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The Margarets

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,569 ratings  ·  196 reviews

The myriad alien civilizations populating far, distant worlds have many good reasons to detest the blight called "humankind" . . .

The only human child living in a work colony on the Martian satellite Phobos, little Margaret Bain has invented six imaginary companions to keep boredom and loneliness at bay. Each an extension of her personality, they are lost to her when

Hardcover, 528 pages
Published May 22nd 2007 by Harper Voyager (first published May 13th 2007)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  1,569 ratings  ·  196 reviews

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Richard Derus
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: The only human child living in a work colony on the Martian satellite Phobos, little Margaret Bain has invented six imaginary companions to keep boredom and loneliness at bay. Each an extension of her personality, they are lost to her when she is forced to return to Earth. But they are not gone.

The time will come when Margaret, fully grown and wed, must leave this dying world as well—this Earth so denuded by thoughtlessness and chemistry that its only viable
Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: feminist, sci-fi
Tepper, Tepper, Tepper... what can I say about her that I already haven't said? She's interesting, aggravating, inspired, pedantic, gifted in her ability to invent elaborate cultures, races and settings and given to bludgeoning the reader over the head with heavy allegories constructed of the same.

The Margarets is neither her best work nor her worst. It contains neither the ridiculous excesses of Shadow's End nor the true sense of menace and fear of Grass . True to Tepper's pattern, it is
Nov 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
horrifying encomium to eugenics and genocide wrapped in science fiction for young adults

I spent the entire book waiting for a twist ending where the Gentherans are revealed to be the true villains, because surely no alien race can be hailed as truly civilized when it relies on mass forced sterilization (unavoidably genocide) to solve the issue of overpopulation. But I reached the end, and my twist never came. And this choice continued to be presented in a celebratory manner. And I felt sick.

Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
2019 reread:
I love this book (as is obvious from my rating)! Tepper has very definite opinions on things and as I generally am of the same opinion, it isn't surprising that she is one of my favorite authors. One reason that I like this book so much is that in the end, (view spoiler)
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books
Even though I love her writing, I have to admit that every Tepper book I've read before has been ponderous and sometimes painfully slow to gather momentum (kind of like this review). So I surprised myself by liking this book almost from the beginning and only getting more caught up in it as I read. Even though it seemed clear from near the beginning exactly where the plot was going and how it would end, I was fascinated by the execution.

Tepper can - and does - create such strange scenarios with
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
It's been a while since I read a book from this author, and I was intrigued by the idea, but like with several of her other books, she really frustrated me with the hndwavium/deus ex machina that she sometimes employs in her books to move along the plot, as well as the discourses on feminism, religion, etc.

I will admit I started skimming through some parts of this book because of that repetitiveness. Nothing wrong with authors inserting personal beliefs in their work, but Ms. Tepper could come
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a Sheri S Tepper book I'd not read before and I really enjoyed this. While the splitting decisions to create new universes is quite an old concept now, the idea of having those stay characters within the same universe was different, and handled so well. It was kinda like a reverse Philip K Dick story. The focus of the story was ecological disaster caused by humans, how Earth became over crowded to the point where it was totally destroyed. In the end it moved from dystopian scifi into ...more
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a strange book. I started it feeling like I was reading a sci-fi/dystopian novel, but as the story progressed, it felt more and more as if I were reading the novelization of one of RPG video games I used to play: here's the intro where you find out that Something Big Has Gone Wrong (long, long ago, of course), and our unassuming hero must fix it; here's where you travel around finding all the supporting characters, with their predictable archetypes and their tragic back-stories; here ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I wish Tepper was a bit better at (or more concerned with) science. She says of the future Earth's "space elevators": "There's been some talk of building more of them as ocean-based platforms, but the last time that was tried, a tsunami took it out." Please! Tsunamis don't work that way. At sea, you're unlikely to even notice the wave. It certainly will be smaller than many "rogue" waves. But I have to keep forcing myself to remember Tepper really doesn't write SF, she writes a kind of
Aug 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
I now find myself wanting to reread all (or most) of Tepper's books, because I think that various incarnations of the Margaret character shows up in passing in many of them. I like how Tepper is pulling some of her worlds together into a single universe, with the unifying device of the doors (which connect disparate points in space).

In this novel, Tepper tackles the problems of overpopulation and the resulting inevitable environmental collapse. She blames this largely on humans' lack of racial
Jul 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
This one initially engaged me, but I found myself running out of steam about 1/2way through. Even with the index in the front keeping the Margarets seperate was difficult for me and it was a pain in the rear to need look them up every chapter. I really liked Tepper's premise, but I think this book would have been a much better read had it been quite a bit shorter. I had to push myself to finish it.

This one reminded me a lot of "Beauty" in that Tepper used it as a platform to comment on the
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I know all the complaints about Tepper: she can be preachy, and sometimes lets her moralizing about feminism, conservation, and pacifism (or at least her distaste for mindless violence and power mongering) get in the way of plot and character development. But hey, folks, can we acknowledge she has a great ability to create alternate worlds, she has wonderful strong, imperfect female characters (as opposed to the annoying strong perfect woman trope), and what she espouses -- treating women and ...more
Feb 04, 2014 rated it liked it
First the legalese: I received this book (as a nifty hardcover, no less) as part of the Harper Voyager Super Reader program. Free books for an honest review...sweeeeeeet. So...

Not a bad book, but not a great book overall. Excellent premise, one person splitting along different world-lines pending certain choices ala quantum probability (if it can happen, it has happened/will happen/is happening). The problem is in the execution. The storyline is spotty and the POV bounces between characters so
Melissa McCauley
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I kept catching myself reading this book slowly 1) because it had a very complicated storyline which followed seven different characters and 2) to make it last longer. As usual, Tepper delivered a fascinating and thought-provoking read, but, unfortunately the ending was less than satisfying and I’m afraid the environmental message may be too heavy-handed for some readers.

Some of the setting involving more advanced races and less advanced races reminded me a teensy bit of The Uplift Trilogy by
Jan 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
I thought this book would be similar in quality to the only other Sheri S. Tepper book I've read, The Gate to Women's Country, which was really thought-provoking and just good. This, on the other hand, is a piece of crap, even for sci-fi, which is a genre that contains quite a bit of crap. Too many confusing alien races and alien planets, too much uninhibited use of unnecessary apostrophes in people's names. The plot itself didn't make a lot of sense, and proceeded at times way too slow and at ...more
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was an amazing book. It was very complex and needed quite a bit of concentration (especially as I read it on my kindle, which meant I could not keep going to the page at the front which showed all the Margarets and where they all were). I didn't want to put it down and finished it at 2.40am! Without giving the plot away, the problem to be solved required one person to walk 7 roads at the one time in order to save the human race from extinction. I guessed partly how things were to be done, ...more
Joy Schoenberger
May 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Although I disagreed completely with the authors spiritual, religious, and moral philosophy, this book was so well-written and interesting that I enjoyed it nonetheless. The characters were incredibly-well developed, and the concept was so original. Great book!
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Tepper's works often demand close attention from the reader. The Margarets will lose you if you don't keep careful track. I don't mind getting lost, if there are things to admire on route. This book has many admirable things.

Tepper is often faulted for her preachiness, and there's a whole herd of political and social high horses being ridden here. But although I don't go along with all of the author's choices in these matters, I have to agree that her themes are important and in need of airing.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book! I appreciate it when books and storylines can still surprise me and I appreciate it when I don't feel as though the author was trying to dumb down their material for the reader. In both of these aspects this book did very well.

I loved the characters. Although some didn't get expanded as much as others, and there were entire swaths of time I would have liked to get more attached to certain characters, overall I felt like I got very involved in their lives and was
Anna Hepworth
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: z_before-2013
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Ben Babcock
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Elizabeth Hamilton-pearce
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-harder-2018
When a book comes in at over 500 pages and the first 5 of those are notes and a diagram with the different planets, races and some of the multitude of characters explained you know it's not going to be a straightforward read!

There is a pretty little parable wrapped up in all the complexity and once I managed to work out what was going on (this was one book that may have benefitted from me breaking my 'never read the blurb' rule) I enjoyed watching it unfold.
Josephine Waite
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted a book with a first person narrator, female, but not a prostitute/assassin, with space aliens, philosophy, time travel... and not too big or with any descriptions of intercourse. I was joking... but this book fell out of the library shelf into my hands and I enjoyed it a great deal; even staying up too late to finish it.
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent piece of writing as usual.
Joanne Mcdowall
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I found it confusing at the beginning but turned into a satisfying read.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it
A very confusing but certainly interesting story line. Don't read it without making notes! I got lost often.
Ruth Harwood
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
As a rare foray into sci-fi, I wasn't sure what to expect, but this is a plesasantly written book with multiple threads and strands that keep you reading x
Holly Ohrt
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just reread this old favorite. Sheri Tepper really had such interesting concepts
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! A richly imaginative book that unfolds a story that is very complex with many twists and turns and delightful surprises. Love it!
S.J. Higbee
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Let me put my cards on the table – I’m a fan of Tepper’s writing. A Plague of Angels absolutely blew me away. I still vividly recall the main details of the plot years later – something that happens with only a handful of books, given my shocking memory. So it was a red letter day, when I discovered this book on the library shelves.

Margaret Bain is the only child on Phobos, a human colony working on a doomed project to transform Mars into a garden planet. To keep away the suffocating demons of
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Sheri Stewart Tepper was a prolific American author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels; she was particularly known as a feminist science fiction writer, often with an ecofeminist slant.

Born near Littleton, Colorado, for most of her career (1962-1986) she worked for Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, where she eventually became Executive Director. She has two children and is married to
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“Many humans prefer tiny gods,” said the Gardener. “Tiny gods of limited preoccupations…” 0 likes
“Star calls to star: “Here I am, who is like me?” Tree calls to tree: “I am I, who knows me?” 0 likes
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