The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The novels follow the protagonist Alldera, who escapes slavery to men in the Holdfast and flees to the Grasslands. There she discovers other escaped female slaves as well as free tribes of women. She leads her people back to conquer their homeland.

Walk to the End of the World depicts life in the Holdfast following the Wasting, an environmental disaster. The surviving women, called fems, are horribly treated as slaves. As the novel opens, Eykar Bek has abandoned his post as Endtendant of Endpath, a job that involved providing good deaths for men who felt ready to die, by administering poison to them. Captain Kelmz and Servan d Layo, Bek’s boyhood friend and occasional lover, are ordered to bring him to the city for punishment. Instead, they agree to help him find his father, Raff Maggomas. Bek is the only man in the Holdfast to know his father’s name; the men consider the generations to be natural enemies.

At the request of a fem who saves their lives during their search, they allow Alldera to join them. Although the men do not know it, Alldera’s purpose in making the journey is to escape the Holdfast. She plans to return with the fabricated message that escaped fems will be coming to the rescue. The matris, or older fems, believe this message will quell the desire on the part of the younger fems to revolt, thus protecting the fems as a whole from reprisals. During the journey, both d Layo and Bek rape Alldera. Bek, quite thoughtful and sensitive in comparison with the other men, also engages Alldera in long conversations in which he encourages her to describe what life is like for fems.

In the city of...

(The entire section is 678 words.)