It seems like every week (or more) another person lists the “history” or “best of” science fiction and fantasy while failing to mention women, people of color, or LGBTQIA+ contributors to the genre. Surprise.
I’m not going to mention the particular posts prompting this. Suffice it to say that the past two weeks have been surprisingly full of them ranging from well-established bloggers to bookstore lists.
While I find it difficult to imagine a full picture of science fiction and fantasy that doesn’t (at the least) include the works of Mary Shelley, Margaret Atwood, or Ursula K. Le Guin, the argument continues to be made that the “highlights” of SFF are largely male.
Rather than raging against the machine, though that certainly has its place and I’m prone to do it, I’m going to highlight some authors you should try out to broaden your SFF horizons. Huzzah!
Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American woman with a sense of the spectacular. Her most recent novella, Binti, is a fantastic examination of humanity at its most complicated. It takes the examination of race, gender, and their intersections to space and succeeds in every possible way. Plus, once Binti makes you fall in love with Nnedi, her backlist will make your soul scream (in a good way).
Genevieve Valentine is an American author and comics writer. She has a wide range of stories, including The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, a retelling of the twelve dancing girls set in the 1920s and Persona, a futuristic political thriller. She’s a highly acclaimed author well worth the check out.
Rachel Pollack is a transsexual woman who has had a large influence on feminist science fiction and fantasy, the women’s spirituality movement, and a wide variety of authors like Neil Gaiman. On top of her novels, she also wrote for DC comics. Her work is pretty surreal, mixing spiritualism with futuristic and fantasy elements. Her Temporary Agency is definitely the place to start for a temperate taste of Pollack’s works.
Angela Slatter is an Australian author. While most of her works are short fiction, included in a number of short story collections and anthologies, you can also snag her stand-alone novella Of Sorrow and Such. She’s fantastic at creating heart-wrenching stories with complicated characters all in a short period of time. She’s got all the awards to prove it, and a contract for a full novel release this year.
N.K. Jemisin is just fantastic. I’m just going to gush about her for a minute. N.K. Jemisin is an African American author with some amazing talent. Her newest book, The Fifth Season, is easily one of my favorite books of 2015. She blends non-western settings and characters with fantastic magic and world building. Her characters are ridiculously well developed. I can’t get over her. Go read The Fifth Season. You’ll see.
Angelica Gorodischer is an Argentinean author whose works have been translated into English through Small Beer Press. She came into the scene in 2003 by way of Ursula K Le Guin, so you know it’s got to be good. Her stories focus on more than just the typical character and plot driven stories. They are fairytale like, with settings that act on the story as well as on people and a sort of wide-view of fantasy that’s hard to describe. Her Kalpa Imperial and Trafalgar collections are fantastic. I’ve yet to read her newest, but it’s on my list.
Now, I know what you’re saying, “But, Bree, this list is only seven authors and all are women.”
So true. This is far from a comprehensive list. This is only really the authors who came to mind in the 30 seconds following me reading one of the aforementioned articles about SFF being a male domain. More comprehensive lists are definitely out there. In fact, here are links to some fantastic lists of authors:
From Fran Wilde: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2015/08/not-so-invisible-ninjas.html
From women in science fiction (blog): http://www.womeninsciencefiction.com/?page_id=54
SF Mistressworks: https://sfmistressworks.wordpress.com/womens-press-sf/
Lightspeed Magazines POC Science Fiction project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lightspeedmagazine/people-of-colour-destroy-science-fiction
Kevin Hearne: https://t.co/mQZCjoNYr6
Kev McViegh: https://performativeutterance.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/225-rising/
Or, hey, maybe you know those guys. Here is a list of people on twitter (mostly bloggers and authors who promote, read, write, etc. diverse books. The list is short, but I plan on adding to and maintaining it.
Please comment below with your suggestions for people to read, blogs to follow, and the like!
This entry was posted in Thoughts and tagged angela slatter, angelica gorodischer, authors, Books, Fantasy, Fran Wilde, Genevive Valentine, LGBT, N.K. Jemisin, nnedi Okorafor, People of Color, Science Fiction, Ursula K Le Guin, Women.