Califia’s Daughters is one of the most unique, inventive, thought provoking, dark, disturbing, pseudo-violent, feminist-based, post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels I have read in a long time, if ever. (Goodreads review)
I wrote Califia’s Daughters back in the 80s and 90s. My original impetus for the story was, as I’ve said here before, to push back against Margaret Atwood’s dystopian vision of women who stand and watch their power fade away, without reacting. Those weren’t the women I knew. Her women look at the threatened fertility of that society and let their money be taken, their individuality cropped, let themselves be made small, weak, and obedient.
I couldn’t help thinking that the women I knew would see that falling birth rate and say: okay, I have this power of reproduction, so what are you going to give me for it?
Also in the 80s and 90s, the idea of Eco-feminism was all the rage. The term was coined by a radical feminist French writer in a book called Feminism or Death (which pretty much says it all) but as time went on, the movement became less political and more imbued with California’s touchy-feely Gaia worship: if we do away with patriarchy, the earth will be healed and inequities banished.
Again: not so much the women I knew.
So maybe, somewhere in between? Women who were good and gentle stewards of the land, but also women who were greedy warlords? Women for whom children were the center of their life, but also women who just wanted to beat the shit out of someone?
And sometimes, women who could that be both?
I’d be interested in what you think. If the male population were drastically reduced, would society change? Or would women step into the roles that are mostly occupied by men now, for good and for bad?
(If you’ve missed the past week or two of Califia posts, scroll down on Mutterings for some excerpts, and for earlier posts. The e-book seems to still beon offer for $1.99 through Bookshop Santa Cruz, Nook, and Kindle, though you’d like a signed paperback, Bookshop can get you one any time.