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Body Of Glass

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  4,043 Ratings  ·  308 Reviews
"A triumph of the imagination. Rich, complex, impossible to put down."
Alice Hoffman
In the middle of the twenty-first century, life as we know it has changed for all time. Shira Shipman's marriage has broken up, and her young son has been taken from her by the corporation that runs her zone, so she has returned to Tikva, the Jewish free town where she grew up. There, she is
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published 1992 by Michael Joseph Ltd - Penguin Group (first published 1991)
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Lit Bug
Published in 1991 (Body of Glass in the USA), He, She and It is a dystopian future in the 22nd century where big, bad global corporations control scarce world resources and remain luxurious, spick and span, while independent free zones remain in squalor but free and dangerous.

The story follows Shira Shipman, working at one such corp called Y-S, recently divorced and forced to give up the custody of her only son, Ari. She returns, dejected, to her hometown Tikva, a Jewish free-zone where she grew
Dec 25, 2007 Mikhaela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, especially if you liked the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Jewish girl in dystopian future meets cyborg, and falls in love. Jewish girl in 1600s Prague meets golem, and falls in love.

As much as I enjoyed The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, when it comes to books involving golems in Prague, this book takes the blue ribbon. Kavalier took me a while to get in to, but He, She and It gripped me from the beginning and I could NOT put it down. He, She and It is many things--Jewish feminist fiction, a robot love story, dystopian science fiction, cyper
Megan Baxter
Mar 20, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend loaned this to me, telling me one of her profs had told her it was cyberpunk, and she hadn't been enthralled with it. I've read at least one other Marge Piercy, and for the most part, enjoyed this one, although there were some issues that I've seen in both books so far that I'll get to in a minute. But first of all, let's address genre. Is this really cyberpunk? I would tend to fall on the side of no, not really, although there are some elements of classic cyberpunk in there. But instea ...more
As you can probably surmise from the huge collection of tags I've attached to this book, there is A LOT of stuff going on here!

Even the structure of this book is complex and multifaceted: two stories, told by two narrators, in alternating chapters. The first narrator is Shira Shipman, a young, upper-middle-class Jewish woman who has recently become a wife and mother. Her life is also almost completely controlled by her employer, a huge biotechnology corporation, not only because they have a very
Linda Robinson
Sep 04, 2014 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Strong women, engaged and accomplished women, women who don't faint or puke while staring down an enhanced security ape. One of the panel discussions at WisCon this year was the difference between a solid female protagonist and a bad ass super hero, and Marge Piercy needs to be on the next panel. Her characters are strong without being perfect. Shira Shipman is the Mother in this book's trinity of graces. Her son has been assigned to her exhusband in a divorce decree and she wants the boy back. ...more
Nov 05, 2016 Diana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discarded-shelf
2 stars because while the idea isn't bad, I found that it was easy to get myself lost in all the Jewish terms sprouting in the in-between, and I felt lost with lots of the dystopian information which were sort or given randomly at times. Also, the pace was agonizingly slow, IMO.
There is a woman who asks for a divorce and the custody of her child gets given to the father. We get a lot of remmebrances of her past dalliances with a man called Gabi, the father of which offers her a job back at her m
Claire Corbett
Mar 22, 2012 Claire Corbett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite SF books of all time. Time to re-read. That sexism is alive and well and rife in literary culture is proved by the fact that Body of Glass isn't more famous than anything by William Gibson, for example, though I see it did at least win an Arthur C Clarke award. This is published in the US under the truly dreadful title He, She and It. Also worth checking out Woman on the Edge of Time. Classic 1970s feminist utopia, with, if I remember correctly, a rather good dystopia as well ...more
I don't know where I got this book as sci-fi is not the genre I usually read and with a title of "He, She and It" I didn't expect much of it. I was vastly surprised when I found myself reading about the Maharal of Prague. I was humbled and honored to even gaze at the printed word Maharal. I had heard stories about the Golem but didn't know too much. I was very moved by his story and cried when it came to an end. One of my sons has been to Prague and to the Altneushul. He said there are stories a ...more
Nov 01, 2014 Felicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
Absolutely fantastic book. Deep and layered and fascinating cyberpunk/morality/romance. Hard to describe but worth the read, a classic for sure!
"You really took revenge on me. You really did."
Jan 30, 2013 Sooz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
so i'd say i am about 1/2 way through the novel and have gradually become fully and completely invested in the story. the copy i have from my library looks like it was published in the sixties ... you know ... hardback with the plastic slip cover, poorly executed artwork on the cover that (no offense to the artist) but it looks kind of cheap. so in some ways the novel feels more dated than 1991, but in other ways the author has done an admirable job of predicting the future and the book still fe ...more
Mar 27, 2008 Ariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: radical-politics
I started He, She, and It on spring break and finally finished it today, but I'm glad I could savor this novel over three months because it is fabulous. Marge Piercy writes a cyberpunk novel that doesn't ignore women, religion, ethnicity, community. She's the kind of science fiction writer I love: someone who doesn't care about how people interface with a computer or what technology builds a cyborg, but rather what happens and what folks feel.

I may call He, She, and It cyberpunk, but it's not al
Carolyn F.
Aug 22, 2010 Carolyn F. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I guess I'm going through a robot loving stage. Shira ends an unhappy marriage but her husband not only gets custody of their son, he's allowed to live off-planet. This is a post-apocalyptic world by the way. When she sees there's nothing for her to do, she quits her corporate job (corporations have all the power now) and goes home to her domed Jewish enclave where she grew up accepting a job from a family friend. Well the job is to acclimate a cyborg named Yod. Her grandmother has inputted feel ...more
Jun 14, 2010 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This beautiful sci-fi novel is set in the mid-twenty-first century, several decades after a major ecological cataclysm and resulting societal upheaval. The reduced human population can no longer live in the open without protective gear and structures, the majority of food must be derived from algae and grown in vats; but computer technology is very advanced, with AIs, service robots, and sophisticated virtual reality. People live in closed corporate enclaves, the sprawling and chaotic urban Glop ...more
A long book that started off slow, but got better and better right up until the end. The human creator of this golem/cyborg put it through iterations until the result became increasingly humanlike. In that, the premise of the 2015 film Ex Machina resembles this book, which predated the film by two-and-a-half decades. The robot has opinions, makes conversations, and has sex (as a male).

This book also foretold the rise of the Internet. It has people living in what we might call today "smart houses
Sep 09, 2013 Aoife rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So nice to read feminist sci-fi (with a golem added in). I gobbled this one up with pleasure
Nov 24, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review available at:

Rating: 4.5/5

He, She and It is set in what used to be the United States of America and Canada in the year 2059 where humanity has made great advances in technology and the human body is easily fused with pieces of tech or modified in other ways. There are several different groups of people in this novel: those that live in ‘multis’, those that live in ‘the Glop’, and those that live in ‘Free Towns’. Multis are multi-national enterpris
Jan 31, 2017 Angelica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fa, read-in-2017
I found this quite a pleasant read, much better than I expected. The person who recommended it to me said it was "a wonderful romance story with sci-fi tinges", so I was expecting something along the lines of YA romance science fiction. In reality, this is a very good sci-fi book, well-constructed and with an interesting premise, and the romance is just an element of the story.

The feminist part was very nice in some points and not so good in others. There are amazing, complex female characters;
Anita Fajita Pita
Mar 28, 2017 Anita Fajita Pita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
3.5, rounding up.

I just gotta say, as much as I ultimately LOVE Marge Piercy stories (the two and one poem I've read of hers) I always have a hard time getting through them. I have to chalk it up to her writing style. Because I love her stories, her characters, her unique plots and (still) her rare feminist-in-a-non-chalant-way attitude about all the things. She writes feminism as a fact, not as a future goal or a current struggle; and that enables her to explore social and community dynamics in
Kendra Bayer
Mar 16, 2017 Kendra Bayer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He, she and it is one of those novels that puts things into perspective. For example what does it mean to be human? What does it mean if you connect more with an AI than with humans? Etc...
Apr 07, 2012 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The premise of this book is really interesting; Piercy's parallel of the medieval legend about the Golem of Prague works very well with the creation of a "cyber golem" in a dystopian future. The alternating chapters between Rabbi Loew's Prague golem and Avram's YOD are done very well--and the message is clear in both cases. Whether using mystical chanting or technology, humans do NOT have the right to create beings and use them as slaves.

YOD is my favorite character, although Malkah comes in at
Jan 14, 2013 Tom rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Marge Piercy tells a number of stories in He, She, and It, and none of them particularly well. All at once, you are reading a techno-futurist utopian science fiction novel, a love story between a woman and a cyborg which touches on existential questions about what it means to be human and machine, a story of the struggles faced by Jewish people throughout time, a meditation on growing older, criticism of masculinity and a celebration of femininity, the bonding of women between generations, and m ...more
This book really has a lot of great things going on. It juxtapositions two story lines: a dystopian, futuristic, cyberpunk, cyborg love story and the story of a 1600's Rabbi in Prague who creates a golem to protect the ghetto. There are so many great issues touched upon in this book: feminism, corporate power, alternate family structures, Jewish beliefs, antisemitism, what it means to be human, whether or not creating artificial intelligence/ cyborgs is dangerous or blasphemous, and even what a ...more
Jenn Pellerin
Mar 03, 2008 Jenn Pellerin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy robots, lasers, the future, and lady issues
Shelves: sci-fi
I was sitting in the sauna at Guemes and realized I'd forgotten to bring in any reading material or a crossword puzzle. I asked Ben to bring me something from the cabin. ANYTHING. I told him to find something that looked "pulpy". He came back with this. I started reading and what do you know? This book is right up my alley.
So far the story is pretty engaging. It reminds me a little of a more epic Oryx and Crake (this one came out in 1991, by the way), in that the world is divided into corporate
Sandy S
Nov 03, 2011 Sandy S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

He , She and It (first published in 1993) is a novel that falls into many different genres but first and foremost science fiction. There is also the overriding Dystopian feel as the story is set in the mid 21st century interwoven with an historical story passed down through the Jewish families about discrimination and beliefs.

The premise follows two distinct storylines but in retrospect are more similar than not. They are both stories of forbidden love, displacing traditions and the ultimate c
Coquille Fleur
This book has an amazing parallel story going on between a dystopian world where a cyborg is created to protect a town while in Renaissance Prague, a Golem is created using Kabbalah to protect the Jewish ghetto. This book is reminiscent of a cyberpunk Fifth Sacred Thing with Judiasm instead of WICCA. Sort of. This book is hard to describe, life is high-tech yet simple. Ruined cities dot the land, vast cities called the Glop cover the land under UV protective domes where workers feed the corporat ...more
I felt this book had two strikes against it, its title and its first chapter. I decided to overlook the former. The latter almost made me put the book down, with its unoriginal vision of a world controlled by a few corporations. It’s not that I disagree with this possibility. I was simply in the mood for something fresher.

However, once past that chapter, the nature of the tale changed and I was hooked. Shira loses custody of her child and leaves her “multi” (multicorporation) to return to the fr
Allan Nail
Jul 06, 2013 Allan Nail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful. I won't say much here, as I'm teaching this book in the fall. But this is a beautiful, challenging, and memorable read.

So many aspects of this book fascinate me, it would have been hard for me not to like it. There was religion, science fiction, apocalyptic fiction and themes of starting over, golems; just an endless array. There is no small irony (or pun?) in saying that what struck me as most moving was the humanity at the center of this book.

I really don't want to go on about this
Nov 13, 2013 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is taking me a lot longer to read that I anticipated. A lot has to do with my life these days, but some of my slowness has to do with the book itself: I thoroughly enjoy the chapters in Malkah's voice, and the story of Rabbi Loew and the golem, but the other chapters at times I have to push myself through.

Finally done. A lot of interesting ideas in this book, esp. in light of what I understand about the upcoming movie "Her." But this book did need editing; she repeated herself a lot (how ma
Jan 31, 2009 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a brilliantly written and brilliantly conceived book - I am a fan of Marge Piercy's poetry, but not as big a fan of her novels - never was able to get into her most famous novel Woman on the Edge of Time. This book, however, captured my imagination and emotions. It was given to me to read by a graduate school friend of mine, and I found myself drawn into the story immediately. I love the complex layers of themes that Piercy gives readers here. At the heart of this novel, for me, is the ...more
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Marge Piercy (born March 31, 1936) is an American poet, novelist, and social activist. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers, a sweeping historical novel set during World War II.

Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a family deeply affected by the Great Depression. She was the first in her family to attend college, studying at the University of Michigan. Winning a
More about Marge Piercy...

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“Every artist creates with open eyes what she sees in her dream.” 13 likes
“I require a hierarchy of priorities after protecting Shira and Malkah and the small felines.” 1 likes
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