Women of Wonder, the Classic Years: Science Fiction by Women from the 1940s to the 1970s Paperback – Jul 5 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
It's no revelation that men make up the majority of science fiction authors and audiences, but female authors have made substantial contributions to the genre and are becoming increasingly important. In the '70s, Sargent edited three Women of Wonder anthologies, and 18 writers from this original trio (some with new stories) are joined here by three newcomers to the series, to give an eye-opening overview of science fiction and women between 1944 and 1978. Exploring topics such as prejudice, child abuse, vanity, stereotypes, aging, rape, obesity and insanity, stories by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Zenna Henderson, Kit Reed, Kate Wilhelm, Joan Vinge, the pseudonymous James Tiptree Jr. and others are as disconcerting as they are intriguing. Judith Merril's "That Only a Mother" capitalizes on the fear of nuclear warfare as a new mother deals with the effects of radiation in her own unique way. Anne McCaffrey's "The Ship Who Sang" carries the idea that ships are feminine one step further when a spaceship falls in love with her pilot. Sargent highlights the history of women in science fiction in an information-packed introduction. In addition, notes about each author and an extensive bibliography will satisfy the curiosity of those wanting additional information on this topic.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Pamela Sargent (born March 20, 1948) is an American, feminist, science fiction author, and editor. She has an MA in classical philosophy and has won a Nebula Award. She wrote a series concerning the terraforming of Venus that is sometimes compared to Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, but predates it. She also edited various anthologies to celebrate the contributions of women in the history of science fiction. She is noted for writing alternate history stories. Sargent has attempted work with a wide variety of themes in general, if not always successfully. She also collaborated with George Zebrowski and on numerous Star Trek novels.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
They are incredibly insightful as not all the world has moved at the same step regarding equality. And anyway... they make a very good read!
I can hardly wait to get my hands on the next volume... from the 70's to the 90's
(while in there I might as well get the old one, my copies are yellowed and getting brittle)
There are some experimental stories here, too, lacking either plot or coherence. And there is one that's nothing more than a woman whining about keeping house and raising children (oh, the horror!). Okay, well, it was the sixties...
The pick of the litter:
That only a Mother by Judith Merril is superbly understated and merciless in both its realism and its circumstance.
Contagion by Catharine MacLean is a bloody good space opera yarn with the added dimension of male female relations.
The Anything Box by Zenna Henderson will move you as all her stories will.
When I Was Miss Day by Sonya Hess is a stream of consciousness look inside the mind of an alien shape shifter pimped to the humans by her drug addicted relatives. Done effectively, honestly and touchingly without the need of graphic details or obscenity.
The Funeral by Kate Wilhelm is great writing as always about the perpetual benighted state of humanity, with all its corruption and ignorance and cruelty.
The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey is hard sf with some very moving elements of a hopeless first love lost which is very moving.
Death Between Stars by M. Z. Bradley begins well, but ends so abruptly that one wonders if a deadline was upon her. See what you think.
No Woman Born by C.L.Moore is the only example of SF from the 1940's here, and is typical of the best of the period. It explores what makes a woman human and what gives her sex appeal and does it well.
Tiptree's "The Women Men Don't See" is a story so good that it warrants buying either this book or this collection: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. Her writing is amazingly good. She is able as any man of assuming a male's viewpoint and her plots and prose just won't let you go. And, man, does she know the world and the inside of men's skulls!
Special mention: Of Mist and Grass and Sand by Vonda McIntyre is an award winning story and interesting but oh so poorly executed, predictable and cloyingly phrased this reader could barely wade through the overdone, archaic dialog and silly melodrama.
The other stories may appeal to those who enjoy more modern writing of whatever genre. There is a second collection in this series spanning the seventies to the nineties. After reading this one I won't be buying it.
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