Women Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Reading List

25Jun14

This month, I concentrated on reading science fiction and fantasy written by women. My selections ran the gamut from historical fantasy to post-apocalyptic dystopia to feminist speculative fiction to near-future science fiction. I didn’t get to read all five of my selections (Ammonite was the one I didn’t get to), but I’m not going to stop reading SF/F written by women. There are so many more great books to discover, and new ones coming out all the time.

This was a group read over at LibraryThing, and everyone shared what they were reading. I’ve compiled all their selections into a reading list, for my future reading and to give you a starting place for your reading. I’ve linked to books that I’ve reviewed on this blog, and I’ve starred the books that I’ve already read. I hope you discover some great new authors, just as I have this month!

Books are listed in alphabetical order by author:

  • Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor
  • Emily Anthes: Frankenstein’s Cat
  • Catherine Asaro: Sunrise Alley
  • Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale*; The Penelopiad
  • Elizabeth Bear: Steles of the Sky
  • Carol Berg: The Daemon Prism
  • Lauren Beukes: The Shining Girls
  • Holly Black: Tithe; Zombies vs. Unicorns
  • Elizabeth Blackwell: While Beauty Slept
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley: The Forest House
  • Marie Brennan: The Tropic of Serpents
  • Lois McMaster Bujold: Borders of Infinity; Brothers in Arms; Cetaganda; Cordelia’s Honor; The Curse of Chalion; Ethan of Athos; The Hallowed Hunt; Mirror Dance; The Vor Game
  • Octavia Butler: Lilith’s Brood*; Parable of the Sower*; Parable of the Talents*
  • Elizabeth C. Bunce: A Curse as Dark as Gold
  • Gail Carriger: Soulless
  • Susan Cooper: Over Sea, Under Stone
  • Ariel Djanakian: The Office of Mercy*
  • Susan Ee: World After
  • Amy S. Foster: When Autumn Leaves
  • Kerstin Gier: Sapphire Blue
  • Elizabeth Goudge: Linnets and Valerians
  • Sally Green: Half Bad
  • Kate Griffin: The Minority Council
  • Nicola Griffith: Ammonite
  • Barbara Hambley: Dragonsbane
  • Laurell K. Hamilton: A Shiver of Light
  • Deborah Harkness: The Book of Life; A Discovery of Witches**; Shadow of Night **I started this one but didn’t finish it.**
  • Alice Hoffman: The Probable Future
  • Dianna Wynne Jones: Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Sherrilyn Kenyon: Born of Night
  • Katherine Kurtz: Childe Morgan; The Harrowing of Gwynedd
  • Madeleine L’Engle: A Ring of Endless Light
  • Mercedes Lackey: The Sleeping Beauty
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: The Dispossessed*; The Lathe of Heaven*; The Left Hand of Darkness*; The Other Wind; The Tombs of Atuan; A Wizard of Earthsea*; Worlds of Exile and Illusion*; The Word for World Is Forest*
  • Anne Leckie: Ancillary Justice
  • Ann Leonard: Moth and Spark
  • Kate Locke: The Queen Is Dead
  • Helen Lowe: Thornspell
  • Lois Lowry: Gathering Blue
  • Louise Marley: The Child Goddess; The Terrorists of Irustan
  • Maureen F. McHugh: China Mountain Zhang* (review forthcoming)
  • Vonda N. McIntyre: Enterprise: The First Adventure
  • Robin McKinley: The Blue Sword; Sunshine
  • Liane Merciel: The River Kings’ Road
  • Marissa Meyer: Cinder; Cress; Scarlet
  • Audrey Niffenegger: Raven Girl
  • Nnendi Okorafor: Who Fears Death
  • Danielle Paige: Dorothy Must Die; No Place Like Oz
  • Laline Paull: The Bees
  • Marge Piercy: Woman on the Edge of Time
  • Anne Rice: Prince Lestat; The Wolf Gift
  • Joanna Russ: The Female Man* (review forthcoming)
  • Karen Russell: Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories
  • Mary Doria Russell: The Sparrow*
  • Stephanie Saulter: Gemsigns
  • Gaie Sebold: Babylon Steel
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein* (arguably the first science fiction novel)
  • Dana Stabenow: Second Star
  • Mary Staton: From the Legend of Biel
  • Jodi Taylor: A Symphony of Echoes
  • Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone; Dreams of Gods & Monsters
  • Sheri S. Tepper: Beauty*; The Family Tree; The Gate to Women’s Country*; Grass*; Jinian Footseer; The True Game
  • Debbie Viguie: Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of “The Little Mermaid”
  • Helene Wecker: The Golem and the Jinni*
  • Connie Willis: Doomsday Book*
  • Jeannette Winterson: The Stone Gods
  • Jane Yolen: Briar Rose
  • Sarah Zettel: Dust Girl
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8 Responses to “Women Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Reading List”

  1. I’m not sure why Russ’s The Female Man is always proclaimed as her masterpiece. We Who Are About To… (1976) is just as radical and far superior in prose/characterization etc.

  2. I wish more people would read Katherine MacLean’s Missing Man (1975) — easily as good as most on the list… (one of my major pet peeves is that her novel is forgotten).

  3. I will have to look up this book and the Russ you mentioned. Alas, neither seem to be available in e-book format.

  4. That’s a great list. Thank you!

    Another author/series you might want to check out is Anne Bishop’s Others series. The first one is Written in Red and the second is Murder of Crows. Even though cutting is integral to the plot, it’s a well-written series that I can’t get out of my head.

  5. Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll check it out.

  6. I’d like to add C.J. Cherryh (Hugo winners Downbelow Station and Cyteen; Foreigner series; Morgaine novels) and Anne McCaffery (Pern novels) to that list

  7. Terrific! Thanks for the additions.


  1. 1 WWWebsday: July 2, 2014 | Fantasy Literature: Fantasy and Science Fiction Book and Audiobook Reviews

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