"The Power" by <span class="author">Naomi Alderman</span>

"The Power" by Naomi Alderman

"The Power" is a science fiction novel written by British author Naomi Alderman. It was published in 2016 and has received critical acclaim for its thought-provoking exploration of gender dynamics and power structures. The novel envisions a world where women develop the ability to generate electrical energy, leading to a shift in societal power dynamics.


"The Power" is set in the near future in various locations around the world. The novel explores how the emergence of a new physical ability among women, known as the "skein," affects different societies and cultures.

Narrative Style:

The story is presented in the form of a novel within a novel. It begins with a framing device where a male author, Neil, corresponds with a female author, Naomi, about a manuscript she has written, which is the main narrative of the novel. The central narrative alternates between multiple viewpoints and characters.

The Skein:

In this world, young women and girls develop the ability to generate electrical energy, often referred to as the "skein." They can use this power to harm, defend themselves, or even kill. The emergence of the skein leads to a radical shift in the balance of power between men and women.


  1. Gender Roles: The novel explores how the newfound power disrupts traditional gender roles and expectations.
  2. Abuse of Power: It delves into the consequences of the abuse of power, regardless of gender.
  3. Social and Political Change: The narrative examines the broader societal and political changes resulting from the shift in power dynamics.

Character Perspectives:

The novel follows the experiences of several characters, including Roxy, a young woman from a criminal family who embraces her newfound power; Allie, a young girl who starts a new religious movement called the "Cult of the Mother"; Margot, a politician who rises to prominence using her power; and Tunde, a male journalist who documents the changing world.

Impact on Society:

As women increasingly gain power, the world undergoes a transformation. The novel explores how women's roles in society change, how gender-based violence is reversed, and how power dynamics shift in both personal and political spheres.

Violence and Corruption:

"The Power" delves into the complexities of human nature and how individuals, regardless of gender, can be corrupted by power. It highlights the potential for abuse and violence when power imbalances are reversed.


The novel concludes with a sense of uncertainty and tension, as the world faces new challenges and uncertainties in the wake of the power shift.

Naomi Alderman's "The Power" is a provocative and thought-provoking work that has sparked discussions about gender, power, and societal structures. It offers a unique exploration of how a fundamental change in human abilities can lead to shifts in cultural norms and the potential for both liberation and oppression. The novel won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction in 2017 and has been widely praised for its imaginative premise and social commentary.