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He, She and It
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He, She and It

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  2,818 ratings  ·  224 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
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ebook, 0 pages
Published November 24th 2010 by Fawcett (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
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Mikhaela
Dec 30, 2007 Mikhaela rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Lindsay
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
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Linda Robinson
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
Zach
"You really took revenge on me. You really did."
Carolyn F.
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
Chana
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
Claire Corbett
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
Sooz
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
Stephanie
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
Aoife
So nice to read feminist sci-fi (with a golem added in). I gobbled this one up with pleasure
Julia
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
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Tom
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
Sandy


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
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Carol
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
Ariel
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
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Jenn Pellerin
Mar 03, 2008 Jenn Pellerin rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Randal
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
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Diana
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
Allan Nail
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
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Deborah
This book started out slow, but about 50 pages in, when the trajectory becomes apparent, it held my interest very well. I loved the mix of future and past, and the insight into Judaism was cool. Several of the sentiments about what makes something "alive" or "human" resonated with me, as did Shira's issues with the nature of love. At times, I found the "oooo, this is in the FUTURE" bits somewhat irriating (the entire first chapter seems overly proud with setting up this future situation that it ...more
Becky
Read this on a lark because I am halfway through writing my own human/robot love story and wanted to see how this classic work tackled it. Normally reading fiction similar to what you're writing is a terrible idea, but my story is well enough established that I decided to indulge my curiosity.

I enjoyed the B-plot of this novel, in which one of the characters retells the story of the Golem of Prague. The main narrative lost my interest about halfway through.

Before I picked up the title, I came ac
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Glaiza
When you take the Frankenstein story a step further, there are so many ethical threads about cyborg sentience, personhood and recognition that unfurl in this very real near futuristic post-apocalyptic/cyberpunk world. It's a shame that more people don't know about Marge Piercy's works when names like Asimov and Bradbury are usually called upon when sci-fi is mentioned because I loved the world building in this book. Piercy's writing is also wonderfully poetic. However, I found that I skimmed ove ...more
Fantasy Literature
He, She and It by Marge Piercy is my all-time favorite science fiction novel. Though Marge Piercy is not considered a science fiction author, this work is clearly one of science fiction, particularly in the sub-genre of cyberpunk as it was shaped by William Gibson and other writers classified as "cyberpunk." Piercy, after writing Woman On the Edge of Time, was told that parts of that novel anticipated cyberpunk; when Piercy asked what cyberpunk was, she was pointed in the direction of Gibson. Pi ...more
Ryan Mishap
Ah, the future, when corporations become nation-states and a few free communities, like the Jewish one focused on inthe book, exist because they can sell digital technology programs to the corporations.
A paralell telling of the Golem of Prague with the story of the creation of a Cyborg in the present makes for an awesome book. SF at its finest.
Sara
I'm torn with what exactly to make of this book. There are so many aspects that are quite intriguing, but others that were totally dry and hard to slog through.

I love the post-apocalyptic world the author built in this one, and it is all too plausible. A Middle East ruined by nuclear explosions set off by terrorists, rampant global warming, corporations that have practically become countries, and poor people subsiding on drugs and simulations? Yeah. I love the character Malkah, a kick-ass grand
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Nancy
Feb 11, 2014 Nancy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: Jane
So, you know how sometimes you read a book, and you like it, and everyone's all, "Oh, man, the symbolism and meaning in that book! That was so great; there was this whole second level to it!" And you don't get it? That will not be problem with this book. So that was a minus to me, I felt like I was being hit over the head with Important Issues, and it was distracting to what was, at core, a pretty good story.

I also had problems with the wish fulfillment aspects of the sex stuff, though thankful
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Barbara
It's the near future and the Earth has been decimated by war and pollution. The world is run by huge corporations (multis) whose chosen employees adhere to rigid, stylized rules for dressing, working, and living. Most people, however, live in extensive, dangerous, poverty-ridden slums called The Glop. A few towns that are able to create and sell original technology to the multis remain free. People around the world have access to an extensive computer network into which they can project themselv ...more
Tamsin
A difficult book to get into (but one I was determined to finish!) and it took me a lot longer to read than it normally does for a book of this size. An interesting story, well 2 stories really, one of a dystopian future where people are constantly plugged into an internet like complex (not unlike that in Ready Player One) and the illegal creation of a cyborg and the second a story paralleling the first but set in 17th century Prague and a Jewish man's creation of a golem to help protect the tow ...more
Heather
Although it was a bit slow to start and there were a few moments when I almost put it down, it is worth it to push through the difficult parts. About halfway through, it is almost impossible to put down.

It's a fascinating premise: a future world dominated by multi-corporations and dumbed down by virtual entertainment, Shira divorces her husband and loses custody of her son. She goes home to a Jewish free town to live with her Grandmother and work for a brilliant scientist on a project. The proje
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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
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More about Marge Piercy...
Woman on the Edge of Time Gone to Soldiers The Moon Is Always Female: Poems Sex Wars: A Novel of Gilded Age New York City of Darkness, City of Light

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