Ever since her first story was published in the revolutionary New Worlds in 1972, Eleanor Arnason has been acknowledged as the heir to the feminist legacy of Russ and Le Guin. The first winner of the prestigious Tiptree Award, she has been shortlisted for both the Nebula and the Hugo.
Mammoths of the Great Plains is a finalist for The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.
When President Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore the West, he told them to look especially for mammoths. Jefferson had seen bones and tusks of the great beasts in Virginia, and he suspected--he hoped!--that they might still roam the Great Plains. In Eleanor Arnason’s imaginative alternate history, they do: shaggy herds thunder over the grasslands, living symbols of the oncoming struggle between the Native peoples and the European invaders. And in an unforgettable saga that soars from the badlands of the Dakotas to the icy wastes of Siberia, from the Russian Revolution to the AIM protests of the 1960s, Arnason tells of a modern woman’s struggle to use the weapons of DNA science to fulfill the ancient promises of her Lakota heritage.
PLUS: “Writing During World War Three,” a politically un-correct take on multiculturalism from an SF point-of-view; and an Outspoken Interview that takes you straight into the heart and mind of one of today’s edgiest and most uncompromising speculative authors.
"This is the kind of science fiction I live for — a marvelous intersection of science, mythology, and alternate history. Until I read Mammoths of the Great Plains, I didn't realize that I was pining for a story of rocket trains and mammoths, genetics and spirituality. I was -- and I think you'll find that you are, too. What a wonderfully evocative tale! I can only hope that Eleanor Arnason plans to write more about the fascinating world she has imagined."
--Pat Murphy, author of the Fallen Woman, and Points of Departure
"Eleanor Arnason's wise and engaging stories make you question the things you take for granted. How we love, how we fight, how we live."
--Maureen McHugh, Winner of the James Tiptree Jr. and Hugo Awards
“Arnason doesn’t write about peace, the unreachable stasis. She writes about reconciliation: and art, a process, an intricate and never-ending dance. A literature of reconciliation, a celebration of this other ancient preoccupation of humanity, is a truly exciting development in our genre. It takes feminist SF out of the ghetto, out of the realm of reaction and reproach, into the real world.”
--Gwyenth Jones, Winner of the James Tiptree Jr. and Philip K. Dick Awards
“Arnason…refuses to write within the neat, confining boundaries of genre expectation, and in part because her fearless exploration of difficult political and social issues makes some editors and readers uneasy... Her work exploring gender, and particularly its intersection with politics, stands comparison with that of such better-known writers as Le Guin, Suzy McKee Charnas and Sheri Tepper.”
--Michael D. Levy, Professor of English Literature, University of Wisconsin-Stout
The Aqueduct Gazette Newsletter
In Eleanor Arnason's imaginative alternative history, shaggy herds of mammoths thunder over the grasslands, living symbols of the oncoming struggle between the Native peoples and the European invaders. And in an unforgettable saga that soars from the badlands of the Dakotas to the icy wastes of Siberia, from the Russian Revolution to the AIM protests of the 1960s, Arnason tells of a modern women's struggle to use the weapons of DNA science to fulfill the ancient promises of her Lakota heritage. Plus: "Writings During World War Three," a politically un-correct take on multiculturalism from an SF point-of-view; and an interview with an edgy and uncompromising speculative author.
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A veteran writer of feminist SF, Arnason here creates an alternate history in which woolly mammoths coexist with Native American tribes well into modern times. Some are captured by the Ringling Brothers Circus, others by zoos. One herd becomes a Glacier National Park tourist attraction; the last few survivors die in the 1950s, along with the last guardians of Indians' oral history.
By Greg L. Johnson
At a science fiction convention in St. Paul this summer, Eleanor Arnason spoke of how she now felt free to write whatever she pleased, and how that freedom was being channeled into a new found creativity. If Tombs of the Fathers and Mammoths of the Great Plains are any indication, that creativity is manifesting itself in stories that should capture the attention of readers familiar with her past work, and serve as a welcome introduction to readers who have not yet been introduced to a writer whose voice remains as sharp, observant, and individual as ever.