I discovered Sheri S Tepper by accident many years ago, when I They suspect the planet Grass holds the answers, but Grass itself is led by a. One of the most satisfying science fiction novels I have read in years.”—The New York Times Book Review Here is a novel as original. Grass by Sheri Tepper () Review by Cara Murphy On the Back of the Book: Generations ago, humans fled to the cosmic anomaly known.

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On the Back of the Book: Generations ago, humans fled to the cosmic anomaly known as Grass. But before humanity arrived, another species had already claimed Grass for its own. It too had developed a culture… Now a deadly plague is spreading across the stars, leaving no planet untouched, saved for Grass. Grass is a novel with several strong themes, all relevant to our world today.

Speculative Book Review: REVIEW: Grass by Sheri Tepper

Religion, the role of women in society and environmentalism are evident throughout the novel and raise some interesting parallels with our own planet today.

But there is a dark side to Grassone that the aristocratic families have learned to live with, uncomfortably, over generations; the Hunt.

Marjorie Westriding Yrarier is the central character. She arrives on Grass from a future Terra Earth dominated by Sanctity, an oppressive world religion.

Throughout the book, revelations about Grass, its culture and the nature of the native inhabitants, serve to undermine and challenge her entire belief system. Marjorie is a well-developed character and sheru the book very well. I felt I engaged with her and found her to be a strong and insightful woman.

The world-building in Grass is top class. Ruby ridges, blood-coloured highlands, wine-shaded glades.

Grass by Sheri S Tepper

Sapphire seas of grass with dark islands of grass bearing great plumy trees which are grass again. Interminable meadows of silver hay where the great grazing beasts move in slanted lines like mowing machines, tepoer the stubble behind them to spring up again in trackless wildernesses of rippling argent.


The Hunt is a central feature of society in Grass. Organised by the aristocracy, in unspoken agreement with the Hippae, this is a disturbing parody of fox hunting in England. The Hippae themselves are unnerving and malevolent, frightening in their appearance.

The families, collude with the Hunt, knowing that they risk their daughters wellbeing in doing so. What is the dark secret hidden within the Hunt? Who or what are the prey, the enigmatic Foxen? All is revealed, including the true natures of both Hippae and Foxen, as the book draws to its conclusion. Throughout the book there are lengthy discourses on religion, original sin and guilt.

Both Catholicism and fundamental Christianity Sanctity, an oppressive religion, similar in some ways to Mormonism are explored by Sheri Zheri.

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At times I found the religious aspect irritating, especially in the more theological discussions, but it is all relevant by the close of the novel, and indeed adds depth to the plot. But the author is not kind to patriarchal religions, and while Father James is a thoughtful and interesting character, the institution of Sanctity is corrupt and decaying in its oppressiveness.

He is an innocent in many ways but holds a quiet power within him. The strength of Grass is the world itself. How Grass the planet changes Marjorie is very well done and the very final conclusion is in keeping with her character.

I loved the glorious descriptions of landscapes, the grass providing colour and texture to an otherwise plant-free world. The interconnectedness of all things was deftly illustrated by the relationship between the Hippae and the Foxen, which when fully revealed changes your perspective on both creatures.


The mystery element, of what happens to the girls abducted by their mounts, is revealed, but is not the end of the story. Grass is a thought-provoking novel, especially if you enjoy reading about human colonisation of alien planets and the imposition of old world ideology on a new world society. She grows from an accepting, sometimes resentful, wife, mother and dutiful Catholic into a strong and confident women, ready to face her future on her own terms.

This review originally appeared on Speculative Book Review. The only departure from the stereotype was that she met the man she was to marry after being broken rather than before. The first mindless girl who turns up is rejected by the brothel keeper as being of no interest to her clients, yet just about every man she encounters after that either wants to fuck her, or does.

Next time I read Grass I do this every years I will certainly remember your observations. You are commenting using your WordPress.

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Grass: Sheri S. Tepper: : Books

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