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The Margarets

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,262 Ratings  ·  168 Reviews
The myriad alien civilizations populating far, distant worlds have many good reasons to detest the blight called "humankind" . . .

The only human child living in a work colony on the Martian satellite Phobos, little Margaret Bain has invented six imaginary companions to keep boredom and loneliness at bay. Each an extension of her personality, they are lost to her when she
ebook, 528 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published May 13th 2007)
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Aug 23, 2008 Sean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminist, sci-fi
Tepper, Tepper, Tepper... what can I say about her that I already haven't said? She's interesting, aggravating, inspired, pedantic, gifted in her ability to invent elaborate cultures, races and settings and given to bludgeoning the reader over the head with heavy allegories constructed of the same.

The Margarets is neither her best work nor her worst. It contains neither the ridiculous excesses of Shadow's End nor the true sense of menace and fear of Grass . True to Tepper's pattern, it is hea
Jan 09, 2009 Victoria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-books
Even though I love her writing, I have to admit that every Tepper book I've read before has been ponderous and sometimes painfully slow to gather momentum (kind of like this review). So I surprised myself by liking this book almost from the beginning and only getting more caught up in it as I read. Even though it seemed clear from near the beginning exactly where the plot was going and how it would end, I was fascinated by the execution.

Tepper can - and does - create such strange scenarios with
Aug 21, 2015 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish Tepper was a bit better at (or more concerned with) science. She says of the future Earth's "space elevators": "There's been some talk of building more of them as ocean-based platforms, but the last time that was tried, a tsunami took it out." Please! Tsunamis don't work that way. At sea, you're unlikely to even notice the wave. It certainly will be smaller than many "rogue" waves. But I have to keep forcing myself to remember Tepper really doesn't write SF, she writes a kind of pseudo-s
Jun 21, 2012 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a strange book. I started it feeling like I was reading a sci-fi/dystopian novel, but as the story progressed, it felt more and more as if I were reading the novelization of one of RPG video games I used to play: here's the intro where you find out that Something Big Has Gone Wrong (long, long ago, of course), and our unassuming hero must fix it; here's where you travel around finding all the supporting characters, with their predictable archetypes and their tragic back-stories; here ar ...more
Aug 02, 2008 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I now find myself wanting to reread all (or most) of Tepper's books, because I think that various incarnations of the Margaret character shows up in passing in many of them. I like how Tepper is pulling some of her worlds together into a single universe, with the unifying device of the doors (which connect disparate points in space).

In this novel, Tepper tackles the problems of overpopulation and the resulting inevitable environmental collapse. She blames this largely on humans' lack of racial
Jul 05, 2008 Nicole rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This one initially engaged me, but I found myself running out of steam about 1/2way through. Even with the index in the front keeping the Margarets seperate was difficult for me and it was a pain in the rear to need look them up every chapter. I really liked Tepper's premise, but I think this book would have been a much better read had it been quite a bit shorter. I had to push myself to finish it.

This one reminded me a lot of "Beauty" in that Tepper used it as a platform to comment on the soci
First the legalese: I received this book (as a nifty hardcover, no less) as part of the Harper Voyager Super Reader program. Free books for an honest review...sweeeeeeet. So...

Not a bad book, but not a great book overall. Excellent premise, one person splitting along different world-lines pending certain choices ala quantum probability (if it can happen, it has happened/will happen/is happening). The problem is in the execution. The storyline is spotty and the POV bounces between characters so o
Dec 14, 2013 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know all the complaints about Tepper: she can be preachy, and sometimes lets her moralizing about feminism, conservation, and pacifism (or at least her distaste for mindless violence and power mongering) get in the way of plot and character development. But hey, folks, can we acknowledge she has a great ability to create alternate worlds, she has wonderful strong, imperfect female characters (as opposed to the annoying strong perfect woman trope), and what she espouses -- treating women and ch ...more
Apr 11, 2015 Cara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would be similar in quality to the only other Sheri S. Tepper book I've read, The Gate to Women's Country, which was really thought-provoking and just good. This, on the other hand, is a piece of crap, even for sci-fi, which is a genre that contains quite a bit of crap. Too many confusing alien races and alien planets, too much uninhibited use of unnecessary apostrophes in people's names. The plot itself didn't make a lot of sense, and proceeded at times way too slow and at o ...more
Feb 29, 2012 Alayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book. It was very complex and needed quite a bit of concentration (especially as I read it on my kindle, which meant I could not keep going to the page at the front which showed all the Margarets and where they all were). I didn't want to put it down and finished it at 2.40am! Without giving the plot away, the problem to be solved required one person to walk 7 roads at the one time in order to save the human race from extinction. I guessed partly how things were to be done, b ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kasey Jane
Of my limited experience with Tepper's books, this one appears pretty typical to me. Splendid writing, interesting and immersive (if not altogether believable) world building, great philosophy punctuated with somewhat jarring asides, and a weird deus-ex-machina ending leaves us with a kind of uneasy conclusion. Some of the Margarets were incredible, memorable characters, and some felt like little more than their original premise (healer and warrior, I'm lookin' at you). On the whole, a good book ...more
Apr 22, 2014 Janet rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The premise was interesting - following the alternate paths Margaret's life could have taken, kind of a grown up choose your own adventure. There was interesting world building as well. However the frequently preachy tone and the black and white depiction of alien species(some evil and unredeemable, some saintly) made me uncomfortable.

That theme was also applied to humans, and came to a head with this remarkable sentence near the conclusion: (view spoiler)
Apr 27, 2014 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This cover creeps me the hell out. And it should because Margaret breaks herself into multiple physical incarnations of herself (eep! Sybil!), which matches the cover. This was my first Sheri S. Tepper novel and...I'm just not sure I'm going to read another of hers. She's got a way with words, can describe worlds, people and alien races like nobody's business but this particular story beats you over the head with allegories, which didn't impress me. Is this true in other books of hers? I know th ...more
Aug 17, 2009 N. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 18, 2015 Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Typical Tepper! I like her books and often completely agree with her implied opinions on humanity. I WAS getting a little tired because she was starting to get a little preachy and I like it more subtle and this book is more subtle, though still obviously, social commentary. I was feeling that maybe the commentary was overcoming the stories but I think The Margarets did a better job with the story.
It's a story of a girl, in the future when Human beings have become so numerous that they basical
Aug 02, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In “The Margarets,” Tepper atypically starts at the beginning, though other events are already in motion. It’s the late 21st century, the overpopulated Earth is close to ruin, and humans have begun traveling as colonists and as slaves to other worlds.
Margaret is the only child on Phobos, a human colony on the Martian moon. Precocious and bored, she invents other personas for herself: a queen, a spy, a warrior, a healer, a seer, a scholar. As Margaret grows up, these personas split off from her a
Zoe Zuniga
May 17, 2010 Zoe Zuniga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love just about everything by Sheri Tepper but I found this book hard to get into. I picked up a few months ago but had trouble with the plot device of dividing a person into seven separate people. It felt askward and unnatural and did these divisions did not happen smoothly or naturally. Still I picked up again and slogged through it liking many of the ideas and loving the ultimate message of the book which was as usual about human nature, and how to solve our problem of over proliferation, a ...more
Mar 15, 2011 Lorena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
So, when I found _The Waters Rising_ and read it, and was a little surprised at how light it was for a Tepper book...? Having found out that I somehow missed a book by her (AAAAAHHH!) that came out a year or so previously, and snagged a copy of it... heck. My brain is tired after just reading this, of COURSE she'd want to write something lighter afterwards!

I will tell you that I was a little worried at first, because I tend to shy away from books that come with a who's-who list at the front -- I
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Doug Pardee
Dec 29, 2011 Doug Pardee rated it really liked it
The Margarets is a sprawling futuristic fantasy saga, following six main characters (all of them aspects of Margaret) and probably a hundred minor ones, over a period of decades, across a dozen planets and other locations, with a couple dozen other sentient species. And right from the start, the ending has been foretold. This story's all about the journey, not the destination.

Tepper has avoided almost all of her hallmark social axe-grinding. The story does launch from a catastrophically over-po
SJ Higbee
Nov 02, 2011 SJ Higbee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me put my cards on the table – I’m a fan of Tepper’s writing. A Plague of Angels absolutely blew me away. I still vividly recall the main details of the plot years later – something that happens with only a handful of books, given my shocking memory. So it was a red letter day, when I discovered this book on the library shelves.

Margaret Bain is the only child on Phobos, a human colony working on a doomed project to transform Mars into a garden planet. To keep away the suffocating demons of l
Feb 07, 2009 Hoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall is was an enjoyable book. It's a bit inventive, I like the break the author takes from the standard militarism angle. It was refreshing to read a story featuring interplanetary clashing that side-stepped guns and conventional war.

I like the versions of a person splitting off... and the overpopulation out of control situation. It's cute who the Gentherans are.. I could tell that she had fun inventing the names of alien things. I liked that half way through, I started to feel weird and woo
Jun 15, 2009 Libero rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Sheri Tepper used to be my favorite speculative fiction author and I still love her work. Her creativity, vision and politics all make for wonderful novels of the idea. She often takes the absurdities of modern life and extrapolates them into dark but hopeful futures. The Margarets, however, was just an okay book.

The book is about Margaret, who's childhood alter egos and playtime characters mysteriously—actually, mystically—become real people all living parallel but radically different lives aro
Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 07, 2009 Kit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read everything Sheri Tepper wrote back in the 1990s, and then apparently figured she wasn't writing anything any more. I missed several between The Fresco, which I loved, and The Margarets, which I just finished and didn't quite love - although I still like me some Sheri Tepper books.

One thing I love about Tepper's sci-fi is that not only is the plot bound to be unusual, midway through the book, I'm still trying to figure out what the plot *is* - and not in a bad way, but in a "can I figure o
Jan 12, 2010 L rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Many children create imaginary friends. Little Margaret Bain really went the distance with hers, though. They are bits of her and they are much more real than one might expect.

The book is very inventive. There are many worlds, story lines, and types of beings. Earth is in danger, used up, teetering on being uninhabitable (actually from some perspectives, it's there, except that folks somehow do live on her). Eco-disaster is not unusual in sci-fi, of course. What it does to Earth's far-flung chi
Margaret Surina
Mar 21, 2013 Margaret Surina rated it it was amazing
The Margarets by Sheri Tepper is a Delicious read. Ms. Tepper is a mistress of intelligent, thought provoking fantasy; she can weave a tale like no other. The Margarets take you to other worlds that are so well written and fleshed out that you are totally can see it in your minds eye so clearly, smell it, taste it...It's an intricate tapestry that weaves together colorful worlds filled with strange peoples, fascinating perspectives of real and current social issues that totally ...more
Nov 15, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
The second ebook I checked out of the library for my Kindle. Still largely a test - before I started deliberately seeking out books. But at least this time I picked an author I had previously enjoyed.

Sheri Tepper sometimes writes wonderful stories with some very imaginative premises. The notion of Margaret (the title character) splitting into something like 9 physical versions of herself (with various names and even genders) gets handled quite well. Kind of like Sybil breaking apart into indepen
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Sheri Stewart Tepper is a prolific American author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels; she is particularly known as a feminist science fiction writer, often with an ecofeminist slant.

Born near Littleton, Colorado, for most of her career (1962-1986) she worked for Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, where she eventually became Executive Director. She has two children and is married to Gen
More about Sheri S. Tepper...

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“When a response is detected, the thing that uttered moves separately but implacably toward its responder, as by gravity. So equivalence is drawn to equivalence until they are within touching distance.” 0 likes
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