By way of following up on the Left-Handed Commencement Address thread.
I note that I am far from being the only person here who is both a feminist and a fan of science fiction! Because I love sharing the femSF love, let’s put together a list of our favourite novels, stories and writers. Don’t forget to say why you recommend them. Feminist works of fantasy and speculative fiction are more than welcome.
I’ll limit myself to three people in starting us off:
Octavia E. Butler: There are so many reasons to love Ms Butler. I can only read a bit of her writing at a time because she is just so good, so sharp, I have to stop constantly as I am just that overwhelmed. As such, I haven’t read any of her longer works, but I’m told that Kindred and Parable of the Sower will blow your mind. “Bloodchild” will make you rethink something you think you know about violence or reproductive justice or relating, so that’s my recommendation. I really don’t want to tell you the premise, because if you are reading it, you should head right into it. That said, it’s potentially triggering, so be warned.
James Tiptree, Jr.: Alice B. Sheldon wrote as Tiptree for a decade before she was unmasked. Not only did she challenge the SF establishment’s ideas about what women can write, she was huge in the American SF scene in the 70s and 80s. My rec is “The Women Men Don’t See” (here’s my review) because of not only the feminist content but the beautiful manipulation of the building blocks of story to feminist ends (particularly the confusion between narrator and protagonist). It’s a fabulous story about women who don’t want to be saved from the aliens, and a man who just doesn’t understand why they’re not fitting the narrative.
Ursula K. Le Guin: She has been one of the most popular SF/fantasy writers for decades. And, as Tlönista noted in the previous thread, it’s so, so good to have in the world a white writer who writes non-white characters properly, and not only that, but centres them in her universes. My favourite short story of hers is probably “Another Story” from the A Fishman of the Inland Sea collection, which is on time and culture and life and love. I am also very fond of Four Ways to Forgiveness, which is a suite of interconnected stories concerned with slavery and freedom. She’s really quite brilliant.
So what have you got for us?