(A Gory, Post-apocalyptic, Homosexual Road-Trip.)
(Sorta "Mad-Maxine" with horses instead of cars)
I just finished a book recently and it was SO AWFUL that I wanted to make sure to tell as many people as possible. The book is titled "The Furies" by Suzy McKee Charnas. (I'm not even going to create a link to any store. If you want to read it yourself, go find it yourself.)
The setting is an unspecified, post-apocalyptic future where men and women live separate lives. There are ABSOLUTELY NO family relationships as we know them today. 100% of all men are brutal, petty, stupid tyrants and women are either slaves or horse-people.
How did society fall? Who knows?. However, this is apparently part of a series and it may have been covered in other books (like "Motherlines" or "Walk to the End of the World"). How do these people procreate? Well, in the group where men keep women as slaves, the men ALWAYS rape the women and take the children away at birth to be raised in some other village so that no man will know who his child is. That's apparently important because in this book ALL sons try to kill their fathers.
That still leaves the "horse" women who roam freely on the plains. Their life revolves around horses and the only sport that is mentioned in this book is one in which women from one free tribe try to sneak into another camp to steal the horses from other women. Whenever one of these women sees a man, the immediately kill him. Eh? Where do THEIR children come from? Well, in some process that is not well explained in the book, these women are able to use their horses' semen to cause their eggs to self-fertilize and thereby give birth to a child who is not a clone, but only contains the mother's DNA. We're assured that these women are NOT penetrated by the horses. Presumably that would be too much like being with a man.
The main character, Alldera, escapes from enslavement when she learns that her slaveholder is planning on using women AS MEAT! For some reason, there are almost no animals in this future and Charnas decided that her fictitious men would be so stupid that they would use as food a creature that takes nearly two decades to reach maturity!
In some previous book, Alldera flees across vast spaces and comes to live with the horse-women. She gives birth to a daughter, the result of being raped by a boy who was forced to commit the act and later helped her escape. After much time, she becomes a mighty hunter, killer and leader and takes a small band of other escapees back to the "Holdfast" to liberate her fellow female slaves and to slaughter all but a few males (for breeding stock). Alldera, as traumatized as she is by a life of being raped, cannot quite bring herself to even try the horse sperm method.
Alldera's band of righteous "fems" sweep across Holdfast like, well, the Nazi's across Poland. That's not a completely incorrect analogy. The Fems don't have the overwhelming military might that Hitler had. They win some battles by treachery and infiltration. But in the end, the horrors they perpetrate are remarkably similar to the concentration camps of WWII. The Fems are NOT just out to liberate their sisters in slavery. I don't know if there is a word for genocide of only one sex. If not, perhaps "MANocide" would do. And it's not enough that the men must die. They must die brutally and after suffering as much humiliations as possible. Of course, I knew before I started reading that something was amiss. This is the introduction to the book:
When I think of all the wrongs that have been heaped upon womankind, I am ashamed that I am not forever in a condition of chronic wrath, stark mad, skin and bone, my eyes a fountain of tears, my lips overflowing with curses, and my hand against every man and brother! --Elizabeth Cady Stanton
YIKES!!! Every man and brother? Even your own children? Ouch.
But that pretty much sums up what the book is about. The only "good" man is a dead man. Every male child, at birth, is guilty of all the sins (real and imagined) of all the men who have come before him. But Fems are naturally innocent and can grow up to be either good OR bad. I should mention that although Charnas tries to downplay it, her Fems DO murder other Fems both after trials (for collaborating with men) and to promote religious beliefs. The Fems aren't any better then the men, but to the author, they can do no wrong.
I count myself fortunate that in this life I've only run into a few women like Charnas. Women who are overwhelmed with anger about the injustices of the world and want to rabidly strike at any man and EVERY MAN. Like the lynch-mobs of old, if they couldn't find the person who was guilty, well then, just catch whichever "nigger" you can and string them up as a warning to all the rest.
Look Suzy, not every man is a rapist. Most of us are what we were raised to be. If we were raised in a home which respected women and treated them the same as the men, then we're probably doing the same. If we were raised someplace or under some religion like Islam, that treats women as cattle, then we probably do that. Attacking the good guys doens't diminish the bad guys, it just makes THEM a larger percentage of the population.
Subject matter aside, is this, as claimed on the jacket, believable science fiction? NO! First of all, it's not SCIENCE fiction, nor is it fantasy. It's post-apocalyptic fiction. It doesn't contain ANY science. Secondly, it's not believable. Not all Germans were monsters. Not all whites held slaves or lynched blacks. In every "evil" society, there are individuals who are good. So good, that they reach out to the oppressed and strive to end the injustice. In Charnas' world, no man EVER is kind to a Fem. Period. All humans are homosexuals. Only those who haven't discovered the joys of equestrian love would tolerate hetero sex. The women all have to be brutally raped by men who prefer to keep castrated boys as their true loves. Oh yeah, this is all REAL believable. (Even those Roman buggers had wives.)
So, how can I sum this up? Asking a man to read this book is like asking a Jew to read Mein Kampf. Asking a woman to read it is like Tim McVeigh passing around pamphlets on how the "Pure, Aryan" people will rise-up and destroy the "mongrel" races. YUCK! I'm glad I live in world where Suzy Charnas is allowed to write books that portray my ENTIRE gender as loathsome and without possibility of redemption. But I'm even more glad that I live in a world where most people are smart enough to know that she is completely full of shit!
THE FURIES Copyright (c) 1994 by Suzy McKee Charnas A Tor Book Published by Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. 175 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010