Bringing together essays by 40 women from a spectrum of ethnic and spiritual backgrounds, Ryan, executive editor of Conari Press, offers a welcome antidote to the predictions of gloom and doom frequently heard as the year 2000 approaches. The volume's overriding theme is a coming radical shift from our current morass of violence and materialism to a partnership society in which women will revitalize such values as peace, respect for the earth and the importance of child rearing--which, for some of the more historically minded essayists, will right an ancient wrong. The essays, by such noted authors as Jean Houston, Joan Borysenko and Brooke Medicine Eagle, describe creative, nonmechanistic lifestyles--some of which have been practiced by Native cultures for thousands of years--as our only alternative if humans are to make it to the next stage of our evolution. Many contributors' sentiments echo the words of Buddhist teacher Joanna Macy: ""I consider it an enormous privilege to be alive now, in this Turning, when all the wisdom and courage we ever harvested can be put to use and matter supremely."" While cynics will be likely to dismiss many of the claims made here, there is plenty of wisdom in these pages to add to the harvest, and readers will likely close the book looking for ways to hasten the coming change. Photos. 40,000 first printing; author tour. (Oct.) FYI: The publication of The Fabric of the Future marks the 10th anniversary of Conari Press, which considers the book a culmination of its mission to produce literature for positive change.