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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Strange Horizons, 31 July 2006

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“The Women of Our Occupation” by Kameron Hurley

Big Brother? Feh! Meet Big Sister!

In “The Women of Our Occupation” by Kameron Hurley, women now rule the world. Whether these particular women came from another country or another planet no one knows. But don’t expect Hurley’s tale to be about liberation and peace. Just the opposite. The women transform the world into a Nazi-style dictatorship where the slightest hint of dissent from a male can get him tortured, castrated, or shot. And eventually there are not many males over the age of sixteen left. Shown through the eyes of a teenage boy, the story focuses on him and his family (none of whom are named, but the women aren’t named, either).

As far as writing mechanics go, it is neither exquisite nor badly done. The writing itself takes a backseat to the storytelling, which is as it should be, especially with a story like this. While crazed feminists might salivate over such a dystopian vision of the future, the majority of feminists, the common sense variety, will see the warning of what can happen when an agenda gets taken to the extreme. And as for male readers? Well, we get a glimpse of what it has often been like for women throughout history, except in this story it’s getting done to the men.