Nicola Griffith
Ammonite Cover



This is a review of Ammonite by Nicola Griffith. This book was nominated for 2 awards: the BSFA in 1993 and Clarke in 1994.

Brief summary: The main character is Marghe Taishan, an anthropologist who is sent to the planet GP (or Jeep) in order to test the effects of a vaccine against a deadly virus. This virus kills all men and a portion of women who are exposed to it, and so the planet's local population is entirely female.

What I enjoyed: I enjoyed the depiction of an entirely female planet as being entirely human. There was no utopia or dystopia due to the lack of men (often a women-only society is described as one or the other). People were just people, with good and bad and in-between. I also liked the portrayal of the main characters, especially Marghe and Danner, as they are forced by various factors to adapt to change.

What I didn't like: I won't spoil the plot by saying how these women reproduce without men, but I did not find the means of reproduction to be at all feasible. While it was interesting, I also did not find the effects of the virus on people to be convincing (but it was interesting).

Portrayal of religion: I am curious when reading books to see how religion is or isn't portrayed. For the most part there was no depiction of any religion. This is common in science fiction. One of the tribes on the planet was seen to have a religion, but that was not described in any great detail and it was violent. The way that people were connected to the planet and each other brought to mind Avatar, but also religious and philosophical systems that are pantheistic or panentheistic.

Overall verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in seeing how life might be on a different planet with very different rules than our own or is interested in what a women-only society might be like.

My stars rating explained:
5 Stars - I can't wait to read more in this series or by this author!!
4 Stars - I will definitely read more in this series or by this author!
3 Stars - I will probably read more, but not a certainty.
2 Stars - I will not read any more in this series and/or by this author.
1 Stars - I wish I could unread this book!!