It seems like for the last few years everyone’s either been reading about dystopian societies or feeling as though they are living in one, so as an antithesis to the depressing idea that all humanity is probably doomed, today we’re focusing on the brighter side of life!
There’s no denying that dystopia is en vogue but today we’re bucking the trend, and we’re doing so with some kick ass female characters. There’s no denying we live in a world where people think women aren’t suited to power and so today we’re not just looking at Utopias but feminist ones with a list of ten books about ten brilliant utopian societies, all with a matriarchal structure.
Woman on the Edge of Time – Marge Piercy
It seems that even to have a Utopian future, we have to tolerate a shitty now as Woman on the Edge of Time shows, following one woman declared unfairly insane in the present, but contacted by an envoy from the future who shows her a Utopian 2137.
The Female Man – Joanna Russ
This is the story of when three people from parallel worlds meet, a 1970s feminist, a warrior from an earth where men and woman are at war, a woman from a female utopian earth where men have died out, and a woman waiting for marriage in a past where the Depression never ended. Not strictly Utopian, but a worthy inclusion to the list.
A Door Into Ocean – Joan Slonczewski
As sci-fi goes A Door into Ocean is an important piece of feminist literature.
A Door Into Ocean it concerns the Sharers of Shora, a nation of women on a distant moon in the far future who are pacifists, highly advanced in biological sciences, and who reproduce by parthenogenesis.
The Herland Trilogy – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
This classic work of Utopian literature was released more than 100 years ago so is pretty groundbreaking. Herland describes an isolated society composed entirely of women who reproduce via parthenogenesis. The result is an ideal social order, free of war, conflict and domination, and is just what we’re looking for for this list.
Motherlines – Suzy Mckee Charnas
Motherlines is the search for a feminist Utopia, following the story of
Alldera, who scapes from the Holdfast, a feudal post-holocaust enslave in which women are enslaved creatures, and survives a long trek in search of a community of women who reproduce parthenogenetically
The Dialectic of Sex – Shulamith Firestone
Ok so this one isn’t a novel about a female utopia, it’s the argument for a female led society and if you’re at all interested in the subject of female utopias, this is a must read. The Dialectic of sex was the first book of the women’s liberation movement to put forth a feminist theory of politics, and it provided the bones that many feminist novels are hung on.