If I had read this when it was first published, in the 80s, I think I would have really liked this book. Alas, I read it now and it mostly made me angry.
This book channels second wave feminism pretty heartily, and unfortunately it also falls into some of the movement's pitfalls. Powerfully negative attitudes towards men lie the foundation for this story - an idea that men are innately violent and aggressive, and women are not, is the true dividing line. This book pretends that personality is based purely on nature with nurture making little difference. Bodily autonomy and emotional connectivity fall to the wayside in favor of eugenics and manipulation. And to make it even worse the lack of gender non-conforming or non-heterosexual individuals in this world is not an oversight - the book flat out states that queer characters were bred out (see page 76 in my edition). To say that the story is misandrist, gender essentialist, and aggressively heteronormative would not be inaccurate nor unfair.
As much as I wanted to throw this book across my room at times, or to give it a half star rating, I will give it some credit where credit is due. This book is of its time, and it came from an angry place. And I get that. I've felt that. A lot of people have. It is interesting to use science fiction to play around with thought experiments, and our book club had an excellent discussion about this one. Tepper quite obviously put a lot of thought into her world, and the world-building was fairly intricate. The characters were drawn well enough that I truly hated many of them, and some mirrored individuals I've known in my past. There are some really excellent insights in here, and even passages that I reread because they struck a chord with me. However, I just couldn't get past the politics. It's a great book to talk about and critique, but it is not a book I feel I can recommend outside of that capacity.
The Gender End is the seventh and final book in The Gender Game series. I've been following the series since book one so I've been waiting for this finale for a while and was glad to finally get some closure.
Violet and Viggo along with their group of Matrus and Patrus survivors, head to Matrus to make a stand against Queen Elena to take her down once and for all. Going up against a psycho Queen though, means the fight was not without many struggles and sacrifices along the way but there were also several wedding celebrations thrown in to even things out a bit. All in all, I was pleased with the ending and how all the loose ends tied together. I was especially glad to see the cowardly, loud mouth, King of Patrus finally get what he's deserved for a while now. He's caused me much distress throughout this series so that was one of the highlights of the story for me. : )