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The Adventures of Alyx

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The Adventures of Alyx is a 1976 collection of feminist science fiction stories by American writer Joanna Russ. It is composed of five stories: "Bluestocking" (1967, as "The Adventuress" in Orbit 2) begins in the fantasy city of Ourdh. Alyx is hired by a young noblewoman to help the latter escape from an arranged marriage. "I Thought She Was Afeard Till She Stroked My Beard" (1967, as "I Gave Her Sack and Sherry" in Orbit 2) describes Alyx's escape from an abusive marriage to become a pirate. "The Barbarian" (1968 in Orbit 3) takes place again in Ourdh. Alyx, the titular barbarian, is employed by a sorcerer with little regard for human life. "Picnic on Paradise" (1968) presents Alyx as an agent of the Trans-Temporal Authority. Having been accidentally rescued from drowning in the bay of Tyre by a "time-scoop", she is employed to guide a group of ill-prepared vacationers across the treacherous landscape of an alien world. "The Second Inquisition" (1970 in Orbit 6) takes place in 1925. In it, a young woman befriends an odd visitor, who is eventually revealed to be a time-traveling granddaughter of Alyx. The Trans-Temporal Authority of "Picnic on Paradise" is explicitly mentioned.These stories display elements of science fiction cloaked in fantasy in a similar way to work by Mary Gentle, who has cited them as an influence.The eponymous heroine, Alyx, is (intentionally) described with different attributes across the different stories, although she remains reasonably constant inasmuch as she is depicted as a realistic human being, not the cliched fantasy woman prevalent across much of the genre.
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original title: The Adventures of Alyx
date of publication: 1976
genre: fantasy, science fiction

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