Another post from ages ago!
I’m still in contact with the science fiction club at the nearby university where I studied. Mostly, I’m friends with the older kids who will be graduating soon. Occasionally, I get dragged out of the grumpy old-guard box, dusted off and asked to help them out with something. This time around it was their Women’s Week celebration stall. They wanted to be able to recommend books pointing out that SF&F isn’t quite as alienating and misogynistic as it seems when your exposure is Game of Thrones, and The Avengers movie. This is a cause I can get right behind, so I agreed to turn up to provide stickers and a recommendations list of awesome books and comics about and by women.
Of course, I left it to the last minute, so the lists are rather rushed.
Speculative Fiction Books:
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
- Cards of Grief by Jane Yolen
- The Ladies of Mandrigyn by Barbara Hambly
- The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon
- Palimpsest by Cat Valente
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
- The Female Man by Joanna Russ
- Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre.
- Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
- Nylon Angel by Marianne De Pierres
- Synners by Pat Cadigan
- To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
- Grass by Sheri Tepper
- Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
- Mappa Mundi by Justina Robertson
- Dawn (Lilith’s Brood #1) by Octavia Butler
- The Snow Queen by Joan Vinge
- The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip
Comic Books (individual trades):
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
- Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue Deconnick
- Womanthology: Heroic (by various, organised by Renae De Liz)
- Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
- Hopeless Savages by Jen Van Meter
- Wonder Woman: The Circle by Gail Simone
Comic Book Series
- Birds of Prey v1 by Gail Simone, DC
- Powergirl by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Grey and Amanda Conner, DC
- Madame Xanadu by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley, Vertigo
- X-23 by Majorie Liu, Marvel
I did try for a variety of sub-genres and both explicitly and implicitly feminist books. I keep looking at it thinking it needs improvements, I mean it’s pretty much all white straight women, with a bend towards fantasy.
I’m not entirely comfortable with that.
My weak rationalisations: I was limited by trying to go for the ‘oh yeah, I’ve heard that mentioned before’ effect (especially in nerds) but not for a lot of super obvious stuff like J.K. Rowling. I also wanted to limit the amount of YA, going instead for 80s/90s books that have a younger audience, but predate the idea of the YA genre as defined by marketing. I’m also avoiding short stories, which takes away a lot of awesome stuff I’ve been reading. Uni students, even the SF and geeky ones around here, aren’t exactly the most well-read of creatures. I’d like to think it’s because they are too busy studying, but well… I can remember being a uni student.
Anyway, there’s a definite need for improvement. Hopefully if I’m asked again next year, I’ll be able to come up with something better. If nothing else, I’ll be more organised.
Suggestions for next time welcome! I’ll probably still be in contact with a few of the kids next year!