A few fellow History grad students and I (and two or three from various departments — Gender Studies, English) have cobbled together a science fiction reading group list for this fall and spring: mainly social sci-fi by female authors along with a few random gems by Ballard (The Drowned World), Silverberg (The World Inside), and Delany (Nova). I wasn’t going to buy any sci-fi books this semester. I promise. That is before we formed our reading group! So, I had to pick up the few works on our list that I didn’t already own.
What a haul!
1. The Drowned World (1962), J. G. Ballard
I love Ballard. His short stories…. High-Rise (1975)… I was so happy when The Drowned World appeared on our list!
2. The Female Man (1975), Joanna Russ
And Chaos Died (1970) is one of my favorite reads of the year so far. I’ve been extremely impressed with Russ’ prose — I can’t wait to read her masterpiece!
(The cover art is uncredited — it looks like Robert Foster? Right? I did a blog entry on Foster’s work and it’s very similar to the last one in the post…)
3. Doomsday Morning (1957), C. L. Moore
Again, another author I should have read a long time ago. One of the most important early female science fiction authors — she also co-wrote a substantial of novels and short stories with her husband Henry Kuttner.
4. Ten Thousand Light-Years From Home (1973), James Tiptree, Jr. (pen name Alice Sheldon)
James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon) was another important female science fiction author whose works I haven’t yet read. Unlike other female authors who often took pen names, no one knew she was woman until 1977… Other science fiction authors attempted to cobble together bits of a biography from her writings unsuccessfully — conclusions ranged from a macho male (Silverberg) to an unusually feminist male writer!
5. Walk to the End of the World (1974), Suzy McKee Charnas
I read a review of this work on Ian Sales’ SF Mistressworks blog and was intrigued. It wasn’t altogether positive but I’m intrigued by a feminist pre-Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale dystopic sort of future where women are increasingly subjugated. I’ve found that men often postulate these sorts of dystopic futures (John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar, etc) — perhaps in less negative terms. It’ll be interesting fodder for discussion at the very least…