Naomi Alderman: The Power

The latest addition to my website is Naomi Alderman‘s The Power, winner of 2017 Women’s Prize for Fiction. It was the first science fiction novel to win the Women’s Prize. Most of the novel is set in the near future (or an alternative present) and takes as its premise that women (primarily younger women) acquire power to inflict an electric shock of varying degrees of intensity. The prime use of this is to repel (and, in many cases, kill) assailants, nearly all men who assault them. The book tells the story of four individuals and those associated with them – three women and one man – and we see the inevitable changes in the world through their eyes. The man is a Nigerian who becomes the unofficial chronicler of the age, while the three women (two British, one American) are all involved directly in the ensuing events. The novel culminates in a major clash between a Saudi army based in Northern Moldova and a state in the same area run by women. Alderman shows that the women with this power can be just as violent as the men while, at the same time clearly making the point about male violence and abuse of power.

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