is a self-assured, unselfconscious, convincing depiction
of a world without men...doing what only SF can do, and
doing it with skill and brio.... It answers the question
'When you eliminate one gender, what's left?' ('A whole
world,' is the answer.) But a lot of books, like Moby
Dick, eliminate one gender, and yet nobody thinks anything
about it. I believe Kate Clinton has the answer: 'When
women go off together it's called separatism; when men
go off together it's called Congress.'"
--Ursula K. Le Guin
or die. These are the only options available on the
planet Jeep. Centuries earlier, a deadly virus shattered
the original colony, killing the men and forever altering
the few surviving women. Now, generations after the
colony has lost touch with the rest of humanity, a company
arrives to exploit Jeep--and its forces find themselves
fighting for their lives. Terrified of spreading the
virus, the company abandons its employees, leaving them
afraid and isolated from the natives. In the face of
this crisis, anthropologist Marghe Taishan arrives to
test a new vaccine. As she risks death to uncover the
women's biological secret, she finds that she, too,
is changing--and realizes that not only has she found
a home on Jeep, but that she alone carries the seeds
of its destruction...
Ammonite is an unforgettable novel that questions the
very meanings of gender and humanity. As readers share
in Marghe's journey through an alien world, they too
embark on a parallel journey of fascinating self-exploration.
Key Harris, Editor, Del Rey Books
first novel is one of the best books I've ever acquired
and edited. What was most impressive about it was the
minimal amount of editorial work and copyediting work
it needed--it arrived in our offices in publishable
form and just needed a few editorial comments from me,
and a few commas and such from the copyeditor, to send
it on its way. For a first novel, that's extremely rare
(as well as extremely enjoyable for the editor!). Nicola
Griffith has been a great writer from the start. Even
with the pulpy cover we put on the book when we first
published it, featuring what seemed to be a metallic
jellybean rather than a spaceship, Ammonite went on
to win a Lambda Award and the Tiptree Award for best
novel dealing with issues of gender. It got rave reviews
from Ursula K. Le Guin, Kim Stanley Robinson, and other
renowned writers, and a great review in the New York
Times as well. As a young editor, I was really proud
of this one, and I still recommend it as thinking-person's
SF to any friends or acquaintances interested in the
Fem-sf book discussion (1998).
Fem-sf book discussion (2004).
Post Book World
packed with nondogmatic feminist and queer ideologies...
Griffith reveal[s] herself to be fluent in presenting
realistic science and its implications, capable of cinematic
clarity in her prose, insightful with emotions and character.
by Nicola Griffith, is the first novel of a major talent.
Angeles Times Book Review
story is gripping, many-layered, ever-changing. Griffith
has a fine way with character and sure talent. Many
passages are beautifully written; most seem to do double
duty, shimmering with the many levels and complex meanings
of this remarkable first novel.
Griffith's first novel, Ammonite, flies all the
banners of traditional sf [but] beneath the banners,
it is armed to the teeth against convention.
York Times Book Review
homage to Ursula K. Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness
without inviting invidious comparisons.
represents a major, no, make that a revolutionary change...a
remarkable departure from the commonplace.
serious assault on conventions so enormous that it is
very much more dangerous, sometimes, than writing about
New York Review of Science Fiction
the best debut novel of the year--an accomplished, moving,
intelligent, and graceful examination of gender roles,
and a helluva good read.
novel succeeds where others of its genre have failed.
Griffith is an astonishingly gifted writer... Her work
is of the very best in the lesbian and gay literary
Statesman and Society
is utterly believable, and at times heart-wrenching
in its emotional power; the characterisation is impeccable.
is in possession, most decidedly. Ammonite is science
fiction, and it is in her hands: like a coiled spring;
a secret, many chambered fossil, round and snug and
many ways, and certainly deliberately, Ammonite recalls
the fictional and metafictional Utopia Whileaway....
But unlike Whileaway the planet Jeep remains a real
place where people are to live--if the world will let
them. Buy it and enjoy it. Dream on. But be warned,
Nicola Griffith is going to remind you that dreaming
doesn't make the problems go away.
charts a new and different kind of women's space.
Griffith is a promising successor to Ursula K. Le Guin
and James Tiptree, redesigning gender and power relations
in alien milieux.
- winner, Tiptree award
- winner, Lambda Literary Award
- winner, Premio Italia
- finalist, British Science Fiction Award
- finalist, Arthur C. Clarke Award