The six stories in Consider Her Ways and Others, the second collecton of John Wyndham’s short tales, continue his exploration of the science fiction staple – what if?
In the title story we are introduced to a world where all the men have been killed by a virus and women continue to survive in a strict caste system – bottom of the heap are the mothers.
In others we meet the man who accidentally summons a devil and then has to find a way of getting rid of him without losing his immortal soul, as well as the woman who, thanks to an experiment in time, discovers why her lover abandoned her.
‘Wyndham writes strongly and has a gift for bizarre plots’ – Guardian
‘One of the few authors whose compulsive readability is a compliment to the intelligence’ – Spectator
My Review of Consider Her Ways and Others
Not his best work, Consider Her Ways contains six stories that are all variations on a theme. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing but by the third story, it all starts to feel repetitive.
The first, and also the longest, story starts out ok with a woman walking up in an all-female society and in a body that she does not think is hers. I found it interesting at first but it descended into a long debate on the oppression of women and whether love is real or just something to invented to distract women from rebelling and becoming independent. An interesting idea that I think has some merit but it’s also perpetuating the idea that love and romance are women’s things that men just tolerate for an easy life. And I actually got a bit angry with it when a female historian had this to say:
“I will admit that we have lost some minor conveniences – you will have noticed, I expect, that we are less inventive mechanically, and tend to copy the patterns that we have inherited….Perhaps men could show us how to travel twice as fast, or how to fly to the moon, or how to kill more people more quickly; but it does not seem to us that such kinds of knowledge would be good payment for re-enslaving ourselves.”
Oh, Where Now, is Peggy Macrafferty? missed the mark it was aiming for. I think it was going for a modern feel but that isn’t John Wyndham’s strong point. My least favourite in the book and easily skippable.
Two of the stories I did enjoy were Odd and The Long Spoon. Both are quite short and fast-paced, both a bit offbeat, The Long Spoon especially made me laugh.
Overall I’d say there are some good ideas but he’s not at his best. Probably only for completists.