Author Elia Barceló's setup is funny and feminist, and it raises questions of what it means to be "male" or "female"—prescient, considering this novel was first published twenty-five years ago. The anniversary is being celebrated now with the first English-language edition, translated by veteran sci-fi translators Yolanda Molina-Gavilán and Andrea Bell, who also provide a critical introduction.
Yolanda Molina-Gavilán and Andrea Bell
"Beyond its obvious provocative intention, it is a good science fiction novel, with certain ecological dyes and a powerful reflection on the power of language."
—Consuelo Abellán, Origen cuántico
"Feminist science fiction, current and angry, written—as is usual with Elia Barceló—in a diaphanous, translucent, and fresh prose."
—Mario Amadas, CCyberdark.net
"A novel that full of reflections, humor, and irony makes a fierce criticism of machismo, patriarchy, and gender roles with all their implications. It is a story with environmental dyes that highlight the importance of real equality, language, and its power, as well as how complicated are motherhood and the differential treatment that women receive when they are pregnant. I can do nothing but recommend that you run to your nearest bookstore to order the book. It is an essential reading that has been automatically transformed into one of my favorites of the year."
—In the Nevernever
Igor, a junior communications engineer, nodded, his tense facial muscles expressing the same range of emotions Diego had with his words.
“Looks like they’ve got a minor insulation problem in their hold, or whatever the Xhroll equivalent of a cargo bay is. Nothing serious, but we’re the closest station to them and since officially we’re on good terms . . .”
“But no one’s really ever had direct contact with them.”
“We’ll have the honor of being first, then. The commander has already given the okay.”
“Are they all males?”
The five officers gathered in the comm room burst out laughing. Nico was simply beyond help. He was a great mechanic and, as he often said, his heart—if he had one—belonged to his machines, especially the mini bots in charge of exterior fixes to the ships and stations. But what he’d also amply demonstrated during shore leaves was that women held second place, maybe not in his heart but rather a foot or so below.
“Jeez, come on, guys. It’s a serious question. Are there any women? We haven’t seen fresh meat in ages.”
“There are seventy-three female crewmembers on this station, Nico,” Hal replied softly.
“Yeah, right. And two hundred and fourteen guys. Besides, I’m not talking about female crewmembers, I’m talking about women.”
“Fresh meat,” mocked Diego.
“If Colonel Ortega hears you, you’re up shit creek, Mister Macho.” Igor’d had a few run-ins with Diana Ortega after he’d left the required feminine endings off adjectives in written communiques to the crew.
“Well, are there or aren’t there?”
Igor showed him a printout. “Here’s the complete list of the officers on board the Harrkh. The last five are the ones who’ll visit our facilities and interact with us. If you can figure anything out from this list . . .”