PLA

by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.Pantheon, $8.95/$2.95. Gilman (1860-1935) was a feminist and socialist who devoted most of her life to writing serious social criticism. When she wrote fiction, however, she could be humorous, and this novel about a female Utopia invaded by three young men with orthodox notions on feminine ability is at times genuinely funny. The Utopia itself is as dull as such inventions usually are (boredom must be the chief cause of death in all Utopias), but the conversations in which the visitors attempt, to describe the outside world and its habits to the isolated Amazons prickle with amusing jabs at the maledominated society of 1915. Most of these jabs still find their target, too. This is a period piece that is well worth resurrection. Introduction by Ann J. Lane.