How do women writers use science fiction to challenge assumptions about the genre and its representations of women?
To what extent is the increasing number of women writing science fiction reformulating the expectations of readers and critics?
What has been the effect of this phenomenon upon the academic establishment and the publishing industry?
These are just some of the questions addressed by this collection of original essays by women writers, readers and critics of the genre. But the undoubted existence of a recent surge of women’s interest in science fiction is by no means the full story. From Mary Shelley onwards, women writers have played a central role in the shaping and reshaping of this genre, irrespective of its undeniably patriarchal image. Through a combination of essays on the work of writers such as Doris Lessing and Ursula Le Guin, with others on still-neglected writers such as Katherine Burdekin and C. L. Moore and a wealth of contemporaries including Suzette Elgin, Gwyneth Jones, Maureen Duffy and Josephine Saxton, this anthology takes a step towards redressing the balance.
Perhaps, above all, what this collection demonstrates is that science fiction remains as particularly well-suited to the exploration of woman as ‘alien’ or ‘other’ in our culture today, as it was with the publication of Frankenstein in 1818.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Writing through the Century: Individual Authors 1. The Loss of the Feminine Principle in Charlotte Haldane’s Man’s World and Katherine Burdekin’s Swastika Night Elizabeth Russell 2. ‘Shambleau...and Others’: The Role of the Female in the Fiction of C. L. Moore Sarah Gamble 3. Remaking the Old World: Ursula Le Guin and the American Tradition Susan Bassnett 4. Doris Lessing and the Politics of Violence Moira Monteith Part 2: Aliens and Others: A Contemporary Perspective 5. Mary and the Monster: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Maureen Duffy’s Gor Saga Jenny Newman 6. Pets and Monsters: Metamorphoses in Recent Science Fiction Lisa Tuttle 7. Between the Boys and their Toys: The Science Fiction Film Susan Thomas 8. Your Word is My Command: The Structure of Language and Power in Women’s Science Fiction Lucie Armitt 9. ‘I’m not in the Business: I am the Business’: Women at Work in Hollywood Science Fiction Erica Sheen Part 3: Readers and Writers: SF as Genre Fiction 10. Writing Science Fiction for the Teenage Reader Gwyneth Jones 11. Sex, Sub-atomic Particles and Sociology Sarah Lefanu 12. Maeve and Guinevere: Women’s Fantasy Writing in the Science Fiction Marketplace Nickianne Moody 13. ‘Goodbye to all That...’ Josephine Saxton
Lucie Armitt is Professor in English Literature at the University of Salford. Her research interests are contemporary women's fiction, the Gothic, the fantastic in literature and illustration and gender theory.