Memoirs of a Spacewoman by Naomi Mitchison
Synopsis: Naomi Mitchison, daughter of a distinguished scientist, sister of geneticist J B S Haldane, was always interested in the sciences, especially genetics. Her novels did not tend to demonstrate this, and she did not publish a Science Fiction novel until almost forty years into her fiction-writing career. Isobel Murray’s Introduction here argues that it is by no means ‘pure’ Science Fiction: the success of the novel depends not only on the extraordinarily variety of life forms its heroine encounters and attempts to communicate with on different worlds: she is also a very credible human, or Terran, with recognisibly human emotions and a dramatic emotional life. This novel works effectively for readers who usually eschew the genre and prefer more traditional narratives. Explorers like Mary are an elite class who consider curiosity to be Terrans’ supreme gift, and in the novel she more than once takes risks that may destroy her life. Her voice, as she records her adventures and experiments, is individual, attractive and memorable. Isobel Murray is Emeritus Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of Aberdeen.
Published: 1962 | ISBN: 978-1849210355
Mini-bio: Naomi Mitchison was a Scottish novelist and poet. Often referred to as the doyenne of Scottish literature, she wrote over 90 books covering a wide range of genre including historical, science fiction, travelogue and autobiography. Wikipedia
An imaginative and thoughtful account of a future spacewoman’s travels as a communicator to beings on other planets, it’s the best answer to most genre fiction where all extraterrestrials inexplicably speak English. Tools of empathy, telepathy, and kinetics aid this scientist in her difficult quest to understand others: gelatinous, human, and anything in between, while themes of blame and guilt course through the background. A brilliant piece that is both traditional sci-fi and social thinkpiece. This also deserves a fresh reprint. – From 10 Great Books of Science Fiction (2)
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Paperback Edition: Memoirs of a Spacewoman (Naomi Mitchison Library)