Storytelling and Ecology: Empathy, Enchantment, and Emergence in the Use of Oral Narratives

Storytelling and Ecology, from Bloomsbury Academic, is my first academic monograph. The writing of it – the second draft in particular – was quite an intense experience, since it coincided with the first five months of the pandemic. The concept of ‘lockdown’ was for me inseparable from being locked down in my study, hammering away at this book. An academic monograph is an exacting task; nearly every paragraph felt hard won, to be rewarded with a piece of dark chocolate before I tackled the next one. I was keenly aware of the irony of writing a book about oral storytelling – emphasising the importance of this being an embodied activity in which you’re connected to the people and place that are physically present – at a time when storytelling, in this sense, had become impossible and everybody was disconnected from the bodily presence of others.

Now the book is out, and storytellers too are nervously creeping out of their bunkers to meet embodied audiences once again. The ‘sense of connection’ elicited by storytelling was the core concept in my 2005 paper, also called Storytelling and Ecology, for the Society for Storytelling. If we want to make a positive difference to the state of the ecosystem, people need to connect with each other as well as to connect with the environment. An updated version of that paper is included as Chapter 1 of the new book. It is joined by chunky new chapters on ‘Storytelling as a Means of Conversation about Ecology and Sustainability’, ‘Time, Desire and Consequence in Ecological Stories’, ‘Ecological Enchantment of Local Landscapes’, ‘The Space of Transformative Stillness’, and ‘Supernatural Ecology and the Transcendence of Normative Expectation’. One of the luxuries of writing on this subject at book length is that I could include detailed studies of a number of ecological stories from diverse genres. Another is that I’ve been able to build a more substantial thesis of the potentials of storytelling in relation to nature connection and change.

The Zoom launch of the book is on Sunday 5 September 7.00–8.00 p.m. BST:

This event is free and includes contributions (including stories!) from Arran Stibbe, Charlene Collison, David Metcalfe, and Catherine Heinemeyer.

The book is also the impetus for a podcast, ‘Giving Voice to the Non-human’, in which Catherine Heinemeyer of York St John University talks with me and her colleague Liesl King about some ideas from my book and our shared interest in the science fiction of the late Ursula Le Guin:

I’ll conclude this post with the blurb from the back cover of Storytelling and Ecology:

Linking the ongoing ecological crisis with contemporary conditions of alienation and disenchantment in modern society, Anthony Nanson investigates the capacity of oral storytelling to reconnect people to the natural world and renew their experience of nature, place and their own existence. Through detailed analysis of traditional, true-life and fictional stories, Nanson shows how spoken narrative language can imbue landscapes, creatures and experiences with enchantment and transform our relationships with the ecological world around us.

‘Wise, precise, scientifically fluent while achingly expressive, this book reimagines storytelling for this moment of ecological emergency. Nanson opens up his story-crafting processes to illustrate how storytellers can integrate different forms of knowledge, and make space for listeners’ own explorations, emotions, and aspirations.’

Catherine Heinemeyer, Lecturer in Arts and Ecological Justice, York St John University, UK

‘Stories change lives; they challenge assumptions; they are also huge fun! And that is what Anthony shows so powerfully in this truly important book.’

Martin Palmer, Senior Advisor to WWF International on Beliefs and Values, UK

‘Nanson’s exploration of storytelling in relation to ecology is a sine qua non for eco-critics and eco-linguists. We must forget the speech-act, as Nanson, a master storyteller, brings us the story-act.’

Maria Nita, Lecturer in Religious Studies, The Open University, UK

‘Nanson does a great job of laying out how live story performance can build an emotional connection between listeners and the environment and shows how these emotional connections are critically important if we want people to take action.’

Kevin Strauss, Author of Tales with Tails: Storytelling the Wonders of the Natural World, USA

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A History of Discovery and Exploration: The Search Begins

I’ve been aware for a long time how the heroic age of discovery by European explorers, from the late 15th century onwards, raised the curtain for the imperialist conquest and exploitation of the populations and territories of other countries. But I suppose I’ve also clung to a romantic notion of the idea of exploration itself, as an inspiring and admirable activity of adventurous individuals. Maybe the relationship changed a little for more recent explorers, but the first volume of Aldus Books’ History of Discovery and Exploration – The Search Begins – presents geographical exploration as almost synonymous with imperialist conquest. This is so from the ancient Egyptians’ pushing back the frontiers of the territory they controlled, all the way to the ocean-crossing voyages of Portuguese and Spanish mariners which culminated in Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe in 1519–22.

Just a few exceptions stand out from this imperialistic norm. The Irish monks who explored the Atlantic islands, reaching Iceland before the Vikings, seem to have been motivated by a desire for spiritual seclusion in wild places. Some religious travellers to and from China were evidently motivated more by spiritual or scholarly interests than by the ambitions of sponsors – notably Hsuan-tsang, who departed from China against his emperor’s orders and brought back and translated many Buddhist writings from India. Marco Polo also comes out relatively well, despite his mercantile motives and his service of Kublai Khan, as a traveller genuinely interested in everything he saw. The detailed book of his travels was the result of his ending up in a prison cell, upon his return to Italy, with an accomplished romance writer, Rusticello, who had an ear for a good story.

The military expeditions of Hannibal, Alexander the Great, and Julius Caesar put an overtly imperialist face on the notion of exploration. But very often the imperialism is interwoven with the purposes of trade. So it was with the dogged efforts of Portuguese navigators to find their way around the coast of Africa to reach India and the Spice Islands (the Moluccas). The Search Begins was published in 1971, when it was still quite normal to celebrate the determination and ingenuity of these mariners, to present their achievements as crucial to human progress. This while calmly narrating how, in the course of their voyages, these men with a small number of well-armed ships initiated the Atlantic slave trade, took by force a series of coastal outposts, and disrupted the entire economy of Asia by conveying valuable commodities directly to Europe.

It has now become routine to decry the evils of imperialism, of slavery, of military aggression. We’ve seen in 2020 the toppling of statues of slave traders and the affirmation that Black Lives Matter. Yet there remains a disconnect. It seems to me that the world has some way yet to go to truly comprehend the dynamics of history, the nuances of their ongoing consequences, and the way that aggressive practices in trade and the exploitation of resources continue to be valorised as normal, only in different forms. Or to put it another way: to face up to the history of imperialism and find a way to atone for this which will help to make a kinder world.

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Diana Durham – Coherent Self, Coherent World – Review

In a lecture called ‘Imagining Otherwise’, included in his book Green Man Dreaming (2018), Lindsay Clarke deploys a diagram of two intersecting circles to illustrate the relationship between our inner and outer worlds. The shape made by their overlap is the ‘mandorla’, a shape that in Christian art commonly encloses Christ to represent the gateway between the mortal and the divine, and that resembles the vulva, another gateway between worlds. Clarke argues that the mandorla in his diagram represents the creative imagination, the tool by which inner and outer – and other opposing pairs such as feminine and masculine – may be reconciled. In her new book, Coherent Self, Coherent World, Diana Durham uses a similar set of diagrams to explain how ‘intuitive mind’ (equivalent to Clarke’s ‘imagination’) mediates between the ‘implicate’ and ‘explicate’ orders of being. These terms come from the physicist David Bohm and provide a more science-friendly way of talking about what one might otherwise think of as spiritual experience.

Intuitive mind facilitates the expression into the explicate (the manifest external world) of patterns of coherence emergent from the implicate (or what in spiritual terms we might think of as divine consciousness). The process is most easily understood in the case of an inspired maker’s fashioning of beautiful art. But Durham emphasizes also its operation in the dynamics of organizations or groups and the production, say, of policies that work effectively, in contrast to the incoherent policies that result from the absence of connection with inner wisdom. (Not hard to think of a few big examples of that right now!) The principle equally extends to the condition of the physical environment under our care.

Much of the book is taken up with explaining the theory of this dynamic. The big question, though, is how do you actually produce such coherence in practice? Durham briefly acknowledges the key elements of personal practice – some form of meditation, and some form of teacher or guide – but her crucial contribution here draws upon her experience of ‘Dialogue’ groups that Bohm helped to develop. The principle here is that through free-flowing conversation, in which people’s presence to each other is facilitated by sitting in a circle and ideally a leader who is already habituated to the implicate, participants collectively open to that inner consciousness which transcends their separate individuality and thereby forges a powerful connectedness between them. People may experience resistance to this. Some may remain so attached to their individual identity that they will drop out of the group rather than go with the process. Particularly topical right now, in a time of ever more strident identity politics, is Durham’s observation that when people have no connection with their inner self, no awareness that the implicate even exists, then their entire sense of self is invested in an externally constructed identity, which may include their sense of nationality, race, sexuality, class, and/or religion.

This book speaks to a fundamental issue of being which is at the same time an issue profoundly relevant to the cascading crises of our time. It is carefully argued, and the exposition of theory is leavened with stories from history and mythic literature. I have one lingering question, about the privileging of ‘coherence’ itself. Is it possible, I wonder, that some things emergent from the inner to the outer world might take a more chaotic form and yet still be productive of beauty and love?

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Voyage Intemporel – Timeless Voyage – Buddhism in Space?

You can’t say it’s not imaginative. Voyage Intemporel is an early BD (1982) of Sergio Macedo’s that depicts a realm of celestial beings who take an interest in the spiritual evolution of life on Earth and become alarmed when humankind deviates off the plot down pathways of tyranny, war, and black magic. They intervene by facilitating the conception of a messianic individual, Yogan, who experiences enlightenment as a young man and becomes the leader of a cult of enlightened young hippies whose destiny ultimately lies beyond the earth. The English edition of the album is called Timeless Voyage.

Macedo’s visuals depicting the celestial realm are a weird mixture of Buddhist-style imagery – lotus flowers, stupas, radiant beings with glowing chakras – and science fiction: galaxies, asteroids, dinosaurs, spaceships. Moreover, Appel Guery’s text is laden with technobabble, especially the discourse of the celestial beings, who communicate in the tones of computer programs. In the early 1980s computers were just starting to become part of everyday life, so I suppose it rides the wave of the zeitgeist at that time to interpret a cosmic spirituality in quasi-materialist terms, i.e. as science fiction. For me the combination is pretty jarring.

I do wonder if there’s a clash of sensibility between writer and illustrator. Macedo’s other BDs are written by him as well as illustrated by him. They contain none of the science fiction apparatus of Voyage Intemporel and express a consistently spiritual interpretation of the world, in which he gives free rein to his delight in sensual images of paradise. The stories in those works are also more redemptive, if less ambitious in scale, than Guery’s dystopian vision of the future in which salvation must ultimately be reached via a flying saucer.

On a personal note: I couldn’t noticing that as Yogan gets older, and more spiritually empowered, his receding hairline exposes an ever more prominent frontal part of his cranium. It caught my attention because something similar has been happening to me the last couple of years, though I doubt that it possesses the same spiritual significance!

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Arran Stibbe – Ecolinguistics – Review

Arran Stibbe is the founder of the International Ecolinguistics Association. On this subject of ecolinguistics he, quite literally, wrote the book. The subject, and this superb book, is all about applying the tools of linguistics to the service of a better world.

Stibbe’s method is to analyse the language of texts, of many different kinds, to reveal the ‘stories we live by’. By ‘stories’ he doesn’t mean stories in the usual sense of narratives; he means, rather, the mental models that people carry – or, to put it more simply, beliefs. For example, analysis of economics textbooks uncovers the belief, or ‘story’, that ‘Consumers maximise their own satisfaction through purchase’. The ecolinguist then evaluates these ‘stories’ according to an ‘ecosophy’, a set of (ecological) values he or she has decided upon. The ecosophy Stibbe deploys in Ecolinguistics can be summed up as ‘Living!’ – which means valuing the flourishing of living organisms, including human beings. The particular ‘story’ I mentioned above, about consumers’ satisfaction, would fail to measure up to the requirements Stibbe spells out for this ‘Living!’ ecosophy.

The book examines in detail eight different categories of ‘stories’ (Stibbe acknowledges there are others he hasn’t covered). These categories are: ideologies and discourses; frames and framing; metaphors; evaluations and appraisal patterns; identities; convictions and facticity patterns; erasure; salience and re-minding. The texts he analyses under these headings are very varied, including not only textbooks, but journalism, advertising, broadcasting, policy documents, industry documents, political rhetoric, websites, and literature. His analysis is mainly of language, but does include the use of images too, for example by animal welfare campaigns.

Stibbe’s presentation of the relentless prevalence of many of the ‘stories’ he exposes is powerfully persuasive that they really are ‘stories we live by’; in other words, that the use of language in published texts really does influence, or even determine, what people believe and therefore what happens in the world. The book pre-dates the Brexit crisis, but it strikes me that Brexit is an excellent example of the way that the fostering, through rhetoric and journalism, of a set of beliefs can massively impact on our lives, irrespective of what the facts of the matter may be.

Very many of Stibbe’s examples reveal ‘stories’ that badly fail to satisfy his ecosophy, or probably any ecosophy that serves the common good. His own deadpan turn of phrase can make his skewering of the texts in question quite amusing. In his analysis of Men’s Health, for example, he writes that ‘if the cover states “Build a V Shape Back” or “ADD 3IN TO YOUR ARMS” then the reader is positioned as viewing these goals as desirable, whether or not they had previously thought that a V shaped back or enormous arms was a necessity in life’. The same directness can also be harrowing, as when he dissects documents from the poultry industry: ‘birds … “are slaughtered” … “are pasteurised” … “are transported” … “are hung upside-down” … “are shackled” … “are exposed to steam” … “are weighed individually” … “are inspected visually” … “are packed in plastic bags” … and “are sold” … This not only erases the birds as living, feeling, sensing beings, it also erases the human beings who are harming them.’

Although Ecolinguistics is marketed as an academic book, the simplicity of Stibbe’s style makes it accessible to any inquisitive reader. It should certainly be read by those involved in campaigns for the environment, animal rights, or social justice. But not just by them: I wish that everyone could acquire these skills to discern the values and assumptions embedded in the texts that make up our cultural landscape.

Texts from green campaigning groups, unsurprisingly, tend to fare better in meeting the requirements of Stibbe’s ecosophy. But the examples presented most affirmingly come from literary genres, in particular ‘New Nature Writing’ (books by the likes of Richard Mabey and Kathleen Jamie) and Japanese haiku, where language is used in more sophisticated ways to affirm the flourishing of nature.

I found Stibbe’s discussion of haiku the most uplifting part of the book, yet it seems to me that a whiff of the spirit of haiku pervades the whole book. Although the book is written with academic rigour, and addresses matters of such grave concern as climate change and factory farming, the honesty, lightness, and humanity of Stibbe’s prose make it a pleasure to read. These qualities are themselves an expression of a greatness of heart that ultimately underpins his work.

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Merlin and the Making of Stonehenge

Stonehenge Stone Circle News and Information

The archaeologists have their ideas about how and why Stonehenge was built. The annals of legend have another story, one that involves Merlin the magician plus the uncle and father of King Arthur.

The story begins not in Neolithic times but in the troubled years of the fifth century, after

46739440934_98a8f1b736_z (1) 21st Century Merlin at Stonehenge

the Roman legions had withdrawn from Britain. The Saxons had invaded and were advancing rapidly across the land. The native British sought to resist them and to sustain the remnants of Romano-British civilisation. So there was terrible fighting between Saxon and Briton. So much bloodshed that their respective leaders agreed to meet at a spot on Salisbury Plain to try to negotiate a peace treaty.

The thing is, some people take a more hardball approach to ‘negotiation’ than others do. It had been agreed that the leaders should meet together unarmed, but the Saxon chieftains…

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Alida Gersie’s Earthtales (review)

412eh8b4itl._sx292_bo1204203200_Alida Gersie’s celebrated Earthtales is, in large part, a collection of traditional tales that have to do with the earth and its creatures. Most are from cultures that have been endangered by the imperialism of Western modernity, which by the same token are cultures with a long history of coping with ecological challenges. Thus they come mainly from Africa and indigenous America and Australia, a few from Asia, just four from Europe.

But. as the subtitle – Storytelling in Times of Change – hints, the book is much more than a collection of tales. The introduction and the sequencing of the stories in seven sections frame the material for use with groups of people who are engaging in some process of change. Alida’s approach to the challenge of environmental crisis is distinctively that of an arts therapist who works with groups. She sees the roots and solutions of our ecological problems as existing in the interface between the psychology of individuals and the necessity of cooperating in some form of community. Storytelling, and storymaking, provides a vehicle to address processes of change at a simultaneously personal and collective level.

To that end, each story in Earthtales is followed by a structure of group activities, including talking, writing, movement, painting, and sound-making. These follow the same design that Alida previously introduced in Storymaking in Education and Therapy: the aim is that through following the exact sequence of activities presented in each structure the group undergo a participatory experience that’s therapeutically analogous to the journey of transformation narrated in the story. The group and its members thereby get the opportunity to experience change right there in the groupwork, which may then carry over into their lives and relational dynamics beyond the group.

The introductions to the seven sections of stories, taken together, outline a metanarrative of group change, from the formation all the way through to the final dispersal of the group. At every stage, Alida emphasises, challenges and pain are to be expected. Even when there is progress and accomplishment, there may be power struggles over leadership, or individuals may drop out, or certain people will carry the dark side of a process that to everyone else seems delightful. The stories are selected to match these stages of group transformation. They’re chosen not on the basis of their entertainment value or because they convey a neat, relevant message, but rather for their capacity to provoke thought, feelings, and change. Many are well suited for retelling by ecologically minded storytellers, but some are perhaps too dark to tell outside a therapeutic context.

Earthtales is the only one of Alida’s books currently out of print, but second-hand copies can be found on Amazon and elsewhere. It’s a book of special relevance to those, interested in stories and concerned about today’s intensifying challenges to environment and community, who have the expertise to hold a group of people undertaking a transformative process.

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Kevin Crossley-Holland’s The Magic Lands


41qcjh1n8jl._sx323_bo1204203200_The Magic Lands is the paperback title of Kevin Crossley-Holland’s British Folk Tales. It’s a better title in that the collection covers Irish tales as well as ones from England, Scotland, and Wales.

The Irish stories do tend to stand out in their quirky strangeness and less tidy structure. Tales like ‘The Piper and the Pooka’, ‘The Dark Horseman’, ‘Monday Tuesday’, and ‘The Changeling’ – all of which are proper fairy stories, in which the fairies actually appear, in a setting that seems to be the world in which we live. This in contrast to the kind of stories that in English we call ‘fairy tales’, which only rarely include fairies and are often set in a timeless neverland.

Crossley-Holland includes one Irish fairy tale of that kind – ‘Yellow Lily’ – and some classic examples from Britain, such as ‘The Frog Prince’, ‘Tom Tit Tot’, ‘Mossycoat’, ‘The Black Bull of Norway’, ‘Mossycoat’, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, and ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’.

More numerous in British folklore are legends localised in real places. Some good tales of this kind are chosen from Crossley-Holland’s East Anglian home turf, including ‘The Green Children’, ‘The Dauntless Girl’, ‘The Pedlar of Swaffham’, and ‘The Wildman’. Of legends picked from elsewhere, a handful have such sweep and impact as to make them nationally notable: ‘The Lambton Worm’, ‘The Slumber King’, and that celebration of capitalism, ‘Dick Whittington’.

One problem with collections of folktales is that they can be a bit dull on the page, whether because they’ve been put down as transcripts of oral tellings or because they’re written with barebones concision. Crossley-Holland, however, has the good fortune to be a poet. His retellings are invested with a lyrical poise that makes them a delight to read, while remaining simple enough for younger readers. Here’s the first paragraph of the first story in the book, ‘Sea-Woman’: ‘It was an empty, oyster-and-pearl afternoon. The water lipped at the sand and sorted the shingle and lapped round the rock where the girl was sitting.’

A small number of the tales are presented in verse, which helps to vary the texture of the book, but which I found engaged me less. Besides the longer kinds of stories mentioned above, there are short ones, including some that are basically jokes, such as those recounting the deeds of the much-maligned people of Gotham. The Magic Lands concludes with a very simple but profound tale from Ireland, called ‘Butterfly Soul’, which of all the 55 stories in this book is the one I’ve most often retold.

It’s a lovely book. I’d recommend it as the place to start for anyone just beginning to engage with the folktales of the British Isles. And at the back of it you can find all the sources to guide you deeper into the British and Irish legendaria.

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Cecil Collins and the Holy Fool

9780903880640I have a hazy memory, from my early twenties, of attending an exhibition of work by William Blake and also Cecil Collins at the Tate. It can’t have been an exhibition of major works, because what I remember are works on paper: sketches, notebooks, letters, and the like. I’d never heard of Collins before, but what struck me was the visionary quality the two artists shared, and their propensity for writing as well as drawing and painting.

Flash forward to April Fool’s Day 2000, when at a seasonal event at Rocks East Woodland, Kevan Manwaring read out an extract from Collins’s seminal essay ‘The Vision of the Fool’. The event was memorable because it was there that I met my wife. We didn’t speak much on that occasion; the only thing I remember her saying to me was her one-word reply to my enquiry what the novel she was writing was about: ‘Vampires.’ But Collins’s notion of the Fool remained with me also – an archetype he’d divined as symbolising what it means to really be an artist and a spiritual seeker in a materialist age.

It’s extraordinary that most of the Collins essays gathered in The Vision of the Fool and Other Writings were written in the 1940s (two date from the 1960s, and there’s a long, definitive interview with editor Brian Keeble from 1979). Extraordinary because they are so powerfully prophetic of the situation of culture and spirituality many decades later. Collins fingers materialist society in whatever form – capitalist, fascist, communist – as shutting down the reflective inner life that is the wellspring of artistic creativity and the appreciation of beauty. So you have to be a kind of holy fool to go against the grain.

I’m very wary of the term ‘New Age’ because it serves these days mainly as a pejorative frame with which to dismiss from serious consideration (in a Western context) any kind of spiritual endeavour – except Christianity, which gets dismissed for other reasons. But, long before the New Age vogue in the bookshops in the 1990s, Cecil Collins was proclaiming ‘The Artist in the New Age’ in 1965. The roots of his own mysticism and iconography are manifestly Christian, but whereas he describes David Jones as a great artist evoking the dying of a tradition – Christianity as we have known it – he looks forward in his own visionary painting to a necessary rebirth of spirituality, which is characterised more than anything else by the embrace of the divine feminine.

Reading Collins’s essays, I noticed an inspiring resonance with the thinking of Lindsay Clarke as expressed in his essays collected in Green Man Dreaming, which I had the honour of publishing with Awen late last year. They strike me as men on a similar mission, the one seeking to express his spiritual odyssey through painting, the other through writing stories. I commend both books to you with all my heart.

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In the Chinks of the World Machine

805768In the Chinks of the World Machine provides a committed but very readable picture of the achievements of serious science fiction by women at the time of its publication in 1988. Sarah Lefanu was in a privileged position to write such a book, as an editor who’d created new opportunities for women’s SF through the unique SF list she managed at the Women’s Press.

The book comprises two parts. The first presents an overview of the depiction of women in SF and the ways in which women writers, mainly from the 1970s onwards, have revolutionised the possibilities on that score. Part 2 studies in detail the work of four key writers: James Tiptree, Jr (aka Alice Sheldon), Ursula Le Guin, Suzy McKee Charnas, and Joanna Russ.

Russ is the presiding spirit of the book. Lefanu rates her significance very highly, both as novelist and as critic, and explains how her writing aims to shock, to provoke, to wake people up from their assumptions – and to leave them, not with answers, but fretting about what they’ve read. At the opposite pole, among the many writers discussed in Part 1, is Marion Zimmer Bradley, whose attempts to tackle feminist themes miss the point, Lefanu argues, and leave women where they already are.

Lefanu’s terms of evaluation are largely political; she mentions points of aesthetics as and when they’re instrumental to political effect. But I was pleased to see her bracket Tanith Lee with Angela Carter as a writer doing a similar kind of work and just as good, despite the one being branded a genre writer while the other is lauded as a major literary figure. There’s good discussion of the theme of feminist utopia, e.g. Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time and Sally Miller Gearheart’s The Wanderground, and the rather scarier societies in Charnas’s Motherlines and Walk to the End of the World.

Lefanu’s book concerns a conversation among women, whether they be novelists or critics. The short shrift she gives to male writers’ reactions to Russ’s seminal essay ‘The Image of Women in Science Fiction’ (1971) give fair warning of the moral risk of making any critical comment in this context if you happen to be a man. If I were to hazard any criticism it would be to challenge the treatment of Le Guin. Lefanu critiques her work more harshly than that of the other major writers examined, because of her tendencies to use male protagonists and to sustain the sensibilities of the bourgeois novel. For sure, it makes good thought experiments, to imagine more severely alternative societies, such as Charnas’s, say, in which there’s no place for men, but I think Le Guin deserves a bit more praise than she gets in this book for her commitment to the possibilities of transformation of existing society, and for the humane sense of compassion engendered by the sensitivity of her prose.

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