Category: Le Guin, Ursula K.

battle of the sexes in 70s SF

image found here
image found here

James Tiptree Jr.’s novelette “The Women Men Don’t See” has not gotten any less relevant or interesting since 1973 — at least that’s my impression.

Our narrator is some middle aged d00d who seems to work for the government. He has crashed with a Maya pilot and two plain women, mother and daughter. With the mother, Ruth Parson, he crosses the bay, a mangrove swamp, for freshwater. It’s a first-person present tense narration, even though he’s situated in the future recalling the narrative. It keeps the reader a little off-kilter, much like he is in this sweltering jungle, with an injury, and on painkillers. His descriptions of the plane, the weather, and the environment are precise — he understands everything around him except the women, naturally.