Author: Mary E. Bradley Lane
Recently, I fell into a very strange subcategory of scifi novels: Victorian, feminist utopian literature.
It’s a thing, and it’s weird!
Published in 1880. The book is actually titled Misora: A Prophecy just to add that extra layer of condescending cringe.
How can I describe this book?
That is this novel in a nutshell. No wonder it took so long for women to get the vote! Trash like this makes us look like simple minded fools!
The basic plot of all utopia literature- feminist or otherwise- is the same: the narrator finds a society more enlightened than our own, and attempts to bring some of their knowledge back to the poor ignorant masses who reject the utopia society’s ways because we are fools. Should one of the natives of Utopia come back with the narrator, they will die to demonstrate that our world is too toxic for Utopia.
Princess Vera Zarovitch (ignore that a Russian noblewoman, should have multiple family names) Sympathizes with the Polish during the January Uprising and gets herself sent to Siberia, separating her from her husband and son. Supposedly getting back to them is her motivation throughout this novel, but she doesn’t seam to be in any rush.
She escapes her Siberian prison and finds herself on ship in the artic. Her plan is to bribe her way onto an vessel headed for France where she will meet up with her husband and son. Instead, the artic ship gets stuck in ice. While I’m having visions of the Franklin Expedition, she finds Mizora.
Mizora is a feminist utopia. All the men died out in a war started by a thinly vailed Ulysses S Grant. Yes really. I found this novel to be condescending at best and racist at worst.
Oh did I forget to mention the racism in this book?
All the women have blond hair and blue eyes. This book literal says that “dark features are proof of a tendency toward evil behavior.” Even the protagonist isn’t buying that one. Just when I start thinking we are going to see the darker side of this utopia, the book doubles down about how what they’ve done must be working.
What’s even worse is that, this was unnecessary. It’s established that since there are no men, the women have one zygote cell that they clone and impregnate themselves with. So genetically speaking they are all sisters. That’s all the explanation you need for why they all look alike! Why do you need to make a big deal about their genetics program?
So I guess if Hitler had only been a woman, the Final Solution would have ended in a utopia of blond haired blue eyed women calling each other ‘sister’ and piecing each other’s ears. Gag!