Friday, August 31, 2007

The Matter of Seggri

I recently added a new flavor entitled "The Matter of Seggri". This flavor will mark posts dealing with gender issues. The title of the flavor is taken from a popular Ursula K. LeGuin short story of the same name.

"The Matter of Seggri" won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award in 1994 (the first time this award was ever given to a work of short fiction) and in the words of the Triptree Award Judges, has been called "A how-to manual on how to explore gender issues through the use of science fiction (Ellen Kushner)" and "Fascinating for its anthropological detail (Pat Murphy)". Praise and a brief description are below:

"Seggri deals with gender issues in a way that only science fiction can: by creating a society that has different assumptions than ours, thus forcing us to examine our own." (Pat Murphy)

"On Seggri, women far outnumber the men, an imbalance that, notes one Hainish observer, "has produced a society in which, as far as I can tell, the men have all the privilege and the women have all the power." Men and boys over the age of 11 live in hierarchically organized "castles." They gain glory by competing in games, cheered on by the women; the women do all the productive and political work of the society, and the two genders meet only in the "fuckeries." The women may enjoy sex with men, but naturally they form their primary erotic and social bonds with other women. Both the society and the story are complex, covering several generations and told from various viewpoints. Though undeniably different from our own society, Seggri eerily echoes it, and like several of this year's shortlisted works-notably Arnason's "The Lovers" and Charnas's The Furies-the focus is on those who, by asking questions and/or not fitting in, become harbingers of change." (Susanna J. Sturgis)

You can find "The Matter of Seggri" in Birthdays of the World and Other Stories and old issue of crank magazine. I highly recomend it as a must read. An excerpt may be had at Ursula K. LeGuin's website.

You can also find a copy of this post in the comments of the Candy Machine.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely intend to read this short story, and start my journey with the rest of Ursula K. LeGuin's collection. I love that fiction can have a purpose other than entertainment. It is incredibly versatile in that way. Thanks for the suggestion!