Woman on the Edge of Time

Woman on the Edge of Time

Infobox Book
name = Woman on the Edge of Time
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = Cover of the Fawcett 1988 edition (paperback)
author = Marge Piercy
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
subject =
genre = Science fiction
Utopian fiction
publisher = Alfred A. Knopf
release_date = 1976
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
pages = 369pp (First edition)
isbn = ISBN 0-394-49986-7 (First edition, hardcover)
preceded_by =
followed_by =

Marge Piercy's novel "Woman on the Edge of Time" (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976). The novel is considered a classic of utopian "speculative" science fiction as well as a feminist classic.

Plot summary

Thirty-seven-year-old Hispanic Consuelo (Connie) Ramos makes contact with the future though Luciente. She travels to Luciente's time, in which a number of goals of the political and social agenda of the late sixties and early seventies radical movements have been fulfilled. Environmental pollution, homophobia, racism, phallogocentrism, class-subordination, consumerism, imperialism, and totalitarianism no longer exist in the rural community of Mattapoisett. The death penalty, however, continues to exist ("We don't think it's right to kill (...). Only convenient."), as does war. Connie lives during an important time in history which will determine the outcome of Luciente's future. When Connie seems to be giving into the situation surrounding her she ends up visiting a different future. Her visits to an alternate future in which a wealthy elite living on space platforms subdues the majority of the population with drugs and harvests these earth-bound humans' organs startles her into taking action in her time. The technocrats controlling this horrific future attempt to influence the past--Connie's present--to ensure the existence of their future.

The novel gives little indication as to whether or not Connie's visions are by-products of a mental disease or are meant to be taken literally, but ultimately, Connie's confrontation with the future incites her to a violent action which will ensure her indefinite detention at the Rockover Psychiatric Institution. She will undoubtedly be treated with electroconvulsive therapy and be "filed away among the living cancers of the chronic wards." Though her actions do not ensure the existence of the Mattapoisett future, Connie nevertheless sees her act as a victory: "I'm a dead woman now too. (...) But I did fight them. (...) I tried." [p. 375 of the Women's Press editions of 1979 and 1987.]

Notes and references


*cite book | last = Piercy | first = Marge | authorlink = Marge Piercy | year = 1985 | title = Woman on the Edge of Time | origyear = 1976 | publisher = Fawcett | location = New York | id = ISBN 0-449-21082-0
*cite book | last = Piercy | first = Marge | authorlink = Marge Piercy | year = 2000 | title = Woman on the Edge of Time | origyear = 1976 | publisher = The Women's Press | location = London | id = ISBN 0-7043-4656-7
*cite book | last = Lefanu | first = Sarah | year = 1988 | title = In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction | publisher = The Women's Press | location = London | id = ISBN 0-7043-4092-5
*cite book | last = Lefanu | first = Sarah | year = 1989 | title = Feminism and Science Fiction | publisher = Indiana Univ Press | location = Bloomington, IN | id = ISBN 0-253-23100-0 (U.S. variant title of preceding)

External links

* [http://www.raymondvandewiel.nl/women_at_war.html A Deleuzoguattarian interpretation of "Woman on the Edge of Time" (undergraduate paper)]
* [http://www.greenmanreview.com/book/book_piercy_woman.html A review by Michelle Erica Green]
* [http://www.margepiercy.com/books/woman-edge.htm Piercy about the novel on her own website]

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