Laurie’s first non-mystery, a paperback original novel of the near future.
For an excerpt, click here.
Read Laurie’s thoughts on writing Califia’s Daughters on her blog, Mutterings.
Buy It Here
Signed or not, here’s where you can buy the book.
What they say
“A near-future California where women outnumber men by a dozen or more to one and technology levels are sliding backward is the setting for Califia’s Daughters. A post-apocalyptic novel by Leigh Richards, it is the story of one remarkable woman, Dian, and a journey she undertakes to discover information that may be vital to the well-being of her home, a 300-soul community known simply as the Valley…. Califia’s Daughters is pure sociological SF. Technology is a vital consideration in the book, certainly—each little group of humans is somewhat defined by how much knowledge it has preserved. But Richards is more interested in how societies form and people get along. In Dian she creates a perfect guide to tour readers through her fragmented world, a heroine who is perfectly adapted to her uncertain times and circumstances.
Complex and satisfying, Califia’s Daughters delivers both as an action-adventure novel and a triumph of world-building.” (From SciFi.com) (Rated A, Editor’s Pick)
“What kind of civilization would we have without men? A short-lived one, for starters. How about a civilization where women outnumber men eight to one? That is the question Leigh Richards explores in her new book and science fiction debut…. Califia’s Daughters is about the nature of human society or, more accurately, the nature of several possible human societies, after such an apocalypse. These societies are surprisingly familiar. Whereas in our current society and history, it has always been men who have carried the burden of inflicting violence upon the world; in this new society, women are more than willing to take up the slack. Men themselves become an expensive commodity, requiring protection and incurring a burden for the women who are wealthy and powerful enough to know and/or possess them.
Califia’s Daughters is a fun-to-read adventure and a thought-provoking challenge to generally accepted ideas about what it means to be female. The characters come to life and leave the reader, at the end, wondering what became of them. It is well worth the time to read; and a sequel would be welcome.” (SciFiDimensions)
“In the not-so-distant future Richards envisions, women warriors guard their peaceful, self-sustaining California enclave, hunting, planting, harvesting, and keeping watch over the men and boys essential to survival after most males perished along with electric power and fossil-fuel-driven engines…. An engaging adventure in which Dian must make a hazardous journey to investigate the northern dangers.” (Booklist)
“Califia’s Daughters is set within living memory of the catastrophe, but only the very old remember such things as cars and televisions. The new cultures are already settling in, and political power centers are beginning to form… [and] the world is slowly rebuilding on old lines. Guns are around, though bows are more important, and the backdrop deals with the impending collision between an aggressive state led by Queen Bess and her repressive minions and a progressive, tolerant state based in Meijing (what used to be San Francisco). This book, though, is much more personal in nature and deals with the adventures of Dian, a mid-20s woman who is sent out on a mission that draws her into the conflict between Queen Bess and Meijing.
This, too, is clearly volume one of a series, and Richards has given herself a lot to work with — as well as delivering a solid, if sometimes slightly slow, piece of science fiction.” (Contra Costa Times)
“Inspired by the legend of Califia, an Amazon queen from whose name “California” is derived, King’s ["Richard's"] story is set in the future. Thanks to disease and warfare, the male-to-female ratio has been altered dramatically. The few remaining males are closely guarded by women warriors who realize civilization’s survival rests on how successful they are at protecting their precious mates.
Focusing on a community located in a sheltered valley somewhere in Northern California, the women in this futuristic tale must decide if they wish to accept some Oregon interlopers into their homes. Even though they make a priceless peace offering, the Californians can’t be sure the acceptance of this outside group won’t spell the end of their secure existence.” (Monterey County Herald)
Random House web page for “Leigh Richards”
LRK on: Califia’s Daughters
LRK on: Feminism
For a bibliography and Laurie’s suggestions to teacher and book groups, click here.