Feminist Science Fiction Bibliography Website

We add links as we find more interesting and fun SF sites and useful resources, so check back often. Please contact us if you would like to suggest a site of interest to SF scholars, writers, and serious fans. Provide the URL and a short description of the site, like those listed here. We do not use graphics or banners for sites.

Web Links Table of Contents

SF Writer Resources
College Programs in SF
SF Teacher and Scholar Resources
Science Fiction Awards
Science Fiction Magazines
Science Fiction Review Magazines and Websites
Important Anthologies and Scholarly Works
Fandom and More
Great Author Blogs
SF Artists
SF Conferences and Conventions
Other SF Links
Kansas SF Authors' Websites
Suggest-A-Link

SF Writer Resources

Writers seeking to improve their craft in the genres used to have only a few choices, as many university programs did not appreciate speculative fiction - or, in some cases, even consider it a valid form of literature. In response, professional writers created private workshops to help writers develop. Thankfully, spec-fic's days of living in the ghetto are past, but the intensive, non-degree workshops are still a healthy concern. Here are a few of the best, plus some links to markets for your work.

  • Author Information Center, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) resource center - go here first!
  • Alpha, the SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers.
  • Black holes, a fantastic "Critters" page that details response times for the various book and magazine publishers.
  • BrambleStory.com, a very cool Web site for writers - collaborate on, post, and critique stories, plus much more.
  • Brian Dana Akers' Learn to Write Web page, with many links to writing resources.
  • Clarion Writers' Workshop at UC-San Diego, perhaps the world's best-known speculative-fiction writing workshop. Six weeks of immersion.
  • Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, Washington, also six weeks.
  • Critters, a well-known online workshop with lots of great information for writers.
  • Gunn Center writing workshops for short and novel-length speculative fiction. Each is an intensive two-week program.
  • Film Script Writing - lots of great materials for film-script writers, including a free ebook.
  • The Market List, a great resource for finding markets for your genre work.
  • Odyssey, a fantasy-writing workshop.
  • Open Call: SF, Fantasy, & Pulp Markets, on Facebook. Lots of websites help you can find regular magazine submission information, but this Facebook group is useful in that you'll see indie presses, one-shot anthologies, and so forth listed in time to submit new and appropriate work by the deadlines.
  • Proper manuscript formatting, by Vonda N. McIntyre (NOTE: opens a .pdf).
  • Ralan.com, an excellent SF/F/H writing market site.
  • Science Fiction Timeline, a great historical overview of everything that has happened in human civilization.
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, SFWA's official Web site.
  • Submission Grinder, a fantastically useful (and free) resource for writers looking for markets:
    "The Grinder is a submission tracker and market database for writers of fiction (non-fiction and poetry coming soon!). Use our extensive and powerful search engine to find a home for your work. With new features being added periodically we hope to provide a permanent and stable home for your submission tracking."
  • The full list of the genre magazines published on the SFWA website. A fantastic place to find them all.
  • SFWA's qualifying market list. Sales to these qualify you for SFWA membership.
  • Webzines, editor Ellen Datlow's list of online SF magazines, regularly updated.
  • Viable Paradise is a one-week residential workshop in writing and selling commercial science fiction and fantasy.

Critiquing other people's work and getting yours critiqued in a workshop is valuable and allows you to see how well the various elements of your story work, and it shows you what kinds of things work well in others' stories, as well. But critiquing requires a special touch; check out James Gunn's essay on "How to Be a Good Critiquer and Still Remain Friends." I recommend it highly.

Whether or not you can make it to a formal writing workshop, we recommend that you read some books on the craft of writing. Here is a list of some great SF-writing books.

  • The 10% Solution[Amazon|Powell's], by Ken Rand.
  • Writing to the Point[Amazon|Powell's], by Algis Budrys.
  • Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You[Amazon|Powell's], by Ray Bradbury.
  • Characters & Viewpoint[Amazon|Powell's], by Orson Scott Card.
  • How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy[Amazon|Powell's], by Orson Scott Card.
  • Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Jeffrey A. Carver (opens his course outline page, free online).
  • World Building[Amazon|Powell's], by Stephen Gillett.
  • The Science of Science-Fiction Writing[Amazon|Powell's], by James Gunn.
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft[Amazon|Powell's] , by Stephen King.
  • Beginnings, Middles & Ends[Amazon|Powell's], by Nancy Kress.
  • Booklife[Amazon|Powell's], by Jeff VanderMeer.
  • Writing and Selling Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], by a variety of fine authors and editors, published by SFWA.

Looking for ideas or science & tech references? Here are some great sources:

  • Ray Kurzweil's website has his book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, available on KurzweilAI.net here (scroll down to see the chapters).
  • The newsletters from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
  • Bad Astronomy, perhaps the best astronomy blog.
  • CRACKED.com article, "6 Scientific Discoveries that Laugh in the Face of Physics."
  • Drexler's website has most of the content from his book, Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, available as a free download from KurzweilAI.net.
  • The Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence newsletter concisely covers relevant major science and technology breakthroughs in a daily or weekly e-mail (you can also read it online).
  • National Geographic online.
  • Popular Science article, "The Ideas And Breakthroughs That Will Shape The World In 2015."
  • The Science Channel's "Science's Greatest Discoveries: The Big 100" (a selection of the top 100 discoveries in 8 fields of study [.pdf]).
  • Science Daily, "Your source for the latest research news."
  • Scientific American online.
  • Space Elevators (Wikipedia article with tons of links to sources); also see the How Stuff Works article on "How Space Elevators Work."
  • Spaceflight Now, up-to-date news about spaceflight.
  • A great tech timeline.
  • A Tough Guide to the Rapture of the Nerds (Charles Stross' glossary on posthumanism).
  • Berkeley's Understanding Evolution website.

Back to top

College Programs in Science Fiction

Although a number of universities offer courses and minors in SF (sometimes called "utopian studies" or other non-SFnal terms to appease mainstream academic sensibilities), there are only a couple of full degree programs in SF:

Back to top

SF Teacher and Scholar Resources

Science fiction scholarship and teaching go hand-in-hand. In that spirit, this section (and this page in general) includes a wide assortment of links to websites that will help you find the information you need in order to confidently teach the subject.

  • Your best place to start is AboutSF.com, the resource center for speculative literature education, designed to serve teachers, researchers, librarians, and fans.
  • A Basic Science Fiction Library, maintained by CSSF. Librarians and teachers should start here when looking for important SF. Updated regularly, and includes links to online booksellers.
  • Audio interviews with science-fiction authors. A great way to hear interviews with your favorite authors, and a great resource for researchers.
  • Broad Universe, an international organization with the goal of promoting SF/F/H written by women.
  • The Bud Foote SF Collection includes first-edition scientific romances and utopias from the late 19th Century and most of the major SF novels of the 20th Century. Special features include first editions of David Brins major works (both in English and in translation) and a complete run of the Ballantine Fantasy Series.
  • The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies contains research copies of Bradbury's seven decades of correspondence as well as typescripts, galleys, and page proofs for most of Bradbury's major works, much of which has been compiled into a database.
  • CSSF Educational Program includes short and long-form speculative-fiction workshops, an Intensive Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction, and more.
  • Classic SF story archive - contains dozens of free stories; an online service from SciFi.com.
  • CSSF Educational Program.
  • Curriculum section of the SF Museum website, soon to offer SF curriculum for teachers.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac, The Other World - this new translation by Donald Webb is intended to make Cyrano's novel Internet-accessible to the general public in modern English.
  • Difference Engine, a science, science communication, and SF blog.
  • Extrapolation, an important scholarly journal, housed at the University of Texas at Brownsville. Founded in 1959, it was the first journal to publish academic work about SF.
  • Feminist F/SF and Utopian Literature, a great resource for scholars of feminist speculative fiction since 1994.
  • Femspec is a feminist journal dedicated to interdisciplinary SF scholarship, housed at Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University.
  • Foundation is the publication of the Science Fiction Foundation, founded in 1972.
  • Genrefluent describes its mission as, "your headquarters for information about Readers' Advisory and genre fiction for adults and teens."
  • The Heinlein Society places Heinlein's books in libraries, awards scholarships and grants to worthy young people, assists in disseminating translations, promotes scholarly research and overall discussion of his works, and much more. If you're a Heinlein fan or scholar or plan to teach Heinlein, check out their site!
  • The Internet Top 100 SF/Fantasy List, a list compiled using reader voting.
  • Wonderful Essay on Teaching Science Fiction, by SF Grand Master James Gunn.
  • LabLit.com - "The culture of science in fiction & fact." Great stuff!
  • Short list of SF-Teaching Sites for children and young adults.
  • More Science-Fiction Teaching Resources.
  • The NASA Quest website provides" interactive explorations designed to engage students in authentic scientific and engineering processes. The solutions relate to issues encountered daily by NASA personnel." A particularly fun SFnal exercise is Design a Martian - neat NASA site for kids and teachers.
  • The New York Review of Science Fiction.
  • Paul Brian's Course Materials for the Study of Science Fiction.
  • Reading for the Future is a "grassroots volunteer organization whose aim is to help young people develop a love of reading and intellectual adventure through the vehicle of science fiction, fantasy and other speculative fiction."
  • Science Fiction Resource Guide, a huge compendium of valuable and useful info on SF, SF authors, and so on.
  • Science Fiction Research Association's website contains much useful information for teaching SF.
  • Science Fiction Studies, founded in 1973, is housed at DePauw University. One of the major scholarly journals in the field; their website has a great resource page with many links to scholarly works on the Web.
  • Science News for Kids.
  • Science Fiction Reading List for Kids.
  • The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database is an online index to more than 60,000 historical and critical articles, books, news reports, obituaries, motion picture reviews, and other material about science fiction, fantasy and horror. Compiled by Hal W. Hall.
  • The SF Hub is a new research portal built and managed by the University of Liverpool, which offers an MA in Science Fiction Studies (note: .pdf) and maintains an excellent SF library. This fantastic resource "aims to facilitate research into science fiction and its related literary genres. The SF Hub is based on the wealth of research resources in the Science Fiction Collections of The University of Liverpool's Special Collections and Archives, including the renowned Science Fiction Foundation Collection. Our advanced search tools will enable you to find the resources you need amongst the extensive collections of books, journals, fiction magazines, fanzines, journal articles and archives at Liverpool University."
  • Smithsonian history of science and technology: This website has great coverage about the history of science. Check it out!
  • The Speculative Literature Foundation's mission is "To promote literary quality in speculative fiction, by encouraging promising new writers, assisting established writers, facilitating the work of quality magazines and small presses in the genre, and developing a greater public appreciation of speculative fiction."
  • Tales of Future Past, a great source for SF history and images.
  • Tangent Online, reviews of short and long SF.
  • Themes in science fiction, part of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls, and Graham Sleight. They have published the entire book online - check it out!
  • The Theodore Sturgeon website is the Official Site of the Theodore Sturgeon Literary Trust, and contains information about new and reprinted work by Theodore Sturgeon (the Literary Trust owns the copyright to his work).
  • The Theodore Sturgeon Page contains a great deal of information about Theodore Sturgeon, including publications, reminiscences by friends and colleagues, a bio, photographs, and more.
  • The University of Liverpool online science fiction library collection, a searchable database of their large SF collection.
  • Virginia Tech Online Speculative Fiction Project (VTSF), an effort to digitize selected holdings from the Herron Collection of Science Fiction in the Special Collections department at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
  • Webs of Wonder, a site to support websites dedicated to SF-Teaching Resources.

Back to top

Science Fiction Awards

Fan, professional, and scholarly organizations the world around give many awards for speculative fiction each year. Here are a few of the top awards in the field.

Back to top

Science Fiction Magazines

In addition to print, much speculative fiction is published on the Web - perhaps the majority. The number of original anthologies is also growing quickly; these are published by most large and small presses, with some small presses dedicated only to unique anthologies. Here's an abbreviated list of professional SF magazines with an online presence, plus links to sources with even more.

  • Abyss & Apex.
  • AE (submission guidelines)
  • Albedo One, Ireland's only SF magazine.
  • Amazing Stories - "The world's first science fiction magazine returns as a social magazine for fans."
  • Analog Science Fiction and Fact (submission guidelines).
  • Astounding's heir. Hard SF, essays, and more.
  • Apex (starting with June 2008 issue) (submission guidelines)
  • Asimovs Science Fiction (submission guidelines)
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies (submission guidelines)
  • Brutarian (submission guidelines)
  • Bull Spec (submission guidelines)
  • Cemetery Dance (submission guidelines)
  • Chizine (submission guidelines)
  • Cicada (submission guidelines)
  • Clarkesworld Magazine (submission guidelines)
  • Cosmos (submission guidelines)
  • Cricket (submission guidelines)
  • Daily Science Fiction (submission guidelines)
  • Dragon (submission guidelines)
  • EscapePod (submission guidelines)
  • Electric Velocipede.
  • Flash Fiction Online (submission guidelines)
  • Grantville Gazette (starting with May 2007 issue) (submission guidelines)
  • Highlights (submission guidelines)
  • The Infinite Matrix. Fiction, essays, and editorials - good stuff!
  • Interzone. Long-lived British SF magazine.
  • Lightspeed Magazine  (submission guidelines)
  • The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (submission guidelines). One of the cornerstone genre magazines that's been around since 1949.
  • Nature (submission guidelines)
  • Odyssey (submission guidelines)
  • Orson Scott Cards InterGalactic Medicine Show (submission guidelines)
  • The Pedestal Magazine (submission guidelines)
  • Ray Gun Revival. Golden-Age style space opera.
  • Redstone Science Fiction (submission guidelines)
  • Sci Fiction. Ceased publishing new fiction; however, the archives are still available.
  • The Science Fact & Science Fiction Concatenation
  • , the e-version of the Concatenation publication distributed at the UK national SF convention and European SF convention.
  • StarShipSofa, "The Audio Science Fiction Magazine," published as a series of podcasts.
  • Strange Horizons (submission guidelines)
  • . Fiction, poetry, reviews, and much more.
  • Subterranean Magazine
  • Tor.com (submission guidelines). The website of Tor Books includes a fine online magazine and pays top rates.
  • Writers of the Future Anthology (rules)

Back to top

Science Fiction Review Magazines and Websites

Speculative fiction has been a field for serious study since the 1950s - earlier for some, still not recognized by others. Here are a few that live online; others, such as Extrapolation, still only exist in print.

  • Anima Solaris, a Japanese science fiction magazine.
  • Best SF, a website that "aims to assist those seeking the best in short Science Fiction, in both printed form and on the web." Has a big "Best SF Gateway" that links to the best SF available online, plus lots of short-SF reviews.
  • Bookview, the review site of Kansan William Tienken.
  • Internet Book List, a book-listing and -reviewing project where readers can enter and respond to information about every published book. Its purpose is to provide a comprehensive and easily accessible database of books, because its creator "considers the Book to be humanity's greatest creation." Includes discussion forums, ratings, and much more.
  • The Internet Review of Science Fiction: the first serious online SF journal remains one of the best. Founded in 2004.
  • Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, founded in 1989, this is the interdisciplinary publication of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts.
  • Extrapolation, an important scholarly journal, housed at the University of Texas at Brownsville. Founded in 1959, it was the first journal to publish academic work about SF.
  • Foundation: the international review of science fiction, published by the Science Fiction Foundation.
  • Locus Online, website of Locus magazine. SF news, reviews, and resources.
  • The New York Review of Science Fiction, published by Dragon Press since 1988. Covers SF as a whole but draws its name from being housed in New York City and sponsoring local SF events.
  • The Sci-Fi Channel, website of the cable television channel dedicated to SF.
  • Science Fiction Weekly, a helpful link for current information in the world of SF.
  • Science Fiction Chronicle, website of SF Chronicle magazine. SF news, reviews, and resources.
  • Scorpius Digital Publishing, a great source for electronic books, specializing in SF/F/H.
  • SFRA Review, founded in 1970, is the publication of the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), the oldest professional SF scholarly organization. Published out of the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.
  • SFWA Bulletin, published by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), the worldwide professional organization for speculative-fiction writers, editors, and others in the field.
  • SFRevu, a monthly fan/webzine which features reviews of books, films, and other media, interviews with top authors and notable newcomers, and columns with the latest releases in books, DVDs, comics, and upcoming films. SFRevu covers SF/F from around the world.
  • SF Site, self-described "home page for science fiction and fantasy." SF news, reviews, and resources.
  • Speculative Fiction Review is a publisher and bookseller hoping to promote new SF authors by offering free and low-cost downloads. Includes reviews and a discussion forum.
  • SpecFicWorld.com, an online resource guide for speculative fiction fans and writers. Market lists, news, writer's resources, and lots of fee-based eBook and eMagazine downloads.
  • Tangent Online, the first and only short SF review magazine, now with long reviews, as well.
  • Torque Control, the blog of the editorial staff of Vector, the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association.

Back to top

Important Anthologies and Scholarly Works

By no means is this an exhaustive list of science fiction anthologies or scholarly books. However, it provides a good slice of what's available. The books listed below should be on any serious SF scholar's shelves.

  • Aldiss, Brian; and Hargrove, David. Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], 1986. Originally published as Billion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Atheneum Books, 1973. An essential work that traces the history of SF from Mary Shelley through the New Wave.
  • Aldiss, Brian; and Harrison, Harry. Hell's Cartographers[Amazon|Powell's], Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1975. Six engaging and illuminating essays by major authors from the Golden Age and New Wave periods of science fiction: Aldiss, Alfred Bester, Harry Harrison, Damon Knight, Frederik Pohl, and Robert Silverberg.
  • Amis, Kingsley. New Maps of Hell[Amazon|Powell's], Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1960. British mainstream literary writer Kingsley Amis' history and examination of the SF field helped the literary world accept the serious study of SF.
  • Bould, Mark; Butler, Andrew M.; Roberts, Adam; and Vint, Sherryl. The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Routledge, 2009. A comprehensive overview of the history and study of science fiction, covering major authors, movements, and texts, providing the critical and scholarly background for further work in the field.
  • Clute, John; and Nicholls, Peter, eds. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Orbit, 1999. A vast and comprehensive work covering 4,300 entries, including 2,900 authors. The authors have posted all of the content - which is regularly updated - online here. Bookmark it and return often.
  • Greenland, Colin. The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British "New Wave" in Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983. Examines the New Wave movement through the lens of Moorcock's tenure at New Worlds.
  • Gunn, James; Barr, Marlene; and and Candelaria, Matthew. Reading Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Anthology of essay by scholars and fiction authors that introduces the history, concepts, and contexts necessary to understand and teach SF.
  • Gunn, James. The Road to Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Scarecrow Press, 2002-2003. Gunn's 6-volume series provide a clear history of SF from Gilgamesh through current-day in context of chronologically organized anthologies, called "as definitive an SF anthology as one can obtain" by Publishers Weekly. The introductions to each volume - and each story - are alone worth the read.
  • Gunn, James. Inside Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's] (2nd edition), Scarecrow Press, 2006. Through two dozen short essays, Gunn shares what it was like growing up with SF from its roots through modern work; what it is and how it evolved; how to read, write, and teach SF; and more.
  • Gunn, James; and Candelaria, Matthew. Speculations on Speculation: Theories of Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Scarecrow Press, 2005. A superb collection of more than two dozen essays by major SF scholars, defining and exploring the genre.
  • Fowler, Karen Joy; Murphy, Pat; Notkin, Debbie; and Smith, Jeffrey D. The James Tiptree Award Anthology[Amazon|Powell's], Tachyon Publications, 2004-2008. This annual anthology collects the gender-oriented stories short-listed for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.
  • Hartwell, David. Age of Wonders: Exploring the World of Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Tor Books, 1996. One of the field's most prominent editors reveals the inner workings of SF subculture (fandom), spawned during the Golden Age of SF.
  • Hartwell, David. The Ascent of Wonder[Amazon|Powell's], Orb Books, 1997. Hartwell's definitive work on Hard SF.
  • Hartwell, David. The Science Fiction Century[Amazon|Powell's], Tor Books, 1997. An anthology that traces movements in science fiction, starting in the 1890s.
  • Kelly, James Patrick; and Kessel, John. Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology[Amazon|Powell's], Tachyon Publications, 2006. The editors define Slipstream as, "literature of cognitive dissonance and of strangeness triumphant," and this definitive anthology presents a number of fantastic examples.
  • Kelly, James Patrick; and Kessel, John. Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology[Amazon|Powell's], Tachyon Publications, 2007. Great anthology on the "geek fiction" that developed after the cyberpunk movement.
  • Kincaid, Paul. What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Beccon Publications, 2008. Kincaid's collected articles about science fiction, organized into a useful cognitive organization. Table of contents page here, with some articles available online.
  • Knight, Damon. In Search of Wonder: Essays on Modern Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Advent Publications, 1967. Knight, one of the first SF scholars and critics, presents a number of insightful and often incisive essays about SF.
  • Le Guin, Ursula. Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's]. One of the genre's most important authors is also an important commentator on the field. This book collects many of her talks, introductions, reviews, and articles, including the must-read "Science Fiction and Mrs. Brown."
  • Moskowitz, Sam. Explorers of the Infinite[Amazon|Powell's] and Seekers of Tomorrow[Amazon|Powell's], Hyperion Press, 1974. Two wonderful collections of author profiles by one of the genre's leading editors and critics who specialized on science fiction's pulp origins.
  • Panshin, Alexei and Cory. The World Beyond the Hill: Science Fiction and the Quest for Transcendence[Amazon|Powell's], Tarcher, 1989. A comprehensive and unique history of SF that discusses how the genre reaches into the mythic imagination and shapes society.
  • Pohl, Frederik. The Way the Future Was: A Memoir[Amazon|Powell's], Del Rey, 1978. A moving, insightful, and revelatory look at the cultural history of SF. Pohl was working on an updated version of this work, published serially as a blog at The Way the Future Blogs (excerpted in the May/June 2010 WLT print magazine), which earned him a Hugo Award.
  • Scholes, Robert; and Rabkin, Eric S. Science Fiction: History-Science-Vision[Amazon|Powell's], Oxford University Press, 1977. An influential work that examines the history of SF and science.
  • Sterling, Bruce. Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology[Amazon|Powell's], Ace Books/Berkley, 1988.
  • Suvin, Darko. Defined by a Hollow: Essays on Utopia, Science Fiction, and Political Epistemology - A Darko Suvin Reader[Amazon|Powell's], Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009. Darko Suvin's most-recent work, where he goes into depth about "possible worlds" of utopian narration. Important Russian SF scholar.
  • Suvin, Darko. Metamorphoses of Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Yale University Press, 1979. Explores Suvin's notion of cognitive estrangement, utopia in SF, alternative history, and much more.
  • Vandermeer, Ann and Jeff. The New Weird[Amazon|Powell's], Tachyon, 2008. The definitive anthology of the New Weird.
  • Vandermeer, Ann and Jeff. Steampunk[Amazon|Powell's], Tachyon, 2008. Fantastic anthology of Steampunk stories.
  • Watson, Ian; and Waites, Ian. The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories[Amazon|Powell's], Running Press, 2010.
  • Wollheim, Donald A. The Universe Makers[Amazon|Powell's], Ballantine Books, 1971. This collection traces the history of SF from Verne and Wells through the Golden Age, examining SF's themes and outlining the consensus future-history as envisioned by Asimov and Heinlein, among others.
  • Wright, Peter. Teaching Science Fiction[Amazon|Powell's], Palgrave MacMillan, 2010. A fine introduction to teaching SF, including history, critical approaches, and theory.

Back to top

Fandom and More

Speculative-fiction fans have, since the early days (see First Fandom), gotten together to share thoughts and opinions about what's going on in the genre - often quite passionately. Naturally, the internet has facilitated this conversation in powerful ways. Here is just a sampling of popular fan-related sites.

  • Ansible is David Langford's popular and long-running British fanzine, published since 1979.
  • Audio interviews with science-fiction authors. A great way to hear interviews with your favorite authors, and a great resource for researchers.
  • The Fandom Directory, a great source for all things SF-fannish.
  • Google's extensive list of science fiction sites.
  • i09 is an SFnal multimedia extravaganza!
  • Ik Wil Het Startpagina: Science Fiction, a portal site in Holland with a thorough collection of SF links.
  • Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society (aka "KaCSFFS"), the KC-area's biggest fan club.
  • LabLit.com - "The culture of science in fiction & fact." Great stuff!
  • Lawrence Science Fiction Club. Hosted by yours truly! Very active Facebook group, with a live-meeting component offline.
  • The Russian Science Fiction & Fantasy Web site, the largest and the most rapidly growing Russian SF-related Web site on the Internet.
  • Science Fiction Research Association, SFRA's Web site.
  • Science Fiction Writers of America, SFWA's Web site.
  • SF Lovers, a huge compendium of valuable and useful info on SF, SF authors, and so on.
  • SFSignal has reviews, interviews, podcasts, discussions, and more!
  • The Speculative Literature Foundation, which "promotes literary quality in speculative fiction by encouraging promising new writers, assisting established writers, facilitating the work of quality magazines and small presses in the genre, and developing a greater public appreciation of speculative fiction."
  • The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle is an interactive, media-rich experience that combines SFnal artifacts and information in an immersive museum. Recommended!
  • Tales of Future Past, a great source for SF history and images.
  • Wikipedia is the original open-source online encyclopedia about everything, and of course they have a thorough entry on SF.

Back to top

Great SF Blogs

Most speculative-fiction authors blog at least occasionally, so there's no way to list them all here. However, the blogs listed below are destinations for thousands - or, in some cases, tens of thousands - of regular readers, full of interesting content by fine authors who serve their readers every single day.

And here are some of the most-well-known SF blogs, very much worth following:

Back to top

SF Artists

Here is a small sampling of some of the most popular spec-fic artists; click the links to see some gorgeous galleries.

Back to top

SF Conferences and Conventions

Right now, somewhere in the world, SF professionals, scholars, and fans are gathering for a "con," an event celebrating the genre. Many are small or informal (regional conventions, local cons, media cons, "filk" cons, "relaxicons," and more), but major events take place somewhere every month. Many invite well-known writer, editor, artist, and fan guests of honor, plus entertaining toastmasters or emcees. Programming usually includes panels, presentations, and readings, plus art exhibits, booksellers, and much more. Larger, fan-oriented conventions usually include "filking" (fan music), gaming, author and actor signings, film screenings, a wide diversity of room parties, costuming and masquerades, dances, and much more. To truly understand the appeal of a con, you have to attend one. Here is a small selection of literary-focused cons; more to come! Click the links to visit the events' websites.

  • SF Site convention listing.
  • 1st Global Conference Artificial Intelligence: Exploring Critical Issues was in October 20-22, 2003, Vienna, Austria; this link details the project.
  • Campbell Conference & Awards. Lawrence, KS. Annual conference hosted by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. Includes scholarly discussions, readings, and the award ceremony for John Campbell Memorial Award (best SF novel) and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award (best short SF).
  • ConQuesT. Memorial Day weekend each year in Kansas City, MO.
  • Eaton Conference. Riverside, CA. Annual scholarly conference hosted by the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature at the University of California, Riverside. Includes awards.
  • FantasyCon. Nottingham, UK. Annual con hosted by the British Fantasy Society. Includes British Fantasy Awards (best spec-fic in all categories).
  • In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japan's Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage, conference on the king of monsters! The official conference ran from October 28-30, 2004, at Lawrence, KS, but the presentations began September 16. Visit the website for more information.
  • International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. Orlando, FL. Annual conference hosted by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, a scholarly organization "devoted to the study of the fantastic (broadly defined) as it appears in literature, film, and the other arts." Includes awards ceremony for Crawford Award (outstanding new spec-fic writer), Dell Magazines Award (undergraduate spec-fic), and other scholarly awards.
  • MidAmeriCon II. The World Science Fiction Convention for 2016! Kansas City, MO, August 17-21, 2016.
  • Nebula Awards Weekend. (Moves around the world each year). Annual conference hosted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; moves around the world. Includes panels, the SFWA business meeting, and awards ceremony for the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award (lifetime achievement), Andre Norton Award (best YA spec-fic), Bradbury Award (best dramatic presentation), Solstice Award (significance to the field), plus honors for senior writers as Authors Emeriti. 
  • Norwescon. SeaTac, WA. Annual convention serving the Pacific Northwest. Major, fan-oriented event that includes all aspects of a con from costuming through literary awards; hosts the award ceremony for the Philip K. Dick Award (best paperback SF).
  • Readercon. Burlington, MA. Annual conference devoted to "'imaginative literature,' literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called 'slipstream.'" Includes award ceremony for the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award (for a neglected author), the Rhysling Awards (SF poetry), and the Shirley Jackson Awards (for dark fantasy and psychological suspense).
  • Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Convention, July 6-8, 2007, in Kansas City. Celebrated the 100th anniversary of Heinlein's birth.
  • Science Fiction Research Association Conference. (Moves around the world each year). Annual conference hosted by the Science Fiction Research Association, dedicated to sharing research on spec-fic literature and film. Includes paper presentations, panels, and teacher "short courses," plus the awards ceremony for the Pilgrim Award (honors lifetime contributions to spec-fic scholarship), Thomas D. Clareson Award (outstanding service activities in SF), Student Paper Award, and Mary Kay Bray Award (best scholarly work in SFRA Review).
  • Spectrum Fantastic Art Live Show, Kansas City, MO.
  • Tricon. Cieszyn/Cesky Tesin, Poland/Czech Republic (border city). This year's Eurocon (the major European convention) will be hosted by Czech, Polish, and Slovak fans, uniting Eurocon, Parcon, and Polcon into "Tricon."
  • Utopiales Festival International Science Fiction Festival, Nantes, France, November 4-7, 2004, marked the beginning of the Jules Verne death Centennial year's celebrations.
  • WisCon. Madison, WI. Annual feminist science fiction convention. Includes award ceremony for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award (for spec-fic that "expands or explores our understanding of gender").
  • World Fantasy Convention. (moves around the world each year). The largest annual fantasy-oriented con, World Fantasy has a strong professional and academic focus on the literature. Includes award ceremony for the World Fantasy Awards (best fantasy in all categories).
  • World Horror Convention. (moves around the world each year). Annual convention hosted by the Horror Writers of America. Includes awards ceremony for Bram Stoker Awards (best horror in all categories).
  • World Science Fiction Convention. (moves around the world each year). Perhaps the largest yearly event in the SF calendar, Worldcon attracts readers, writers, artists, and everyone else from around the world to gather for a weekend of panels and readings, business and conversation. Includes award ceremony for the Hugo Awards (best SF in all categories) plus John Campbell Award (best new spec-fic author).

Back to top

Other SF Links

  • The Fandom Directory, a great source for all things SF-fannish.
  • Jeffrey A. Carver's SF links page, which includes SF resources and information about his novels.
  • GiveBooks.us offers a means for you to ship your SF books to our troops in Iraq at no cost. Check it out!
  • Google's extensive list of science fiction sites.
  • Ik Wil Het Startpagina: Science Fiction, a portal site in Holland with a thorough collection of SF links [Note: The site is in Dutch, but the links are self-explanatory].
  • John Campbell's Solar System: This site contains Campbell's full description of the Solar System, starting in the June 1936 issue of Astounding Stories. Fascinating reading.
  • The Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, KaCSFFS, is involved in many scholarly and fan activities. The organization runs Kansas City's oldest science fiction convention, ConQuesT, which is held on Memorial Day weekend in Kansas City.
  • KU's EGARC multimedia service center has a huge SF film collection - if you're KU student, staff, or faculty, you need to check it out (literally!).
  • Radebaugh: The Future We Were Promised, a funky and cool SFnal artshow, retro-1950s futurism.
  • The Russian Science Fiction & Fantasy website, the largest and the most rapidly growing Russian SF-related Web site on the Internet.
  • Spaceflight NOW, "The leading source for online space news." SpaceShipOne won the X Prize and anyone (willing to mortgage their home) will soon be able to fly into space. Keep track of things here.
  • The Speculative Literature Foundation, which "promotes literary quality in speculative fiction by encouraging promising new writers, assisting established writers, facilitating the work of quality magazines and small presses in the genre, and developing a greater public appreciation of speculative fiction."
  • The Science Fiction Experience, in Seattle, is an interactive, media-rich experience that combines SFnal artifacts and information in an immersive museum. Recommended! Now houses the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
  • Technovelgy.com "-where science meets fiction." A searchable database of science fiction inventions. Fascinating and thought-provoking stuff!
  • University of Michigan Fantasy and Science Fiction Pages.
  • Yahoo's extensive list of science fiction sites.
  • Wikipedia is the original open-source online encyclopedia about everything. Is it missing an entry? Add it! Did you find something wrong with an entry? Fix it!

Back to top

Area SF Authors' Websites

If you're looking for an author local to the area but they don't show up on the list, please let us know and we'll add them!

Back to top

If you would like to suggest a link to add to this page, please contact Chris McKitterick ( cmckit@gmail.com ).

updated 6/21/2016

Feminist science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction (abbreviated "SF") focused on theories that include but are not limited to gender inequality, sexuality, race, economics, and reproduction. Feminist SF is political because of its tendency to critique the dominant culture. Some of the most notable feminist science fiction works have illustrated these themes using utopias to explore a society in which gender differences or gender power imbalances do not exist, or dystopias to explore worlds in which gender inequalities are intensified, thus asserting a need for feminist work to continue.[1]

Science fiction and fantasy serve as important vehicles for feminist thought, particularly as bridges between theory and practice. No other genres so actively invite representations of the ultimate goals of feminism: worlds free of sexism, worlds in which women's contributions (to science) are recognized and valued, worlds that explore the diversity of women's desire and sexuality, and worlds that move beyond gender.

— Elyce Rae Helford[2]

History[edit]

Feminist science fiction (SF) distinguishes between female SF authors and feminist SF authors.[3] Both female and feminist SF authors are historically significant to the feminist SF subgenre, as female writers have increased women's visibility and perspectives in SF literary traditions, while the feminist writers have foregrounded political themes and tropes in their works.[3] Because distinctions between female and feminist can be blurry, whether a work is considered feminist can be debatable, but there are generally agreed-upon canonical texts, which help define the subgenre.

As early as the English Restoration, female authors were using themes of SF and imagined futures to explore women's issues, roles, and place in society. This can be seen as early as 1666 in Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World, in which she describes a utopian kingdom ruled by an empress. This foundational work has garnered attention from some feminist critics, such as Dale Spender, who considered this a forerunner of the science fiction genre, more generally.[4] Another early female writer of science fiction was Mary Shelley. Her novel Frankenstein (1818) dealt with the asexual creation of new life, and has been considered by some a reimagining of the Adam and Eve story.[5] In the same year, Mary E. Bradley Lane authored Mizora: A Prophecy, where women chemically synthesize food.[3]

Women writers involved in the utopian literature movement of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries could be considered the first feminist SF authors. Their texts, emerging during the first wave feminist movement, often addressed issues of sexism through imagining different worlds that challenged gender expectations. In 1892, poet and abolitionist Frances Harper published her novel Iola Leroy at the age of 67. It is known as one of the first novels published by an African American woman. Set during the antebellum South, the utopian fiction follows the life of a mixed race woman with mostly white ancestry and records the hopes of many African Americans for social equality during Reconstruction.[6] The novel addresses not only issues of gender, but of race as well. Two American Populist publishers, A.O. Grigsby and Mary P. Lowe, published a book, which explores issues of gender norms and structural inequality titled NEQUA or The Problem of the Ages (1900). This recently[when?] rediscovered novel displays familiar feminist SF conventions, which include a heroine narrator who masquerades as a man, the exploration of sexist mores, and the description of a future hollow earth society where women are equal.

In addition to NEQUA and other early feminist works, The Sultana's Dream(1905), by BengaliMuslim feministRokeya Sakhawat Hussain, engages with the limited role of women in colonial India. Through depicting a gender-reversed purdah in an alternate technologically futuristic world, Hussain illustrates the potential for cultural insights through role reversals early on in the subgenre's formation. Along these same lines, Charlotte Perkins Gilman explores and critiques the expectations of women and men by creating a single-sex world in Herland (1915).

During the 1920s and 1930s, much of the popular pulp science fiction magazines exaggerated views of masculinity and featured sexist portrayals of women.[7] These views would be subtly satirized by Stella Gibbons in Cold Comfort Farm (1932)[8] and much later by Margaret Atwood in The Blind Assassin (2000). As early as 1920, however, women writers of this time, such as Clare Winger Harris (The Runaway World, 1926) and Gertrude Barrows Bennett (Claimed, 1920), published science fiction stories written from female perspectives and occasionally dealt with gender and sexuality based topics.

The Post-WWII and Cold War eras were a pivotal and often overlooked period in feminist SF history.[3] During this time, female authors utilized the SF genre to assess critically the rapidly changing social, cultural, and technological landscape.[3] Women SF authors during the post-WWII and Cold War time periods directly engage in the exploration of the impacts of science and technology on women and their families, which was a focal point in the public consciousness during the 1950s and 1960s. These female SF authors, often published in SF magazines such as The Avalonian, Astounding, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Galaxy, which were open to new stories and authors that pushed the boundaries of form and content.[3]

At the beginning of the Cold War, economic restructuring, technological advancements, new domestic technologies (washing machines, electric appliances),[9]increased economic mobility of an emerging middle class,[10] and an emphasis on consumptive practices,[11] carved out a new technological domestic sphere where women were circumscribed to a new job description – the professional housewife.[12][13] Published feminist SF stories were told from the perspectives of women (characters and authors) who often identified within traditional roles of housewives or homemakers, a subversive act in many ways given the traditionally male-centered nature of the SF genre and society during that time.[3]

In Galactic Suburbia, author Lisa Yaszek recovers many women SF authors of the post-WWII era such as Judith Merril, author of "That Only a Mother" (1948), "Daughters of Earth" (1952), "Project Nursemaid" (1955), "The Lady Was a Tramp" (1957); Alice Eleanor Jones "Life, Incorporated" (1955), "The Happy Clown" (1955), "Recruiting Officer" (1955); and Shirley Jackson "One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts" (1955) and "The Omen" (1958).[3] These authors often blurred the boundaries of feminist SF fiction and feminist speculative fiction, but their work laid substantive foundations for second wave feminist SF authors to directly engage with the feminist project. "Simply put, women turned to SF in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s because it provided them with growing audiences for fiction that was both socially engaged and aesthetically innovative."[3]:22

By the 1960s, science fiction was combining sensationalism with political and technological critiques of society. With the advent of second wave feminism, women's roles were questioned in this "subversive, mind expanding genre".[14] Three notable texts of this period are Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) and Joanna Russ' The Female Man (1970). Each highlights the socially constructed aspects of gender roles by creating worlds with genderless societies.[15] Two of these authors were pioneers in feminist criticism of science fiction during the 1960s and 70s through essays collected in The Language of the Night (Le Guin, 1979) and How To Suppress Women's Writing (Russ, 1983). Men also contributed literature to feminist science fiction. Samuel R. Delany's short story, "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones" (1968), which won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1970, follows the life of a gay man that includes themes involving sadomasochism, gender, significance of language, and when high and low society encounter one another, while his novel Babel-17 has an autistic woman of colour as its primary hero and protagonist.[16] Octavia Butler's Kindred (1979) tells the story of an African American woman living in the United States in 1979 who uncontrollably time travels to the antebellum South. The novel poses complicated questions about the nature of sexuality, gender, and race when the present faces the past.[4]

Feminist science fiction continues on into the 1980s with Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale (1985), a dystopic tale of a theocratic society in which women have been systematically stripped of all liberty. The book was motivated by fear of potential retrogressive effects on women's rights. Sheri S. Tepper is most known for her series The True Game, which explore the Lands of the True Game, a portion of a planet explored by humanity somewhere in the future. In November 2015, she received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement for this series.[17][18] Tepper has written under several pseudonyms, including A. J. Orde, E. E. Horlak, and B. J. Oliphant.[19]Carol Emshwiller is another feminist SF author whose best known works are Carmen Dog (1988), The Mount (2002), and Mister Boots (2005). Emshwiller had also been writing SF for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction since 1974.[20] She won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2005 for her novel The Mount (2002).[20] This novel explores the prey/predator mentality through an alien race.[21] Another author of the 1980s, Pamela Sargent has written the "Seed Series", which included Earthseed, Farseed, and Seed Seeker (1983–2010), the "Venus Series" about the terraforming of Venus, which includes Venus of Dreams, Venus of Shadows, and Child of Venus (1986–2001), and The Shore of Women (1986). Sargent is also the 2012 winner of the Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to SF/F studies. Lois McMaster Bujold has won both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for her novella The Mountains of Mourning, which is part of her series the "Vorkosigan Saga" (1986–2012). This saga includes points of view from a number of minority characters, and is also highly concerned with medical ethics, identity, and sexual reproduction.

More recent science fiction authors illuminate injustices that are still prevalent. At the time of the LA Riots, Japanese-American writer Cynthia Kadohata's work In the Heart of the Valley of Love (1992) was published. Her story, set in the year 2052, examines tensions between two groups as defined as the "haves" and the "have-nots" and is written as seen through the eyes of a nineteen-year-old girl who is of Asian and African descent.[22]Nalo Hopkinson's Falling in Love With Hominids (2015) is a collection of her short stories whose subjects range from an historical fantasy involving colonialism in the Caribbean, to age manipulation, to ethnic diversity in the land of Faerie, among others.[23]

In the early 1990s, a new award opportunity for feminist SF authors was created. The James Tiptree, Jr. Award is an annual literary prize for works of science fiction or fantasy that expand or explore one's understanding of gender. Science fiction authors Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler initiated this subsequent discussion at WisCon in February 1991. The authors' publishing in feminist SF after 1991 were now eligible for an award named after one of the genre's beloved authors. Karen Joy Fowler herself is considered a feminist SF writer for her short stories, such as "What I Didn't See", for which she received the Nebula Award in 2004. This story is an homage to Alice Sheldon, and describes a gorilla hunting expedition in Africa. Pat Murphy won a number of awards for her feminist SF novels as well, including her second novel The Falling Woman (1986), a tale of personal conflict and visionary experiences set during an archaeological field study for which she won the Nebula Award in 1988. She won another Nebula Award in the same year for her novella, "Rachel in Love". Her short story collection, "Points of Departure" (1990) won the Philip K. Dick Award, and her 1990 novella "Bones" won the 1991 World Fantasy Award.[24]

Other winners of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award include "The Sparrow" by Mary Doria Russell (1996), "Black Wine" by Candas Jane Dorsey (1997), Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston (2011),[25]The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan (2012), "The Carhullan Army" by Sarah Hall (2007), Ammonite by Nicola Griffith (1993), and "The Conqueror's Child" by Suzy McKee Charnas (1999). All of these authors have had an important impact on the SF world by adding a feminist perspective to the traditionally male genre.

Eileen Gunn's science fiction short story "Coming to Terms" received the Nebula Award (2004) in the United States and the Sense of Gender Award (2007) in Japan, and has been nominated twice each for the Hugo Award, Philip K. Dick Award and World Fantasy Award, and short-listed for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. Her most popular anthology of short stories is Questionable Practices, which includes stories "Up the Fire Road" and "Chop Wood, Carry Water". She also edited "The WisCon Chronicles 2: Provocative Essays on Feminism, Race, Revolution, and the Future" with L. Timmel Duchamp.[26]Duchamp has been known in the feminist SF community for her first novel Alanya to Alanya (2005), the first of a series of five titled "The Marq'ssan Cycle". Alanya to Alanya is set on a near-future earth controlled by a male-dominated ruling class patterned loosely after the corporate world of today. Duchamp has also published a number of short stories, and is an editor for Aqueduct Press. Lisa Goldstein is another well respected feminist sf author. The novel Dark Rooms (2007) is one of her better known works, and another one of her novels, The Uncertain Places, won the Mythopoeic Award for Best Adult Novel in 2012.

Recurrent themes[edit]

Works of feminist science fiction are often similar in the goals they work towards as well as the subjects and plotlines they focus on in order to achieve those goals. Feminist science fiction is science fiction that carries across feminist ideals and the promotion of societal values such as gender equality, and the elimination of patriarchal oppression. Feminist science fiction works often present tropes that are recurrent across science fiction with an emphasis on gender relations and gender roles. Many elements of science fiction, such as cyborgs and implants, as well as utopias and dystopias, are given context in a gendered environment, providing a real contrast with present-day gender relations while remaining a work of science fiction.

Utopian and dystopian societies[edit]

Representations of utopian and dystopian societies in feminist science fiction place an increased emphasis on gender roles while countering the anti-utopian philosophies of the 20th century.[27] Male philosophers such as John Rawls, Isaiah Berlin, and Michael Oakeshott often criticize the idea of utopia, theorizing that it would be impossible to establish a utopia without violence and hegemony. Many male authored works of science fiction as well as threads of philosophical utopian thought dismiss utopias as something unattainable, whereas in feminist science fiction, utopian society is often presented as something both achievable and desirable.[28]

Anti-utopian philosophies and feminist science fiction come to odds in the possibility of achieving utopia. In "Rehabilitating Utopia: Feminist Science Fiction and Finding the Ideal", an article published in Contemporary Justice Review, philosophers against the dream of utopia argue that "First is the expectation that utopia justifies violence, second is the expectation that utopia collapses individual desires into one communal norm, and third is the expectation that utopia mandates a robotic focus on problem-solving." In feminist science fiction, utopias are often realized through a communal want for an ideal society. One such novel is summarized in the aforementioned article, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novel Herland, in which "Gilman perfectly captures the utopian impulse that all problems are solvable. She establishes a society where every consideration about a question aims for the rational answer."[28] Gilman's utopia is presented as something attainable and achievable without conflict, neither enabling violence nor extinguishing individualism.

In the Parable trilogy by feminist science fiction novelist Octavia Butler, anti-utopian philosophies are criticized via a dystopian setting. In the first novel, Parable of the Sower, following the destruction of her home and family, Lauren Olamina, one of many who live in a dystopian, ungoverned society, seeks to form her own utopian religion entitled 'Earthseed'. Olamina's utopian creation does not justify the use of violence as a means, no matter how expedient, to justify the end, achieving utopia, no matter how desirable. Yet we witness that she cannot avoid violence, as it results from little more than promulgating ideas different from those held by the majority of those living within the current social structure, however disorganized and ungoverned that social structure may be. Butler posits that utopian society can never be achieved as an entity entirely separate from the outside world, one of the more commonly held beliefs about conditions necessary to achieve utopia. Olamina's, and Butler's, utopia is envisioned as a community with a shared vision that is not forced on all within it.[28]

One common trend in feminist science fiction utopias is the existence of utopian worlds as single-gendered – most commonly female. In literary works female utopias are portrayed as free of conflict, and intentionally free of men. The single gendered utopias of female science fiction are free of the conflicts that feminism aims to eliminate, such as patriarchal oppression and the gender inequality inherent in patriarchal society. In a statement about these single gendered utopias, Joanna Russ, author of The Female Man , theorized that male-only societies were not written because in patriarchal society, male oppression is not as pressing an issue as is female oppression.[29]

Utopia as an ideal to strive for is not a concept wholly limited to feminist science fiction, however many non-feminist science fiction works often dismiss utopia as an unachievable goal, and as such, believe that pursuits for utopia should be considered dangerous and barren. Anti-utopian theory focuses on the 'how' in the transition from present to society to a utopian future. In feminist science fiction, the achievement of a utopian future depends on the ability to recognize the need for improvement and the perseverance to overcome the obstacles present in creating a utopian society.[28]

Representation of women[edit]

Perhaps the most obvious attraction of science fiction to women writers – feminist or not – is the possibilities it offers for the creation of a female hero. The demands of realism in the contemporary or historical novel set limits which do not bind the universes available to science fiction. Although the history of science fiction reveals few heroic, realistic, or even original images of women, the genre had a potential recognized by the women writers drawn to it in the 1960s and 1970s. Before this time, the appeal for women writers was not that great. The impact of feminism on the science fiction field can be observed not only in science fiction texts themselves, but also on the development of feminist approaches to science fiction criticism and history, as well as conversations and debates in the science fiction community. One of the main debates is about the representation of women in science fiction.

In her article "Redefining Women's Power through Feminist Science Fiction", Maria DeRose suggests that, "One of the great early socialists said that the status of women in a society is a pretty reliable index of the degree of civilization of that society. If this is true, then the very low status of women in science fiction should make us ponder about whether science fiction is civilized at all".[30] The women's movement has made most of us conscious of the fact that Science Fiction has totally ignored women. This "lack of appreciation" is the main reason that women are rebelling and actively fighting to be noticed in the field anyway.[31]

Virginia Wolf relates to this aspect of feminist science fiction in the article "Feminist Criticism and Science Fiction for Children". As she discusses the scarcity of women in the field, she states, "During the first period, that of the nineteenth century, apparently only two women wrote Science Fiction, Mary Shelley and Rhoda Broughton," and continues, "In the early twentieth century, a few women were successful Science Fiction writers". But, "The times changed. Repression gave way to questioning and outright rebellion, and in the Science Fiction of the 1960s stylistic innovations and new concerns emerged 'Many of their stories, instead of dealing with the traditional hardware of science fiction, concentrated on the effects that different societies or perceptions would have on individual characters'".[32] Andre Norton, a semi-well known analyst of Science fiction argues along these lines as well. As Norton explored one or more novels she came across, she realized that the creation of characters and how they are shown is a clear connection to the real world situation. From here, she goes in depth of characters in these feminist novels and relates them to the real world. She concludes here article along these lines. She wanted to get the idea out that feminists have a way to get their voice out there. Now, all their works are famous/ popular enough for their ideas to be let out. Virginia Wolf can attest to this fact. She introduced the idea that women were not represented well in the field till the early 1900s and added to the fact by stating, "Women are not represented well in Science Fiction".[32]:16

Individual characters, as we come to know, have their own perception and observation of their surroundings. Characters in novels such as The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale are fully aware of the situation at hand and their role in society. This idea is a continuation of the argument presented by Andre Norton. Wolf argues the same point in her analysis of Le Guin's writing, who has many contributions to the works of feminist Science Fiction. Wolf argues, "What matters to Le Guin is not what people look like or how they behave but whether or not they have choice and whether or not they receive respect for who they are and what they do rather than on the basis of sex. Feminism is for her not a matter of how many women (or characters in Science Fiction) are housewives but a part of our hope for survival, which she believes lies in the search for balance and integration".[32]:15 This stirs up many questions about equality (a debate which has been going on for many years) but nobody seems to have an answer. In this continual search for equality, many characters find themselves asking the same question: "Is Gender Necessary" (which is, coincidentally, one of Le Guin's novels and also another problem arising from gender biases). Robin Roberts, an American literary historian, addresses the link of these characters and what that means for our society today. Roberts believes that men and women would like to be equal, but are not equal. They should be fighting the same battle when in fact they are fighting each other. She also debates that gender equality has been a problem in every reach of feminism, not just in feminist science fiction. Wolf also tackles this problem, "As she explains in "Is Gender Necessary?", The Left Hand of Darkness convinced her that if men and women were completely and genuinely equal in their social roles, equal legally and economically, equal in freedom, in responsibility, and in self-esteem, ... our central problem would not be the one it is now: the problem of exploitation—exploitation of the woman, of the weak, of the earth' (p. 159)".[32]:13 Science fiction criticism has come a long way from its defensive desire to create a canon. All of these authors demonstrate that science fiction criticism tackles the same questions as other literary criticism: race, gender, and the politics of Feminism itself. Wolf believes that evaluating primarily American texts, written over the past one hundred and twenty years, these critics locate science fiction's merits in its speculative possibilities. At the same time, however, all note that the texts they analyze reflect the issues and concerns of the historical period in which the literature was written. DeRose introduces her article with, in effect, the same argument. She says, "the power of women in Science Fiction has greatly depreciated in the past few years".[30]:70

Gender identity[edit]

Feminist science fiction offers authors the opportunity to imagine worlds and futures in which women are not bound by the standards, rules, and roles that exist in reality. Rather, the genre creates a space in which the gender binary might be troubled and different sexualities may be explored.[1]

As Anna Gilarek explains, issues of gender have been a part of feminist discourse throughout the feminist movement, and the work of authors such as Joanna Russ and Marge Piercy explore and expose gender based oppression. Gilarek outlines two approaches to social critique via Feminist SF: the use of fantastical elements such as "invented worlds, planets, moons, and lands", used to call attention to the ills of society by exaggerating them, or a more straightforward approach, "relying on realist techniques to convey the message about the deficiencies of our world and its social organization, in particular the continued inequality of women".[2] There are many examples of redefined gender roles and gender identity found in Feminist SF, ranging from the inversion of gendered oppression to the amplification of gender stereotypes and tropes. In the short story "The Matter of Seggri", by Ursula Le Guin, traditional gender roles are completely swapped. Men are relegated to roles of athletes and prostitutes while women control the means of production and have exclusive access to education. In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, gendered oppression is exaggerated in a dystopian society in which women's rights are stripped away and fertile women are relegated to the roles of handmaids who will bear children to further the human race. New books continue the dystopian theme of women living in a society which conforms to the wishes of men, at the expense of women's rights and well-being, such as in Louise O'Neill's young adult novel Only Ever Yours. In this work, females are no longer born naturally but are genetically designed before birth to conform to the physical desires of men, then placed in a school in which they are taught not to think (they are never taught to read), and to focus on appearance until they are rated by beauty on a scale at age sixteen, with the top ten becoming the brides of elite men, the middle ten forced into concubinage, and the bottom ten forced to continue their lives as instructors at the school in very humiliating circumstances. At age forty, the women are euthanized. In the post-apocalyptic novel, Gather the Daughters, by Jennie Melamed, females living in an island society are sexually exploited from the time they are girls, are forced to marry at adolescence, and after they become grandmothers must commit suicide.

Over the decades, SF and feminist SF authors have taken different approaches to criticizing gender and gendered society. Helen Merrick outlines the transition from what Joanna Russ describes as the "Battle of the Sexes" tradition to a more egalitarian or androgynous approach. Also known as the "Dominant Woman" stories, the "Battle of the Sexes" stories often present matriarchal societies in which women have overcome their patriarchal oppressors and have achieved dominance. These stories are representative of an anxiety that perceives women's power as a threat to masculinity and the heterosexual norm. As Merrick explains, "And whilst they may at least hint at the vision of a more equal gendered social order, this possibility is undermined by figuring female desire for greater equality in terms of a (stereotypical) masculine drive for power and domination." Examples of these types of stories, written in the 1920s and 30s through the 50s, include Francis Steven's "Friend Island" and Margaret Rupert's "Via the Hewitt Ray"; in 1978, Marion Zimmer Bradley released The Ruins of Isis, a novel about a futuristic matriarchy on a human colony planet where the men are extremely oppressed.

In the 1960s and 1970s, feminist SF authors shifted from the "Battle of the Sexes" writing more egalitarian stories and stories that sought to make the feminine more visible. Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness portrayed an androgynous society in which a world without gender could be imagined. In James Tiptree Jr.'s short story "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?", women are able to be seen in their full humanity due to the absence of men in a post-apocalyptic society.[5] Joanna Russ's works, including "When it Changed" and The Female Man are other examples of exploring femininity and a "deconstruction of the acceptable, liberal 'whole' woman towards a multiple, shifting postmodernist sense of female 'selfhood'".[6]

Comic books and graphic novels[edit]

Feminist science fiction is evidenced in the globally popular mediums of comic books, manga, and graphic novels. One of the first appearances of a strong female character was that of the superheroWonder Woman, co-created by husband and wife team William Moulton Marston and Elizabeth Holloway Marston. In December 1941, Wonder Woman came to life on the pages of All Star Comics, and in the intervening years has been reincarnated in from animated TV series to live-action films, with significant cultural impact. By the early 1960s, Marvel Comics already contained some strong female characters, although they often suffered from stereotypical female weakness such as fainting after intense exertion.[33] By the 1970s and 1980s, true female heroes started to emerge on the pages of comics.[34] This was helped by the emergence of self-identified feminist writers including Ann Nocenti, Linda Fite, and Barbara Kesel. As female visibility in comics increased, the "fainting heroine" type began to fade into the past. However, some female comic book writers, such as Gail Simone, believe that female characters are still relegated to plot devices (see Women in Refrigerators).

Feminism in science fiction shōjo manga has been a theme in the works of Moto Hagio among others, for whom the writings of Ursula K. Le Guin have been a major influence.[35]

Film and television[edit]

Feminism has driven the creation of a considerable body of action-oriented science fiction with female protagonists: Wonder Woman[36] (originally created in 1941) and The Bionic Woman during the time of the organized women's movement in the 1970s; Terminator 2: Judgment Day and the Alien tetralogy[37] in the 1980s; and Xena, Warrior Princess, comic book character Red Sonja, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[38] 2001 science fiction TV series Dark Angel featured a powerful female protagonist, with gender roles between her and the main male character generally reversed.[39]

0 Replies to “Feminist Science Fiction Bibliography Website”