Singer From The Sea
Copyright 1999 by
I first read this in 1999 and most recently in May 2001.
On the planet Haven a rigidly stratified society exists, with two
hereditary classes: the nobility and the commoners. Genevieve is a
young noblewomen being educated to be a refined and respectable young
However Haven society is designed for the benefit of, and absolutely
controlled by men so in reality her education is to teach her to become
a pliant slave to her father and eventually to whoever her father chooses
to be her husband.
Of course, under the surface the evil is far worse than simple slavery.
The male nobility know a secret that has made them monsters and that
will claim Genevieve's life and that of all of the women.
Meanwhile, the planet itself is dying, just as other human-colonised
worlds have died.
Young Genevieve herself has a secret - a hidden talent - that she
must use to find and root out the evil before the her world is destroyed
Sherri Tepper is always a superb storyteller and she has succeeded again
with this novel. Normally stories of young women's voyages of self-discovery would remain in
books unopened by me in bookshop shelves that I'd never willingly browse.
But Tepper does it so well that I simply have to read her work.
Her noble society of Haven is a horrifying caricature of the
exploitative cultures we've had and continue to have. In a world where
women have no function other than to become pretty victims, the Haven
religion even posits a different heaven for women, where they become
butterflies flitting from flower to beautiful father. Well, I bet that
would be satisfying for about five minutes.
So putting aside all the eco-religious fervour, the love, romance
and twitching of the loins (yes, that phrase is there in the book), what
have you got? An excellently-told story about a young woman becoming an
adult and discovering and finally achieving her destiny. And putting
aside all that, you've got a rip-roaring adventure. Finally, of course,
you've got aliens, hidden high technology in a devolved colony world
and a bizarre drug. What more could you want for a lazy weekend?
Loaded on the 16th May 2001.