‘That’s not female liberation; we’re not really doing as we please but as the CEOs and marketing men of mega-corporations please; women are being boxed into yet another stereotype that pleases or teases men in exchange for our advancement. It’s prostitution on a global scale. It is as if the feminism that you and I know never happened.’
When the biophysicist Dr Brogan Miller and her partner, the women’s historian Dr Honor Smith, stumble upon a cosmic phenomenon that enables them to film the everyday lives of women from the past, they believe it will bring about a revolution in the way that women’s history is taught and studied.
On the release of the Hystery app, their initial euphoria is not dampened as astonishing uploads from all over the world pour in showing women from all centuries at home, at work and at play. But, as the uploads take a more sinister turn, they realise that, in their excitement, they overlooked society’s appetite for new technology that bends each innovation to satisfy its basest cravings. It is only when tragedy strikes the couple and the extraordinary Erin James enters Brogan’s life that she finds the courage to put right what she has let loose on the world.
In the second of V T Davy’s ‘state of the lesbian nation’ novels, he blends science fiction, lesbian romance and women’s history to ask whether the rights that women espouse today are those that were fought for by the pioneers of feminism or whether they have become distorted beyond recognition.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this book and would rate it as 4.5 stars. It was great to have a story with lesbian characters that wasn’t just a romance. There was romance but it was secondary to the science fiction and feminism issues.
The book is set in contemporary England where Dr Brogan Miller’s private satellite is orbiting a cosmic string which has allowed it to transmit images from the past to connected webcams and mobile phones. Obviously all science fiction requires some suspension of disbelief and I was able to do that quite happily but if I thought too hard about it the viewing of history, and especially the fact that only deceased women could be seen, was rather spurious really. However, it made for an interesting premise in which to explore the way women are treated in our patriarchal society.
I liked all of the characters, although some of Brogan’s behaviour annoyed me. Erin, in particular, was great. A strong woman shaped by her tragic past. How she used the app was incredibly brave. I’m not sure I could have done it, had I been in her shoes.
A couple of negative factors: firstly, the tragedy that strikes was dealt with rather abruptly I though. Secondly, the sex scenes had a bit too much ‘she did this and she did that’. Hard to avoid with two women, I know, but a bit more use of their names would have helped.
Although the book explores complex issues and raises interesting questions, it is no dry, academic treatise. It is an exciting tale that I found hard to put down. Society’s reactions to the app seemed realistic and I was glad Honor and Brogan made the decisions they did.
I would definitely read more of Davy’s books.