ALDERMAN, Gill
   Working name of UK writer Gillian Alderman (1941-), who worked in microelectronics research until 1984. She began publishing sf with the first two volumes of her Guna sequence - The Archivist: A Black Romance (1989) and The Land Beyond: A Fable (1990) - which established her very rapidly as a figure of interest in the field. As usual in the PLANETARY ROMANCE, the world in which the tales are set (Guna) is heavily foregrounded throughout both volumes. Quite similar to Earth - with which its more technologically advanced civilizations have had concourse for many centuries - Guna is perhaps most remarkable for the wide range of relationships found there between the sexes, running from the complex matriarchy depicted in the first volume through Earth-like patterns of repressive patriarchy hinted at broadly in the second. Although it is clearly GA's intent, dexterously achieved, to make some FEMINIST points about male hierarchical thinking, she abstains from creating characters whose consciousnesses reflect these issues. The homosexual male protagonists of The Archivist, for instance, whose long love affair and estrangement provide much of the immediate action of the book, exhibit no normal resentment at the dominant role of women; and the political revolution fomented by the elder lover has little or nothing to do with sexual politics in any Earthly sense. The long timespan of The Archivist, the Grand Tour evocations of landscape which make up much of its bulk, and its distanced narrative voice mark a contemplative sf fantasist of the first order. The Land Beyond, a chill book set in a cold part of the planet, is less engaging; but GA is clearly a writer to welcome.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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