The Power by Naomi Alderman
When I read the premise to The Power by Naomi Alderman I was really put off. I mean, it’s a feminist sci-fi in which women suddenly get the power to shoot electricity through their fingers and ultimately become the more dominant sex. We live in a predominantly patriarchal society and women have been holding back their ‘true powers’ for centuries, but surely there are subtler ways of making the same statement?
I was surprised to discover that my preconceptions for this novel were entirely wrong. What I thought to be a overly simplistic, man-hating rant was actually a cleverly written dissection of human nature, societal norms, politics and authority.
The story is told through the perspective of a few different characters, one of which is a male journalist documenting the changes to society and the violent backlash and confusion that ensues. Each character is tremendously multi-faceted, interesting and, much to my astonishment, actually human-like. The women were not depicted as pure and wholesome and the men were not monsters. In many occasions the opposite was true.
The Power is by no means a pro-women story, nor indeed a man-hating one. The novel is simply a fascinating piece of fiction asking the question all good sci-fis should ask: What if?