Monday, May 28, 2018

The Book Lover's Den No. 28: Gender and Fiction/Nonfiction Genres, Part 2

Welcome to my renewed literary musing feature! I have decided 
to post it on Mondays now!

In each weekly post, I explore 
my thoughts on several 
book-related topics.

This Week's Topic
 Are gender and fiction/nonfiction genres always connected?
(This is Part 2 of last week's topic.
You can view the previous post

In last Monday's post, I referred to a rather infuriating incident, in which a man presumed to tell me,  that, since I'm a woman, I'm NOT supposed to read science fiction! My reply to that ridiculous comment was far from a brilliant one, unfortunately. Suffice it to say that, since I found myself between a rock and a hard place (the original post will explain why), I could not really respond as this guy deserved.

From this man's rather benighted remark, I gathered that he himself was a lover of the genre he thought I had no right to read. Thus, he probably felt that I was 'encroaching' on what he felt was an all-male preserve.

As the die-hard SF fan this man obviously claimed to be, he was woefully oblivious to  the many highly-talented FEMALE science fiction writers who have given fans of this field so many memorable works.

Some of my readers may already be familiar with some of the names I'm listing in this post. Others might not, and, if so, you guys are in for some very pleasant surprises! So here's a partial list of these authors, all women, yes, indeed, and all BRILLIANT.

Ursula K. Le Guin: This writer passed away earlier this year, unfortunately. The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) is perhaps her best-known work, but she has written many others. She has won numerous awards, among them the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. Any SF fan worth her/his salt who claims never to have heard of her has definitely been living under a rock -- on a far-flung planet in the Andromeda system.

Octavia Butler: One of the best-known among the few African-American writers in the field, she authored the famous Kindred (1979). She has won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Parable of the Sower (1993), another of her well-known works, examines issues of gender and race.

James Tiptree, Jr.: Yes, she was a woman. She chose to use a man's pen name because of guys like my "all-knowing friend" who thinks women should not be reading SF. Her real name was Alice Hastings Bradley Sheldon. Male chauvinist nincompoops would probably NEVER have even touched any of her books the minute they saw the name "Alice" on the cover. Her two most famous novels are Up the Walls of the World (1978) and Brightness Falls from the Air (1985).

Pamela Sargent: This writer has won both the Nebula and Locus awards, and has been a finalist for the Hugo award. The Shore of Women (1986) is an important work in which she analyzes the dynamics of male and female power within the context of the science fiction genre. Her Seed Trilogy is also well-known. Furthermore, she has co-authored Star Trek TOS and Next Generation novels with fellow SF author George Zebrowski.

Andre Norton: Another female writer using a man's pen name. Her real name was Alice Mary Norton, and she was the first woman inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. She was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America, and was also given the Life Achievement Award by the World Fantasy Convention. She wrote fantasy as well as SF. She penned several bestselling series, such as Time Traders and Solar Queen.

Joanna Russ: This writer has won several important awards in the field: the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Locus Poll Award, the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and the SF Chronicle Award. Important works include The Female Man (1975) and We Who Are About To.... (1977). 

Marion Zimmer Bradley: She is best known for her Darkover series, which deals with feminist issues. She is also the author of the fantasy classic, The Mists of Avalon (1979). Her career spanned over four decades. She also published Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine.

Of course, there are many more names to mention, so stay tuned for Part 3!

Online Links

Ursula K. Le Guin

Octavia Butler

James Tiptree, Jr.

Pamela Sargent

Andre Norton

Joanna Russ

Marion Zimmer Bradley


What are your thoughts on
 this topic?
Please leave me a comment
and let me know!


  1. Goodness, you’ve taken me back with these names! Classic writers all - and some with awards named after them!

    1. Hi, Sue!

      I decided to start with some well-known, classic names, but no worries, I will also be featuring more recent writers, too!

      I don't know how many of these writers have awards named after them. I do know about the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. More facts to throw at "my friend" with the Neanderthal attitude, if I were to see him again! Lol. (I don't think I will, though.)

      Thanks for the nice comment!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

    2. There’s the Andre Norton Award for YA fiction. And I was definitely not disapproving of your mention of classic writers! I’ve only discovered Octavia Butler recently, but the others are all a part of my early years in fandom. Amazing women all!

    3. Hi, again!

      Oh, I didn't think you were disapproving! Lol. I just wanted to let you know that I will definitely be featuring more recent authors. And yes, these classic writers are all amazing!!

      Thanks for commenting again!! <3 :)

  2. These posts are helpful because as you know I'm trying to read more science fiction this year. In fact I'm doing a sci-fi summer challenge the first 2 weeks of June. I just read a great book called Outpost which is the start of a new series. Maybe you could check it out!

    1. Hi, Barb!

      I'm SO glad you find these posts helpful! Some of my readers might not be that familiar with the SF field.

      Next week, I'm going to feature some newer SF writers. These are writers I need to read myself! Lol.

      You're participating in an SF reading challenge in June? WOW. I'm going to check that out! I'm also going to check out this book, "Outpost", that you've mentioned. Thanks for the rec!! <3 <3

      Thanks for the great comment!! HUGS TO YOU AND THE PUPS, AND WOOF, WOOF TO THEM, AS WELL!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  3. Ursula K. Le Guin was amazing! I'm determined to read more of her work this summer. It would be my only reason to get a library card again. I was so sad when she passed away. </3

    1. Hi, Steph!

      Yes, she was! I want to read more of her work myself. And I was very sad, too, when she passed away,.. :(

      I haven't had a library card in a very looooong time. That's because I live inside a library! Lol. Yeah, I have a LOT of books! Lol.

      Thanks for the nice comment!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  4. Great post Maria. It is so obviously absurd to relegate reading and writing of science fiction to men only. Your list is great.

    Ursula Le Guin is not just one of the best science fiction writers of the late twentieth/early twentieth centuries, but I think that she was one of the greatest writers of that era, period.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thank you so much!! <3

      It definitely IS absurd to sat that the SF genre is for men only. It did start out that way, but as the feminist movement gathered strength, it sure didn't STAY that way. So, nowadays, that's a very regressive opinion to have.

      I totally agree with your assessment of Le Guin. She was indeed one of the greatest writers of that time period. Some writers transcend their genres because of the depth of their writing. They can therefore be considered literary fiction writers, and Le Guin is certainly one of these!

      Thanks for the interesting comment!! <3 :)


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