Picnic on Paradise
A new kind of sci-fi heroine, the tough-as-nails Alyx, is introduced in this Nebula Award finalist that Poul Anderson called an “extraordinary” novel.
Set in a semi-utopian world, Joanna Russ’s groundbreaking debut novel is the story of Alyx, a female soldier, survival guide, and agent of the Trans-Temporal Authority. Displaced in time from her ancient Greece, Alyx is tasked with safely leading a group of pampered human vacationers—including some unconventional nuns and a detached teenager known as the Machine—across an uninhabited scenic terrain to a relief station. But the journey proves more challenging than anticipated as they confront one another’s failings; the physical dangers of an icy, hostile wilderness; and Alyx’s own personal demons.
Long before the kick-ass heroines of current science fiction and fantasy, Russ unapologetically introduced readers to a short, strong, middle-aged (for her world/time) woman of twenty-six who knows how to survive but struggles with the emotional nuances of her charges and the confusion of her own mixed feelings. With iconic characters like Alyx, Russ “four decades ago helped deliver science fiction into the hands of the most alien creatures the genre had yet seen—women . . . [and] helped inaugurate the now flourishing tradition of feminist science fiction” (The New York Times).
The young lieutenant, who was two meters and a third tall, or three heads more
than herself, very handsome and ebony-skinned, said, “I'm sorry, ma'am, but I
cannot believe you're the proper Trans-Temporal Agent; I think—” and he
“Please, Agent,” he said again, as if his voice were failing him, but she did not
move, only sat naked and cross-legged with the old scars on her ribs and belly
showing in a perfectly natural and expectable way, sat and looked at them one by
“Oh, no.” “Isn't it? A ten-day walk over those foothills? No large predators? An
enemy that doesn't give a damn about us? A path a ten-year-old could follow. An
explorer right to hand. And how much do I cost?” “Agent,” said the lieutenant, ...
you something else” (here he lifted his face intently) “which may help you to
understand, and that is, Agent, that this is the first ... All this talk about Agents here
and Agents there is purely mythological, fictional, you might say, though why
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - majackson - LibraryThing
Highly stylized concept: a female street-fighter is saved from death in ancient Crete to lead a party of effete picnickers in the far future through a minor war on an ideal Terra-formed planet. Most ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - TheDivineOomba - LibraryThing
I picked it up because of the author. I recognized the name, but haven't read anything by her. Unfortunately, this is probably not the book to start with. I didn't like any of the characters - the ... Read full review