Remember 2008 when the economy collapsed and everyone was wondering what to do. What if there were no interventions to keep the economy afloat? What if the banks failed, the cities ran out of money to pay fire and police, or anybody for that matter. What if it all fell apart? Femlandia imagines just that scenario. Miranda Reynolds was a comfortable wife and mother before her husband permanently checked out after losing all their money in the crash. She and her daughter are hanging on by a thread, but the rising danger of looters and gangs make hiding in their home no longer an option.

Miranda knows her estranged mother founded a commune for women called Femlandia and in absolute desperation goes there to see safety. This is real desperation because her mother disapproves of her traditional choices and has always favored her protege, Jen Jones, who is what Win Somers wishes Miranda were like. Win is retired from leadership and Jen Jones has spread Femlandia into multiple colonies. Femlandia is a safe haven where no men are allowed. So how come so many women are pregnant and why are all the babies girls?

I liked Femlandia at the beginning, but found it difficult to finish. I didn’t like Miranda very much whose survival strategy seemed to be going from her husband taking care of her to finding someone else to take care of her. And yes, society is falling apart so everyone needs to find safety, but I would have liked to see someone trying to organize the neighborhood self-defense and gardening committee rather than hiding indoors. I wanted more gumption.

This is another in the utopia gone bad tradition but there has never been a successful utopia. People have withdrawn from society. John the Baptist was part of an apocalyptic sect. They aren’t new. I suppose this is a good antidote to the “if only women ran the world” fantasy that somehow we would be less corrupt, less incompetent, and less warlike. Has anyone had absolute power and not misused it?


I received an e-galley of Femlandia from the publisher through NetGalley