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He, She and It (MM to TR Promotion) [Paperback]

Marge Piercy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 23 1997
The author of Summer People and Gone to Soldiers offers a haunting vision of the future America. The story of an illegal cyborg that is brought to life to protect one of the few remaing "free towns" is interweaved with the ancient story of a Jewish ghetto in Prague, where a golem is brought "to life" to protect the people.

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From Publishers Weekly

In this diverting tale of the 21st century, Piercy explores a world where information has become a commodity more precious than gold.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

This is Piercy's first full-fledged foray into science fiction, although Woman on the Edge of Time ( LJ 6/1/76) flirted with the genre. In the 21st century the world has been ravaged by environmental disaster and war, with much of the populace living in corporate domes. Depressed over child custody problems with Josh, her ex-husband, Shira Shipman returns to her childhood home, one of the few free Jewish towns. There she falls in love with Yod, an illegal cyborg created to defend the town against attack. Filled with fantastic technological description, the plot zooms to a page-turning climax. A story of a golem in 17th-century Prague told by Shira's warmhearted grandmother mirrors the action. While not as visionary as Doris Lessing's "Canopus in Argos" novels, this projection of a world with a computer for a soul has the ring of reality. As usual, Piercy's women are strong and sympathetic. With the exception of Yod, her men are either frivolous or cold. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/91.
- Harriet Gottfried, NYPL
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Matrix Revisited March 12 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This novel is fully science-fiction in genre (for Marge Piercy is not afraid to dabble in whatever style interests her, from historical fiction, to memoir, to sci-fi, to poetry.) And "He, She and It" has many elements found in "The Matrix" (but "He, She and It" came out way before "Matrix) You wonder if the makers of that hit film series owe Ms. Piercy an enormous monetary debt of gratitude.
The story centers around Shira, a bright young woman who makes a bad mistake; she marries the wrong man. Pigeonholed by the large "multi" (corporation) who bid for her services when she graduated, she's living on borrowed time in the safe but stifling domed city built by her multi to house the workers and managers against the perils of the polluted open lands and even more perillous decayed and overpopulated metropolis ("Glop" for short.)
Shira doesn't realize how short her time really is, and how soon she will be moving on, leaving behind her job, and much much, more of value to her. She moves home to one of the free cities on the seashore, deemed unsafe by virtue of severe weather (a gift of global warming.) She moves in with her grandmother and takes a job with Avram, a cybernetics expert. Avram has created a golem, a robot, a protector of the Jewish free city. Shira is hired to teach the robot, and develops a strange relationship with the creature, who, like Frankenstein's monster, is filled with both love and hate. Meanwhile, she must deal with her own past and past loves, and learn why she made bad decisions. Shira threads a path filled with dangers, but comes out stronger and wiser. Not without a high price, however.
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4.0 out of 5 stars only the ending prevents 5 stars Oct. 17 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Marge Piercy doesn't do science fiction often. As with many writers who dip into that genre infrequently, it can be a toss up whether or not the next attempt will be good. "He, She, and It" is good. The main character is Shira and we follow her life for a few months as she fights for her child, herself, her family, and her hometown, and her lover. These "fights" are almost universal, they seem as though they could happen at any time but by placing them into the future, Piercy allows us to question the reasons for these fights at all. Are they "natural" or "social" or a mixture? Frankly I found the idea of corporations controlling most of the world except for agriculture and a few "free towns" difficult to grasp but since this isn't really the point of the story, I'm not docking points stars for that...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended March 24 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Had this book not been a gift, I would never have thought to pick it up. Science fiction, Jewish mysticism; these are not subjects which immediately draw most people in. I'm eternally grateful I did give this book a chance, however, for it is definately one of the best books I have ever read. Weaving together two parallel stories, (the legend of a "Golem" created to protect the Jews in Prague's Jewish Ghetto in the 1600s, and the contemporary story of the cyborg Yod), Piercy has created a view of the future a la Margaret Atwood. Yet Piercy's view of the future, while almost as threatening as Atwood's in The Handmaid's Tale, contains the ever present spectre of redemption. While the characters in He, She, and It may live in a forebidding time when corporations rule the world, they maintain a level of autonomy over their own lives, and the knowledge and power to someday create a world more suited to freedom than that in which they currently reside. Piercy's book is fascinating on a number of levels. It is simultaneously the story of a mother's love for her child and the lengths she will go to when that relationship is threatened, a strong community and the familial, religious, and communal ties that bind a group of people together, a cautionary tale of corporate domination, a fascinating hypothesis of both the possibilities and dangers of modern technology, and above all, a romance. The elements of Jewish history and mysticism add to the excitement and passion of the book, enabling the parallel Piercy draws between the past and the future to flow naturally, and add to rather than detract from the book's clarity. Nor are the characters sacrificed for a well-developed plot. Piercy spends just as much time creating the characters who enable her story as she does on the story itself. Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars both historical fiction and sci-fi June 9 2004
By katla
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This novel presents parallel stories of the Golum of Prague and the cyborg of the future, both "men" created to protect the societies in which they were "born." Both evolve beyond "creature" or "robot" to become self-aware and fall in love with a human woman, and thus become so threatening that they are destroyed by the humans they seek to embrace. As a non-Jewish reader, I was inspired to look up the history of the golum in Jewish Kabbalah legends and surprised to find out that there is a statue of the legendary golum in Prague. The story stalls in the middle third as the same-old-love-story unfolds ... tediously. I would have liked more depth and detail on the various societies Piercy hints at in the future, expecially the great masses that survive in apparent anarchy in this post-apocalyptic world. The ending is too pat; why didn't Yod disappear into the Glop? Great concept, though.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Logically Bad Science Fiction
One of the most astonishing things I found about Marge Piercy was that she had actually written science fiction before this. Read more
Published on April 20 2003 by C. Hoekstra
3.0 out of 5 stars He, She and It from a Technological Perspective
"He, She and It" is an intoxicating book about the future. From a technological perspective, the lives portrayed in the ultramodern societies of Tikva and the Y-S Enclave is right... Read more
Published on March 20 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars He, She And It
This one was tough-going for me because of all the anti-male propaganda slipped under the door. Normally I don't find feminist SF that hard to deal with, but my favourite novels in... Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2002 by sleeping sheepsnake
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Twist
Marge Piercey's He, She, and It is a slightly different twist on the usual futuristic narrative of corporate control and artificial intelligence. Read more
Published on May 2 2002 by Laurie
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to be a science fiction fan
to enjoy this book. Piercy paints a picture of a corporate run world that is ravaged by pollution and crime. Only a few free cities remain. Read more
Published on March 30 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard Reading
This book is a very hard book to follow. There are two stories going on at the same time, and it is hard to keep the information separate.
Published on Feb. 6 2002 by Lisa
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but not her best
This is one of the most entertaining works of feminist speculative fiction I've read. Both story lines caught my interest and it was fascinating as the themes connected and added... Read more
Published on March 13 2001 by Christen Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Fun and Full of Surprises
I asked a friend to suggest a book of the kind you can not put down. He suggested this one and trusting him I bought it - unwillingly, for it did not look like my kind of book at... Read more
Published on Dec 9 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars another dystopia
In Peircy's future world, the small Jewish town is threatened by the large corporate enclave. Peircy un-subtley compares this with the Jewish ghetto in Prague. Read more
Published on July 20 2000 by Amy Whinston
4.0 out of 5 stars More than interesting and well-written...
I read this text for a Science Fiction course I took at UCLA. After reading LeGuin, Stephenson and Benford, this one was my favorite. Read more
Published on July 19 2000 by Elizabeth Miranda
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