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The Women Men Don't See

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The short story revolves around protagonist Don Fenton, an American government agent on vacation in Mexico, and his meeting with the Parsons. Ruth Parsons and her daughter Althea charter a plane with the Mayan pilot Esteban and allow Fenton to travel with them. When the plane crashes, Don and Ruth split off from Althea and Esteban in order to search for fresh water. Throug The short story revolves around protagonist Don Fenton, an American government agent on vacation in Mexico, and his meeting with the Parsons. Ruth Parsons and her daughter Althea charter a plane with the Mayan pilot Esteban and allow Fenton to travel with them. When the plane crashes, Don and Ruth split off from Althea and Esteban in order to search for fresh water. Throughout the ordeal, Don becomes increasingly annoyed when Ruth does not panic or act in a way he expects of a woman. His conversations with Ruth reveal that she feels alienated since she is a woman, though Don is unable to understand her views. During an encounter with aliens, Ruth pleads with them to take her and Althea away from Earth while Don tries to “save” her from the extraterrestrials. In the end the aliens leave with the Parsons, leaving Don bewildered and questioning why the two women would rather leave with aliens than stay on Earth.


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The short story revolves around protagonist Don Fenton, an American government agent on vacation in Mexico, and his meeting with the Parsons. Ruth Parsons and her daughter Althea charter a plane with the Mayan pilot Esteban and allow Fenton to travel with them. When the plane crashes, Don and Ruth split off from Althea and Esteban in order to search for fresh water. Throug The short story revolves around protagonist Don Fenton, an American government agent on vacation in Mexico, and his meeting with the Parsons. Ruth Parsons and her daughter Althea charter a plane with the Mayan pilot Esteban and allow Fenton to travel with them. When the plane crashes, Don and Ruth split off from Althea and Esteban in order to search for fresh water. Throughout the ordeal, Don becomes increasingly annoyed when Ruth does not panic or act in a way he expects of a woman. His conversations with Ruth reveal that she feels alienated since she is a woman, though Don is unable to understand her views. During an encounter with aliens, Ruth pleads with them to take her and Althea away from Earth while Don tries to “save” her from the extraterrestrials. In the end the aliens leave with the Parsons, leaving Don bewildered and questioning why the two women would rather leave with aliens than stay on Earth.

30 review for The Women Men Don't See

  1. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Among all these 5 stars, here comes my opposite. I didn't resonate with it; I found the characters unreliable and artificial and that meeting with the aliens... lol. I got the message but did not resonate with it either. Had I read it in '73 (wasn't born yet, but lets speculate) maybe I would have liked it. Now it seems out of place. Don't shoot, it's just one opinion. Among all these 5 stars, here comes my opposite. I didn't resonate with it; I found the characters unreliable and artificial and that meeting with the aliens... lol. I got the message but did not resonate with it either. Had I read it in '73 (wasn't born yet, but lets speculate) maybe I would have liked it. Now it seems out of place. Don't shoot, it's just one opinion.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    One of her very best, which means, *absolutely* don't miss. I've lost track of how many times I've reread it. Pretty near perfect. OK, the alien stuff is a bit heavy-handed. Or so it seems now. Published 1973, in F&SF. Many, many reprints. Available online: archived copy of the Sci Fiction reprint: http://www.ida.liu.se/~tompe44/lsff-b... Easier-to-read PDF: http://valerie.debill.org/Hosting/The... Here's where to find a printed copy, which you may already have: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cg. One of her very best, which means, *absolutely* don't miss. I've lost track of how many times I've reread it. Pretty near perfect. OK, the alien stuff is a bit heavy-handed. Or so it seems now. Published 1973, in F&SF. Many, many reprints. Available online: archived copy of the Sci Fiction reprint: http://www.ida.liu.se/~tompe44/lsff-b... Easier-to-read PDF: http://valerie.debill.org/Hosting/The... Here's where to find a printed copy, which you may already have: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cg... Plus, other interesting stuff & trivia. Finished #18 in the 1974 Locus ballot for Best Short Fiction!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hirondelle

    Feminist sf novella from 1973 (and it shows it is from 1973,oh, boy does it show... In some ways, kind of nostalgic, an almost virgin Yucatan only of interest to tourists,"guevaristas" or aliens..). "James Tiptree Jr." was really Alice Sheldon who lived a very interesting life and wrote sf under a male penname for decades. You look at the blurbs, or plots, of her short fiction and you kind of wonder: how could she ever have passed for male? How could people think a male wrote that story? But the Feminist sf novella from 1973 (and it shows it is from 1973,oh, boy does it show... In some ways, kind of nostalgic, an almost virgin Yucatan only of interest to tourists,"guevaristas" or aliens..). "James Tiptree Jr." was really Alice Sheldon who lived a very interesting life and wrote sf under a male penname for decades. You look at the blurbs, or plots, of her short fiction and you kind of wonder: how could she ever have passed for male? How could people think a male wrote that story? But then you read her stories, and particularly this one, well, you can see why people (say, me) would think this was written by a teen boy with just a passing knowledge of women as a concept - random erections (assuming we are talking of erections, it is kind of coy about that), women just deciding to have sex, and being presumably pregnant from one random sexual encounter for cryptic reasons. I can understand better how she passed for a male, because her males and females are like alien species and could have been written by anybody with no interest in people - two separate species of aliens, and completely alien just the same, not believable as people, with sex as some kind of biological imperative always lurking and always opposed in some kind of conflict. And she did not seem to have much interest in exploring why a woman character would choose to have sex, if she would be worried about pregnancy, or if not, why, maybe that would be more interesting (to me! And lots of male authors) than following the PoV of our smarmy male PoV getting surprised at women doing unlikely choices (because those are unlikely choices and I would love some more context to sympathize!). The concept of women being ignored by men if they are not seen as sexual objects is of course important, and interesting (to a woman, at least) - I picked this up based on blurb. But we do not get the story of those women, we do not get in their heads, we do not get their feelings. It is all some kind of fake philosophical grandstanding where nobody is convincing as a human being and the only point is "ah, smarmy male PoV gets surprised at women choosing to do stuff he does not understand" (and I do not understand either and I think he was made to be clumsily extra slimy). (view spoiler)[ There is this scene, where after Don and Ruth were separated from the younger Althea and Esteban apparently the older couple can watch the younger couple having sex from across the mangrove, and beach. Though there is no clue they were in visual communication with each other before this and honestly it is really really detailed for the distance between these people, if they are not like in yelling distance already.. "What's she seeing, out there in the flats? Oho. Captain Estéban's mahogany arms clasping Miss Althea Parsons's pearly body. Captain Estéban's archaic nostrils snuffling in Miss Parsons's tender neck. Captain's Estéban's copper buttocks pumping into Althea's creamy upturned bottom.… The hammock, very bouncy. Mayas know all about it. (Yes, that kind of writing. Also: hey they are going doggy style in an improvised hammock? Maybe this is hopelessly naive of me, but really, that works?? And that hammock sure is a lot stronger than I would expect from something improvised in a plane wreck Also: Ruth's, Althea's mother is kind of aroused by watching this? Smiling and touching her thighs? WHAT? WHAT? She is having sex like that where her mother can see her with such details and her mother is kind of aroused by that? Who are these people?) I am not even sure if this was meant to be "true" within the narrative, I expected maybe it was some kind of delirium, except it seems to have been confirmed, worked into the plot, and not a sign of a crazily delirious POV. And then there is a hint that Althea might be pregnant from this encounter when she decides to leave with aliens with no exploration of contraception as a possibility for an educated woman who freely chooses to have sex (in 1973). We never really get into the minds of Ruth or Althea. If a young computer programming graduate in 1973 when planewrecked in Yucatan suddenly decides to have sex with the Mayan pilot after a couple days, all that within sight of her mother, wait, I want to understand why! This would be a more interesting PoV, I want to know more about her, than the PoV of Don! The way Don and Ruth assume, that Althea unchaperoned will automatically consider having sex? (A recent college graduate from 1973, who studied computer programming, if she could not restrain herself from having unprotected sex when alone with a man likely would not have graduated at all... I mean she had lots of candidates for sperm donation if that was what this is about...). Would it not be sexist of Don to even assume Althea would want to get pregnant and is not in control of that? (With no condemnation from the author who is very clear at showing Don being a jerk when he is a jerk but this passes...). And for all that story is ostensibly about womEn (plural) men do not see, Althea herself is almost an accessory here, with no personality at all. It is not just men ignoring women or women characters, you know. Ruth has got way more lines and agency, but she is also totally unbelievable as, not even a woman but as a human being. Their choice (or Ruth's at least because Althea is a stage prop) is insane. For all of Ruth's cynicism about the rights of women, or the the role of women in a world where men exist and are more physical powerful, she seems totally stupidly (... like some female character in retro sf blabbing about understanding, like it was the role of women to be empathic and understanding and loving) trusting of aliens! They might have slavery you know, they might treat them like free research objects). For all that Don is explicitly made to be very smarmy and unlikeable, I can not help feeling, hey he was being perfectly rational and helpful! And it was stupid as everything for Ruth to assume life with aliens is going to be fantastic and that only human males abuse their power (rather than say power corrupting and people with power building power preserving structures). Nope, aliens will be an improvement and what pamper them? (hide spoiler)] This was very heavy handed, not subtle at all feminist allegory and it was arguably IMO not really feminist, but just pro "gender war". Characters do not act like human beings at all (ok, maybe the aliens who I read as confused grad students!), and where ironically I think "Tiptree Jr." was really not being fair to her female characters or putting out a credible female voice about women men do not see. Because she is not looking at those women either, Alice "James" herself is she? Althea? She does not bother to explore Althea's feelings or motivations at all. It is not just men who do not see Althea, the author does not either bother to do that. Don is made to be awful on purpose, his mind seems to refocus instantly to sex, dismissive of the women's personalities (not that they bother showing any), but at least he is the focus of the author - this is such a gender focused book I am wary of calling the male PoV unbelievable, since I am not a man, that but it is not like world literature is short of men writing about what men think and do and feel and I have certainly read plenty of stories about men thinking and feeling, as written by other men (it is not hard to find those books, is it?), and Don is a very odd PoV indeed. This reads as some kind of provocative, what-if, gender war, speculation piece, a discussion starter but written by somebody who was not that particularly interested in people's feelings or why they chose to do things. If you are a woman writing about women being invisible, maybe you can give them a voice? Write from their PoV (you can say you are a man! You do not need to say you are a you know, WOMAN writing it, you can keep the fraud), rather than a snarky story from the PoV of a man (because is that like the default PoV? We got over that at least in the 19th century, I think) being surprised women acting strangely when they do really stupid choices without any exploration of why they would do those choices?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andreas

    ★★★★★ Full review at my blog. I'm lazy and let Tiptree summarize the novelette in her own words: "'Hero' - narrator, two plain women (mother & daughter) and Maya pilot crash on a sand-bar in Asuncion Bay. Hero and the mother set off on foot to cross bay and bring back fresh water. That night they are awakened by strangers in military-type vehicles who do not respond to their cries for help. Narrator thinks they are revolutionaries; woman picks up a dropped artefact and deduces that they are aliens. ★★★★★ Full review at my blog. I'm lazy and let Tiptree summarize the novelette in her own words: "'Hero' - narrator, two plain women (mother & daughter) and Maya pilot crash on a sand-bar in Asuncion Bay. Hero and the mother set off on foot to cross bay and bring back fresh water. That night they are awakened by strangers in military-type vehicles who do not respond to their cries for help. Narrator thinks they are revolutionaries; woman picks up a dropped artefact and deduces that they are aliens. When aliens return for their object next eve, woman persuades them to take her and narrator back for plane. Arriving there, she quickly gets her daughter in the boat and over narrator's horrified protests, begs aliens to take them off earth. They do. Story has lots of struggle, hardships, wounds, tension. Message is total misunderstanding of woman's motivations by narrator, who relates everything to self. Message No. 2 is bleak future for feminism."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy Conlon

    I'd never gotten around to reading this story, though it's a classic in the feminist SF ouvre. When it was referenced and linked in a discussion of gender & foreign policy analysis, I decided to remedy that. Wow. All I can say for certain is that Tiptree drew a dead-on portrait of a particularly ugly gender dynamic that still persists to this day. This is a grim vision of how many men (don't) see the women that surround them as subjects of their own lives, as capable of agency as they themselves I'd never gotten around to reading this story, though it's a classic in the feminist SF ouvre. When it was referenced and linked in a discussion of gender & foreign policy analysis, I decided to remedy that. Wow. All I can say for certain is that Tiptree drew a dead-on portrait of a particularly ugly gender dynamic that still persists to this day. This is a grim vision of how many men (don't) see the women that surround them as subjects of their own lives, as capable of agency as they themselves are. It's not even a sexual objectification for the most part; the woman who are potential sex objects men do see, although only in that role. It's all the other women, not of the right age or attractiveness, who are simply a blur and a function. Those invisible women scurry around the margins of the man's world, striving to find some function that makes them valuable enough to be protected & provided for. They are temperamentally unable to respond to the inevitable outbursts of violence directed at them in kind, so excel in avoidance, misdirection, and flight. They live at the whim of Overlords who may look so similar, are raised in the same homes they are raised in, but are incomprehensibly alien at heart. There are, I think, such men in the world, and there are cultures that encourage such psyches to develop. I suspect Hollywood, obsessed with surface beauty and the new hot property, is one of those cultures. I think Washington DC, the world of Intelligence Analysis and the Foriegn Service, where James Tiptree/Alice Sheldon spent her professional life, is another. I know there are men in the world who consider viewing any human being as functions as a sin, who strive to recognize the humanity and agency in every person they meet. I know that as a culture, we are pushing harder towards seeing women, even if we all too often fail to see women of color and non-traditionally feminine women. I know there is pushback. But this dynamic is still out there. Some women have more options than the Parsons did to deal with it... But far from all.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    I have a hard time reviewing Sheldon's stories without spoiling them because they drive me mad haha. So if you haven't read it yet, just read it, then come back and yell at me and tell me I'm wrong after. Thanks. Well that was disappointing. Let me first say that I’m not really an ally of this type of feminist fiction. I’m an ally of good stories, and I don’t care if it’s written by a man, woman, smurf, or turtle. I’ve read good stories that treat women horribly (see Harlan Ellison) and I’ve read I have a hard time reviewing Sheldon's stories without spoiling them because they drive me mad haha. So if you haven't read it yet, just read it, then come back and yell at me and tell me I'm wrong after. Thanks. Well that was disappointing. Let me first say that I’m not really an ally of this type of feminist fiction. I’m an ally of good stories, and I don’t care if it’s written by a man, woman, smurf, or turtle. I’ve read good stories that treat women horribly (see Harlan Ellison) and I’ve read good stories that treat men horribly (see all of Triptree’s other stories), and that’s fine. My issue here is that I just don’t think it’s a good story. The author stated herself that the story was about a male hero, who misunderstands the female character’s message, can’t see them as independent people, and can’t help but sexualize them. I actually think that’s a really interesting theme, especially in the context of history where women were often marginalized and forced into particular roles. Although, it’s difficult for me to personally relate because I’ve grown up in a world around women who are very independent and capable of all things, including sexualizing themselves as casually as men do. That’s not the issue for me. The issue is I don’t think these themes were presented in an interesting or believable way in the story. I understand the idea of an unreliable narrator, but does that mean the narrator should be unbelievable? Our male protagonist is just focused on spending his holiday fishing, then after surviving a plane crash he understandably becomes focused on survival. Mixed up with his thoughts of finding fresh water, and catching fish to eat, are completely compulsive and out of place thoughts on having sex with the female character or obsessing over whether her daughter is getting pregnant from the pilot. Do men sometimes have an animal instinct, verging on predatory, that can be difficult to control? Sure. But his thoughts make no sense in the context of this story. It’s just ham-fisted in there so that as readers we know that even old men that just want to fish on their holiday are animals. I’m not buying it. And then there’s Ruth, our female character. Ruth and her daughter prove how independent they are by not even making a peep while a plane plummets to the ground. Upon surviving the crash, they are calm and happy as clams. Strong women? You bet. Believable? Nope. Not at all. In fact all the characters reacted to this plane crash as if they just bumped their elbow on a doorway; a minor inconvenience. Ruth also drops this gem: “Women have no rights, Don, except what men allow us. Men are more aggressive and powerful, and they run the world. When the next crisis upsets them, our so-called rights will vanish like - like that smoke. We’ll be back where we always were: property. And whatever has gone wrong will be blamed on our freedom, like the fall of Rome was. You’ll see.” Well, sorry to break it to you Ruth, but he won’t see, because that never happened. It's just a hysterical quote from a weak character espousing a victim's mentality. So in the end Ruth and her daughter are rescued by aliens, yes of course, aliens. Because an alien planet will no doubt be preferable to this harsh, harsh world where Ruth, as a single mom, successfully raised her daughter and helped her get a computer science degree, and had enough money to take holidays to Mexico. Oh, this vicious man’s world! The only thing I like here is the author’s prose and ability to create a sense of mystery and tension. Other than that this story doesn’t resonate with me at all, and it actually bums me out, because I REALLY like her other stories.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Rae

    Women’s lit class again. This short story had an interesting plot but it was really hard to follow. Something about the way it was written made it hard to understand whether or not something was actually happening at certain points.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Reet

    I've read this a few times, and it always hits so close to home. What's it like being a woman in a"man's world"? Ha! Disappointing, enraging, bewildering, heartbreaking, disillusioning, disgusting, to name just a few of the adjectives that apply. Especially if you had a mother and father who were Innocents and had no plans to try to prepare you for this jungle, only fears and old-fashioned ideas about how to raise you, along with your other 4 sisters and (more important than girls) 2 brothers. I I've read this a few times, and it always hits so close to home. What's it like being a woman in a"man's world"? Ha! Disappointing, enraging, bewildering, heartbreaking, disillusioning, disgusting, to name just a few of the adjectives that apply. Especially if you had a mother and father who were Innocents and had no plans to try to prepare you for this jungle, only fears and old-fashioned ideas about how to raise you, along with your other 4 sisters and (more important than girls) 2 brothers. I also always wanted to go with"aliens" but was never presented with the opportunity this mother and daughter were.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristie Pennock

    Almost fifty years after this was written, I would love to report that the "opossums" have come out of the shadows and claimed their rightful space in society. They haven't. This short story is a masterful look at the casual dismissal most women face at the hands of men- and the secret longing those who are invisible feel. The desire is not to be seen, so much as it is to remove oneself from view entirely; to exist as a whole and integral person without relying on relationship or attractiveness t Almost fifty years after this was written, I would love to report that the "opossums" have come out of the shadows and claimed their rightful space in society. They haven't. This short story is a masterful look at the casual dismissal most women face at the hands of men- and the secret longing those who are invisible feel. The desire is not to be seen, so much as it is to remove oneself from view entirely; to exist as a whole and integral person without relying on relationship or attractiveness to make you "worthy" of full personhood. This story, penned by a woman who literally shrouded herself from the appraising view, is a deep and meaningful exploration of the seen vs. the unseen.

  10. 5 out of 5

    ana

    A really great short story! Recommend to everyone. "Women have no rights, Don, except what men allow us. Men are more aggressive and powerful, and they run the world. When the next real crisis upsets them, our so-called rights will vanish like—like that smoke. We'll be back where we always were: property. And whatever has gone wrong will be blamed on our freedom, like the fall of Rome was. You'll see." A really great short story! Recommend to everyone. "Women have no rights, Don, except what men allow us. Men are more aggressive and powerful, and they run the world. When the next real crisis upsets them, our so-called rights will vanish like—like that smoke. We'll be back where we always were: property. And whatever has gone wrong will be blamed on our freedom, like the fall of Rome was. You'll see."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gili

    I can hardly read things from the 70's. I don't know if it's the slang, but I was left feeling confused, and with an unreliable protagonist, that's not an easy mix. Since I already sort of knew what the story was about, I found it a bit annoying. I think I read enough more recent feminist writing for the more groundbreaking aspects of the story to be less impactful for me. I can hardly read things from the 70's. I don't know if it's the slang, but I was left feeling confused, and with an unreliable protagonist, that's not an easy mix. Since I already sort of knew what the story was about, I found it a bit annoying. I think I read enough more recent feminist writing for the more groundbreaking aspects of the story to be less impactful for me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lui

    "What women do is survive. We live by ones and twos in the chinks of your world-machine." daaang. really excellent. now my favorite use of the unreliable narrator. (warnings for narrator's racist and misogynist internal dialogue.) "What women do is survive. We live by ones and twos in the chinks of your world-machine." daaang. really excellent. now my favorite use of the unreliable narrator. (warnings for narrator's racist and misogynist internal dialogue.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Selene

    Men who only think of women in relation to themselves, both individuals or in gender. Women only exist in contrast to men. What about the women who have other motivations? Their own thoughts and dreams? Sometimes it feels like it's difficult, getting out of the man's world. Men who only think of women in relation to themselves, both individuals or in gender. Women only exist in contrast to men. What about the women who have other motivations? Their own thoughts and dreams? Sometimes it feels like it's difficult, getting out of the man's world.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

    "Women have no rights, Don, except what men allow us. Men are more aggressive and powerful, and they run the world. When the next real crisis upsets them, our so-called rights will vanish like— like that smoke. We'll be back where we always were: property. And whatever has gone wrong will be blamed on our freedom, like the fall of Rome was. You'll see." Y'know, Tiptree's not wrong. We've made incremental progress since 1973, but slightly lessen the more overt racism and sexism, and this is a story "Women have no rights, Don, except what men allow us. Men are more aggressive and powerful, and they run the world. When the next real crisis upsets them, our so-called rights will vanish like— like that smoke. We'll be back where we always were: property. And whatever has gone wrong will be blamed on our freedom, like the fall of Rome was. You'll see." Y'know, Tiptree's not wrong. We've made incremental progress since 1973, but slightly lessen the more overt racism and sexism, and this is a story that could have been written today. h/t: Eater Looks interesting: the author's biography

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    When Don, who has suffered an injury and is high on Demerol, decides that he'd like to try to steal the alien's skiff, I thought - Alice Sheldon obviously knew women - but she knew men even better. Only a man would think, hey - look at this superior race - I can barely walk, but there's got to be a way for me to overpower them and take their boat. When Don, who has suffered an injury and is high on Demerol, decides that he'd like to try to steal the alien's skiff, I thought - Alice Sheldon obviously knew women - but she knew men even better. Only a man would think, hey - look at this superior race - I can barely walk, but there's got to be a way for me to overpower them and take their boat.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Mae Stover

    This story is part of a curated, scifi-thematic, challenge read that I programmed. https://bookshop.org/lists/beyond-the... + https://www.goodreads.com/review/list... Let me know if you take me up on it! This story is part of a curated, scifi-thematic, challenge read that I programmed. https://bookshop.org/lists/beyond-the... + https://www.goodreads.com/review/list... Let me know if you take me up on it!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Edel Ryder-hanrahan

    Read coz of a recommend in this excellent essay: http://aidanmoher.com/blog/featured-a... Enjoyable. This quote tho': "Women have no rights, Don, except what men allow us. Men are more aggressive and powerful, and they run the world. When the next real crisis upsets them, our so-called rights will vanish like—like that smoke. We'll be back where we always were: property. And whatever has gone wrong will be blamed on our freedom, like the fall of Rome was. You'll see." Read coz of a recommend in this excellent essay: http://aidanmoher.com/blog/featured-a... Enjoyable. This quote tho': "Women have no rights, Don, except what men allow us. Men are more aggressive and powerful, and they run the world. When the next real crisis upsets them, our so-called rights will vanish like—like that smoke. We'll be back where we always were: property. And whatever has gone wrong will be blamed on our freedom, like the fall of Rome was. You'll see."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Martha (Marty)

    Honestly I read the book and it was confusing for the first several pages. Hard to get into which isn't good for a short story. Messy writing and pacing. I see what it was trying to do but it was a massive miss for me. I don't understand all the high star reviews for this. Honestly thought it was a complete nonsensical mess for most of the book. Disappointing. Honestly I read the book and it was confusing for the first several pages. Hard to get into which isn't good for a short story. Messy writing and pacing. I see what it was trying to do but it was a massive miss for me. I don't understand all the high star reviews for this. Honestly thought it was a complete nonsensical mess for most of the book. Disappointing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Kahn

    Just happened upon this novelette and read it to learn what the critical fuss is all about - and I was very glad that I did - Tiptree is an excellent writer (so many have said so, so no news here) who impressed me with her raw, direct even (dare I say) aggressive prose.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Found here: https://www.ida.liu.se/~tompe44/lsff-... The author is a woman writing a male narrator with a male penname. I think knowing this gives extra context to what feels like an adventure story but turns into something else by the end. It was very uncomfortable to read the narrator's attempts to try very hard to sexualize Mrs. Parsons (and her "rump"), as though he was doing her a favor. It seemed like he had to be able to do that first before he would be able to see her as capable of anythin Found here: https://www.ida.liu.se/~tompe44/lsff-... The author is a woman writing a male narrator with a male penname. I think knowing this gives extra context to what feels like an adventure story but turns into something else by the end. It was very uncomfortable to read the narrator's attempts to try very hard to sexualize Mrs. Parsons (and her "rump"), as though he was doing her a favor. It seemed like he had to be able to do that first before he would be able to see her as capable of anything else besides being a sitcom mom on Gilligan's Island, making the bed and bringing him drinks in a coconut cup.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Muireann

    Read it here: http://valerie.debill.org/Hosting/The... Read it here: http://valerie.debill.org/Hosting/The...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    Masterful writing.

  23. 5 out of 5

    S.M.

    Fabulous.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Colette

    Wow, fascinating stories, leaving a lot of food for thought. So many of the stories deal with gender issues, and usually in a raw, brutal way.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Connor Toth

    Disgusting narrator, but I think that's the point. Sad and lovely. Disgusting narrator, but I think that's the point. Sad and lovely.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    A touchstone of feminist sci fi: pointed, pithy, and wry. It's easy to see how people so readily believed that these stories were written by a male author. Tiptree is masterful at depicting the male gaze, complete with blinders. It's like reading Hemingway. The world of this story is steeped in sea salt, cigar smoke, and engine oil. The narrative is one of self-reliance in an unforgiving landscape. The first person perspective is delivered by a character used to viewing the world as his own, with A touchstone of feminist sci fi: pointed, pithy, and wry. It's easy to see how people so readily believed that these stories were written by a male author. Tiptree is masterful at depicting the male gaze, complete with blinders. It's like reading Hemingway. The world of this story is steeped in sea salt, cigar smoke, and engine oil. The narrative is one of self-reliance in an unforgiving landscape. The first person perspective is delivered by a character used to viewing the world as his own, with an unquestioning air of worldliness and competence. Because of this, the reader truly feels the growing disquiet, the shock and bewilderment at the end. And the women? Highly relatable.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Gertler

    Read the story here: The Women Men Don't See Fine feminist fiction, with just a little bit of "science". Men like the narrator were probably more common in the 1970s, but there are enough of them still around that readers will appreciate getting a chance to see their internal dialogue. Hilariously, male reviewers sometimes pointed to Tiptree's short stories as evidence that the pseudonymous author surely had to be a man. The '70s were a different time. Read the story here: The Women Men Don't See Fine feminist fiction, with just a little bit of "science". Men like the narrator were probably more common in the 1970s, but there are enough of them still around that readers will appreciate getting a chance to see their internal dialogue. Hilariously, male reviewers sometimes pointed to Tiptree's short stories as evidence that the pseudonymous author surely had to be a man. The '70s were a different time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Angelia Sparrow

    Classic of feminist SF. The male narrator is utterly dismissive of the women in the story, even after they crash on a Latin American sandbar. Slow, but grabs you in all the right places.

  29. 4 out of 5

    KB

    What a fascinating and odd story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Feminist speculative fiction written by a man in 1973. Strange and excellent.

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