Just as any novel that offers its own interpretation of how life will look in the future, Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time places a strong emphasis on the role of technologies. In this novel, technologies and science are represented as the instruments that can be either good or evil depending on the individuals using them to achieve their goals. To illustrate this, Piercy depicts two different realities in her novel: the present reality (that comprises both the present and the past) and the future reality. Because the former is the reality characterized by drastic inequality (racial, class, and gender), technologies play an evil role in this reality being used as the instruments of oppression and discrimination. Similarly, because the latter is the reality characterized by overall equality, technologies play a good role in this reality being used as the instruments of liberation and protection.

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The evil role of technologies in Woman on the Edge of Time is demonstrated at the background of the present time. In this respect, Piercy offers a somewhat flat, one-dimensional representation of science and technologies. All episodes in which scientists appear in the novel (in the part, which describes the present and the past) are associated with humiliation, terror, and insult. Thus, for instance, the first mentioning of science and its role is found in the chapter describing the story of Connie’s husband, Claud. A more or less happy family was literally destroyed by the evil plans of the jail scientists who tested a hepatitis vaccine on him what caused this man’s death (Piercy 1. 150). Further on, the reader receives multiple pieces of evidence of the evil nature of science and technologies starting from the asylum scientists’ experiments with an implant that is supposed to block the impulses of “irrational violence” in Connie’s brain and finishing with their plans to cut out a part of their brain to make her more manageable (Piercy 10. 104).

In such a manner, the author creates a deliberately pessimistic representation of science and technologies in the contemporary world. Here, it should be clarified that she clearly distinguishes between technologies and the existing structure of the society that guides the use of these technologies. In other words, she shows that these are not technologies as such but the society the structure of which is rooted in the principles of inequality and discrimination. In this society, it is quite predictable that the members of this corrupted society use science and technologies for evil purposes. All scientists represented in the novel, at least, in the part that describes the past and the present, use science (and technologies, as its output) as an instrument for oppression and domination. Such people as Connie or Claud have no chances to survive in this struggle with oppressors who are equipped with the latest products of science.

The good role of technologies in Woman on the Edge of Time is illustrated at the background of the future. Here, it should be clarified that, in Piercy’s interpretation, the future is, first and foremost, a feminist utopian future (Seabury 131). In this future, technologies and science are used to benefit individuals rather than to oppress them. In this respect, there are two major forms in which technologies and science serve to benefit individuals. The first form of assistance that they offer is the assistance with those duties and activities that are boring or unpleasant to complete (e.g. automated machines that staff pillows) (Piercy 7.16). The second form of assistance that science and technologies offer is liberation. The most distinctive example of this is children that are born from tubes. By introducing these technologies, Piercy implicitly hints that technologies play a vital role in liberating individuals and especially women: because they are no longer obliged to give birth, women can finally enjoy an equal extent of freedom as men do.

As to the “evil” technologies, they are not completely absent in Piercy’s representation of the future. In the meantime, these evil technologies are no longer used for oppression (like they were used in the past to manage such people as Connie). Instead, these technologies are used to protect the good, almost ideal society from the bad, reactive society that strives to return to how things were in the past. By creating this idealized view of the future and the place that technologies play in this future, Piercy demonstrates that technologies as such are neutral. It further depends on the society whether these technologies turn into the instruments of promoting good or those promoting evil. In her interpretation, they can be turned in the instruments promoting good only on condition that the society is driven by such principles as feminism and equality (including class and racial equality).

To conclude, it can be seen that Piercy’s interpretation of the role of science and technologies is a simplistic one: she clearly divides the world into the evil present and the good future. In her novel, evil individuals use science and technologies for evil purposes, while good and progressive individuals use them for good purposes. In her worldview, these two realities cannot co-exist and so the good technologies cannot fit the present. Despite this somewhat primitive approach to interpreting complex questions, Piercy’s core thesis is still consistent and comprehensive. Thus, she clearly articulates the idea that humans should not fear technologies and science because, in the long run, it all depends on the society whether they will be used for good or for evil purposes.