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The Zanzibar Cat

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  103 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The Zanzibar Cat is a feminist science fiction collection of short stories by Joanna Russ, first published in 1983 by Arkham House. It was the author's first collection of short fiction and was published in an edition of 3,526 copies. The story, "When It Changed", won a Nebula Award in 1972. "Old Thoughts, Old Balances" won a 1977 O. Henry Prize under the title "The Autobi ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, First Printing, 244 pages
Published November 1st 1983 by Sauk City: Arkham House
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Wayne Spiceland
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Like any anthology, there are some stories that stand out, both good and not so good. To me, though, it's worth getting if only for one story: "When It Changed." I've been reading science-fiction -- please don't use that repellent term "sci-fi" (which, as Harlan Ellison says should be pronounced "Skiffy") -- since the early 60s, and firmly rank the story in my all-time top ten short stories.
Think about it: I've been reading sf for about fifty years, so that's the top ten out of one helluva lot
May 25, 2014 rated it liked it
The first two stories in this collection are great. "When It Changed" is the classic SF trope of astronauts (male) arriving on the planet of the Amazons, inverted because it is from the point of view of the Amazons, and their response is a resounding, "The hell?" It's touchingly told and nuanced. The second story, "The Extraordinary Voyages of Amelie Bertrand" is a send-up of old Jules Verne style prose, though of course more quickly paced, and is a delightful romp centered on a space/time rift ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
An odd blend of science fiction, fantasy, and feminism, there's an ambiguity to these stories that will either frustrate or enchant, depending on personal taste. I tend to enjoy such frustration, hence my rating.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it
A collection of short stories, most of them posted in the 1970s. Unfortunately this ebook version seemed to be an unedited scan of the paperback version, which is where all my issues with it came from.

The first story, When It Changed, was pretty darned good and I enjoyed it a lot. It was set on some other planet where humans went to colonize, then generations ago a plague killed off all the men. The women were able to survive, and through skill and technology, keep the human race going there. Th
Anita Fajita Pita
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
A fine compilation of Joanna Russ writing. Some of them are humorous, some are sad, some horrors, many sci-fi and all are some sort of fantasy. There are a few that are more elusive than parts of The Female Man, and true to her voice there is probably more symbology to be found than I could begin to imagine.

I find that she explores the discovery of self; and maybe not quite ties it to the discovery of love so much as the search for acceptance - whether of self or for self. A few of her reflecti
Gabriel C.
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Uneven. Great where it's great. Flat where it's flat. Occasionally quite inspired. Occasionally hallucinatory in the way that I associate almost exclusively with the awakening into social consciousness of someone whose work has been concentrated in fantasy or science fiction. I am reminded of The Wind's Twelve Quarters. I don't remember my review there, but I wouldn't doubt it to have the same general feel.
Jun 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Russ’s first collection, published first by Arkham House and then by, of all publishers, Baen. A more variable collection than I’d been expecting, perhaps because it contained so many of her early stories. I reviewed it for SF Mistressworks:
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Collection of which I am deeply fond, in particular, "Phrases for Tourists" and "A Game of Vlet.:
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Collection of short stories.
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
A collection of wonderful and just plain weird stories
May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
I had to take this back to the library about 2/3 done, but I liked it quite a lot. The stories here are all so different, it's almost surprising to realize they have the same author.
Jun 08, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: fantasy
Had my copy for awhile and still haven't read it but I love the cover. That is one cool cat!
Oct 27, 2010 rated it liked it
I didn't read every short story in here because some of them immediately exceeded my weird prose tolerance level. But it was still pretty good and the cover is bitchin!
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Joanna Russ (February 22, 1937 – April 29, 2011) was an American writer, academic and feminist. She is the author of a number of works of science fiction, fantasy and feminist literary criticism such as How to Suppress Women's Writing, as well as a contemporary novel, On Strike Against God, and one children's book, Kittatinny. She is best known for The Female Man, a novel combining utopian fiction ...more
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