Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

If you managed not to hear about the animal rights theme before reading Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2013), do comment with your experience of the novel. Or, it you haven’t yet read the book, maybe stop here, skip the cover blurbs, and go directly to your naked experience of this …

Read moreBook Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Book Review: The Perfect Protein

Correct_PerfectProtein_Cover1Be still my beating heart. A book that embraces the aquatic ape theory of evolution, and includes a recipe for jellyfish. My novel Float does too, but I was writing in the playing fields of fiction, and they are dead serious.

“They” are Oceana, an international organization whose goal is to protect the world’s oceans, and in effect, feed the world. This is the organization behind the seafood fraud study

Read moreBook Review: The Perfect Protein

Book Review: Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures

It’s been wonderful to see new books about animal minds and emotions, from Barbara King’s How Animals Grieve to Virginia Morell’s Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures (Crown, 2013), which offers a fascinating look at the emotional lives of a wide range of animals. Morell writes that it was in part due …

Read moreBook Review: Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures

A Q&A with Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise

A Q&A with Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures   Q: One of my favorite stories from this book is about the archerfish—how they lined up in a row to look at everyone, and especially how they liked to spray water into the eyes (and noses, and …

Read moreA Q&A with Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise

Book Review: Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police

So what is this book doing on EcoLit Books? Bear with me. Let me first back up about five years. I was researching my novel The Tourist Trail, wondering to what extent law enforcement agencies had tried to infiltrate animal rights groups. I had heard firsthand of an attempt of the FBI to infiltrate The Sea …

Read moreBook Review: Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police

Announcing the Bear Deluxe Magazine Doug Fir Fiction Award

Calling all fiction writers: Save the date (September 3 deadline) for submissions to the Bear Deluxe Magazine Doug Fir Fiction Award, co-sponsored by the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, Ashland Creek Press, and Hawthorne Books. Please see below for complete guidelines, and you can also click here for details and more info. The Bear …

Read moreAnnouncing the Bear Deluxe Magazine Doug Fir Fiction Award

Book Review: Penguins: Natural History and Conservation

Let me preface this review by saying that I am a longtime fan of co-author Dee Boersma’s work. Years ago, I was part of a volunteer project at Punta Tombo, assisting Dee and her team with a penguin census. It was a week that changed the direction of my life in ways I couldn’t possibly …

Read moreBook Review: Penguins: Natural History and Conservation

The Earth Goddess and Fiction

 

Goddess by Baraka Berger
Goddess by Baraka Berger

With the Summer Solistice upon us, it’s a good time to revisit the Earth Goddess and her literary legacy. In sync with the first Earth Day in 1970, when I was an impressionable 14 year-old, women were throwing off the shackles of patriarchy in the streets and in their homes, even in churches, chucking out any male god who lived on a cloud. Many turned to the Old Religion, governed by the Goddess, who once reigned over a peaceful, matrilineal world in harmony with Nature. Then, according to legend, the priests came, driving her and her followers underground where they were called witches, and thus began civilization’s slide into constant war and ecological devastation.

 

Women writers of the 70’s and early 80’s incorporated this mythopoeic vision into their novels, and I read them all. Marge Piercy, in Woman on the Edge of Time, wrote about an ideal society based on the assumed female principles of peace and love of the earth, set against a cautionary tale of continued male domination and its attendant disregard for the planet. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood created a dystopia of sexism and violence after men become infertile by a toxic event of their own making. Other writers contemplated the past instead of the future. Marion Zimmer Bradley retold the King Arthur myth from Morgan le Fay’s point of view in The Mists of Avalon, making the goddess worshipper the heroine and not the villain. Jean Auel, in Clan of the Cave Bear, placed the goddess plunk in the center of the Stone Age.

mists-of-avalon

By the mid-80’s, as women put on their shoulder pads and floppy ties and went to the office, feminism began to pull away from the Earth Goddess. Flouting one’s fertility and innate peaceful nature at the office was not going to break any glass ceilings. The focus had turned to job equality and pay equity, so academic and political interests set out to prove there were no differences between the genders. And rightly so. It’s a small step from archetype to stereotype.

Read moreThe Earth Goddess and Fiction