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to Isis by Jean Stewart is the first volume in this science fiction trilogy
about an amazon colony in the year 2093. This first volume finds the heroine
investigating the destruction of Isis, one of the amazon cities that resulted
in the destruction of its complete population including her mother.
Complicating matters, the heroine finds herself falling in love with her an
enigmatic woman who may be the sole survivor of Isis but who may also be the
person responsible for the massacre.
to Isis is set in the year 2093. The AIDS/HIV epidemic has devastated the
worlds population. In reaction to the AGH plague, America has split into two
sectors: Elysium and Freeland. Elysium is dominated by a Christian
fundamentalist patriarchy. Regulators dominate the society where all women
are either breeders or slaves whose sole purpose is to serve the needs and
desires of the male population. Freeland, on the other hand, is a loose
collection of harmonious city-states. Each city-state, however, varies
according to its own particular gender and/or sexual orientation same sex or
mix genders, homosexual (gay or lesbian) or heterosexual. Between these two
regions is the Border. The Border is a no persons land filled with AGH
infected outcasts who eking out a subsistent existence. The Border is also
dominated by a force field that prevents regulator warriors from Elysium from
raiding and/or destroying Freeland. This series focuses on a colony of
city-states that are lesbian in orientation. Whit, the heroine, is a warrior
who has ventured into Elysium on a spying/information gathering mission.
Mission complete, Whit ventures into the Border in order to past through the
force field and return to Freeland. When regs attack Whit, it is only through
the courageous efforts of a Border farmer named Amelia that Whit survives and
crosses through the force field. During the long trek back to Artemis, the
capital of the colony, Whit becomes aware of her growing attraction to Amelia,
however, Amelia is not only a Border farmer but she also bears the AGH tattoo
for being HIV positive. In Artemis, Amelia is put in chains until her fate is
determined by the city council. Amelia, it seems, may harbor secrets locked
deep within her brain. Amelia may be the missing daughter of Isis leader. If
she is, then she is the sole survivor of Isis, a city-state destroyed in a reg.
invasion. Her memories might detail the last hours of Isis and might indicate
how she alone survived and implicate who was the traitor who shut down the
force field allowing the enemies to enter. Only time will tell what if anything
Amelia remembers and time is running out for Whit, Amelia, and the citizens of
Freeland if the traitor is still at-large.
I am not a great fan of science
fiction literature. I, however, did find the various aspects of this all woman
utopian society interesting. The authors attention to detail and depth of
description of the various societies are well thought out and very complete. A
new reader, like myself, will not be left to fill in too many blanks nor will
the reader get lost in an over abundance of details. While there is a certain
amount of male bashing especially in regards to the Elysium society, the
reader soon learns that there is good and bad in all societies. Whit is also an
interesting character. At first, I found it hard to warm up to her egotism and
prejudices. I suspect, however, that as a warrior, her attitudes are essential
to her function and survival in protecting the colony. As the novel progresses,
her attitudes change and soften. This maturation process is a significant
subplot of the book.
Jean Stewart is a professional
writer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Jean Stewart has earned a Bachelor
and a Master in Education. Jean taught school and coached women's athletic
teams for eleven years, then left that profession to concentrate on writing.
The Isis series contains three volumes - Return
to Isis (1992), Isis Rising
(1993), and Warriors of Isis (1995). Return to Isis was nominated for a Lamba
Literary Award and Warriors of Isis
was a finalist for the Lamba Literary Award.
to Isis is a unique science fiction novel. It is an interesting view of
what an all woman utopia might look like. Part fantasy and part mystery it will
appeal to readers of both genres. It is a light read and its award nominations
speak for it. I recommend this book.
© 2002 Su Terry
Su Terry: Education:
B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from
Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral
Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from
New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual
Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the
United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at
Dowling College, Long Island, NY. Interests in Mental Health: She is interested
in the interplay between psychology, biology, and mysticism. Her current area
of research is in the impact of hormonal fluctuation in female Christian
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