Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I finally thought of the other thing that is wrong with "The Wanderground" by Sally Gearhart, a book that I love.

The other thing that is wrong with it is it doesn't show what could go wrong in this incredibly close community of women living on the land.

It makes the community look great, living dispersed over land but fairly close to each other, in touch a lot because they can communicate psychically and also have some other psychic abilities.

Gearhart makes this seem very real and very terrific. I get into it, even though I only have to think about myself for a tiny minute to know I would get really bored living in the country.

Some women in this community are assigned the horrible duty of living in cities for a while to keep the cities from completely crumbling into what's wrong with them. This is onerous duty.

I like living in cities. All the bustle to walk through, the people to watch, the signs understood and not understood, love it.

But Gearhart makes the great country life real while I'm reading her.

I like particularly one part where a woman needs to scud, that is do low level flying, and she hasn't done it since she was trained to do it. So she has to talk herself through it slowly, and she forgets to do it so she can pick up her pack and has to do it again. Way believable.

What is not believable is that this women in this community are not shown as being snarky and petty and attacking each other and ganging up on someone.

That's what's wrong--the other thing that's wrong. The first thing that wrond and a guilty pleasure is that what is wrong with humanity in general is localized in men. There are indeed a few good men in the book but they are cringing with guilt and less believable than the idyllic rural set-up.

When Ursula Le Guin wrote her Utopia book, "The Dispossessed, which may be my favorite book in the history of the world so far even though it isn't (interestingly) really great about women--I mean it doesn't have great and believable women character--when she wrote that book, she called it a dystopia book because she showed what was wrong with her utopia.

Her utopia had no formal government, no property and--there has too be something--way too much internalized social pressure.