Sunday, December 04, 2005
  Reading lists...
This is the time of year for the "10 Best Books of 2005," "The 100 Best Novels," "A Hundred Science Fiction Books You Just Have to Read," "21 Best Westerns," and so on.

I thought I'd post a list you don't often see... feminist sf for everyone! This is neither an exhaustive list, nor a "best of" list. It's just what my feminist sf reading group recommended when someone asked recently for some good books to take on her vacation.

So here you have it: A list of feminist sf authors regular people have enjoyed:

Bear, Elizabeth: Hammered, and Scardown (the third volume in the trilogy is due out quite soon.)

Butler, Octavia: Fledgling New. A vampire story! The lead character is a 53-year-old vampire in the body of a 10 year old black girl, who starts the book with amnesia. (Octavia has other feminist books such as Xenogenesis and Kindred)

Carter, Angela: Nights at the Circus, and Passion of New Eve (a brilliant sci-fi/magic realist romp about Evelyn's unasked for sex change into Eve).

Charnas, Suzy McKee: The Vampire Tapestry (first and among the very best of the "modern" vampire stories); and Dorothea Dreams (quite simply stunning). Holdfast Series (classic feminist s/f: dystopian post apocalyptic patriarchies; utopian matriarchies)

Farmer, Nancy: Sea of Trolls (plot driven, ya book. Some interesting twists on Norse Mythology/culture, not exactly feminist per se but one of the main characters is a young woman who grapple with issues of gender, and eventually comes to terms with her identity.

Hand, Elizabeth: Mortal Love (Gothic fantasy, centering on the Kirstien, Rosemary: Steerswomen series (series of 4 so far, and there are supposed to be a total of 8 (7+ a prequel) by the time she's done. They read like fantasy [but are Science Fiction ultimately]).

Marley, Louise: Singer in the Snow. The Child Goddess. Terrorists of Irustan (a must read).

McKillip , Patricia: Alphabet of Thorn, Ombria in Shadow, In the Forests of Serre, Od Magic...(luminous, page-turning, beautiful thought-provoking pure fantasy).

Pierce, Tamora: The Empress of the World (Fluffy and fun, a continuation of the Circle of Magic series - they grow up a bit. Here there be lesbians. [yay! finally!])

Piercy, Marge: Sex Wars (historical fiction, not F/SF. Post-civil war era, and takes on the progressive reform issues, and has as characters Victoria Woodhull, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, among others). Pre-Raphaelites and the power of the muse in the life of an artist.) and Waking the Moon (she does dark gothic Slater, Lauren: Lying(Not SF, but you could call it speculative. Well-written, perturbing. Good food for SF readers and writers from the "literary" world.)

Slonczewski, Joan – A Door Into Ocean, Daughter of Elysium, The Children Star, Brain Plague.

Starhawk - The Fifth Sacred Thing, Walking to Mercury

Tepper, Sheri - The Family Tree, Grass, Beauty, and especially The Fresco, Gibbons Decline and Fall, and The Gate to Womens Country. Also Six Moon Dance and A Plague of Angels

Traviss, Karen: The World Beyond (very good indeed, but read the first two books in the sequence first: Crossing the Line and City of Pearl)

Waters, Sarah: Fingersmith (while not actually SF, is fabulous and nice and fat.)

Wren, M.K.- A Gift Upon the Shore (post apocalyptic tale of two women in Pac. NW and a neighboring community)

Gopnik, Adam: The King in the Window (young boy in Paris accidentally becomes the new King of Windows and Water. I'm recommending this book to everyone I know.)

Hartman, Keith: The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse and Gumshoe Gorilla. (They're part scifi part detective story - very hilarious. Great female characters.)

Ryman, Geoff: Air (The U.N. tests a technology that puts Internet in everyone's heads "for free". GREAT.)

Tiedemann, Mark: Remains (Private detective in space investigates the mysterious death of his wife in a dome "accident" meets a young brain-augmented (damaged?) immigrant girl…Immigration, power dynamics, recorded personalities, modular brains, schizophrenia, identity and gender politics.)

Wilson, Robert Charles: Spin ( balances fascinating science with character development).

Avid sf readers will perceive some notable absenses... Ursula Le Guin, Leah Carter, Maureen McHugh, Margaret Atwood, Samuel Delaney, James Triptee, and so on. An exhaustive site on feminist sf is: If you have any interest in this area at all, feminist is the place to go!
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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