A Woman of the Iron People
by Eleanor Arnason
(1991 hardcover, 1992 paperback (2-volumes), out of print.) Winner of the 1991 Tiptree award, for gender-bending SF
GET THIS BOOK BACK IN PRINT!
Rating: A+ : a wonderful anthropological first-contact novel. A shining example of why I keep reading SF.
There's always some trepidation when one begins to re-read a fondly- remembered book. Will it hold up? Will it be as good as I remember? Happily, Ms. Arnason's wonderful prose soon caught me once again in her spell....
Lixia, the viewpoint character, is a Hawaiian anthropologist from an Earth still recovering from the excesses of the 20th century. She's nerving herself up to enter her first alien village at Sigma Draconis --
Nia, a woman of the Iron People, is a smith and a pervert - she once loved a man. Her neighbors drove her from their village in disgrace. Now she has a smithy near a village of the Copper People -- the village Lixia had come to study. Lixia's first contact doesn't go well -- she is driven out. Nia takes her in, befriends her, and they become travel companions. The next village they visit is kinder:
Lixia and Nia are joined by Dexter Seawarrior, Ph.D., an Angeleno aborigine. His people prize mellowness and truth; Dexter is devious and ambitious. He left his tribe, went to school, and is now a tenured professor at Berkeley....
The book is filled with complicated people, some of them human, muddling through life.
-- plus more nice cover blurbs from P. Sargent, Ch. Platt, MJ Engh, John Sladek, Gw. Jones & UK Le Guin. They liked it, and you will too.
Arnason is a wonderful writer - it's a pity she's not more prolific. Her most recent novel, Ring of Swords (1995), is as strong as "Iron" <g> -- and is in print (US/UK). It's a "hwarhath" novel, as are most of her recent short stories. Hearth World, the sequel to Ring of Swords, is finished but unsold: the publisher of Swords rejected it, and no one else wants to publish a sequel to another publisher's book. Sigh.
Let us know what you think of infinity plus - e-mail us at:
support this site - buy books through these links:
top of page
[ home page | fiction | non-fiction & reviews archive | other stuff | A to Z ]
[ infinity plus bookshop | search infinity plus ]
© Peter D Tillman 16 September 2000