Aug 24 2009 7:02pm

Making Lists: Mindblowing SF by Women and People of Color

By now most people are familiar with the objections raised to Mike Ashley’s Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF and its all male (and most likely all white) contributors. There’s no need to rehash all of that again, but the debate and discussion surrounding the issue prompted me to write two blog posts soliciting science fiction genre readers considered mindblowing written by women or people of color. The response was about what I expected: commenters had no trouble naming both authors and specific works of fiction they felt were mindblowing or otherwise amazing.

As you’ll see, the lists are long. Very long. Some fantasy stories/novels and fantasy-only authors may have snuck in, but this is mainly just science fiction. Had I asked for a similar list of fantasy fiction, I’m sure it would be more than twice as long.

One of the best posts I read during the Mindblowing antho discussion was by Claire Light. She laid out, in great depth, how editors should be going about putting together reprint anthologies of this nature. It’s also good advice for any short fiction editor, be it of anthologies or of a magazine. One of the first steps involves going out and reading diverse stuff. But since someone always finds a way to claim that they just don’t know where to find such or who the women and/or people of color writing in the genre are, I hope that this list will go a long way toward alleviating that problem.

Short Works Mentioned

  • “The Sin Eaters” by Sherman Alexie
  • “Knapsack Poems” by Eleanor Arnason
  • “The Space Traders” by Derrick Bell*
  • “Redemption Deferred: Back to The Space Traders” by Derrick Bell
  • “Speech Sounds” by Octavia E. Butler
  • “Bloodchild” by Octavia E. Butler
  • “The Evening and the Morning and The Night” by Octavia E. Butler
  • “Congenital Agenesis of Gender Ideation” by Raphael Carter (a non-gendered author)
  • “Seventy-Two Letters” by Ted Chiang
  • “Tower of Babel” by Ted Chiang
  • “Division by Zero” by Ted Chiang
  • “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang
  • “Liking What You See” by Ted Chiang
  • “Driftglass” by Samuel R. Delany
  • “Time Considered as a Helix of Semiprecious Stones” by Samuel R. Delany
  • “Aye, and Gomorrah” by Samuel R. Delany
  • “In the Late December” by Greg Van Eekhout
  • “Solitaire” by Kelley Eskridge
  • “Etiolate” Craig Laurance Gidney
  • “Arkfall” by Carolyn Ives Gilman
  • “The Natural History of Ferrets” by Angelica Gorodischer
  • “The Old Incense Road” by Angelica Gorodischer
  • “Hopeful Monsters” by Hiromi Goto
  • “Slow River” by Nicola Griffith
  • “Ganger (Ball Lightning)” by Nalo Hopkinson
  • “A Habit of Waste” by Nalo Hopkinson
  • “Glass Bottle Trick” by Nalo Hopkinson
  • “My Mother, Dancing” by Nancy Kress
  • “Beggars in Spain” by Nancy Kress
  • “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • “The New Atlantis” by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • “Newton’s Sleep” by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • “The Rock That Changed Things” by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • “A Fisherman of the Inland Sea” by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • “The Birthday of the World” by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • “Paradises Lost” by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • “Maggies” by Nisi Shawl
  • “Deep End” by Nisi Shawl
  • “Good Boy” by Nisi Shawl
  • “Infinities” by Vandana Singh
  • “The Pretend” by Darryl A. Smith
  • “The Groove Runner’s Wife” by Tais Teng
  • “The Screwfly Solution” by James Tiptree, Jr.
  • “Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death” by James Tiptree, Jr.
  • “A Momentary Taste of Being” by James Tiptree, Jr.
  • “We Who Stole the Dream” by James Tiptree, Jr.
  • “L’oiseau de cendres” by Elizabeth Vonarburg
  • “Even the Queen” by Connie Willis
  • “Last of the Winnebagos” by Connie Willis
  • “At the Rialto” by Connie Willis
  • “Daisy, In the Sun” by Connie Willis
  • “Spice Pogrom” by Connie Willis
  • “Blued Moon” by Connie Willis

Also recommended

  • Patterns (collection) by Pat Cadigan
  • The Story of Your Life and other Stories (collection) by Ted Chiang
  • So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy (anthology) edited by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (anthology) edited by Sheree R. Thomas
  • Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (anthology) edited by Sheree R. Thomas

Novels Mentioned

  • Ring of Swords by Eleanor Arnason
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • Iron Shadows by Steven Barnes
  • Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
  • Xenogenesis trilogy by Octavia E. Butler
  • Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler
  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
  • Mindplayers by Pat Cadigan
  • Synners by Pat Cadigan
  • Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter
  • Hunter of Worlds by C J Cherryh
  • Cyteen by C J Cherryh
  • Voyager in Night by C J Cherryh
  • Chanur’s Homecoming by C J Cherryh
  • The Fires of Azeroth by C J Cherryh
  • Heavy Time by C J Cherryh
  • Stars in the Pocket like Grains of Sand by Samuel R Delaney
  • Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
  • The New Gulliver by Esmee Dodderidge
  • Age of Ruin by John M. Faucette
  • Life by Gwyneth Jones
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Lathe of Haven by Ursula K Le Guin
  • Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon
  • Blue Light by Walter Mosley
  • Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Body of Glass by Marge Piercy
  • Natural History by Justina Robson
  • The Female Man by Joanna Russ
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russel
  • Beauty by Sherri S Tepper
  • Silent City and In the Mother’s Land by Elizabeth Vonarburg
  • The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
  • Bellwether by Connie Willis
  • Passage by Connie Willis

Authors Mentioned

All of the authors of the works above plus those whose body of work was recommended in the posts.

  • Ali Smith
  • Andre Norton
  • Angelica Gorodischer
  • Anne McCaffrey
  • Audrey Niffenegger
  • Brenda Cooper
  • C J Cherryh
  • C.L. Moore
  • Carolyn Ives Gilman
  • Catherine Asaro
  • Chris Moriarty
  • Colson Whitehead
  • Connie Willis
  • Craig Laurance Gidney
  • Darryl A. Smith
  • Derrick Bell
  • Diane Duane
  • Eleanor Arnason
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Elizabeth Hand
  • Elizabeth Moon
  • Elizabeth Vonarburg
  • Eluki bes Shahar
  • Esmee Dodderidge
  • Greg Van Eekhout
  • Gwyneth Jones
  • Haruki Murakami
  • Helen Oyeyemi
  • Hiromi Goto
  • James Tiptree, Jr.
  • Jane Emerson / Doris Egan
  • Joan Sloncewski
  • Joanna Russ
  • John M. Faucette
  • Justina Robson
  • K.J. Parker
  • Kage Baker
  • Kate Elliott
  • Kathe Koja
  • Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Kelley Eskridge
  • Kelly Link
  • L. Timmel Duchamp
  • Leigh Brackett
  • Lois McMaster Bujold
  • M. A. Foster
  • Madeleine L’Engle
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Marge Piercy
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Mary Doria Russel
  • Mary Gentle
  • Melissa Scott
  • Minister Faust
  • Nalo Hopkinson
  • Nancy Kress
  • Nicola Griffith
  • Nisi Shawl
  • Nnedi Okorafor
  • Octavia E. Butler
  • Pat Cadigan
  • Raphael Carter
  • Rebecca Ore
  • Rosemary Kirstein
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Samuel R. Delany
  • Sherman Alexie
  • Sherri S Tepper
  • Steven Barnes
  • Suzy McKee Charnas
  • Tais Teng
  • Tanith Lee
  • Ted Chiang
  • Tobias S. Buckell
  • Vandana Singh
  • Walter Mosley

If there’s a mindblowing science fiction story, book, or author you feel should be included in the list, please say so in the comments. This list is by no means exhaustive or written in stone.

If you want to keep up with what women and writers of color are publishing in the genre right now, keep an eye on the Carl Brandon Society and Feminist SF wikis, where there are ongoing efforts to keep track of what’s being published.

The Bottom Line: There is no longer any excuse for editors (or readers) to not know who the women and POC writing notable science fiction are, anymore. Here we have writers of hard and soft SF, of far and near futures, of Earth and planets beyond. If you cannot find at least one story or one author from this list to include in your anthology, you’re not trying. At all.

Thank you to all of the people on The Angry Black Woman and Feminist SF: The Blog who contributed to this list. Interested parties should also check out the descriptions and discussions that went along with a lot of these recommendations, as they delve deeper into why they’re loved or considered mindblowing.

*This story gets my vote for the most mindblowing thing I’ve ever read. It should certainly be reprinted more often and included in anything labeled Mindblowing. Everyone needs to read The Space Traders, period.

K. Tempest Bradford is an African-American science fiction and fantasy author and editor who loves lists but currently has a severe distaste for putting things in alphabetical order.

Jeanette Marsh
1. Jeanette Marsh
Thank you for compiling this list - it has gone on my homescreen :) Since speculative fiction excells in many & extremely varied points of view, reading works by women & people of colour can & does enhance my reading experience :) Or in other words - more good authors 'nom, nom' !
Jo Walton
2. bluejo

Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go is a novel, not a short work. I reviewed it here earlier this year.

I don't know about Raphael Carter's ethnic identity, but if you were listing him under "women" you might want to reassess. She doesn't identify as a woman. He doesn't identify as a man either, incidentally.

(This reminds me of a game of "fictional dinner party" at Fourth Street where we threw gender balance out the window right at the beginning by starting with Therem Harth rem i'r Estraven.)
K Tempest Bradford
3. ktempest
arg, I knew that would happen. I tried to check the pieces I was unsure about, but one just had to slip through!

Also, Raphael Carter was suggested by someone who asked if differently gendered writers counted (not that exact phrase, but the Internet hates me checking...) and I figured there was no reason to say no :) When I can make edits (when I'm home) I will note that, though.
Jeanette Marsh
4. ninamazing
What about Octavia Butler's "The Book of Martha"? THAT BLEW MY MIND. Also it now has the added bonus of making one think of Martha Jones ...
Peter Hollo
5. raven
Great to see Justina Robson there.
I'd like to add:

Kathleen Ann Goonan - the Nanotech Quartet
--well and truly mindblowing and elegiac science fiction about nanotech, and equally about jazz music and African American history.
Goonan has written some short work, which is pretty excellent too - on the basis of these wonderful novels I'd say it'd be worth looking for short fiction from her for such an anthology...

Linda Nagata - Vast
--or The Bohr Maker. Both also about nanotech and biotech in some ways, but Vast is your typical mindblowing space opera, I'd think - huge canvas, chock full of ideas and larger-than-life (but well-drawn) characters.
I presume Nagata also ticks the box for POC. The only short fiction I've read was along the lines of "novel extract" I *think* but I'm not sure.
p l
6. p-l
This is indeed an excellent list. Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death is one of my favorite short stories of all time.

That said, I think we're doing Ashley a disservice by not attacking his justification head-on. He tried to deflect criticism, IIRC, by stating that he wanted stories of rigorous scientific extrapolation, with little or no emphasis on characters, relationships or emotions (besides "sensawunda").

That means that "Mind-blowing SF" is not the right title for the anthology. In a previous post I suggested


Suppose Ashley were editing an anthology with the same goals in mind but with that more honest title. Who would he solicit? Ted Chiang? maybe Elizabeth Moon? Linda Nagata sounds like a good fit, though I haven't read her. But one thing is certain: "Aye, and Gomorrah" may be mind-blowing SF (I thought so), but it's both too fuzzy and frankly too well-written for the kind of anthology Ashley was aiming for.

Some commenter mocked the actual ToC by comparing it to real mammoths: slow to adapt, going extinct, shambling, ponderous, etc. But there's a relatively huge audience who fit that metaphoric description, and there's reliable income (see: Analog Magazine) to be made off of appealing to them. How can we do so while maintaining a balanced ToC?
Pablo Defendini
7. pablodefendini
@ p-l #6
Taking on Mike Ashley is decidedly not what this post is about. This post is about coming up with POC or women writers and works which kick ass. The former topic has been done ad nauseam here and elsewhere on the internet. The latter moves the conversation forward in a positive way. So let's keep on topic, please, and keep the recommendations coming.
Mari Ness
8. MariCats
I'd like to add Tananarive Due to this list - I know she often switches genres, and I wouldn't classify anything I've read of hers as hard science fiction, but I really loved Joplin's Ghost.
Rose Fox
9. rosefox
Huh, I thought I'd commented earlier, but it seems to have vanished. Anyway, just wanted to add "All My Darling Daughters" to Connie Willis's section of the short story list; it completely blew my mind when I first read it, that's for sure.

Chris Moriarty's novels Spin State and Spin Control are also amazing and well worth including on the novel list.

Thanks for doing this! What a great resource.
rick gregory
10. rickg
Sigh... thanks a lot Tempest. I've read enough of the books off this list that now I'm thinking to myself "oh.. I wonder if the bookstore has..." The bookstore is only a mile away. And serves great coffee. I foresee more books - and I'm out of shelves. See what you've done??

I'll second the recommendation above for Spin State and Spin Control by Chris Moriarty and Justina Robson's stuff (if you really want your mind blown, read Living Next Door to the God of Love). And although Raphael Carter has only the one novel out, go read The Fortunate Fall - what a novel. Oh, and Murakami's "Hard Boiled Wonderland..."
Jeanette Marsh
11. Signless
Nancy Kress took a concept out for a ride in "Beggars in Spain" that really had me sitting back in wonder. Imagine genetically engineering children of the future that didn't need to *sleep*.

And I urge you to get Patricia Anthony on that list of yours! "Brother Termite" and "Cold Allies" are two prime examples of thought-provoking, disturbing, and *visceral* SF I've ever read.
Jeanette Marsh
12. DemetriosX
Although he's primarily a horror writer these days (when he writes something other than music anyway), S.P. Somtow/Somtow Sucharitkul (I think I got that right) wrote quite a bit of SF when he was starting out. He's probably more mindblowing as a horror writer, but a lot of his SF certainly went for sensawunda.
Jeanette Marsh
13. Deirdre Saoirse Moen
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler was the first book that made me cry.
Blue Tyson
14. BlueTyson
6 Unlike you, I imagine, I have read a chunk of the stories from said book, so your postulated title is complete rubbish.

Now, as to what PD said :-

Ilona Andrews
Aliette de Bodard
Lauren Beukes
Marianne de Pierres
Leanne Frahm
Sarah Hoyt
Sue Isle
Lucy Sussex
Yoon Ha Lee
Rosaleen Love
Phillipa C. Maddern
Maxine McArthur
Ruth Nestvold
Ekaterina Sedia
Janeen Webb

Madeleine Ashby
Amy Bechtel
Judith Berman
Beth Bernobich
Leah Bobet
Amy Sterling Casil
Tina Connolly
Alyx Dellamonica
Janet Kagan
Suzette Haden Elgin
Katherine MacLean
Elisabeth Malartre
Louise Marley
Julian May
Ardath Mayhar
Una McCormack
Maureen McHugh
Vonda McIntyre
Judith Merril
Judith Moffett
Jennifer Pelland
Selina Rosen
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Pamela Sargent
Melinda Snodgrass
Joan Vinge
K. D. Wentworth
Kate Wilhelm
Liz Williams
Sarah Zettel
Jeanette Marsh
15. Vylar Kaftan
Rachel Swirsky, Margaret Ronald, Eugie Foster, Ann Leckie, and Samantha Henderson.

Thanks for compiling this list.
Genevieve Williams
16. welltemperedwriter
Excellent list--with enough that I haven't read to flesh out my to-read list nicely.

Unless there's also a short work by that title, Slow River is a novel. And a damn good one, too...

I love Ted Chiang's work so much. Squee!
Michael Grosberg
17. Michael_GR
If there is something I learned from MindBlowingFail2009, it's that "mind blowing" means different things to different people. Take Delany for instance. The works that got a nod in the list are fine works - are in fact masterpieces - but I don't know if I can call Dhalgren "mindblowing". It's... just not the right adjective to describe a complex, recursive, confusing at times, feat of literary fiction.
But Delany's earlier works were more in keeping with that hard to define but easy to feel sense of wonder that I tend to associate with mindblowing SF. The convoluted time loop from "Empire Star"... the mind-altering language of "Babel-17"... The hyperstasis ship, piloted by direct mind-machine interface, hurtling into a supernova in "Nova"... Those literally blew my mind.

I would like to add a little aside. I have a few old anthologies in my library. One of them Is all about black holes - a very hard SF theme. It was edited by that vanguard of liberalism, Jerry Pournelle. Publication date? 1978. And you know what? Somehow there are still three stories by women in that anthology.
Jeanette Marsh
18. Jenn Lynn
These two authors were my earliest sci-fi reading and still favorites.

Sydney J Van Scyoc, Darkchild and sequels
Sylvia Louise Engdahl, Enchantress from the Stars (YA)

Thank you for compiling this list.
Beth Meacham
19. bam
"When It Changed" by Joanna Russ should be on any list of mind-blowing sf.

Though perhaps it's not so mind-blowing now as it was when it was first published. And that's a good thing.
Jeanette Marsh
20. Nancy Lebovitz
"The Snowball Effect" by Katherine MacLean

A Tiptree story whose title I've forgotten about giving people of good will the key to an uninhabited Earth-equivalent planet

The Between by Tananarive Due

Moonwise by Greer Gilman (fantasy's answer to James Joyce)
Jeanette Marsh
21. kelleyeskridge
What a wonderful list. I'm delighted to be included.

For the record, Solitaire is a novel. And in response to welltemperedwriter (#16), yes, Slow River (Nicola Griffith) is a novel too.
Jeanette Marsh
22. SnowdropExplodes
I think Joan Slonczewski's "A Door into Ocean" definitely belongs in the list.
Lisa Padol
23. LisaVPadol
Hm. I'd assumed I wouldn't be able to think far outside the box, especially with so many names already on the list.

I was at least a little wrong.

Off the top of my head:

Ellen Kushner
Delia Sherman
Catherynne Valente

Looking over my books:

Elizabeth Knox
A. S. Byatt
Nancy Springer (particularly Fair Peril and Dusssie, for my money)
Joy Chant
Esther Freisner
Diane Wynne Jones
Phyllis Ann Karr
Elizabeth Lynn
Naomi Mitchison
Pat Murphy
Jo Walton
Sylvia Townsend Warner
Blue Tyson
24. BlueTyson
Has Kushner ever written SF? I've never come across any.
Jeanette Marsh
25. megabooks
Great list, I would also add China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh
Jeanette Marsh
26. flenflan
"People of Color"? That's the stupidest appellation I ever heard. If I was black I would be extra-annoyed.
Jeanette Marsh
27. Scott Lynch
I recently had cause to go paging through the contents of a heap of old, old Amazing Stories issues, and if you want a name that was truly mind-blowing in a historical context, you can't leave out Clare Winger Harris, probably the first and certainly the most active woman SF writer of the mid-to-late 1920s. CWH wrote using her full name decades before most women writers (and their publishers) were generally comfortable with anything but initials or androgynous names.

There was another woman, whose name utterly escapes me... who wrote more in a *Weird Tales* sort of vein, under an androgynous pseudonym, and was about a decade older than CWH... CWH has the advantage of having been researched recently by yours truly. I am utterly failing to recall this other poor individual's name, only that the bio I scanned maybe ten years ago put forth the claim that she was literally the first woman in the 20th century to achieve success as a fantasist. I think I was researching something to do with Lovecraft at the time? Gah. Epic memory fail.
Jeanette Marsh
28. Spearmint
"People of Color"? That's the stupidest appellation I ever heard. If I was black I would be extra-annoyed.

But since you are not, perhaps you should find some manners and allow the people who actually are black label to themselves as they see fit.

Le Guin's "Solitude" should be in the short story list, and Vonda Mcintyre on the author list.
Jeanette Marsh
29. sugarwater
Excellent list. However, I didn't see Phyllis Gotlieb, and I certainly found her novel "Flesh & Gold" to be absolutely mindblowing.
Jeanette Marsh
30. sugarwater
Oh, and Alison Sinclair as well. She has a cycle of excellent scifi novels, two of which ("Legacies" and "BlueHeart") are unfortunately no longer in print.
Rob Munnelly
31. RobMRobM
Please don't forget the best one hit wonder in the early days of Sci-Fi, Wilmar Shiras. She wrote one great short story/novella "In Hiding," which perhaps is my favorite Sci-Fi short piece ever, and one great novel "Children of the Atom." Both are listed in collections of the best Sci-Fi works ever and are truly mindblowing, as required for this blog post. Rob

P.s. I also believe Children of the Atom is available for sale in the online site.
Blue Tyson
32. BlueTyson

Francis Stevens, presumably? Citadel Of Fear, Claimed, The Elf-Trap, The Heads Of Cerberus, etc. The latter which you could call SF.


Yeah, good one. :)
K Tempest Bradford
33. ktempest
@26 flenflan

What Spearmint said. And to add to it: People of Color encompasses many non-white ethnicities, thus the appearance on the list of Octavia Butler AND Ted Chiang and other various peoples. This is not the place to discuss it, but People of Color is an accepted term in our community and is a helpful umbrella word. It would get exhausting and ridiculous if I had to list every ethnicity every time I wanted to mention this list.
Jeanette Marsh
34. Corinne Duyvis
This is an amazing list; I have a lot of reading to do!

I do have to point out that Tais Teng is a white man, though. It's a pseudonym; his full name is Thijs van Ebbenhorst Tengbergen. Over here, he's a well-known author of Dutch spec fiction.
Elizabeth Bear
35. matociquala
This is a great resource, and thank you for compiling it. I'd like to suggest Shweta Narayan, Nisi Shawl, Aliette de Bodard, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, and N. K. Jemisin for additional reading--all awesome emerging writers who are women of color.

I'm not sure how much of their work would be considered "hard" science fiction, but I see Kelly Link on the list, so bolts and clockwork don't seem to be a defining characteristic.
Aliette de Bodard
36. aliettedebodard
Seconded on Shweta Narayan, and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz. I love their stuff.
Mary Robinette Kowal also writes great SF.
Dru Miller
37. Dru
Looking for the Mahdi, Faraday's Orphans by N. Lee Wood. The former for the most "mindblowing" of the pair.
Jeanette Marsh
38. Pete Jordan
Most of the holes I perceived have already been filled by commenters, but Tricia Sullivan belongs in the list of authors, I think, as do Josephine Saxton, Jody Scott, Zenna Henderson, Margaret Elphinstone and Rhoda Lerman. I'm sure I could add more if I scanned my shelves or pondered further. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, there's another.
Jeanette Marsh
39. Jacintha
Joan Slonczewski, "Brain Plague." Insanely good. Sentient one-celled organisms.

I think Stephen Barnes's "Blood Brothers" is his best. Beautiful and haunting on the characterization, brilliant language, light on the homophobia.
Jeanette Marsh
40. BooksonMars
Leslie F. Stone

(pseudonym of Leslie F. Silberberg, nee Leslie Francis Rubenstein; 1905-1991)

“Along with Clare Winger Harris, Stone was one of the first women writers to appear in the science fiction magazines, debuting in 1929. Her science fiction was most popular in the Thirties. She also published two SF novels. In addition to her science fiction, she published fantasy fiction in Weird Tales between 1935-1938. Her last story appeared in 1951.”
Rae Lori
41. SciFiRae
Very awesome list. I'm going to sticky this and start adding to my TBR pile.

Thanks so much for compiling this Tempest and to your wonderful commentators at TABW blog.

Rae Lori
Jeanette Marsh
42. Nephtis
To second names already mentioned:

Tananarive Due (I don't see her name often enough), Chris Moriarty, Justina Robson, Joan D. Vinge, Maureen M. McHugh (esp. China Mountain Zhang), Joan Slonczewski (both A Door Into Ocean and Brain Plague are excellent)

Didn't see mentioned:

Karin Lowachee is a Canadian author, born in South America. Her scifi novels, Warchild, Cagebird, and Burndive are very good

Kay Kenyon has written a lot of science fiction, and her latest The Rose and the Entire books are getting a bit of attention.

Lyda Morehouse - Archangel Protocol books
Jeanette Marsh
43. MarcL
Old school:

Mildred Clingerman
Margaret St. Clair.

Not quite as old school:
Craig Strete
Jeanette Marsh
44. EvanM
How could this list have gone as far as it has without any mention of Jane Yolen?
Jeanette Marsh
45. swithers
Just a quick observation - There's a fair few hugo and nebula winners in this list, so this is far from being a list of the obscure and unknown.
Jeanette Marsh
46. ShannonCC
Marta Randall. My absolute favorite by her was fantasy (Sword of Winter) but she also writes Sci-Fi. Heh, I just googled to see if she was still writing. Apparently she was the first female president of the Science Fiction Writers of America.
Cassandra Phillips-Sears
47. cphillips-sears
Tempest--hi, we met at Readercon. I'm glad to see you posting on!

I think I'm going to pick some of these authors to read in greater depth, and perhaps make recommendations from this list to the lj sf reading group I'm on. Thanks for such a useful resource.

It's also lovely to see L. Timmel Duchamp's name on the list. I stumbled across her website a few years ago and was pleased to be able to thank her in person a few years ago when we met, but half the people I recommend her work to have never heard of her.
rick gregory
48. rickg
Ran across one I can't believe I forgot earlier. CS Friedman. Specifically, This Alien Shore.
K Tempest Bradford
49. ktempest
swithers @ 45

no one said that it was.
Jeanette Marsh
50. yatima
Susan Palwick! Shelter, The Necessary Beggar and Flying in Place are all just great.
Jeanette Marsh
51. HValli
You know, I did an essay in high school about the rise of female science fiction authors. It started out with the relatively few known female SF authors in the 40s and 50s, and went on to cover the considerably larger number available to readers at the time I wrote it. In 1983. Twenty-six years later and Ashley still hasn't caught up with the genre awareness of a 15 year old? That's beyond sad.
Pablo Defendini
52. pablodefendini
@ HValli #51:
See my comment @7 above, please.
Jeanette Marsh
53. F. Brett Cox
I'd like very much to call attention to the stories by writers of color that Andy Duncan and I included in our anthology _Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic_ (Tor, 2004): "A Plate of Mojo" by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, "The Moon and the Stars" by Marian Carcache, "Alabama" by Kalamu ya Salaam, "Tchoupitoulas Bus Stop" by Lynn Pitts, and "The Mikado's Favorite Song" by Marian Moore. All five stories were original to the volume, and the stories by Pitts and Moore were the authors' first professional fiction sales.
Jeanette Marsh
54. Minro
Good job not coming up with any interesting or new authors. These are the same people that get into every collection, the same people that render controversies like the one mentioned so utterly ridiculous. Also people need to stop attempting to censor Ashley.
Katherine Olson
55. kayjayoh
Minro @ 54

Leaving aside your witless sarcasm about new or interesting authors, how on earth could this list be considered an attempt to "censor Ashley". Do you even know what that word means?
Jeanette Marsh
56. Alexandra Wolfe
Great list!

Love to see some familiar names in there, and then some not so familiar. But this list is a long way from being complete. What about Pamela Sargeant, Tanya Huff, and Lynn Abbey? :)
Bob Blough
57. Bob
I see no mention of Vonda McIntyre. I'm re-reading her collection Fireflood and Other Stories now and it is as brilliant as I remembered - and also her novels Dreamsnake and Superluminal.
One completely forgotton novel (or so it seems to me - I never see it on these type of lists - unless I add it) is Halfway Human by Carolyn Ives Gillman. It had an ephemeral paperback printing in the 90's and seemed to disappear from sight. Too bad, I thought it was an excellent novel.

Also Of Love and Monsters by Vandana Singh (and her new collection The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet) as well as Kelley Eskridge's collection Dangerous Space - with that glorious title novella.
Jeanette Marsh
58. Minro
kayjayoh @55

The list is not attempting censorship; the busybodies who are second-guessing Ashley's work in an attempt to appear progressive are. The post makes mention of this.

Further, there was no sarcasm attempted. The list is mostly of names that are easily attainable in any new bookstore with a decent SF/Fantasy section. I was hoping for more interesting material, is all.
Jeanette Marsh
59. pilanian
Lisa Tuttle missing from the list.

Remember _Windhaven_ by George RR Martin and Lisa Tuttle.

I understand she wrote other books as well.
Katherine Olson
60. kayjayoh
"The list is not attempting censorship; the busybodies who are second-guessing Ashley's work in an attempt to appear progressive are. The post makes mention of this."

Second-guessing someone's work =/= censoring. Again, do you know the meaning of the word?
Jeanette Marsh
61. LauraJMixon
Lots of good suggestions here! For completeness's sake, here are some more wonderful women writers whose works I enjoy (including a couple I believe are also poc):

CL Moore wrote the Jirel of Joiry series and I thought they were terrific. (oops; she's been listed already. Anyway, I second the reco)


Emma Bull's works are also delightful. I highly recommend her books WAR FOR THE OAKS, TERRITORY, BONE DANCE, and FINDER.

Sage Walker's WHITEOUT is an excellent book -- it won the Locus award for best first novel.

Melinda Snodgrass's THE EDGE OF REASON is a fantasy that turns the rules upside down -- very much worth a read.

Brenda Clough's works are definitely worth reading as well.

Cecilia Tan writes erotic SF and fantasy.

Jo Clayton's DIADEM series.

Susan Shwartz's works.

Judith Tarr.

Finally, based on a little poking around (thank you intarwebs), Francis Stevens and Clare Winger Harris are both cited as being important early female writers of SF. I have decided I must check them out as well.

As for writers who are men of color, I must confess I'm less well educated. I've read some of the authors listed above, as well as a couple of Latin American writers (Borges and Garcia Marquez). I'd love to see some more recommendations, if anyone has any.
Jeanette Marsh
62. LauraJMixon
And omg, Martha Wells. If you haven't read her ELEMENT OF FIRE series, run do not walk to the nearest bookstore to get it.
Jeanette Marsh
63. Shara S. White
I'd like to second Karin Lowachee's name: her WARCHILD remains one of my most favorite pieces of space opera I've ever read and it still haunts me. It breaks my heart that it's out of print.

And yes, Kay Kenyon deserves credit as well. I'm always amazed when I don't see her work nominated for a Hugo.
Jeanette Marsh
64. Ken Schneyer
It's the oddest thing. I've read stories of Derrick Bell's for years, always in his books of legal theory such as And We Are Not Saved, and it didn't occur to me until this second to think of them as science fiction. I know that's absurd; I mean, obviously they're science fiction, but I was so focussed on the legal-literary bridge he was making and the critical perspective that it just didn't cross my mind.
Jeanette Marsh
68. SimpleStudent
N. K. Jemisin is a relative new-comer, but she's fantastic. Her Inheritance trilogy is superb, her latest Dreamblood duo are fantastic, and all in all I completely look forward to what she writes in the future.
Jeanette Marsh
69. Aaron Singleton
Great list. I see a few stories/books that I haven't read yet, but will check out now. Thanks.
Jeanette Marsh
70. Rachel Barenblat
I agree with the rec of NK Jemisin, her books are all incredible; also Saladin Ahmed, whose work is fantastic.
Jeanette Marsh
71. Jean Hewlett
Please include something by S.P. Somtow.
My favorite fantasy story by him is Dragon's Fin Soup, but that may be a novella. Others are in his collections "Dragon's Fin Soup and Other Modern Siamese Fables" and "Tagging The Moon: Fairy Tales of L.A."

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