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Woman on the Edge of Time

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  14,341 ratings  ·  1,016 reviews
After being unjustly committed to a mental institution, Connie Ramos is contacted by an envoy from the year 2137, who shows her a utopian future of sexual and racial equality and environmental harmony.

But Connie also bears witness to another potential outcome: a dystopian society of grotesque exploitation. One will become our world. And Connie herself may strike the decisi
Paperback, 376 pages
Published November 12th 1985 by Fawcett Books (first published May 1st 1976)
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Connie No, she visited the first future, then the one with the misshapened woman......then the military fighting future
Isa Vargas you can borrow this book from openlibrary ( or internet archive ( for free.

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Max Gordon
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: serious readers

It’s interesting how the lens of three decades of life experience can sharpen the focus of certain stories—and even parts of stories. When I first read Woman on the Edge of Time not long after it was published (1976), I was barely into my 20s and already a reliable cog in the corporate machine. At that time, I enjoyed Marge Piercy’s story of a 37-year-old Chicana woman in New York whose already-complicated life takes a twist for the bizarre when she begins to communicate with an ambassador from

Joe Valdez
Disclaimer: The fact that I have to throw another time travel novel into my abandoned book locker may prompt me to be even more harsh in my comments than I should.

I want to travel back in time to stop Marge Piercy from publishing this novel. There would be plenty of enjoyable things to see and do in 1976 New York -- experience the Bicentennial celebrations, watch the Cincinnati Reds sweep the Yankees in the World Series, check out Blondie perform at CBGB -- but erasing this novel from history w
“We can only know what we can truly imagine. Finally what we see comes from ourselves.”

So What’s It About?

Connie Ramos, a woman in her mid-thirties, has been declared insane. But Connie is overwhelmingly sane, merely tuned to the future, and able to communicate with the year 2137. As her doctors persuade her to agree to an operation, Connie struggles to force herself to listen to the future and its lessons for today….

What I Thought- The F Word

Before I dive into the minutiae of this review, I do
Megan Baxter
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
There were times when I was so frustrated with the main character. She was driving me crazy. She was walking through an entirely different world and assuming everything was the same. I realized why this was bothering me - I was wanting and expecting her to react more like a science fiction reader. (And many science fiction characters.)

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meant
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hands down one of my all time favorite books - I'm certain some of that has to do with the point in my life during which I read it, however it shall always remain an ultimate favorite. The issues the Ms Piercy so deftly addresses are both the main focus of the story and completely secondary, almost an after thought. . . I never got the feeling of being preached at, yet so many important, and delicate, subjects were addressed throughout this novel. Mental illness, racism, gender equality (or rath ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
The most important thing to know about this book is that it was first published in 1976. This is such a late 1960s-early-mid 1970s story! It’s funny because part of it takes place in the mid 70s and part takes place in the 22nd century. The 22nd century appears as though imagined in the 1970s. So, the future seems dated somehow. I suspect I would have thought it was brilliant if I’d read it over three decades ago. Now, I cringed quite a bit and thought it was unintentionally humorous at times.

Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to El by: The F-Word
This is one of those situations where I had it in my head that I had to read this my freshman year in college, but because I have a shitty memory, I couldn't actually remember any details so I figured it would be good to re-read it now. Except... I don't think I ever actually read this book. We may not even read this in school at all. Maybe we read something else by Marge Piercy.

So it's good I took the time to read this now. Just in case I never actually did before.

The story begins with 30-somet
Aug 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who enjoy reading about utopia
Shelves: science-fiction
TL;DR: I see where others may appreciate the work, but the stuff I have listed in my spoiler section killed it for me.

I want to like this book. It’s one of those rare science fiction books that contains many great ideas in action, and it represents segments of the population that rarely get a say in the genre. After reading a lot of science fiction that panders to white people, I felt like this was a great change of pace. I was primed to enjoy it, to hear new perspectives on distant horizons.

Kara Babcock
I'm ambivalent about this book. The best way to describe my reservation with Woman on the Edge of Time is that I was never comfortable suspending my disbelief. I tried to make myself willing to go where Marge Piercy was taking me but never quite got there. Although the book steadily improved from its chaotic but very dull beginning, it never involved me in the way I require to get much satisfaction from reading. In the end, I was reading the book to finish it instead of because I was eager to fi ...more
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Revolutionaries
Recommended to Yona by: Mom
The book tells the story of a hispanic woman, Connie, who has the ability to communicate with a group of people from the future. The story cuts back and forth between her 1970's life in a mental institution (which has nothing to do with her ability to talk to people in the future) and the future community.

I thought this book spoke well to three broad topics:
-What it meant to be a mental patient in the 70's
-What the future could be like if we continue to pollute our planet and our bodies with syn
Linda Robinson
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Talking with a friend today about how to review this book, she said "start with the ending." Because it's unusual, in much the same way the entire novel is unusual. Consuelo Ramos is a 35 year old Chicana woman, poor, struggling, pummeled by poverty and the people around her. Piercy builds our knowledge of Connie's character with spiny tidbits that don't go down easy: just when Connie couldn't seem more stupid, we are led with wicked smart prose to understand that few of her circumstances are he ...more
Feb 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of utopian/dystopian SF, feminist SF (tho any SF fan would benefit)
Recommended to Terence by: GR Group Read
Shelves: sf-fantasy
At last - a book I've been meaning to put on the wish list and that's on one of my group's Reads next month. (Even better - my library has a copy in house!)


Rating: 3.3-3.5 stars
If the last two novels I had read before this had been Paul McAuley's The Quiet War and Bruce Sterling's The Caryatids then I may have nudged my rating into the 4-star category but they weren't. Instead they were Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes, Mr. Fortune's Maggot and Summer Will Show, an
Jul 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book is very imaginative, although a bit dated at times. Marge Piercy is a unique writer, in that she is very good at writing complex characters with strengths and flaws. Similiarly, her Utopian Society of the future has had to sacrifice some things that are extremely important to Connie (or nearly any 20th/ 21st C person) in order to create a sustaining and egalitarian society.

This novel also has some nice poetic moments. In one of the more illustrative passages, Connie's friends from the
Nov 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Jennifer K./people who are sometimes disappointed by Margaret Atwood
It's been a while, but I remember liking this book a lot. It has some fantastic notions and weird/interesting ideas within its future utopia (futuropia? femitopia?) that are fun to agree or disagree with.

Unlike other utopia novels, Piercy gives you room to agree or not. This is admirable and is as it should be; I can't stand force-feeding-shrill-polemic books (Ayn Rand, I'm looking at you). As John Stuart Mill said, "The worst offense that can be committed by a polemic is to stigmatize those wh
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Still mulling this one over. It was an absolutely compelling read. My heart went out to Connie from the first page. Her treatment by the mental health system was horrifying, and the author's commentary on the treatment of poor people and people of color by society seemed all too real.
Even after my lengthy intermission (I had to return the book to the library, and then wait for the hold to work its way back to me), I found myself instantly caught up in it again.
The only thing I'm on the fence a
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: utopia-dystopia
Amazing if only for the introduction of 'per' as a gender neutral pronoun, Brilliant....and the social commentary is great as well.. ...more
I picked up this book because my local library had it listed in their "Recommended for people interested in time travel", and the blurb on the back sounded interesting enough. But I did not expect to be swept up like this, and taken on a wild ride, only to emerge bleary-eyed and confused, but also deeply shaken and moved.

The story follows Connie Ramos, a Mexican-American woman who finds she can travel (or project) herself into the future, in the year 2137. Society has changed, with people living
Jan 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Published in 1976, this book was remarkably prescient. The way that Piercy has structured her utopian community of the future is not too far off the direction that alternative communities have been moving since the '60s -- and which has only accelerated in recent years, with the greater focus on sustainability and alternate energy sources. She also does a nice job of contrasting the plausible future utopia with an equally plausible dystopia, in which everything is state-controlled, bio-engineere ...more
Aug 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is one of my favorite books and one that had a pretty profound influence on me. I guess you could call the future society she imagines a "feminist utopia" (as I've seen in reviews on this site). When I read it for a Comparative Literature class I was impressed by the way the family unit and community itself were structured and functioned. And its really stuck with me a long time and seems to have grown with me subconsciously. I've read it a couple times since and the "utopia" has seemed a l ...more
Mar 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes bad sci-fi or worse chick-lit
Recommended to Dennis by: Gladice (who will pay)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, my-books
One of the best novels I have ever read. It will stay with me for a long time, and gave me a lot to think about.
Piercy has created a Utopia, one I would want to live in and see more of. That has not happened before with all the Utopias I've read about.
Connie's life and experiences are so extremely shocking, because as a reader I know there have been women going through this in real life. Piercy gave them a voice to be heard by many for years to come.
Larry Bassett
This book was first published in 1976 and recorded by audible in 2016. This shows that the book has some staying power since audible thought it was worth recording 40 years after publication. I have not read this book before now for unknown reasons. I am attracted by the author because of my recollections of her historic involvement with the War Resistors League and her progressive politics.

I had very high expectations for this book which would've been hard to meet and in fact we're not met. The
J.C. Ahmed
May 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Sometimes, I read books that I’m sure I’ll give 5 stars until I get close to the end. Woman on the Edge of Time is one of those books I was certain I would bestow with a five star rating. Throughout the book we see Connie Ramos as a victim of a system hostile to women, people of color, and the poor. Connie, who is in a mental institution, is able to travel into the future to visit a society built on freedom, equality, and respect for the environment, all things sadly lacking in her own time.

Ariel ✨
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-studies

Editing my rating because I have not been able to stop thinking about this book since I finished it, and I named my Animal Crossing island Mattapoisett in its honor. I still want to read this for a book club. Discussing the topics with other engaged readers would likely change my experience with it.



I had to sit with this one for a few days. I understand why it's a feminist literary classic; I was writing a new essay in my head with every page. It would have been nice to read thi
Jan 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
70's feminist tentative-utopia. As that genre goes, i really like this one. It comes more from the gender fluid/ androgyny positive side of things than the essentialist "women are more nurturing shit", which i liked. And i liked that the main character was a mad woman and that madness was well explored, if slightly simplistically at times. I don't like it's anti-cityness or certain aspects of uniformity that it espouses, but it's pretty tolerable for the traditions it adheres to. Those tradition ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's January 30th, so I'm shelving things I just can't face anymore.

This has all the markings of something I should appreciate: alternate world byway of psychic connection, nontraditional middle-aged protagonist woman, social justice-y, criticism of gender norms and mental health institutions, plotless and without contrived action.

But it's kind of blah. A book based on a lot of thought, but doesn't really foster much thinking. A then this, then this, then this kind of book. Moving on. Go away, b
Feb 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: think_galactic
This is my favorite kind of feminist book, akin in many ways to the stories of Octavia Butler and Joanna Russ. Consuelo is a woman living a hopeless life in modern America. Her lover is dead, her child has been taken from her, and there is literally no one alive who respects her. She is mired in a mental hospital, where she begins having visions of the future.
I love Utopias. They inherently tend to be problematic but I really admire and appreciate the courage to try to imagine how things might be better given one will inevitably blunder.

This book is really beautiful and sensitive in a lot places. (Piercy is noticably also a poet.)

Critique of psychiatry, time travel, how can we lead good relationships? Hope and resistance.

Marge Piercy reflecting back on the book 40 years later (Link to article):

"I am always interested in who controls technology in an
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This book took up my every waking hour while I was reading it, and indeed by the end I was having dreams about it too! Unfortunately my unconscious brain is not a good author, and the bits of plot I dreamed were rubbish!

I loved reading about the utopian society, but I didn't read it entirely without misgivings. It was fun to wonder would things be better this or that way, but also I found myself wondering what exactly the author intended at some points. I mean, I know that Connie's observation
Danika Dinsmore
Mar 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I loved parts of this book and thought others dragged on too long. There was a lot of talking and exposition where I suddenly felt like I was stuck inside Piercy's "What I did on my Summer Vacation: Toured a Utopian Society."

When I take a step back and think about WHEN this was written (early 70's), it's a bit mind-blowing, really. In addition, the creation of an entire way of speaking - all the future slang - is incredible. I'm sure many readers thought this annoying or clunky, but I admired h
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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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