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3.9 out of 5 stars15
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on January 28, 2016
This is an absolutely amazing book. Very original concept and execution. I read quite a bit and can say it was unlike anything else I've ever read. The descriptions of world so like and unlike our own at the same time are absolutely mesmerizing.
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on June 13, 2011
This book raises some really great themes. One reviewer says: "I also found it odd that every single women in the story was homosexual, whether native, Mirror or from Estrade. Millions of years of evolution on earth would still produce a majority of heterosexuals on GP unless some other process intervened."

In answer, I felt that several themes could be explored here in a book group. The first one being that I for one didn't feel that every woman's orientation was revealed, especially the soldiers. The possible fluidity of sexual orientation is a great topic here. Can lesbians be made as well as born (in the case of the soldiers). Another one is exactly the one suggested by the reviewer I quoted: that a process intervened that changed the direction of evolution (the Virus itself) for the native women. A third exploration would be linked to our assumptions on the original colony. Is it just our assumption that a large group of heterosexual couples colonised it? I think another great theme to explore would be the possible makeup of the original settlers. What sorts of groups other than, or including, hetero couples would be valuable on a settlement?

I love this story for raising these sorts of ideas and explorations.
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on January 8, 2000
This is a fantastic blend of lots of different science fiction elements: a quest story, a huge planetary landscape, anthropology, sociology, viruses and galactic political intrigue. It's populated by humans of all descriptions--flawed, complex, with good and bad intentions. It's a beautifully written book about people and how they respond to crisis and to change. I'm recommending it to all my friends and will definitely be looking for her other work.
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on January 1, 2000
The whole book seemed to be written for lesbian sci-fi readers. Way too much "women ruling the world" and doing a better job garbage. The actual sci-fi parts were good but that counted for only 30 pages or so.
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on July 12, 1999
Science fiction has never appealed to me. Perhaps this is because I had always associated it with things like "Star Trek," and people dressed in spandex saying things like, "Android Vortex reporting for duty Sir." Ammonite, by Nicola Griffith is nothing like what I had feared, I would recommend it as a wonderful first venture into reading within the genre of Science Fiction. Science fiction intrinsically allows for stimulating social commentary and Nicola Griffith does so skillfully. While envisioning alternate perspectives on issues of gender, sexuality, reproduction, and most other aspects of society, she also tells a story which utilizes the elements of drama in a most engaging way. The author's use of exposition to both provide the background information needed to follow the story and to slowly guide the reader from that which is known, to the world where the story will play out, is subtle and feels quite effortless. Ammonite takes place in the distant future on the planet GP, nicknamed "Jeep" by those who have traveled there from Earth as part of a corporate mission of the Durallium Company. The company has only one interest in the planet and that is its potential financial yield. There are several conflicts in Ammonite which drive the story forward. One is the internal conflict within the main protagonist, Marghe Taishan. An anthropologist sent by the Durallium Company to GP to test a vaccine, which Company hopes will eliminate a deadly virus which has prevented Company occupation of the planet, Marghe is soon torn between loyalty to the Company and curiosity about the new world she is inhabiting. Concurrently, conflicts between Marghe and the society she encounters, and between the inhabitants and Company are also taking place. The exploration of the planet as well as the societies which exists on it causes an immersion in these alternative societies which Griffith has created and from this immersion comes an appreciation for the simplicity of the people, their customs, their whole way of life and a desire to see it all preserved, and a disappointment that the fantasy ended.
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on April 19, 1999
I didn't find much interesting in this novel. The characters were interesting, but their motivations were hard to understand. I liked the culture, but how it came about wasn't explained. Some questions that were asked weren't answered. If you're a lesbian, I think you'd like this novel, otherwise, don't bother.
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Nicola Griffith, in her first novel, Ammonite, makes the claim that change is the death that requires courage. Each character in her story finds that death, the required change, in an individual challenge, and sources the courage from a unique strength. Very real, very human dilemmas placed in the storyteller's rhythm that draws you deeper into her story. Ms. Griffith's science is instructive. She has stayed within the boundaries created by theoretical probabilities, extrapolating the present into the future - weaving scientific explanation and the processes of our human spirit into an impelling story. Her vision for the potential of what our society names "alternative methods" in the healing professions is believable and powerful. A review on the book jacket claims that Ms. Griffith has "a very interesting take on gender." The book is potent in its ability to convey that in our essence we are gender-more as well as gender-less. Environmental circumstances in her story create a female population, but the human questions, conditions, and challenges remain constant. The attitudes and actions of her characters contain qualities of what we currently identify as feminine or masculine. Ms. Griffith translates for the reader the inner balancing of each character's feminine/masculine energies, changing the gender concept into something else. Readers who enjoy a book which takes today into the future, relates science in ways which teach, and characters that explore the depths of human character will find value in this book. It is a book you experience as well as read. Ammonite stays with you after you have finished the last page. At first, you wish it had been longer and given more information. Then you start to appreciate its simplicity and uncluttered-ness. You want to read it again, unhurried now, because you know the stopping point of the story. Ms. Griffith is a viajera. If you wish to know what that is - read the book.
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on January 25, 1999
A beautifully written quest story that perfectly combines the internal and external journeys of the characters. Everything is vivd and very, very moving. This is a story about all kinds of people, for all kinds of people. It's hard to believe this is a first novel and I eagerly look forward to reading the others.
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on January 6, 1999
The only reason this book got a prize, is that the category of lesbian SF is very small.The "science" in the book is new-age mumbo-jumbo. The book contradicts itself and is inconsistent.The story is a lesbian dream of a world with children, but without men.
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on December 30, 1998
I did not know what to expect, but a book of this quality from a new author, makes me want to weep. The talent to pull off such a well thought out and introspective tale is rare. I often find myself reading the same authors for years, only to discover they have used up their imaginative fire early on. I look forward to reading more from this talented woman.
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