In Catherine Rhymer's Montréal, the familiar streets are
changing; history is unpredictable, and irrational events are becoming
commonplace. In search of the truth about her world, Catherine voyages
further and further north, through hail and snow and herds of
pseudo-moose to a confrontation with the originators of her reality.
In Reluctant Voyagers, Élisabeth Vonarburg,
winner of the Aurora, Prix Boréal and Philip K. Dick Awards, has
created a powerful speculative novel about parents, children, time,
memory and love.
Built as a refuge from a war-ravaged world outside, THE
SILENT CITY is the final stronghold of science and knowledge. A
self-perpetuating technology maintains the City in which only a handful
of humans survive, despite rejuvenation treatments and cybernetics.
Into this doomed world Elisa is born, child of her father's obsession
with creating a human form with the ability to self-heal. Elisa devotes
herself to her father's cause...until she begins to see the truth about
the City and its occupants. Rebelling against her father/lover, Elisa
discovers her unique gift for changing herself and the world around
her. But time is running out. The human race is threatened by a virus
that prevents the conception of male babies -- and women bear the
blame. Elisa must determine her future...and the future of humanity.
(Original French Edition: Le Silence de la
Cité(novel), Denoël, Présence du Futur, Paris, 1981.
Out of print. Reedit. Le Silence de la Cité, Beauport, Alire,
1998. Transl. The Silent City, 1988, Press Porcépic, Victoria,
Toronto ; The Women's Press, Londres, 1990; Bantam Spectra Special, New
York, 1992; Die Schweigende Stadt, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Allemagne,
In a novel of epic proportions, Elisabeth Vonarburg envisions a world
of the far future that has survived the Decline where the few survivors
are forced to create a new society. Abandoning the models of patriarchy
and matriarchy, they are faced with establishing new gender roles,
social rules and mythologies.
Lisbei is a young "thinker" whose curiosity leads her to
discover a major historical artifact from before the Decline that
challenges the mythology of the new order and its religion. In alliance
with the enigmatic Kelys, Lisbei sets out to confront the new
establishment and force it to change; a task that will take her whole
1993 - Prix du Salon du livre Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean
1993 - Prix Boréal
1993 - Grand Prix de la science-fiction et du
1993 - Prix Aurora
1993 - Special Philip K. Dick Award
Chroniques du Pays des Mères, coll.
Littérature d'Amérique, Québec/Amérique,
Montréal, 1992 ; reed. same title, Beauport, Alire, 1999.
Transl. Jane Brierley In the Mothers' Land, Bantam Spectra
Special, New-York, 1992 ; a.k.a The Maerlande Chronicles, Beach
Holme/Tesseracts Books, Edmonton, AB, Canada, 1993.