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As Cheryl Morgan points out, here, Science Fiction & Fantasy novel "best of" lists tend to be made by men. It has been proved that women will read male and female authors equally, but men tend to read and remember male authors. Men are also more likely to vote in awards or make Best Of lists! So it’s a vicious circle: the guys end up predominating on awards lists, to be enshrined in history, while women's writing tends to get lost in the mists of time.

Accordingly, like many others on my f-list, I'm posting a list of some of  my favorite genre novels written by women. I say "some" since there may be more on my TBR pile, like The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and leaving off Connie Willis is probably a mortal sin, but I've only read her short works (and loved them). Nevertheless the novels listed below are some of my re-readable favorites

Science Fiction

*         Lois McMaster Bujold - the entire Miles Vorkasigan series (with the possible exception of the first book where Cordelia meets her future husband, the count)

*         Julie Czerneda - In the Company of Others

*         CJ Cherryh – The entire Foreigner series

*         Anne McCaffrey – The Harper Hall Trilogy, The White Dragon, All the Weyrs of Pern, and her Talents series, especially Pegasus in Space

*         Karin Lowachee – her "rentboy" trilogy (Warchild, Burndive, Cagebird) Haven't read her new fantasy series and I am looking forward to it.

*         Nancy Kress – Her Beggars series, and just about anything else she writes.

*         Andre Norton: pretty much all of her novels since she was a formative influence on my childhood – women could write Science Fiction! Although, with short story writer James Tiptree Jr., a.k.a. Alice B Sheldon, she used a male pseudonym to get her work out there.

*         Edited To Add - how the heck did I forget to add Catherine Asaro? I loved The Quantum Rose


*         Ilona Gordon, who writes with her husband: both her Kate Daniels and Edgers series.

*        Madeline L'Engle, for not only her Time Quartet (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters) but her later works - things like The Arm of the Starfish and A Ring of Endless Light.

*         Aliette de Bodard has her amazing Obsidian and Blood series. Love it.

*         Rita Mae Brown's Outfoxed is a personal favorite of mine, and if you read nothing else this year take a look at how she makes an 80-year-old woman the most amazing protagonist ever. "Sister" is a master of the Virginia fox hunt, and her story is told from multiple perspectives, including those of the foxes and the hounds.

*         CJ Cherryh and  Lois McMaster Bujold also do wonderful fantasy work: Cherryh's Rushalka is amazing, as is Bujold's Paladin of Souls.

*         and it pains me that all those literary types I've read so far are leaving off their lists the very entertaining and highly successful J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books. I mean, if it's not Margret Atwood, and it appeals to the general public…it must have genre leprosy, right? Sorry. I enjoyed them anyhow.

I hate to leave out my favorite female  mystery writers (all right, I won't: Anne Perry, Elizabeth George, Lisa Scottoline, and of course Agatha Christie) but women have traditionally done better in getting recognized for writing mysteries. And I am leaving out a large number of women writers who work exclusively in the short form. I may leave that for another list.

I know I am forgetting many great female science fiction and fantasy authors. Help me out in the comments.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 3rd, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
You will love Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I just finished it, and while it wasn't my favorite book read this year so far, it wasn't far behind.

Kim Harrison (fantasy), Patricia Briggs (fantasy), Rachel Caine (fantasy), Ann Aguirre (science fiction), Laurell Hamilton (fantasy) - I've read all and enjoyed.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, and Rachel Caine I'd heard of. Ann Aguirre (science fiction)I had not. As for Laurel K. Hamilton, her earlier works were very interesting, but eventually she just wrote interconnected sex scenes with so very little plot that I got bored with her books.

A&A published Nora, back in the day (see http://www.abyssandapex.com/200701-bittersweet.html which will not require a subscription to view for a month after this post). I got to room with her briefly right when she was launching The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms at World Fantasy in San Jose. I absolutely love watching an author grow and succeed.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks for including Rita Mae Brown.

You'll like A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I also strongly recommend the sequel.

Also, Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death, is superb.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 02:56 pm (UTC)
Rita Mae Brown is thought of as a mystery or literary writer, but you tell ME what else to call a book that starts with a vision of the grim reaper only seen by the protag and animals, with animal POVs. That's a fantasy in my view, and I will not descend to disparaging a mainstream author who does great fantasy books just because they are successful. Too many genre leading lights seem prejudiced against mainstream authors. (In some cases that's justified: James Patterson's Maximum Ride series comes to mind, where he shamelessly exploits genre cliches that have been done to death to the innocent amazement of non-genre readers.)
Jun. 3rd, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
Andre Norton shaped my formative years of reading, but even moreso did Leigh Brackett.

Nowadays, necause of my bookstore, so much of my genre fiction reading is YA. Nancy Springer, Dawn Metcalf, and Elizabeth C. Bunce are among my recent-reads.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
Love the new icon, Patty. It's so YOU.

Thanks for the YA suggestions. You might notice my list is skewed to the YA side of things: A Wrinkle in Time, the Harper Hall Trilogy, Andre Norton's books and of course the Harry Potter series are all solidly YA. The on-going prejudice against YA in genre literary circles continually astounds me. A good story is a good story.

Jun. 3rd, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC)
Love the new icon, Patty. It's so YOU.

Thank you! It's a Frank Raymond Michaels original.

The on-going prejudice against YA in genre literary circles continually astounds me.

And yet so many of the conventions I've attended in the last five years have had a YA genre fiction panel.

I do need to catch up on many writers.
Jun. 4th, 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, YA books are where the money is. Publishers all want to find the next Harry Potter. So of course there are panels on how write YA--it's very hot right now--but I've had perfectly good stories in A&A disparaged by reviewers because they were not "literature."

Sorry. Hot button issue for me.
Jun. 4th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
Not to worry, not to fret, my dear. I can see where that would irk you.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )