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Happy birthday to sarah531 and vg_ford, and happy early birthday to lothithil, captnofmyheart, and wildviolet4. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!

To everyone, happy April 1st!

Just a warning that on April Fool's Day my natural distrust of others will be ratcheted up to a level bordering on psychosis

I have finally decided on my reading assignments for my summer course this year, which is a recent history of "single-gender worlds" in fiction. As usual, I didn't have nearly enough time for all the great texts I wanted to cover, but I think these will fuel some terrific discussions.

Here are the assigned readings:

Mizora: A World of Women by Mary E. Bradley Lane (1880-1881)
"Sultana's Dream" by Rokheya Shekhawat Hossein (1905) (online here)
The Disappearance by Philip Wylie (1951)
Consider Her Ways by John Wyndham (1954)
"Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" by James Tiptree, Jr. (1967)
"When It Changed" by Joanna Russ (1972)
London Fields by Caroline Forbes (1985)
Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold (1986)
The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper (1988)
Epitaph Road by David Patneaude (2010)

Each student will do an independent essay on one of the following books and present it to the class:

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1915)
Swastika Night by Katharine Burdekin (1937)
Virgin Planet by Poul Anderson (1959)
Spartan Planet by A. Bertram Chandler (1968)
Sex and the High Command by John Boyd (1970)
Wanderground: Stories of the Hill Women by Sally Miller Gearhart (1979)
Retreat! As It Was by Donna J. Young (1979)
Children of the Light by Susan B. Weston (1985)
A Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski (1986)
Ammonite by Nicola Griffith (1993)
Glory Season by David Brin (1993)
Califia's Daughters by Leigh Richards (2004)
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (2008)
Nomansland by Lesley Hauge (2010)

You were a good man, Richie. Mostly, anyway.
Epitaph for Richard Stackhouse
(November 2, 2026 - August 13, 2067),
By Rose Mayes, his mostly steady squeeze,
December 8, 2068
- from Epitaph Road by David Patneaude



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 1st, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. Would you consider Ursula Le Guin's Winter, in The Left Hand of Darkness, to be a single-gender world? Is "everyone is a hermaphrodite" a proper variant on that trope?
Apr. 1st, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
I definitely can see how it would fit, and it certainly would add to the larger conversation about how authors have dealt with gender. I didn't really meet that question head-on, because I teach the book in another class of mine, and so I automatically disqualified it from this one. But you've got an excellent point!
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 1st, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
Herland is absolutely fantastic. Great stuff! I hope you enjoy it.

I am indeed counting male-only worlds, too. The Disappearance, for example, has a world of only men parallel to and apart from a world of only women. And Athos in Ethan of Athos is a world of only men. Spartan Planet (a.k.a. False Fatherland) is another example of this.

Edited at 2010-04-01 03:16 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 5th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
Y: The Last Man definitely counts! I thought about assigning it, but I think instead we'll talk about it during one of our classes. It will be great to have graphic novels represented. Good call!
Apr. 1st, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
I am not familiar with *all* of these, so I might be misunderstanding the point, but in "The Gate to Women's Country" are there not men around, but with a very much subservient status, rather than there being strictly a single gender society?
Apr. 1st, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
We're going to look at the subject from several different directions. Some of the texts posit planets in which only one gender exists, while others describe planets in which two genders are split into separate "worlds." The Gate to Women's Country is sort of a variation on that theme, as you say: there are some men in Women's Country, but they are in subservient roles, while outside of the nation, the Holylanders, for example, are patriarchal and keep what women they do have in subservient roles. So the world in the book is not a strictly one-gender world, but by describing "worlds" dominated by one gender or another, I think the book has some interesting insights to add to the discussion inspired by the other, earlier texts.
Abbie [wordpress.com]
Apr. 1st, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
So much reading! This class sounds like it's going to be completely awesome, and I hope you and all your students enjoy it!

LOL @ that card. Seriously.
Apr. 5th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm psyched about it. Two of those readings (Consider Her Ways and London Fields) are actually novellas rather than full novels, so they fit nicely into the quarter-long class format.

That card cracked me up!
Apr. 1st, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
Amy, getting back to your other favorite topic for a moment, you'll want to check out Eve Tushnet's review of a new dystopian novel set in Toronto: _Brown Girl in the Ring_. Sounds interesting. Have you heard of it, or, dare I ask, read it already?

-The Fredösphere
Apr. 5th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for mentioning it! I've read great things about the novel, but I've never read it, unfortunately. Thanks to your comment, though, I'll remember to move it closer to the top of my "To Be Read" pile. It sounds very compelling (and right up my alley)...
Apr. 1st, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
Wheee, thank you! :D
Apr. 5th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
I hope you had an excellent one! :)
Apr. 1st, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
AHHAHAHA! Funny card! My step-father used to *TORTURE* me on April Fool's Day... AUGH! Years of therapy later, I am able to leave the house on the day, but always keep an eye out on the back of my head. ;-)
Apr. 5th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
LOL! Whew, we're safe for another year now. ;)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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