Carmen Dog

Carol Emshwiller, Author
Carol Emshwiller, Author Mercury House $15.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-916515-70-6
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
Emshwiller ( Verging on the Pertinent ) stretches a conceit past the breaking point in this uneven allegory. Women are degenerating into various animals, and female animals are acquiring human characteristics. The men are puzzled, but don't much mindg ; animals, they realize, are ideal companions (``Relationships and responsibilities were less confining. After all, they merely involved dumb animals who were not worth consideration, politeness, time, effort, gifts''). Her fantastic premise allows Emshwiller canny and frequently hilarious insights into the damaging sex-role stereotypes both men and women perpetuate (a dog's visit to a psychologist is a highlight). But she juggles too many genres here--the g plot turns on mad scientists, academic conspiracies, formula romances--without sustaining the reader's interest in the central story of human/animal metamorphoses. Eventually the g social critique is swallowed by increasingly silly scenarios. (Mar.)
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