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The Wanderground: Stories of the Hill Women

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  160 ratings  ·  18 reviews
This novel tells of a world in which men and women are separated, with women fleeing to the hills for freedom while men remain in the cities. Women gain telepathic abilities, unique flying and healing techniques, and go on duty to assist women in the cities still struggling for enlightenment.
Paperback, 196 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Spinsters Ink Books (first published 1978)
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Community Reviews

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"There are no words more obscene than 'I can't live without you.' Count them the deepest affront to the person." This idea is presented in the opening chapter of Sally Miller Gearhart's The Wanderground and, based on this, among other elements of that first chapter, I thought I might like this book. This does turn out to be an important idea in the book, but ultimately I could not get into The Wanderground. There are a couple of reasons for this.

The first is that The Wanderground, well, it kind
This book is more fun to talk and think about in a historical context than it is to actually read. I chose to read it because I wanted to see how the author, the founder of the first women's studies department in the united states, used her imagination outside of academic discourse.

The lesbian utopia Gearhart has imagined is a series of snapshots into the lives of many hill women. This book was hard to follow in the traditional sense of how a novel is normally expected to be put together. I saw
Jul 19, 2007 Colelea rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of femninst utopia/dystopia novels
This is a fabulous feminist science fiction novel. Visionary. It is a compelling mixture of Utopian/Dystopian fiction. I really loved this book. It is harrowing and hopeful, sad and joyful. The basis of the story is that the Earth is revolting against partiarchy and industrialism and one day all the machines stop working... men become impotent (or infertile I forget which) and women are enslaved with the ruling men in the cities. Radical womyn begin escaping into the country and start beautiful ...more
James Rhodes
This was a great concept and full of vivid description and the consistent presentation of a plausible utopia that is gynocratic in nature. However, the lack of a clear protagonist made it some what of a drag to read. Page after page passed by without any character interaction or development and as a reader who prefers engaging characters to a blanket imagining of concept, this fell a little flat for me. Nonetheless, there is a lot to appreciate here if you have an interest in utopian sci-fi or t ...more
May 13, 2009 Aik rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: utopia
It's always unfortunate when feminism turns into anti-man sexism. It was a good book, but thematically bleh. Do radical feminists actually think that all men want to rape them (unless they're gay, of course, in which case they're mildly more acceptable). The anti-man thing was never really challenged in the book, so I have to assume that this is what the author actually believes to be a good thing.
Robert Wood
I'm about 75 pages in, and so far, I can definitely see why this is a historically significant work, but it's not that interesting. It's territory that is much better covered by Russ in the Female Man, LeGuin in Always Coming Home, and the work of Charnas. Definitely a reflection of the dominant cultural feminist framework of the time. Having completed the novel, I have a bit more appreciation for it's attempt to create an alternative narrative form, although it's not altogether successful. The ...more
A lesbian separatist utopia.

Many women have left the Cities and live in the wilderness in harmony with nature through their psychic powers. They can communicate telepathically, monitor the borders at a distance, heal, fly, levitate objects, and reproduce without men.

Men cannot enter the women's land without dying, and cannot even leave the cities without becoming impotent. Also machines and guns won't work outside of the cities. There are some women still in the cites but they are brutally opp
Worth reading, but primarily because it is revered by the Fem Sci Fi folk. I did not enjoy this one as much because it's lighter than the average and a little bit fluffy. Okay, so I like my Fem Sci Fi man-hating. Still, if one wants to get a full rounded look at this genre, this title is a must.

Recommended reading from:
The most enjoyable of the women's press sf label books that I have read so far. Fluffy and wandering in many ways, and the anti-science, 70s/80s mysticism is a little bit too much for me at some points, but otherwise really interesting exploration of the idea of lesbian separatist Utopias.
Oct 22, 2011 Xdyj rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: o, l-f-ar-af-s, q, fa, rtw
Probably quite influential in the 70s, but today it's very dated and imo way too essentialist and anti-science for my liking.
Jun 10, 2007 Elle rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Utopian/Dystopian Lovers
No men equals women realizing their supernatural powers...??? I read this and used it in my is rather interesting.
I stopped reading this book after one of the characters started communing with trees.
Gimme a break. It was college. I was a women's studies minor. What choice did I have?
Susan Clark-cook
An interesting take on a possible future world where women hold dominance.
I'm still wrapping my head around this book...
Interesting utopia/dystopia story.
Read in the 70s.
Abi Totty
Abi Totty marked it as to-read
Nov 27, 2015
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Jen Castaneda marked it as to-read
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Sally Miller Gearhart is an American teacher, feminist, science fiction writer, and political activist. In 1973 she became the first open lesbian to obtain a tenure-track faculty position when she was hired by San Francisco State University, where she helped establish one of the first women and gender study programs in the country. She later became a nationally known gay rights activist.
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