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Women of Wonder, the Classic Years: Science Fiction by Women from the 1940s to the 1970s [Paperback]

Pamela Sargent
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 5 1995
Based on one of the most popular SF anthologies of all time, which dispelled the notion that women don’t write “real” science fiction, this volume features stories by twenty-one seminal SF writers. Included are works by Leigh Brackett, C. L. Moore, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Judith Merril. Introduction and Bibliography by the Editor.

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Product Description

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.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! June 20 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow! What a great collection of classic sci fi - I highly recommend this collection to fans of the genre. A very broad range; a very worthwhile anthology - a must-have for those who love both women and sci fi.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection May 15 2000
Format:Paperback
This first of two books in the series about women writing science fiction both satisfies your curiousity and entertains while urging you to get the second book. There are so many things that haven't changed and yet, the stories can at times seem dated. We should be grateful, this means that some progress has been achieved.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars old fashioned and great Nov. 3 2004
By Tabi Alonso - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have the old books, from waaay back in the late seventies when "women of wonder" came out followed by "more women of wonder"

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)
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic collection May 12 2014
By N. Kader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Science Fiction is a very male dominated genre. I found this collection very refreshing and different from what I usually pick up.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some great stories here among the also rans Sept. 6 2010
By Jack Of Alltrades - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There is some serious talent here and some awe inspiring writing, some of it very dark, very noir and very hard hitting. This writing is as good as SF written by men only with an added insight into the female mind and the emotional relations between men and women.

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.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection May 15 2000
By TammyJo Eckhart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This first of two books in the series about women writing science fiction both satisfies your curiousity and entertains while urging you to get the second book. There are so many things that haven't changed and yet, the stories can at times seem dated. We should be grateful, this means that some progress has been achieved.
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