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Ref: Sandra McDonald's periodic table of women in science fiction

Seen about LiveJournal, from people including Martha Wells, estara, flemmings, and umadoshi:

Bold the women by whom you own books
Italicize those by whom you've read something (short stories count)
Star those of whom you've never heard

(One could also handle books "edited by" the same way as "written by," but I'm not as aware of editor as I should be, in most cases.)

Andre Norton
C. L. Moore
Evangeline Walton
Leigh Brackett
Judith Merril
Joanna Russ
Margaret St. Clair
Katherine MacLean*
Carol Emshwiller
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Zenna Henderson
Madeline L’Engle
Angela Carter*
Ursula LeGuin
Anne McCaffrey
Diana Wynne Jones
Kit Reed*
James Tiptree, Jr.
Rachel Pollack*
Jane Yolen
Marta Randall
Eleanor Arnason*
Ellen Asher*
Patricia A. McKillip
Suzy McKee Charnas
Lisa Tuttle
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Tanith Lee
Pamela Sargeant
Jayge Carr*
Vonda McIntyre
Octavia E. Butler
Kate Wilhelm
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Sheila Finch*
Mary Gentle
Jessica Amanda Salmonson
C. J. Cherryh
Joan D. Vinge
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Ellen Kushner
Ellen Datlow
Nancy Kress
Pat Murphy*
Lisa Goldstein
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Mary Turzillo*
Connie Willis
Barbara Hambly
Nancy Holder*
Sheri S. Tepper
Melissa Scott*
Margaret Atwood
Lois McMaster Bujold
Jeanne Cavelos*
Karen Joy Fowler*
Leigh Kennedy*
Judith Moffett*
Rebecca Ore
Emma Bull
Pat Cadigan*
Kathyrn Cramer*
Laura Mixon*
Eileen Gunn*
Elizabeth Hand*
Kij Johnson
Delia Sherman
Elizabeth Moon
Michaela Roessner*
Terri Windling
Sharon Lee
Sherwood Smith
Katherine Kurtz
Margo Lanagan*
Laura Resnick*
Kristine Kathryn Rusch*
Sheila Williams*
Gwyneth Jones*
Ardath Mayhar*
Esther Friesner
Debra Doyle*
Nicola Griffith*
Amy Thomson*
Martha Wells
Catherine Asaro
Kate Elliott
Kathleen Ann Goonan*
Shawna McCarthy*
Caitlin Kiernan*
Farah Mendlesohn
Maureen McHugh
Cheryl Morgan
Nisi Shawl
Mary Doria Russell
Kage Baker
Kelly Link*
Nancy Springer
J. K. Rowling
Nalo Hopkinson
Ellen Klages*
Tananarive Due
M. Rickert*
Theodora Goss*
Mary Anne Mohanraj
S. L. Viehl*
Jo Walton
Kristine Smith*
Deborah Layne*
Cherie Priest
Wen Spencer*
K. J. Bishop*
Catherynne M. Valente
Elizabeth Bear
Ekaterina Sedia*
Naomi Novik
Mary Robinette Kowal*
Ann VanderMeer*

I was pretty tough with myself about the asterisks - if I could not not remember at least something about the name (in addition to the name itself), it got an asterisk.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
Never heard of Angela Carter? Huh...if anything I'd have thought she had a lot more overall name recognition in general than many of these ladies, as she's one rather like Atwood who's often read and studied by literary-fiction types that don't necessarily read much in genre...

(I can loan you a whole bunch of Carter! And some Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, and Elizabeth Moon...)
Jun. 6th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)

I can't remember why I read Atwood, so I'm not too shocked I haven't read Carter. Usually, the very notion that an author was "too respectable" for SF would be enough to send me in the other direction!

Due is mostly horror, isn't she? I would appreciate the Hopkinson, as I meant to try some of hers and wasn't sure where to start. Did you like Elizabeth Moon?

Jun. 6th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)
Well, you like Tanith Lee, so you might enjoy The Bloody Chamber -- Lee's named Carter as one of her big influences, and The Bloody Chamber definitely seems to have set the stage for the sort of dark, gothic, psychosexual retellings of fairy tales that Lee was doing in Red As Blood. (And there are some bits in Loveless that make me think of a rather haunting image from the title story...)

Due's done some straightup historical fiction and mysteries (in collaboration with her husband Steven Barnes), but most of her work is sort of off in that paranormal-to-horror side of genre; The Between was a very Twilight Zone-ish sort of hard-to-pigeonhole story with vague supernatural elements, The Good House and Joplin's Ghost involve hauntings, and her "African Immortals" series is a marvelously un-stereotypical take on vampirism. Even at her most extreme she's much less splattery than Poppy, so if you could handle Drawing Blood I don't think her work would be too horrific for you...and My Soul To Keep has some really welcome elements, like a professional, educated black couple who have been married for years and have children, yet still are clearly passionate about each other. (Although as the suspense rackets up, there are scenes with children in danger, which I know some parents find rather unbearable, so there is that possible concern.) I should loan you some more Poppy while I'm thinking about it -- I don't think you'd care for Exquisite Corpse but you might like Lost Souls and some of her short fiction. (Or at the very least, I think you'll like Steve and Ghost a lot even if the book as a whole doesn't click quite as well for you as Drawing Blood.)

I've only got the one Hopkinson so far myself (Midnight Robber), so I really don't know if that's the *best* place to start with her work, but you're welcome to borrow it!

Moon, I've only read the first three volumes of her Familias Regnant space-opera series -- I've not gotten around to trying the later volumes, and I bounced off her Deed of Paksenarrion high fantasy when I tried 'em a few years back, although I should really give them another go at some point, without a library due date breathing down my neck. But I did quite enjoy those three Heris Serrano novels -- they're pretty well-paced, focused on strong, competent older female characters, feature that sort of buddy-movie friendship growing out of a working relationship that is so rare to find between female characters, etc.; enjoyable page-turning light reading, and they absolutely pass the Bechdel Test.
Jun. 6th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
(Also, I suspect you might remember Caitlyn R. Kiernan's name if you joggle your brain a little -- she's collaborated with Poppy Z. Brite and was scripted the Sandman spinoff The Dreaming, so you've probably at least come across her name being mentioned via the Gaiman connection, even if you've not read her work...)
Jun. 6th, 2010 03:49 am (UTC)

Well, remember that Drawing Blood is the only Brite I've read - horror isn't usually my thing. (Despite the fact that both Gaiman and Tanith Lee have horror roots ... and despite my enjoyment of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.)

In fact, I did indeed remember her name - but not anything bout her.

Jun. 6th, 2010 10:29 am (UTC)
No Sherwood Smith and Sharon Lee? You're missing out!
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:05 am (UTC)

I know I ought to try reading some Sherwood Smith - I quite like the things I've been radon on her LJ, so I ought to give her fiction a chance.

What would you recommend I try by Sharon Lee? I remember noticing the Liaden things as they were coming out, and was unable to get past their seemingly pulpy aspect.

Jun. 7th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
Before I say anything about Sharon Lee, can you please describe what you have experiences as "pulpy aspect", because then I'll know if it's inherent in the whole series or a misunderstanding or just present in some of the books.

Sherwood Smith... well her most concise YA novel, which you will either like her tone for or not is also her most famous one Crown Duel - now out in a revised extended edtion as an ebook at Smashwords Crown Duel - and if you enjoyed it she also has the prequel (with a lot more detail on military education in Marloven-Hess at that time) about one of the main characters there.

Both books are available in print. But only the ebook edition of Crown Duel is the revised one with extra pov-fragments after the end.

She's done a lot of collaborations, but I do think her single work is her strongest - if you like a YA fantasy of manners with some romance there's A Posse of Princesses, if you like a powerhouse 26 year old heroine who has been raised in our world and travels into Sartorias-deles and her 50is mother ex-hippie you should go for Sasharia en Garde (two books).

Her current masterpiece epic fantasy is DAW's Inda series, starting with the book of the same name and being four fat books in all, set 800 years before the time of Crown Duel in Sartorias-deles. This is in its trappings clearly a quest fantasy and has major reverberations across the countries of that time period, with a big cast (but so well characterised that it works - the only thing to be hurdles are the naming conventions in the most important country which can be confusing with the nicknames and all) and tragedy and war and magic and pirates and ... just about everything, gay and lesbian relationships included and accepted.

The books are available in hc, pb and ebook.
Jun. 7th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC)

Eh, you've got me about Sharon Lee. Remember I haven't read anything by her. So I have no solid, real reason for what I just said. >facepalm<

I just did a few searches. Somehow I seem to have conflated the Liaden books in my memory with a lot of doubtful fantasy/SF publications that were coming out in the 1980s, many associated with D&D and similar games.

I think in the end, the main thing that kept me off them is that I knew a lot of people, both male and female, who read SF&F, and no one had mentioned them. There's a lot of lousy derivative fiction out there, so I rarely pick up new authors if I haven't had them recc'ed to me.

So now, you are recommending them?

(Thanks for the info on Sherwood Smith!)

Jun. 7th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
I recommend them if you know that you like space opera - because they're basically following the trials and tribulations of a family across thousands of years on starships and planets and what-ho. They also have a strong romance element as the very capable women are always paired with very capable men.

Liaden comes in several taste versions:

YA and not a bad place to start because the heroine is an outsider to most of the background and has to learn it herself are the two books about Theo Waitley: Fledgling and Saltation which give you a future earth-like heroine coming into contact with Liaden culture (having grown up on a university planet and having been taught to use academic reasoning and openeness toward new experiences).

Or if you want a YA one-shot there's Balance of Trade, a few thousand years after the Crystal sequence but a few hundred years before the current timeline - about a ship-born Terran trader boy who comes into contact with the Liadens who are the dominant traders of the universe and gets adopted there - at a time where Liadens otherwise don't have contact with Terrans.

If you like the epic space opera in a highly condensed form there's the universe and dimension spanning original background of the family at the focus of all the books and their world - Crystal Dragon and Crystal Soldier - of course those two books are the very earliest in the whole series.

The main series revolves around two pairs where the men are of Clan Korval, the maverick eminence grise behind Liaden (founded by the protagonists of the Crystal Sequence), one of them is the head and one is his cousin and second-in-command. There are around five books so far with this characters (the Theo Waitley books are connected here as well), there are three books about their parents and their courtship, but the first three books of that five-book-sequence are the original basis of Liaden written in the 80s.
Conflict of Honors, Agent of Change, Carpe Diem
As always with BAEN once you get into the webpages of the single titles you get big excerpts linked from there.

She's written some standalone stuff as well, and some fantasy with her collaborator and husband, but I haven't read that yet.
Jun. 7th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
You know, now that I think of it you might have confused her with Sharon Green, she wrote/writes pretty pulpy fantasy romances, but I used to read them like crack at some point.
Jun. 7th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
By the way Sherwood Smith has quite a lot of free short stories at Book View Café

And she's serialising the fourth book in the Wren YA series there, but that's probably not the best place to start that world.
Jun. 6th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
Is Pamela Dean not on this list? Weird. Anyway, Kelly Link is a short story writer, so that may explain why you haven't heard of her - she hasn't published any novels yet. But her short story collection Magic For Beginners is fantastic. I used to read aloud from it to friends at college until my voice went hoarse and I had to beg them to let me stop. Definitely check it out.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman is also pretty good. Her books are magical realism-ish with a Patricia McKillip dreamy feel to the prose.
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC)

You are correct - no Pamela Dean. Hmmmph!

Maybe I could get the short story collection for our trip at the end of the month. Usually I don't like short stories as much, but there are exceptions (Tanith Lee and Zenna Henderson, for example - on two totally different spectra!)

What's you favorite of the Hoffmans?

Jun. 7th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
I usually don't read short stories either but DAMN, her stuff is absolutely entrancing.

Well, I started with A Stir of Bones, but I think that's actually the last in a series of novels that starts with The Thread that Binds the Bones, which I haven't read. A lot of her stuff is kind of interrelated, I think. It's been a while, sorry.
Jun. 7th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
Seconding The Thread That Binds The Bones as a good place to start that particular series of Nina Kiriki Hoffmann - the recent release A Fall of Light was much weaker in my opinion.
Jun. 6th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
K.J. Bishop's "The Etched City" is freakishly weird! It's too bad that they don't count scifi manga, because I've been reading Takemiya Keiko's "To Terra" and "Andromeda Stories" lately and I've been impressed with how she really set the direction for the genre in Japan.
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)

Re The Etched City - but did you like it?


For some people, weird itself is a recommendation. I'm not sure I would like this book, because reviews of it keep bringing up China Mieville, about whom I have mixed feelings at best.

Are those manga available in English?

Jun. 7th, 2010 07:27 am (UTC)
BTW, since I know typos vex you greatly, whoever did the initial list y'all have been copy-and-pasting from has Tananarive Due as "Tanarive" and Jessica Amanda Salmonson as "Jessia".
Jun. 7th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)

Fixed that this morning ... arrrgggghhhhh, thanks. The worst of it is, several other people have picked up the meme from me, so error is propagating!

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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