read online Best The Slave and the Free: Books 1 and 2 of 'The Holdfast Chronicles': 'Walk to the End of the World' and 'Motherlines' (Holdfast Chronicles)Author Suzy McKee Charnas –

A post apocalyptic dystopia in which women are enslaved to men, and life is bleak But don t assume it ll be that way forever Yes, this is classic 2nd wave feminist Sci fi, but it s also really dang good.But I m going to tell it to you straight I think that they put these two books into one single volume, because the first one is rather dull and or hard to get into Don t get me wrong, it s a fascinating dystopia but NOTHING beats the complete change of pace, character development, and engrossing tale that follows in the 3 books that follow only 1 attached Seriously, Suzy McKee Charnas is one of my heroines, and these books are so smart and compellingI LOVED them You just have to slope your way through the first one to get there think of it as setting up the background. I had trouble with the first part of this book, originally a novel of itself, Walk to the End of the World The reality Charnas created seemed over the top, largely because of the manner in which I could see shreds of the modern world in this future society s misinterpretations of certain things common to us, and then on top of that, the culture she described was such an amplified version of masculine ideals It read to me as pretty heavy handed, in much the same way Heinlein was heavy handed, only from a strongly feminist direction instead I found the forwardness of Fossa and the risk she takes in presenting Alldera as a companion gift to our outlaw main characters not entirely believable given the set up of the world and culture we are presented with The brushes and streaks of resistance in we as readers see in fems at times seem too forward or too muted I had been comparing it, without actively examining this notion, to women I d known who lived in abusive relationships, because of the heavy handed brutality Charnas writes of Yet at the same time, there are moments when Charnas describes the threat contained in a master s whim, his gaze, his notice, which rung terribly true to my everyday experience I was left, when Alldera finally risks opening up to Eykar Bek, with a bit of feeling of bewilderment I did not feel like their dynamic up to that point would lead to that kind of interaction as its natural conclusion It s in Motherlines that Charnas began to really grab me, in her comparison of the riding women to the escaped Free Fems, and seeing these two cultures unfold It seemed clear to me that Charnas has a soft spot for her Riding Women the details of their society and interaction felt so complete It was deeply satisfying and saddening to watch the Free Fems replicate the very culture they had fled Though it hurt to see that dynamic, it felt real to the very bone Seeing Alldera grow here, and learn to act as a bridge between the two cultures mainly by finding her own way, and exercising her freedom was gratifying.There is a gap in style between the two books contained in this volume you can watch Charnas development of her craft For parts of Walk to the End of the World, there were pieces that felt talky in the way of an author expounding on an idea rather than setting up the parts, setting them in motion, and showing you what happens That feeling disappeared in Motherlines.I still feel complicatedly about these books I am fairly certain if I d not had them paired as one volume, I might not have continued past Walk to the End of the World, but I am very glad that I had such, and that I did. Made me sick The world Charnas portrays is too grim, too extreme and depressing Women are viewed as non human beasts of burden What finally turned me off and turned me stomach is how the free women procreate. Old school feminist future dystopia Sign me up After thirty years, Suzy McKee Charnas has completed her incomparable epic tale of men and women, slavery and freedom, power and human frailty.It started with Walk to the End of the World, where Alldera the Messenger is a slave among the Fems, in thrall to men whose own power is waning.In continued with Motherlines, where Alldera the Runner is a fugitive among the Riding Women, who live a tribal life of horse thieving and storytelling, killing the few men who approach their boundaries.The books that finish Alldera s story, The Furies and The Conqueror s Child, are now available Once you start here, you won t want to stop until you ve read the last word of the last book. Brilliantly realized but a tough minded vision of a feminist dystopia, followed by a qualified feminist utopia in which two communities of women forge worlds of their own Charnas prose flows, and her eye for detail and social custom immerse the reader in the worlds of Holdfast and the Riding Women Charnas sympathies are clear, but the main male protagonists in Walk are complicated and fallible in believable ways They are products of their world and convincing as such, though each of three men is also unconventional in his own way But, of course, they only think they know what s going on Walk is slightly let down by a rushed ending, but this edition moves the reader right on to Motherlines.The second book is slower and deliberate, taking its time to establish a complex community that has long standing rituals despite its relatively short existence It s the sort of book that might have been easy to get bogged down in, but again Charnas prose keeps the reader moving along It helps that the cast of characters expands dramatically with several memorable women who struggle to reconcile their varying goals with a shared understanding that their future depends on their ability to live and thrive together Eventually it becomes clear that this is a story about social change and about opposing communities coming together despite themselves, and that the long introduction to the Rider Women was necessary to make the importance of that change apparent A very solid work that holds up extremely well. Walk to the End of the World was good, buy a lot of times I feel that the development of the story was very slow very few action I don t understand why the first book is often put in utopian list, Is told from the perspectives of males and didn t show anything of the all women comunnities far from the Holdfast.The second book Motherlines is definitely my favorite, yes is a utopia at least at the end but all the women are protrayed with all their strongs and fails, they are not perfect, they are not simply living in armony with one another, there are fights, conflicts, gounds, even hates, but at the end they live the best they can, as an all female society is sexual violence free, and of course, that is makes that society utopian at the end The Slave and the Free where do I begin So much intensity going on in this collection of the first two novels of Charnas Holdfast Chronicles Walk to the End of the World 1974 and Motherlines 1978 This is feminist dystopian science fiction at it s best Inducted into the Gaylactic Spectrum Hall of Fame in 2003 and winner of the James Tiptree Jr Award, the Slave and the Free addresses both LGBTQ and gender topics in a fabulous way The world has been almost eradicated by an apocalypse referred to as the Wasting, with the exception of a group of white middle class men and their wives who survived by secluding themselves into a shelter called the Holdfast Following the Wasting women are blamed for all of the damage and enslaved What develops is a world of extreme sexism where women, called Fems, are treated worse than cattle all animals, or un men as both animals and fems are referred to, are dead and so are all individuals of colour and ordered to perform all work duties for their male masters Men are so repulsed by fems that they limit their contact with them to the best of their ability and instead form relationships with men Fems are left to form relationships with other fems, and it is widely understood that partnering with your own sex is the proper way to do it Men who enjoy sex with women are considered perverted and deranged To continue the species, women in heat are sent to breeding rooms where they are inseminated by men via rape, then when their cub is born it is sent to a kit pit until it is old enough to work All in all to say it s a dismal misogynistic world is a gross understatement The suffering of the women is extreme, and parts of the book are hard to read but thankfully Charnas does not describe acts of rape or violence in intricate detail, only enough so that you know what is taking place Where is all this going Well, the captive fems hear rumours of free fems that have escaped the Holdfast and are building numbers on the outskirts so they can then return to the Holdfast and wage war on the men Walk to the End of the World establishes all this story while we follow 3 men on their own journey, on the way picking up Alldera a fit fem who has been trained to run The first 3 4s of this book is about the world building and the story of the men, which I found pretty boring We move through the POV of each of the three men before finally arriving at Alldera s, and from there the book improves as we begin to understand her role and about the free fems Moving into Motherlines the book is all about Alldera and her experience after escaping the Holdfast Before she can reach the free fems she is captured by the Mares, who are women on horseback who patrol the edge of the Holdfast and kill any men who travel out and may expose the existence of the free fems Scenes of violence between men and fems have disappeared as there are no men in this book, but Charnas has added a new element of disturbing content, which I won t spoil for anyone despite the fact that it is revealed fairly early on The character development is pretty strong, and things wrap up as well as they can before leading you into the third installment, The Furies Overall, I thought Walk to the End of the World was a pretty dull book, but I appreciated all the work Charnas put into her world building disturbing as it may be Motherlines is exponentially better than the first I m looking forward to continuing the series Other inductees include Joanna Russ The Female Man, Nicola Griffiths Slow River and Ursula Le Guin s Left Hand of Darkness Also, in 2001 Joss Whedon won a Gaylactic Spectrum Award for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series In conclusion, Gaylactic Spectrum rad. this book ended up getting pretty badass, as it went on the first half was hard for me to get through as most of it is told from the point of view of the male characters who are enslaving the unmen or the fems and there is lots of drearydreary post apocalyptic background to this one, animals have pretty much disappeared, female bodied people are seen as less than human and are enslaved, there are two main food crops, sea weed and hemp almost too easy to imagine as a pathetic future of our dumb species but once it started to be told from Alldera s pov, it really started to pick up in the second half she is taken in by the riding women who are living tribally on the other side of the desert, where men dont even know they exist oh yes, and their entire culture revolves around their horses that they depend upon so much for their independence from the civilized nitemare Alldera finds her strength and teaches other free fems about horses and fighting skills and suppossedly in the next book, they are riding off to battle to go and save the fems that were left behind to toil under the abuses of the men Queer sex love is the norm in these socities, het sex is used only for breeding or as a display of power and dominance over the fems oh yes, and the riding women, they procreate via the usage of stallion semen i will be keeping my eye out for the other two books in this series, because i simply must know what happens return return Walk to the End of the World, the first half I got the combined edition, The Slave and the Free is a horribly well drawn future dystopia where women are enslaved and brainwashed, and doped up men fight for their own continued supremacy It s gruesomely well depicted, though not at all subtle and a bit relentless return return But Motherlines takes a lot of Walk to the End of the World and inverts it we switch from a male to a female central character, and discover that a lot of what had been presented as unchallengeable fact in the first volume is in fact very different looked at from the other side of the gender divide In addition, the actual plot has some very impressive twists and turns in what is still a very short book return return Motherlines is really excellent, and though Walk to the End of the World is not quite as good you enjoy the second much for having read the first And neither is very long.