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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  3,565 ratings  ·  346 reviews
Change or die. These are the only options available on the planet Jeep. Centuries earlier, a deadly virus shattered the original colony, killing the men and forever altering the few surviving women. Now, generations after the colony has lost touch with the rest of humanity, a company arrives to exploit Jeep–and its forces find themselves fighting for their lives. Terrified ...more
Paperback, 414 pages
Published April 30th 2002 by Del Rey (first published 1992)
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Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
nicola griffith is one of the best writers out there and if you haven't read her books you should. the only book of hers that left me cold was the third aud torvingen novel, Always, and the reason it left me cold is maybe similar to the reason why i found that this book, Ammonite, lost some steam 3/4 of the way through (it got it back before the end!).

let me start with saying that this is griffith's first novel. it's an absolutely phenomenal first novel -- the writing is perfect, the pacing is
Damn this is a good book.

It's a first novel, and it has some of the weaknesses I associate with first novels: it jumps through time a lot, and those jumps aren't always telegraphed adequately; some of the descriptions, while each individually quite beautiful, ended up feeling repetitive when taken as a whole. But most impressively, it already displays a great deal of the maturity and style that I loved in Slow River. Even in this first novel, Griffith's voice is assured, her characters are well-
Bryn Hammond
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: imagined-fiction
I enjoyed this from first page to last, and it’s different enough for a five. I like its attitudes: for one, how it takes a spanner to our sacred biology. Here a virus enhances our senses and by accident grants us more control over the body. Bring it on.

The story is of an anthropologist who learns the wisdom to go native. Its theme, I’m told, is change, and I can see that: change to escape extinction, on a personal level (the main, among others), or a cultural (a group of horse nomads on the pl
Exploration of a technologically regressed human society without males, with a shrouded means of procreation the central mystery of the story. By the author's careful setup, the anthropologist main character is forced to take large risks, leave civilization, and step into the unknown, in order to learn about the inhabitants of planet Jeep and uncover their secrets and the true nature of the virus that killed over half the population, and to which she carries a possible vaccine.

Nicola Griffith di
Marie desJardins
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
I thought I would like this book more than I did -- it's the kind of story I normally like (science fiction, feminism, what's not to like?)

My main problem was that the main characters behave in ways that don't really seem consistent with their roles and backgrounds. The anthropologist Marghe seems generally clueless about different cultures and what motivates people. She lands on this planet and immediately heads off into the wilderness without any idea at all of what's out there, what she migh
This book started well but, for me, ran out of steam a little during the middle and never fully recovered.

It was an interesting premise and I was gripped by the story for the most part. An anthropologist (Marghe) seizes and unique opportunity to study a people on a planet that was colonised hundreds of years ago but which contained a virus that killed all of the men (and some of the women). Their colony survived due to the remaining women somehow gaining the ability to have children without men.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I admired more than loved this book. It’s filled with fine writing, truly fascinating ideas, and a vividly created world full of evocative flora, fauna, and societies. At times I just wanted the emotional lives of the characters to get inside my heart and gut a little more. There’s no question that it’s an important work. I’m curious to read more of Nicola Griffith’s novels.
Jun 08, 2011 rated it liked it
So I went into this more than a little worried that it would be an ode to essentialism, but it turns out that this is as non-essentialist as a story about a planet of women who are in tune with each other and nature can be. Griffith presents here the radical idea that a planet inhabited only by women would be... pretty much like any other human population. There are good people, bad people, peaceful societies, violent societies, honesty, cheating, etc. I cannot commend Griffith for this enough.

Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Such a great concept, completely wasted on a self-centered and immature protagonist. I got to 70% and couldn't take any more when the 30-something year old protagonist, after (view spoiler), starts whining about how she's going to be (view spoiler), boohoohoo. That was just the final straw in a long line of thoughtless, selfish behavior coming from this wom ...more
Liviu Szoke
Una din cele mai neobișnuite lecturi ale ultimilor ani, cu o idee de societate veche, dar totuși nouă și interesantă, și cu o execuție care mie mi s-a părut mult mai reușită decât în cazul câștigătoarei premiului Nebula, Slow River. Personajele sunt diferite și bine executate și, chiar dacă acțiunea trenează de multe ori, fiindu-i luat locul de trăirile sufletești ale personajelor și de metaexperiențele lor transcedentale, nu prea ai de ce să te plictisești. Una din marile cărți ale SF-ului mond ...more
Nicholas Whyte
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it

The story is of an anthropologist who is exploring a planet on which only women live; a local virus is fatal to men, and the women have developed parthenogenesis. At the same time, the protagonist's bosses on the orbiting spaceship are looking for ways to exploit the planet. It's very far from being a lesbian feminist paradise; this is a world where women compete for scarce resources and territory, and resist change, though these issues are resolved wit
Apr 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...Ammonite didn't quite make the same impression on me as Hild. It is a very good novel in its own right but Griffith's writing obviously developed over the course of two decades. Jeep is not brought to life in the way seventh century England is. That being said, it is a very solid science fiction novel. It can be seen read as a response to the feminist science fiction that has come before but is works fine as a social science fiction story as well. I'll be moving on to her Nebula Award winning ...more
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Griffith is one of my best writer. I have consciously sought her books since coming across her work. That said this did not impress me as many of her other books did. Perhaps because I have gotten used to her writing style and have high regard for her work. This books futuristic - midevial depiction was good but the storyline felt familiar and the relationship seemed in someway shallow. Actually a lot of Griffith's main characters do seem to always have an isolated kind of life thus giving a sha ...more
Dawn Christoffersen
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved
Ammonite is one of those books I’ve been waiting to read my whole life. I’ve always been a character focused reader (and viewer) and I loved, loved, loved getting under the skin and into the hearts of the people in this book, into their motives, their confusion and anger and fears, dilemmas, hopes and wishes, the whole colorful palette of what it means to be human. I have never read something so intense, so emotional, so deeply intimate. It felt very internal. Simply an astoundingly impressive p ...more
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Probably 3.5 stars, in the end.

This is the second book I've read by Nicola Griffith, the first being Hild, which I thought was one of the best books I read in 2014. I believe that she also wrote a couple of books in a crime series, and I've got a copy of her Slow River at home. I'm interested in reading more by her.

This is her first book, I believe. It's her exploration of women in fiction and how they are (surprise!!) just people, with all the variation of any portion of humanity. Moral and im
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Tremendous action cliffhanger. Marghe (Italian: Marguerite) Taishan (Guangdong, China) was searching for self-awareness, self-discovery. In this story of exploration, she becomes unlike who and what she had been before. She develops a connection with the world and appears as Marghe Amun (Egypt: complete one).
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
The things I read trying to find a good f/f book.

Ammonite started off really promising. I enjoyed the first part of the book and was interested in seeing the story go along. The concept of the book: a world with only female characters rang a bell as I previously read Jane Fletcher's Celaeno series. It seems this book came first, though, and rightly so. Perhaps it's not fair comparing a book to something that might actually have been inspired by the book itself, but let me make this exception fo
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
The planet Jeep's native population--themselves humans who immigrated centuries before--are all female. Anthropologist Marghe comes to explore their unique culture, and to field-test a vaccine against the virus which created it. Griffith takes an intriguing and problematic trope--a female-only culture--and works magic on it by seeing it not as gendered dystopia or male fantasy but as a human civilization, varied and complex. It's fantastic. Thematically (both as a trope inversion and as a study ...more
Fantasy Literature
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

In Nicola Griffith’s Ammonite, we find a world without men. If you’re imagining a serene society ruled by wise matriarchs, or a planet of space-babes waiting for Kirk to rescue them, then perhaps this book is not for you. Because Griffith’s world is different. Her book is about reworking the familiar ploys of science-fictions past and making them wonderfully new. It’s classically science fiction, in that it pushes irreverently against the boundaries of classic science fiction.

The first
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Are women human?"

Nicola Griffith in her afterword writes that Ammonite was a response to this question. Tired of the Woman As Alien or Alien As Woman trope in science fiction she deftly creates a world devoid of men that show women for what they are: human. It's also just a really good story, weaving elements of fantasy and magic with science fiction. Publishing
Nicola Griffith takes a pulp trope: "what if there was a planet of only women?" & brings smart, thoughtful tools to the discussion. In a nutshell, the answer Ammonite provides is: "they'd act the way people always do, good & bad." -MK
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Nicola Griffith says this book came out of an experiment. All I can say is she needs to experiment more often. A lot more often.
Allison Hurd
Much like Marghe, this book felt like it wasn't sure what it wanted to be when it grew up. There was a lot of beautiful ideas and some incredibly constructed sentences in a plot that had be going back to previous scenes and characters I wanted to shake.

CONTENT WARNING: (just a list of topics, no actual spoilers) (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The world. Oh, it was so cool! You could feel how the light of the two moons would look. The nam
Levent Pekcan
Her kitabının başyapıt olduğunu düşündüğüm SF Masterworks serisinde yer almasına şaşırdığım bir kitap. Ursula LeGuin çizgisinde ve tadında bir yazar ve eser diyebilirim. Söylenecek çok şey yok aslında, usta elinden çıktığı belli olsa da bence iyi bir anlatı değil. Okunabilecek çok daha iyi bir sürü kitap var açıkçası.
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Survival demands change. It means exposing your weak side. It means the death of something in exchange for hope, in exchange for further vulnerabilities, in exchange for further change. But even if change is a universal condition of humanity, acceptance of change doesn't seem to come easily to humans, no matter what planet those humans are from.

So. This book. An anthropologist from Earth lands on a planet-of-women for a six-month mission to study the people of this world and to test a recent med
I kept expecting, or maybe hoping, that this book would turn out to be science fantasy rather than science fiction. The science is wishy-washy at best, just plain bad at worse.

It begins with bad virology and bad vaccinology. Just a few examples; the virus is so resistant to everything that once it gets inside a room there is no way to decontaminate and render that room safe. There are no such viruses anywhere. If the virus is that resistant, there is absolutely no way that a human body, encourag
Jesse Lehrer
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's sad to see the second highest review of this book be homophobic for no reason. Dorota's review is riddled with irrelevancies and ignorance, it's just sad to see people responding to that.

I really liked this book. There were a few flaws that kept me semi-ambivalent about it (I'm leaning more towards a 3.5 vs. a 4.5) but overall it was enjoyable, interesting, thoughtful, and well written. My primary issues were the pacing of the plot...I had absolutely no idea how much time was passing in bet
Kevin Fanning
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: apocalypse-lit
Loved this, really magical story that takes place on a distant planet where a virus has killed all the men. I especially loved the world-building, the planet felt foreign and strange but also genuine and real and unique. It wasn't, like, "cows are called borcas here".

If you read this be aware there is a glossary and pronunciation guide at the back! Which is extremely helpful and I wish I'd realized that before finishing the book.

Only very minor quibble was this planet has a semi-mythical creat
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: vacation
I really wanted to like this book, and I found enough features in it TO like to keep reading it, but I also found it rather problematic.

The good - I liked the author's premise, which was to make a sci fi story about women who did not need to take on the aspects of men to be heroes. I liked that she was writing this in an effort to show women as people rather than The Other, which I think is rather something lacking in the story.

That being said, several details, which I think had entirely due to
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
An all-time favorite. It manages to both be amazing fiction, amazing feminist queer science fiction--and a rebuke to silly utopian essentialist ideas about women, like the ridiculous idea that somehow women are just inherently sweet and goodnatured and a matriarchal society would have no war and no oppression and everyone would just be sweet and loving and blah blah blah. Margaret Thatcher, anyone?

But it's much, much more than that. The book follows the personal awakening of an anthropologist h
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Nicola Griffith has won the Washington State Book Award, the Nebula Award, the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award, the World Fantasy Award, Premio Italia, and six Lambda Literary Awards. She is also the co-editor of the Bending the Landscape series of anthologies. Her newest novel is Hild. She lives in Seattle with her wife, writer Kelley Eskridge.

* Aud Torvingen
“I don’t belong to anyone! I’m not a thing, to be kept or ordered or driven to such despair that I open my own veins. Look at me, Aoife. Look at me! I’m a woman.” 3 likes
“The web convulsed, splitting the dark patch into hundreds of peach-colored corpuscles that pulsed in different directions down the hollow strands. Digestion. The strands were both the spider and the web.” 1 likes
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