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The Greatest Female Science Fiction Writers of All Time.

30 June 2012

From Flavorwire:


“Had she not passed away six years ago, today would have been beloved science fiction author Octavia Butler’s 65th birthday. Butler not only made waves for being a phenomenal writer, but for being one of the remarkably few African American women authors writing in her genre. In honor of the occasion of Butler’s birth (and because lady sci-fi authors never get enough love) we’ve put together a list of the greatest lady authors of science fiction and fantasy in this or any time — in our own humble estimation of course. Click through to read our list, and don’t forget that these are our own personal favorites — since there are many more than ten fantastic lady sci-fi/fantasy authors out there worthy of your time, please add to our list and let us know which of your own favorites we missed in the comments!”

Read the rest of the post here:  Flavorwire


—  Julia Barrett


Bestsellers, Books in General, Fantasy/SciFi, The Business of Writing

20 Comments to “The Greatest Female Science Fiction Writers of All Time.”

  1. I adored Butler’s books, and miss her very much.

  2. The list is full of ringers — Anne Rice, really? And where’s Andre Norton? Impossible to imagine YA science fiction without acknowledging Norton virtually creating the field.

    • Yes. Intentionally clicked through to see if Alice Marie (Andre) Norton was there, and deeply disappointed to see her missing. I grew up on her work, and SF/F would have been a far poorer place without her.

    • Yes, I was thinking the same thing!

  3. Any genre list that doesn’t include Bujold is incomplete, much more so a list of best female genre authors. One of the few writers who does SF and Fantasy equally well.

  4. The majority of science fiction writers today are women, so as presented, this is kind of a silly list.

    And if you’re going historical, I second the amazement at Andre Norton being ignored. LeGuin is a newbie, comparatively. L’Engle is a good inclusion, though, because next to Norton she’s probably the biggest provider of first tastes of sf, and the academics don’t love her.

    But no BUJOLD? Are you space-manuring me? You have a big list (of the kind of people taught in feminist sf classes, not necessarily of the greats), and you totally ignore Bujold, Moon, and Moore in favor of two horror writers? Bah.

    • The academics don’t seem to love Norton, either. Which is one of the reasons I always have. Norton meant everything to me when I first started reading sf, and she’s still probably the biggest influence on my own writing.

      • I don’t think most academics are aware of the broad panorama of different sf styles. If you chonk some nice professor on the head with a book he’s sure to like, he will be totally surprised that such a book exists, because he doesn’t remember reading about it in one of the approved book review organizations. (And to be fair, teaching English probably sucks the love of reading out of a lot of people.)

        The funny thing is that Andre Norton actually put in all the socially aware stuff that people are always complaining that sf writers don’t, so you’d think she’d get more cred from the academic world.

  5. I love Angela Carter’s books but I wouldn’t consider her an sf writer either. And what about C J Cherryh? I also love Norton who introduced me to sf in the early 60’s.

  6. No Tiptree Jr. No McCaffrey. No Bujold. and that’s off the top of my head.

    Rice…really? SF? I’m not sure I’d call Vampires science fiction, but maybe I’m old fashioned. If you are going to have Rice then you may as well have Rowling too.

    I’m not sure Norris and Strange (which I honestly couldn’t finish) counts as Science fiction either.

    By not sure I mean, “Are you having a laugh?”

    Staggeringly bad list.

  7. Well, it does say that it’s their ten favorites in the small print. But in that case, they should have called it “Our Ten Favorite Female SF/F Writers.”

  8. The list refers to her favorites, fine, but seriously?
    SF and *Fantasy* writers? Fine.
    So where is Rowling?!!

    There is little sense of history in that list.
    Even granting Butler, LeGuin, and Bradley, who I’d never dispute, I can come up with an easy dozen just off the top of my head:

    – J.K. Rowling
    – Lois McMaster Bujold
    – Andre Norton
    – C.L. Moore
    – Leigh Brackett
    – C.J. Cherryh
    – Judith Merril
    – Joan Vinge
    – Tanith Lee
    – Tanya Huff
    – Louise Cooper
    – Sharon Green

    • Because Rowling isn’t that good?

      Paula Volsky
      Catherynne Valente
      and from what I’ve heard, Kate Wilhelm.

  9. All right — if we change the definition of “greatest” from “my personal favorites” to a more reasonable “had the greatest influence on the genre,” then there’s one female author’s name who surprisingly hasn’t turned up in this discussion:

    Mary Shelley.

    Seriously, can you think of another female writer who with a single book had a greater formative impact on the sf genre?

  10. Any list that doesn’t include Norton, Rowling and Cherryh is just sad.

  11. *sniffs* I certainly wouldn’t personally include Rowling on the list either – and I’d have preferred separate lists for YA and adult SFF. It’s horrid to mix the two, IMO. ‘greatest’ doesn’t necessarily equate with ‘mega bestseller’. And Susanna Clark? Really? I enjoyed the book, but I mean, it’s one book.

    And the list is too America-centric for my tastes.

    Doris Lessing? Well, then we have to put Margaret Atwood on there as well (even if she’d not want to be there).

    All the women on this list:


    should be on there.

    I could go on, but I’ll just go with, it’s a poor top ten.

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