The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Connie Ramos, a Chicana in her mid-thirties, finds herself, after a series of desperate acts, on the bad side of an uncaring and bureaucratic society. She has been placed in a New York psychiatric hospital for violence against her niece’s pimp, and there she begins a series of time travel episodes, or possibly hallucinations, that take her to the village of Mattapoisett in the year 2137 and to an alternate and less attractive future in Manhattan of the same year.

Her guide to Mattapoisett is Luciente, an androgynous woman whom Connie first mistakes for a man because of her muscular arms and confident ways. Connie’s perceptions about the utopian community that unfold throughout the novel are filtered through her experiences with the sexism, ageism, racism, and unbridled capitalism of her own time. Mattapoisett, like other villages in the future, is a small community, with six hundred residents who have developed a strong ethic of cooperation of ecological awareness. In Mattapoisett, women have given up the power of childbirth so that men and women can “mother” children equally. Members of the community discuss every possible use of technology, choosing those that fill real needs and rejecting those that lead to excess and wastage of resources. The gene pool has been mixed consciously to eliminate races, and jobs are rotated to ensure that all members of the community have both meaningful work and also their share of the drudgery. The nuclear family...

(The entire section is 550 words.)