One of the 10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read —io9
“A joyously and at times scatologically tangled satire of the post-industrial western world from a feminist point of view that wittily verges on misandry.” —The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
“A riproaringly magnificent time. Passing For Human is quite unlike anything anyone else has ever done.” —Neil Gaiman
Passing for Human
Who Isn't Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
Benaroya, a 36-foot extraterrestrial "dolphin"
in the role of:
And a happy New Guinea hoptoad.
With an all-star cast including:
Jennison, the Kansas Jayhawker
General George S. Patton
The Los Angeles Police Department
The Prince Of Darkness
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Isle of Capri
Interstellar Station 8
Four billion newly created people
And several hundred Richard Nixons
When a dolphin-like alien comes to Earth disguised in a female human body, it sets the stage for a wild feminist romp that out-strangers Stranger in a Strange Land.
“The pace of the story never lets up, yet it finds room for serious contemplation of humanity’s woes. The style is easy, with an edge of noir. The central character is a bit of a tough girl which, mixed with her naivety about humans, makes for an intriguing and likeable character. Especially as she (in common with the other aliens) inhabits bodies she has chosen from Earth culture—Brenda Starr, Emma Peel, and Virginia Woolf. Who could not like that, especially the final scenes in which Virginia Woolf is involved in a running gun battle. The humour, pace, and wry observation make this a rare and wonderful beast—a serious science fiction novel that doesn’t take itself seriously.” —Graeme K Talboys, Grumbooks Review
“The novel leaps along with an energy and a disregard for convention that reminds me a little of genre outsiders like Barry Malzberg and possibly Josephine Saxton in that this reads like a romp through the Collective Unconscious. A closer comparison might be with the early novels of Ishmael Reed who shares with Scott a vitriolic contempt for seemingly all and everything, sniping and satirising hilariously along the way. Jody Scott’s wild imagination, seemingly scattershot but tightly controlled, makes Passing For Human an absurdly comic romp of unexpected juxtapositions and witty asides. Good examples of what SF can do when it steps out of its comfort zone, and of how women’s SF can challenge the genre assumptions by challenging its tropes and its language. Take a look, see what you think.” —Performative Utterance
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This satire was first published in 1977, but its biting commentary still registers strongly today. Aliens trained in Western pop culture disguise themselves as well-known figures and embark on two intersecting tasks: judging humankind’s readiness to join the interstellar community, and searching for a ruthless criminal. Scott carries on the tradition of Mark Twain, using outside observers to remark on society. While the treatment of women is the primary focus, other targets include consumer culture and the general human willingness to be led by the nose by a charismatic figure. ...The speculative elements are well written and give a good sense of physical and cultural differences. A light touch keeps the moralizing from getting too ham-fisted, and this cautionary tale calling for a better world is a message needed now more than ever.