One of Tepper's better books, I think. And it even had a major male character without any major, horrible flaws to his humanity!
I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more if I hadn't read it directly after reading The Companions, however - it shares a lot of the same elements/themes (especially the concept of a sentient world-organism with separable, seemingly-independent parts that are actually part of the whole.)
Upon second reading:
In Six Moon Dance, Tepper introduces her readers to the world of Newholme - a colony world that has developed a unique way of dealing with the challenges that a new world has given them. In this strict society, where there are more men than women, with few exceptions, women are required to marry and bear children - but they are also socially powerful, and considered to be entitled to "compensatory joys" in the form of trained male courtesans. Unlike many feminist renditions of alternate societies, this one is very interesting, because its not simply a reverse situation, and its neither a utopia nor a dystopia - simply a different society with its own pros and cons.
On Newholme, we meet Mouche - a young man who is sold to a Consort training house due to his family's poverty, but who learns quickly to adapt and embrace his new situation.
Meanwhile, however, Newholme has come to the atttention of the Questioner - a bionic construct which exists to travel to different planets and ensure that they are adhering to certain ethical strictures. Together with a team that includes, strangely, two young ballet dancers, she sets off to inspect the situation on Newholme. But will it be the strict gender rules of their society that come under her surveillance - or have the people of Newholme been hiding something more shameful, and more strange?
The latter, of course, is the case, and the revelations that come are imaginative and interesting - but, at, times, I felt like the plot was getting a bit too complex, piling twists on top of twists, and packing too many different issues into a single book. It also gets a bit too unrealistically grotesque toward the end, with Nightbreed-like creatures who have been deformed in far-too-obviously-metaphorical ways. I enjoyed the novel, but I feel that it would have been a better book, structurally, if it stuck to the first plotline that was brought up - the society of Newholme, and the Questioner, without bringing in the multiple plot strands that appear later.