes her brutalized situation so much for granted; the title can be seen as having both a literal meaning and a metaphorical one in relation to the heart of the principle male character (Lovecraft fans are in for a real treat.)

On a more modern note, Evelyn Goldsmith offers what is both a legitimate science fiction puzzle story and one of character in her 'Days of Darkness' (1959), the tale of a spinster's encounter with an invisible, vampiric alien invader.

Although 'Alien Invasion' (1954) by Marcia Kamen is short, it is one many women will sympathize with - after all, what else is sex between a man and a woman?

In 'Miss Millie's Rose' (1959), Joy Leche manages what so few male science fiction writers of the era seemed able to do: portray a character whose psychology arises out of her own future world and not our own.

Betsy Curtis is a deceptively mild name for someone able to produce a work like 'The Goddess of Planet Delight,' a short novel in the classic mode that mixes a sociological puzzle with pointed satire, high-adventure and romance in its story of a traveling salesman who has to stop over one night at the planet named 'Delight.'

'Cocktails at Eight' seems a deceptively mild domestic comedy, until you realize what author Beth Elliot is saying about the children her heroine has produced.

Finally, Helen Clarkson offers 'The Last Day,' a haunting poignant short-short so prophetic that, though chosen prior to 9/11/2002, hits home all the harder in the aftermath of that horrendous tragedy. Future Eves is fascinating reading, both as science fiction and as an eye-opening view into futures past.

Renaissance E Books; February 2002
167 pages; ISBN 9781588730701
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Title: Future Eves
Author: Jean Marie Stine
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