Perhaps the most convincing science fiction contains at least a kernel of truth. In this sense, Joanna Russ's novel "The Female Man" provides a convincing, yet fictional landscape by positing four parallel (simultaneously existing) versions of earth set in the " present" (1969, when the book was written), one of which is the real world as it existed at that time. In a parallel world dominated by males and still in the grip of the great depression, the main character is a mousy librarian named Jeannine. Janet is the main character in another parallel and utopian world where all men have died. In the last parallel world, the main character Jael is a female warrior with a male sex slave in a world where the sexes are literally at war. The cover illustration hints at the multi gendered quality of the " same" female character in all four worlds. The " what if . . . " motif played out by Russ points out the innate duality of every human. Russ's convincing portrayal in fiction suggests the possibility of real people leading lives in which gender identity shifts between male and female in various situations.