The Fifth Sacred Thing

Starhawk, Author Bantam Books $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-08916-5
In her sometimes clumsy but compelling first novel, the author of The Spiral Dance (a central work in the women's spirituality movement) considers two possible futures for America. In ecologically devastated mid-21st-century California, San Francisco is a precariously maintained oasis, its society based on egalitarianism and environmentalism, its deeply spiritual populace possessed of psychic and mystical powers. Drought-plagued southern California suffers under an oppressive, militaristic, technocratic regime that spouts a perverted Christian ideology. After 20 years of uneasy peace, the south's armies mass to invade the north, whose militantly nonviolent denizens must decide how to defend themselves without compromising their pacifism. Starhawk delivers her message with a heavy hand and several cliches: her besieged utopia echoes the liberal politics and ecofeminism of her nonfiction; her dystopia features the overused SF bugbear of Christian fanaticism. However, she creates memorable characters--a young midwife, a broken musician, an old Witch-Woman--and skillfully conveys their emotions in gripping, sometimes harrowing scenes set against vivid backdrops. Though the resolution is somewhat pat--and an obvious plug for Starhawk's philosophy--the story is moving and absorbing. ( May )
Reviewed on: 02/01/1993
Release date: 02/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-553-37380-6
Hardcover - 978-0-553-09522-7
Paperback - 486 pages - 978-0-553-37222-9
Ebook - 413 pages - 978-0-307-47765-1
Prebound-Glued - 484 pages - 978-1-4177-1563-3
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