Spotlight: Women in Science Fiction


Cultural interest in science fiction is growing – quickly.  The bodies of work science fiction cast its net over include: literature, movies, graphic arts, comic books, video games, art exhibits, television shows, and even fashion. Science fiction has influenced everything from government, politics, laws, transportation, exploration, and so much more.  It is humankind’s time machine.  It allows us to move forward (or even backward) through time.  It gives us a view into what might have been, what could be, and the technological advances that can be made as science seeks out knowledge. Knowledge which can, ultimately, affect our species – both positively and negatively.

Over the centuries, our culture has seen numerous works spill from the minds of female speculative fiction writers, from 1666 and Duchess of Newcastle Margaret Cavendish’s meandering and disjointed The Blazing World (1) right up through today’s contributions by award winning authors such as C.J. Cherryh, creator of the Alliance-Union Universe (2). We have borne witness to future governance, cultures, geographies, morals, advancements, wars, disasters, and utopian/dystopian worlds that span the distance between our own “pale blue dot” (3) and the edges of the universe – all courtesy of brilliant minds ostensibly labeled “weaker” than those of their male counterparts. As a science fiction enthusiast, I think that’s fantastic.  As a female, I think that kicks several levels of literary ass.  But, I digress.

My point being, I’m thinking of putting together a series of spotlights. Like much of our literary history, science fiction has been a predominantly male-dominated genre.  Written by men, for men with just a few, courageous women who dared test the waters with pen and paper. And, while I would never dream of discounting the numerous, ground-breaking contributions the male sex has made to the growth of science fiction, this series would be dedicated to the women of the genre.  Women writers who chose to challenge social norms and test boundaries by defiantly reaching out into the realm of “possibilities.”

By focusing on the women who broke down the science fiction barriers – and continue pushing those barriers back, I hope to be able to create an atmosphere of challenge and creativity, one which will inspire the next generation of female speculative fiction writers, as well as encourage conversation among current enthusiasts, both male and female. I also hope to learn a great deal about those who inspired me personally and, perhaps, strengthen my own literary pursuits in the process.

I have a couple of favorites on hand to begin working with, but as I map out those spotlights, I’d like to put out a call for thoughts and comments. Good idea? Bad idea?  All input is appreciated more than you can imagine.

Also, please feel free to forward me the names of any particular female author you’d like to see highlighted – even if they’re new to the scene (send along a link to their work).  I can’t promise I’ll get to it immediately, but I can promise to do my very best to include their names and accomplishments to this body of work. Every voice counts and I’d like to make this endeavor a strong foundation that can be built on over the years.



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