Thursday 12 April 2012

Female Science Fiction Author Reading List

This post is in belated response to all the hoopla that comes up over and over again about female authors and awards, etc.  It goes along with the guest post I've done for Fantasy Cafe (which is now up, so go and check it out).  Unlike most of my reading lists, which are endcap displays at the store where I work, this was a list I put together for my blog, by walking through the aisles and writing down every female SF writer I could find.  I know I've missed a lot (as not all authors are still in print, some still use pseudonyms and so many authors are going the epublishing route nowadays), so feel free to mention other authors in the comments.

In the case of romantic SF, I'm linking to the list I did a few months ago and adding a few names here that aren't on that list.  And if you want Dystopian, check out the reading list I did for that.

I tried to categorized authors but apologize for any mistakes I might have made.  The only places I doubled names were to flesh out Time Travel and Alternate History and in one case Series (if an author wrote one of those as well as another category).

My hard SF list is purposefully small, as it's hard to judge the accuracy of the science and if the book revolves around a specific scientific idea without reading it.  So these are books that I'm pretty sure are hard SF, but I'm also pretty sure there will be hard SF books in my general SF category.

As you can see from this long yet incomplete list, there are a lot of women writing science fiction.  Seems a shame more of them aren't remembered come award time.

Hard SF

Nancy Kress - Probability Moon
Glynn Latner - Hurricane Moon
M. J. Locke - Up Against It
Syne Mitchell - Changeling Plague
Joan Slonczweski - Brain Plague

General SF

Ann Aguirre - Grimspace
C. L. Anderson - Bitter Angels
Margaret Ball - Disappearing Act
Elizabeth Bear - Dust
Lauren Beukes - Zoo City
Leigh Brackett - The Secret of Sinharat
M. M. Buckner - Watermind
C. J. Cherryh - Foreigner
Sara Creasy - Song of Scarabaeus
Julie Czerneda - A Thousand Words for Stranger
Marienne de Pierres - Dark Space
Diane Duane - Omnitopia Dawn
Jaine Fenn - Principles of Angels
J. M. Frey - Triptych
Nicola Griffith - Ammonite
Jane Jensen - Dante's Equation
Kay Kenyon - The Braided World 
Sharon Lee & Steve Miller - Fledgling
Ursula K. Le Guin - The Word for World is Forest
Doris Lessing - Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta
Karin Lowachee - Warchild
Anne McCaffrey - The Ship Who Sang
Maureen McHugh - China Mountain Zhang
Chris Moriarty - Spin State
Sheryl Nantus - Blaze of Glory
Andre Norton - Prison Ship
Diana Palmer - Morcai Batallion
Kit Reed - Thinner Than Thou
Justina Robson - Mappa Mundi
Joanna Russ - The Female Man
Melissa Scott - Trouble and Her Friends
Suzan Shwartz - Hostile Takeover
Kristine Smith - Code of Conduct
Wen Spencer - Tinker
Sheri Tepper - Grass
Karen Traviss - City of Pearl
Joan Vinge - Psion
Lynda Williams - The Courtesan Prince
Liz Williams - Banner of Souls
Phoebe Wray - Jemma 7729

Military SF

Lois McMaster Bujold - Cordelia's Honor
Tanya Huff - Valor's Choice
Jean Johnson - A Soldier's Duty
Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Moon - Sassinak
Sandra McDonald - The Outback Stars
Elizabeth Moon - Hunting Party

Romantic SF

Gini Koch - Touched by an Alien
Stephenie Meyer - The Host
Sharon Shinn - Jenna Starborn
Lisa Paitz Spindler - The Spiral Path

Kage Baker - In the Garden of Iden
Linda Evans & Robert Asprin - Time Scout
Kay Kenyon - Seeds of Time
Audrey Niffenegger - Time Traveler's Wife
Andre Norton - Echoes in Time
Marge Piercy - Woman on the Edge of Time
Connie Willis - Doomsday Book

Secrets of Jin Shei - Alma Alexander
Virginia DeMarce - 1635: The Tangled Web
Debbra Doyle - Land of Mist and Snow
Bernardine Evaristo - Blonde Roots
Sophia McDougall - Romanitas
Naomi Novik - His Majesty's Dragon
Ekaterina Sedia - Heart of Iron
Jo Walton - Farthing
Connie Willis - Blackout

Steampunk (part 1 and part 2)

Gail Carriger - Soulless
Phil & Kaja Foglio - Agatha H and the Airship City
Dru Pagliassotti - Clockwork Heart
Cherie Priest - Boneshaker
Ekaterina Sedia - The Alchemy Stone

Margaret Atwood - Oryx & Crake
Octavia Butler - Parable of the Sower
Suzanne Collins - Hunger Games
Nalo Hopkinson - Brown Girl in the Ring
P. D. James - Children of Men
Nnedi Okorafor - Who Fears Death
K. M. Ruiz - Mind Storm
Mary Shelley - The Last Man

Series Books

Karen Traviss - Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice, Halo: Grasslands, Gears of War: Anvil Gate
Diana Carey - Aliens: Cauldron, Star Trek TNG: Ship of the Line
Diana Dru Botsford - Stargate SG1: Four Dragons
Olivia Woods - Star Trek DS9: The Soul Key
Kristen Beyer - Star Trek Voyager: Children of the Storm
Christie Golden - Star Craft: The Dark Templar Saga

Authors mentioned in comments

Alma AlexanderSecrets of Jin Shei (alternate history), Random (YA)
Zoe Archer - Skies of Fire (steampunk)
Catherine Asaro - Primary Inversion (general, hard, military and romantic SF)
K. S. Augustin - In Enemy Hands (romantic SF with hard SF elements)
Jay Blakeney - The Goda War (general SF)
Marion Zimmer Bradley - The Colors of Space (general SF)
Meljean Brook - The Iron Duke (steampunk)
Pat Cadigan - Dervish is Digital (general SF)
Jayge Carr - Navigator's Sindrome (general SF)
Jo Clayton - Diadem From the Stars (general SF)
Michelle Shirey Crean - Dancer of the Sixth (general SF)
L. Timmel Duchamp - Alayna to Alayna (general SF)
Suzette Haden Elgin - The Communipaths (general SF)
Kelley Eskridge - Solitaire (general SF, short stories)
Sharon Lynn Fisher - Ghost Planet (romantic SF, out December 2012)
Eileen Gunn - Stable Strategies and Others (general SF, short stories)
Gwynith Jones - North Wind (general SF)
Shariann Lewitt - Momento Mori (apocalyptic/plague SF)
Louise Marley - Singer in the Snow (general SF)
Susan Matthews - Colony Fleet (general SF)
Judith Merill - Survival Ship and Other Stories (short stories)
Judith Moffett - "Surviving" (short stories)
C. L. Moore - Northwest of East (short stories)
Pat Murphy - There and Back Again (general SF)
Linda Nagata - The Bohr Maker (general SF)
Jane Palmer - The Planet Dweller (general SF)
Doris Piserchia - A Billion Days of Earth (general SF) 
Marta Randall - A City in the North (general SF)
Kristine Kathryn Rusch - Diving Into the Wreck (general SF)
Pamela Sargent - Starshadows (short stories)
Jody Scott - Passing For Human (general SF)
Tricia Sullivan - Someone To Watch Over Me (general SF)
Sue Thomas - Correspondence (general SF)
James Tiptree, Jr. - Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (general SF, short stories)
Kate Wilhem - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (general SF)
Karen A. Wyle - Twin-Bred (general Sf)
Pamela Zoline - "The Heat Death of the Universe" (short stories)

Websites to check out:

The Galaxy Express
SF Mistressworks
Daughters of Prometheus


Deborah J. Ross said...

Lots of great books by wonderful authors here. But neither Dani nor Eytan Kollin are female. They are brothers.

Jessica Strider said...

Ah, thanks. I checked a few of my authors (ones with initials) but I couldn't check them all. I assumed "Dani" was the female spelling (as I only know one Dani and she's female). Thanks for pointing this out. I'll remove them from the list. :)

Heather Massey said...

Great list, and thanks also for your one on romantic SF. I will be linking to these from my blog for sure.

To your list above, I'd add KS Augustin, particularly IN ENEMY HANDS (romantic SF; hard SF elements).

To steampunk: Meljean Brook - THE IRON DUKE and also Zoe Archer - SKIES OF FIRE.

Also, debut author Sharon Lynn Fisher has a forthcoming romantic SF called GHOST PLANET (12/12, Tor).

I could go on, but then I'd be here all night. :P

For those folks interested in a huge selection of science fiction romance books/novellas (most of which are written by women), I run a blog called The Galaxy Express where I cover this subgenre at length:

Jessica Strider said...

Thanks Heather, I've added your suggestions to the list. :)

Anonymous said...

No James Tiptree Jr? One of the great writers of short SF, and no mention here. SMH.

Ian Sales said...

SF Mistressworks has been reviewing books by women sf writers for over nine months and was shortlisted for the BSFA Award for Non-Fiction (it lost to the SF Encyclopedia).

A sister site, Daughters of Prometheus, which covers 21st century sf by women writers was started earlier this month.

Jessica Strider said...

@ Anonymous - Can't believe I missed her. She's now been added.

@ Ian - Great suggestions. I've added a segment with site lists at the bottom.

Karen A. Wyle said...

I didn't see a mention of Kelley Eskridge, who has written numerous short stories as well as the very impressive novel Solitaire.

And if I may add myself to the list: my novel Twin-Bred is sociological science fiction. (It addresses the question: can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb?)

Jessica Strider said...

Thanks Karen. I've added you both.

Will said...

I nominate Marion Z Bradley, Susan Matthews & Kristine K Rusch, for starters.

Sheryl Nantus said...

Thanks for the mention - sorry I missed you when I was in Toronto earlier but again - thank you!

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

Linnea Sinclair writes great romantic SF! Thanks for the list. Lots of familiar names.

Jessica Strider said...

@ Will - I didn't realize Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote SF. Thanks for that. I've added the authors.

@ Sheryl - Thanks for stopping by the store. You made a great impression on my co-workers. :)

@ Jody - Linnea Sinclair's on the Romantic SF reading list. I've heard a lot of good things about her books.

JC Jones said...

This is a great list. I just created a link to the post on my blog. I don't know how to add the link on the bottom of the comments so here is the link:

Carrie said...

I didn't see Catherine Asaro on the list. Did I miss it? I've only read Primary Inversion so far but she's a great writer!

Jessica Strider said...

@ JC - Thanks!

@ Carrie - Catherine Asaro's on the Romantic SF reading list, so I didn't add her to this one.

Candiss said...

This is a wonderful list.

I would add Kate Wilhem's WHERE LATE THE SWEET BIRDS SANG. It is the best and most thought-provoking book I've read tackling ideas about and implications of cloning.

Paul Novitski said...

Thanks for this great start, Jessica.

Among the writers I'd like to see added are Eileen Gunn, Pat Murphy, Pat Cadigan... argh, the list is long!

Ursula Le Guin spells her surname as two words, cf.

I'd like to question the format of representing each author by only one title when so many have produced so many varied works. By listing just one title, aren't we in danger of caricaturing writers of breadth?

If listing a single title is meant to epitomize an author's work, particularly in a feminist context, then I'd like to suggest Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness in favor of her (notably superb) The Word for World is Forest.

I look forward to watching this list develop!

Jessica Strider said...

@ Candiss - Thanks. I've added her.

@ Paul - I'm not trying to pick a definitive work for each author, I'm just picking one book as I don't have time to write out everything each author has written. I figure if readers are interested in an author, they'll find out what else she's written and choose a book that matches their tastes.

Thanks for the suggestions, they've been added.

Ian Sales said...

Off the top of my head: Gwyneth Jones, Justina Robson, Tricia Sullivan, Louise Marley, Jo Clayton, Doris Piserchia, Marta Randall, Jay D Blakeney, Shariann Lewitt, L Timmel Duchamp, MM Buckner, MJ Locke, Michelle Shirey Crean, Jody Scott, Suzette Haden Elgin, Sue Thomas, Janet Palmer, Susan R Matthews, Linda Nagata, Joan Slonzcewski, Pamela Sargent, Jayge Carr, Leigh Brackett, CL Moore, Judith Merril, Judith Moffett, Pamela Zoline...

Apologies for any you might all ready have listed.

Catherine said...

Jessica, my work is either hard sf or general sf. I very much appreciate the cross-over to the romance audience, but they are quite clear that they consider what I write hardcore sf and don't classify it as romance.

Marketing at my various publishers puts it under hard SF, space adventure, or more rarely military sf. Depending on your interest, I'd suggest one of the following

Primary Inversion: Hard SF
The Radiant Seas: Military SF
Spherical Harmonic: Hard SF or Mathematical SF
The Moon's Shadow: General SF

It always struck me as strange that works such as Primary Inversion, which depend on more hard science or mathematics than 99% of other SF books are often ignored in that aspect because they also include plot-lines that involve the emotions of human relationships. I mean, good lord, I had a paper published in the American Journal of Physics based on the relativistic science that I use in Primary Inversion.

Part of the reason I support and speak out about the interest that my books have stirred among romance readers is because the stereotypes about romance are never going to change unless authors who write other genres speak in support of the readers they have from other genres.

Best -- Catherine Asaro

Catherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica Strider said...

Gotcha. I've added you to the list.

R. A. Deckert said...

You're looking for alternative history? Add "Secrets of Jin Shei" and "Embers of heaven" to the list. Looking for Science-based YA? The new series under the umbrella title The Were Chronicles ("Random,", out now, "Wolf", out in May 2015, and "Shifter", later in 2015 or early in 2016)actually goes into the science and the genetics of Were-kind. ALl these books by Alma Alexander, who should be on this list.

Jessica Strider said...

Thanks for the comment, I've added Alma Alexander to the list.

In the bookselling context that I'm using here "series" refers to books based on movies, video games, TV shows, etc. In other words, books that often have different authors writing in someone else's created world. Forgotten Realms and Dragon Lance would be series books. Books by the same author that tell one story over several volumes are a series, but are shelved under their general category (science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, etc.). The use of the same word for different things has caused confusion in annoying ways, both for bookstore customers and staff.