The Heads of Cerberus

by Francis Stevens

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

his was certainly different!

& I have sat in front of my laptop for quite a while now, trying to think of what else to write!

Yes, we may have seen this done better but this was a very early dystopian novel & Francis Stevens (real name Gertrude Barrows Bennett) was a fresh & vital voice, writing in a genre that in those days had very few women authors- in fact Stevens was one of the first.

Stevens bio on Goodreads gives the sparse details that are known of her life – I would certainly like to know why her writing career was so short, why she (effectively) abandoned her daughter (not too surprisingly they became estranged) &, above all what happened to Stevens later in life. She was originally believed to have died in 1939 (the last time her daughter had contact from her) but a death certificate was found – & that says 1948. More googling is required.

So I enjoyed Viola, Terry & Roberts travelling into the future. Stevens created a very vivid fantasy world in Ulithia & a 2118 Philadelphia. Stevens shone with dialogue – hot tempered Terry in particular just jumped off the page.

I would be happy to read more of Stevens work, but dystopia & longer science fiction aren’t really my genre & I won’t be in a rush.

A biography of the enigmatic Stevens – well that is another matter!

The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Do I like this book?

I’m really not sure. Maybe I should have followed the GR reading order, as at the start I was very confused. But this tale of two separate planets, seen through the eyes of the intelligent & (originally) idealistic Shevek parallels our own society. Communism or Capitalism? Which system is better?

I particularly like this quote:

“My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first.

The whole impact of the book took me over then. Overall, this book was a far better read for me from 70% on.

Read with The Women’s Classic Literature Group.

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