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While hundreds of women published science fiction stories in the 1950s and earlier, it wasn’t until the 1960s—with its second-wave feminism (the first wave focused on suffrage and legal gender equality) and the sense that science fiction was a literature of ideas—that a large influx of female authors appeared on the scene.
It’s impossible to talk about female-written science fiction as a cohesive genre because, like their testosteroney counterparts, female authors write about a wildly diverse array of subjects in their own unique way and voice.
The book has been in print continuously since its publication in 1962, so apparently it wasn’t too difficult for children. Armageddon Cometh is the third book in the oddly-named Alien Species Intervention #6609 series, and has the freakiest cover in this list. Under the guidance of Netty, Abby concocts her plans to abduct the wildlife at the Big Cat Sanctuary in Sarasota.
They are the last survivors of their race, beings who live on and communicate through energy, who are capable of assuming the shape of any other species. This Hugo winner was cited as one of the top 50 science fiction novels of all time by Locus magazine (who hands out a prestigious award every year that’s just a little less recognized than the Hugo or Nebula). Often described as an excellent novel that just happens to take place on a space station, Downbelow Station is filled with realistic characters under incredible amounts of stress, living on a vulnerable but supremely important space station in the middle of a war. It’s been argued that Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is the first science fiction novel. It wasn’t until 1831 that the “popular” version was sold (which is probably what you’ve read). This isn’t a novel: it’s the wildly popular manga by Japanese artist and writer Hiromu Arakawa.
After their mother’s death, two brothers learn alchemy in order to research human transmutation—a forbidden taboo in which one attempts to create or modify a human being. Kindred involves time travel, so while being technically science fiction, it’s often shelved under ”literature” or “African-american literature,” due to the protagonist shuttling back into a pre-Civil War Maryland plantation.
It’s Carnival time and the Caribbean-colonized planet of Toussaint is celebrating with music, dance, and pageantry. Rogue Genesis is the first book in the Shimmer in the Dark series, Ceri London’s debut novel, and the single ebook-only entry on this list. In the passing of seconds on Earth, Major Niall Kearey has witnessed the birth and death of generations on Astereal.
Karen Joy Fowler is best known as the author of the best-selling novel The Jane Austen Book Club that was made into a movie of the same name. Sarah Canary, Fowler’s debut novel, involves a group of people alienated by nineteenth century America experiencing a peculiar kind of first contact. Shadow Over Avalon is a complex re-telling of the Arthurian legend, with a technologically advanced underwater civilization and primitive surface world.
As with several other books on this list, there’s a mix of fantasy and science fiction here. Shards of Honor is commonly considered the first book of the popular Vorkosigan Saga, a long-running space opera. It’s unique in that the book takes place before the main character of the series, Miles Vorkosigan, is even born. Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the most acclaimed writers in science fiction, having won four Hugo Awards for best novel, matching Robert A. Shikasta is the history of the planet Shikasta (Earth) under the influence of three galactic empires, Canopus, Sirius, and their mutual enemy, Puttiora. It draws on the Old Testament and is influenced by spiritual and mystical themes in Sufism, an Islamic belief system in which Lessing had taken an interest in the mid-1960s.
Starshine, the first book in the Aurora Rising series, smoothly weaves together multiple story lines with intrigue, murder, adventure and even a bit of romance. Author Pat Cadigan’s characters generally concern themselves with the blurring the line between reality and perception by making the human mind a real, explorable place.
Written in 1970 and published in 1975, The Female Man is a feminist novel that combines utopian fiction and satire. In the book, the character Joanna calls herself the “female man” because she believes that she must forget her identity as a woman in order to be respected. The novel follows the lives of four women living in parallel worlds that differ in time and place.
Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
Like all great dystopian stories, The Hunger Games features a society gone bad that attacks the good guy (or gal in this instance). Some critics have railed against the book’s brutality, but teenagers have always loved stories where other teens die violent, blood-soaked deaths (see: every horror movie ever made). Le Guin is a wonderful anomaly, a writer with grand philosophical attitudes who can communicate these attitudes while still writing a gripping tale. But then Verity Kindle, a fellow time traveler, inadvertently brings back something from the past.

Up the Walls of the World explores the possibility that telepathy and other psychic phenomena are real.
It considers the subject of sentience in different life forms inhabiting widely different environments: in computers and in a vast sentient inhabitant of deep space formed of a network of widely spaced nodes.
I am humbled by the inclusion of Starshine at #14 amongst so many revered science fiction authors, and you have my sincere thanks. I like the article, but do have to raise my eyebrows at the first sentence… call me skeptical, but I would have to SEE a list of at least 200 pre-1960 women sci-fi authors to really get on board with your opening statement. Dear publisher my name is venkatesh working as a librarian in jain a cambridge school hyderabad i want purchase some fiction books for above listed to our school library what is prosess kindly send the details. I missed that Willis and Lessing were on the list but I could easily recommend other books that I could place on this list. Mind you, it’s an impossible task, attempting to satisfy anyone with a list such as this.
I do however challenge the initial assertion that it wasn’t until the 60s that large numbers of women writers appeared.
I do prefer her short fiction to longer forms but she has written many books, she was a very prolific writer.
Come join 150,000+ followers on my Pinterest Boards, where I pin my favorite creative ideas! Five thousand years after a small number of survivors of the moon’s explosion took refuge on an international space station, their descendants contemplate a return to Earth. Harry D’Amour, the detective of the supernatural from Barker’s Books of Blood, faces off against Pinhead, the sadistic Cenobite from the Hellraiser series. A tantalizing selection of stories from some of the best female authors who’ve helped define the modern vampire. Taylor Anderson’s alternate history Destroyermen series continues as a game-changing conspiracy throws the hope of honor, trust, and survival into chaos. The Book of Phoenix is a work of magical futurism, a prequel to the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Who Fears Death.
The author of The Windup Girl delivers a near-future thriller that casts new light on how we live today—and what may be in store for us tomorrow.
The author of the Temeraire novels introduces a bold new world rooted in folk stories and legends.
Novelist, essayist, and blogger interested in fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal fiction. Czerneda has a passionate cult following who can’t get enough of her books, especially her humor and excellent treatment of aliens. When their youngest member is assigned to a world considered safe to explore, she is captured by the natives.
While separate and complete in themselves, they are part of a much larger tapestry—a future history spanning 5,000 years of human civilization. Shelley edited the book significantly, bowing to pressure to make the book more conservative.
In addition to being action-packed, it also focuses heavily on social problems, including the consequences of guerrilla warfare, the treatment of orphans, and the concept of equivalent exchange—to obtain something new, one must pay with something of the equal value.
Their attempt to bring back their mother fails and results in the loss of one brother’s left leg and the other brother’s entire body. Butler is a multiple-recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards and one of the best-known female writers in the field. She had to stop writing for six years due to a serious illness that prevented her from working. His mind shortcuts light years to visit a fantastical world of floating sky cities populated by telepaths. One character is Chinese American, another putatively mentally ill, a third a feminist, and lastly Sarah herself. As goofy as science-fiction King Arthur sounds, this book’s reviews are filled with accolades of great characters and tons of surprises.
Humanity has expanded into the stars, inhabiting over 100 worlds across a third of the galaxy.
They take images from the brains of performers, and turn them into a form that can be packaged, sold, and consumed. James (aka Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park, OBE, FRSA, FRSL) is the only life peer in the House of Lords on this list.
From 1951 to 1961 she wrote five novels, which publishers rejected because they seemed inaccessible (The Dispossessed isn’t one of those five). He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe.
She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read.

The Left Hand of Darkness examines sexless androgyny in a fascinating way (and this is from a guy that loves exploding spaceships). He’s been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop’s bird stump.
Now Ned must jump back to the Victorian era to help Verity put things right—not only to save the project but to prevent altering history itself. It sympathetically describes an attempt to invade the Earth by beings with advanced telepathic abilities from the planet Tyree. It is Sheldon’s skill to be able to write convincingly of the experience of beings in all of these settings. Sheri Tepper and Alice Sheldon (James Tiptree) were born 14 years apart in different parts of the US. If you're still not sure what to be for Halloween this year, get inspired with some awesome homemade costumes based on TV and movie characters from decades past. Find over 5,000 FREE Vintage Stock images, Illustrations, Old Pictures, Antique Graphics, Vintage Printables, to MAKE craft projects, collage, DIY, scrapbooking, etc! In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god—and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind—in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page.
To escape, she must violate the most important rule of her kind, and reveal the existence of her species to a fellow prisoner—a human being.
Many scholars prefer the 1818 version, claiming it holds true to Shelley’s original spirit. They spend much of the series searching for the legendary catalyst called the Philosopher’s Stone, a powerful object which would allow them to recover their bodies. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Fellowship, nicknamed the Genius Grant. Severe anemia, caused by fibroids as well as a vitamin D deficiency, led to financial difficulties and ultimately homelessness for two years prior to being hired by UC Riverside in 2011. To young Tan-Tan, the Robber Queen is simply a favorite costume to wear at the festival—until her power-corrupted father commits an unforgivable crime. Though thriving as never before, they have discovered neither alien life nor the key to utopia. This book is set in a world where new technology spawns new crime before it hits the streets. James describes a United Kingdom that is steadily depopulating and focuses on a small group of resisters who do not share the disillusionment of the masses. In the end, their encounters influence them to evaluate their lives and shape their ideas of what it means to be a woman.
She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable. It’s part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier. But, if you limit the list to 23 and 4 of them are current, you have to leave out a lot, especially when 2 of the slots went to Ursula K. Now her race is in danger of extinction, for even if the human does not betray her, the Enemy who has long searched for her people may finally discover their location…. In the first of many such instances, they are separated, both resurfacing some days later at an insane asylum. Earth struggles to retain authority over far-flung planets and free-wheeling corporations while an uneasy armistice with a breakaway federation hangs by a thread as the former rebels rise in wealth and power.
The line between technology and humanity is hopelessly slim; the human mind and the external landscape have fused to the point where any encounter with reality is incidental.
Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Anarres, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change. The London police investigates a series of mysterious murders that occur in the city’s underground tunnels. The victims—all hardened criminals—have four puncture wounds on their forehead, but none of these wounds were lethal.
Their escape from the asylum in the company of another inmate sets into motion a series of adventures and misadventures that are at once hilarious, deeply moving, and downright terrifying.

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