This is the time of year for the "10 Best Books of 2005
," "The 100 Best Novels
," "A Hundred Science Fiction Books You Just Have to Read
," "21 Best Westerns
," and so on.
I thought I'd post a list you don't often see... feminist sf for everyone! This is neither an exhaustive list, nor a "best of" list. It's just what my feminist sf reading group recommended when someone asked recently for some good books to take on her vacation.
So here you have it: A list of feminist sf authors regular people have enjoyed:
Bear, Elizabeth: Hammered, and Scardown (the third volume in the trilogy is due out quite soon.)
Butler, Octavia: Fledgling New. A vampire story! The lead character is a 53-year-old vampire in the body of a 10 year old black girl, who starts the book with amnesia. (Octavia has other feminist books such as Xenogenesis and Kindred)
Carter, Angela: Nights at the Circus, and Passion of New Eve (a brilliant sci-fi/magic realist romp about Evelyn's unasked for sex change into Eve).
Charnas, Suzy McKee: The Vampire Tapestry (first and among the very best of the "modern" vampire stories); and Dorothea Dreams (quite simply stunning). Holdfast Series (classic feminist s/f: dystopian post apocalyptic patriarchies; utopian matriarchies)
Farmer, Nancy: Sea of Trolls (plot driven, ya book. Some interesting twists on Norse Mythology/culture, not exactly feminist per se but one of the main characters is a young woman who grapple with issues of gender, and eventually comes to terms with her identity.
Hand, Elizabeth: Mortal Love (Gothic fantasy, centering on the Kirstien, Rosemary: Steerswomen series (series of 4 so far, and there are supposed to be a total of 8 (7+ a prequel) by the time she's done. They read like fantasy [but are Science Fiction ultimately]).
Marley, Louise: Singer in the Snow. The Child Goddess. Terrorists of Irustan (a must read).
McKillip , Patricia: Alphabet of Thorn, Ombria in Shadow, In the Forests of Serre, Od Magic...(luminous, page-turning, beautiful thought-provoking pure fantasy).
Pierce, Tamora: The Empress of the World (Fluffy and fun, a continuation of the Circle of Magic series - they grow up a bit. Here there be lesbians. [yay! finally!])
Piercy, Marge: Sex Wars (historical fiction, not F/SF. Post-civil war era, and takes on the progressive reform issues, and has as characters Victoria Woodhull, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, among others). Pre-Raphaelites and the power of the muse in the life of an artist.) and Waking the Moon (she does dark gothic Slater, Lauren: Lying(Not SF, but you could call it speculative. Well-written, perturbing. Good food for SF readers and writers from the "literary" world.)
Slonczewski, Joan – A Door Into Ocean, Daughter of Elysium, The Children Star, Brain Plague.
Starhawk - The Fifth Sacred Thing, Walking to Mercury
Tepper, Sheri - The Family Tree, Grass, Beauty, and especially The Fresco, Gibbons Decline and Fall, and The Gate to Womens Country. Also Six Moon Dance and A Plague of Angels
Traviss, Karen: The World Beyond (very good indeed, but read the first two books in the sequence first: Crossing the Line and City of Pearl)
Waters, Sarah: Fingersmith (while not actually SF, is fabulous and nice and fat.)
Wren, M.K.- A Gift Upon the Shore (post apocalyptic tale of two women in Pac. NW and a neighboring community)
Gopnik, Adam: The King in the Window (young boy in Paris accidentally becomes the new King of Windows and Water. I'm recommending this book to everyone I know.)
Hartman, Keith: The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse and Gumshoe Gorilla. (They're part scifi part detective story - very hilarious. Great female characters.)
Ryman, Geoff: Air (The U.N. tests a technology that puts Internet in everyone's heads "for free". GREAT.)
Tiedemann, Mark: Remains (Private detective in space investigates the mysterious death of his wife in a dome "accident" meets a young brain-augmented (damaged?) immigrant girl…Immigration, power dynamics, recorded personalities, modular brains, schizophrenia, identity and gender politics.)
Wilson, Robert Charles: Spin ( balances fascinating science with character development).
Avid sf readers will perceive some notable absenses... Ursula Le Guin, Leah Carter, Maureen McHugh, Margaret Atwood, Samuel Delaney, James Triptee, and so on. An exhaustive site on feminist sf is: http://www.feministsf.org/femsf/
If you have any interest in this area at all, feminist sf.org is the place to go!