Name That Book!
December 27, 2009 8:00 PM   Subscribe

Another "what book is this" query relating to a sci-fi book from the late 80s/early 90s concerning a society wherein the sexes live in different compounds and the males engage in ultra-violent rituals and war-type activities.

My memory is quite hazy but the book made a impression on me when I read it sometime in the late 80s/early 90s. It was a sci-fi book set in some alternate reality wherein the men and women live separately except for a certain segment of "neutered" men who live with the women and help raise the children. All male children are turned over to the male compound at a certain age and have to go through a series of violent coming of age rituals which determine whether they will stay in the male compound or return, disgraced, to live with the women. As is revealed later, the women have engineered this arrangement so that violence is gradually "bred" out of society because it's not the aggressive men in the compound impregnating the women, but the peaceful "neutered" males who live with the women.
posted by notcomputersavvy06 to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I suspect it's The Gate to Women's Country - the wikipedia summary mentions the reveal at the end.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:04 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yup, it's definitely The Gate to Women's Country, I read it not that long ago, that's a great description.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:09 PM on December 27, 2009


Definitely not the same thing, but sounds like it has a lot in common with Piers Anthony's "Battle Circle."

yes, I read Piers Anthony as a teenager and I admit it.
posted by adamrice at 8:14 PM on December 27, 2009


Yes, it seems to be The Gate to Women's Country.
posted by francesca too at 8:15 PM on December 27, 2009


Thirding The Gate to Women's Country -- but you might want to request that one of the moderators add a spoiler note to your question for giving away the end : ).

(It's a wonderfully written book which I adored when I was younger -- but as I grow older I keep thinking of how unfair that world was to the men, and how the supposed tests were not at all a good way to divide aggressive from non-agressive...)
posted by jb at 9:09 PM on December 27, 2009


Always stuck me as odd, seemed that Women's Country would eventually be crushed by warlike neighbors. Not necessarily the Holylanders but some other grouping off-stage.
posted by codswallop at 5:51 AM on December 28, 2009


I recently reread The Gate to Women's Country after hearing this Radiolab piece re what happens when you remove alpha males from a baboon colony.

Pretty thought-provoking.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:40 AM on December 28, 2009


Although the book has already been named, it's worth noting that Ecotopia (which the article on Tepper's book leads to) also includes a section where men stage war games where they can get injured pretty badly (although not killed, IIRC) to get it out of their system.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:08 PM on December 28, 2009


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