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A penchant for apocalyptic fiction

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

Title: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
By: Meg Elison

My penchant for apocalyptic fiction came to a head while reading this book. Frankly, I don't know if I'll ever find anything like it again. A strain of deadly influenza that primarily affects women and children strikes the United States, and a nurse in the birthing unit of a San Francisco hospital finds herself a victim of this awful flu. When she awakes from a coma, the world has plummeted into chaos. As she explores this strange new world, she finds that the ratio of women to men has turned drastically, from 50/50 to 10/90. Women are now a commodity. The unnamed midwife sets out to find safety in a sea of danger. She knows that as a female, she's at risk for rape and enslavement, so she shaves her head, binds her breasts, and starts life as a man. Along the way, she meets many people, both good and bad, and attempts to save other survivors.

I don't believe I've ever read disaster fiction from the perspective of a woman. Meg Elison has the facts straight: women aren't free in disaster scenarios; they're currency. Elison's touching, painful, and thought-provoking debut novel has been short-listed for the Phillip K. Dick award. It has changed forever the way I consume fiction.

View similarly tagged posts: science fiction

Posted on Feb. 2, 2015 at 3:42 a.m.

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