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W3: Women in Deep Time
Greg Bear
iBooks, 232 pages

Cameron Redwine
W3: Women in Deep Time
Greg Bear
Greg Bear was born in San Diego, California, in 1951. With a father in the navy, Greg Bear had travelled to Japan, the Philippines, Alaska and all over the US by the age of 12. At 15, he sold his first story to Famous Science Fiction and in 1979 he sold his first novel, Hegira, to Dell. His awards include Nebulas for his stories "Hardfought," "Blood Music" and "Tangents" and one for his novel, Moving Mars (1993), plus Hugos for his stories "Blood Music" and "Tangents." As an illustrator, Bear's artwork has appeared in magazines such as Galaxy and Fantasy & Science Fiction along with a number of hardcover and paperback books. He was a founding member of ASFA, the Association of Science Fiction Artists. He did the cover for his own novel, Psychlone, from Tor. Heavily involved with SFWA, Greg Bear co-edited the SFWA FORUM, chaired the SFWA Grievance Committee, served as VP for a year, and President for 2 years.

Greg Bear Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Eon
SF Site Review: Vitals
SF Site Review: Blood Music
SF Site Review: Darwin's Radio
SF Site Review: Slant
SF Site Review: Dinosaur Summer
SF Site Review: Foundation and Chaos

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

This book collects three stories about women, and these women are all in some sort of transition, on a journey to accept themselves, as well as to find their place. As Greg Bear says in the introduction, "These three stories have a theme in common: the female psyche, multiplied and divided... At any rate, throughout my career (and for whatever reason), I've been fascinated by the female voice."

"Sisters" was originally published in the 1989 Warner collection Tangents. Letitia is your typical high school girl. Really, no irony here. She's struggling with the fact that she's different, kind of unpopular, and really not happy with her classes or the life choices she's making. She's different because the majority of the kids around her have had some sort of gene therapy done on them before they were born, their DNA juggled around so that their skin is perfect, they are all tall, slender, intelligent... perfect. She is not, and she feels it even more fiercely when one of the most perfect of them all comes up to her and asks her to take a major role in the school play, that of the old woman. She's actually kind of bitter towards her parents for this lack. But as the story goes on things happen, and if Letitia isn't careful, she might just find herself not only accepting who she is, but actually liking it. A really neat story, coming of age with a twist that makes it fresh.

"Hardfought" was published in a 1983 issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. It offers a view that is interesting in a short story, that of both sides. Prufax, almost 6 years old, has been trained all her life to infiltrate the pod ships and kill the hive mind. Her hands have been surgically adapted to fit special clothes to fulfill this purpose, her classes are all focused on her mission, she is pumped with Moans that make her grow faster, make her stronger. Her enemy, the Senexi, is also represented, as we meet Aryz, who feels that the human shape might be his people's key to survival. Despite her rigid training, things are beginning to bother Pru, but it won't be until she meets Clevo that she will begin to rethink her life in earnest. It's a thought provoking story, and some of the conclusions I reached were not comforting.

"Scattershot" can also be found in the 1978 Terry Carr classic Universe 8 anthology. This is my favorite story. It begins with a Teddy Bear pacing around, speaking perfect Mandarin before it switches to Russian as it tries to finds a common language to communicate with the heroine, who is only now waking up to discover that her life has been disrupted by aliens -- literally. She and several other people have all been taken away from their lives, and are now on a space ship. This isn't a shocking transition for most people. They are all like Francis Geneva, and are long used to space flight. She and the bear, Sonok, who was the ship's mascot, always ready to cuddle or give advice, begin to explore the ship. As they meet people, they discover that they all are from Earth. A different version, at least. They decide to try and return to Earth, none of the different people on the ship knowing which earth it might be.

The final item in W3: Women in Deep Time is Greg Bear's Guest of Honor Millennium Philcon Speech. I started skimming it, not thinking I'd be interested but I was. It tells how he got involved with SF, the different people that he met early in his career (at the age of 16) and gives some interesting insights to why he is the writer he is today.

I think a collection like this one stands together very well. All the stories resonate with the same themes, exploring them in different ways. I was impressed by the interesting approaches he used to handle the ideas, I enjoyed the technology that he introduces into the stories, and the action, and all and all thought that this was a thoughtful, interesting collection.

Copyright © 2003 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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