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Women sci-fi writers? 
19th-Apr-2006 08:41 am
Has anyone read anything by Kit Reed, Maureen McHugh, and/or Phyllis Gotlieb? Their names have popped up here and there, and I'm wondering if anyone thinks they're worth the time.

I'm in an inquiring frame of mind today. (^^;
19th-Apr-2006 01:06 pm (UTC)
I've read a couple of short stories by McHugh. I thought they were very poor stuff. On the other hand people whose opinions I respect seem to like her. Maybe she just can't write short stories.
19th-Apr-2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
For some strange reason I like very few women sci-fi writers. I like lots of women fantasy writers, and lots of women horror writers. And lots of female crime writers, and plenty of female non-genre writers.
19th-Apr-2006 01:16 pm (UTC)
I've read Nekropolis from Maureen McHugh, but I don't remember it very wellI wasn't disappointed, which is something at least.
19th-Apr-2006 01:57 pm (UTC)
There's some punctuation and spaces missing in that there post...>.<;;
19th-Apr-2006 01:59 pm (UTC)
Worry not. I would've figured it out. ^_~
19th-Apr-2006 01:30 pm (UTC)
If you want to get crazy read Yukio Mishima. He was going to recive a nobel prize but Sholohov was better. Try it.
19th-Apr-2006 01:53 pm (UTC)
Err...what does Mishima Yukio have to do with women sci-fi writers?

But, yeah, I've read a few of his novels already. Thanks for the suggestion! ^_^
19th-Apr-2006 01:52 pm (UTC)
China Mountain Zhang by McHugh was brilliant...
21st-Apr-2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
Maureen McHugh's China Mountain Zhang is about a gay part-Hispanic part-Chinese American in a socially repressive Chinese-dominated US; it's great at world-building, great at ordinary life, and great at characterization, but has multiple first-person narrators who all sound the same. I think it's a very engaging same and love the book, but it may or may not distress you. There's also no real plot, but pretty much no one I know who's read the book cares.

Nekropolis is shorter, tighter, and much grimmer, about a poor girl and a bio-engineered boy who's been constructed to be the perfect lover; it is compelling, smart about various kinds of slaveries and the impacts psychological and social, and very depressing.

Half the Day Is Night is generally accounted sophomore slump. Most people think highly of Mission Child but I find it almost unreadable.

Kit Reed comes out the 60s New Wave movement which combined sf subject matter with experimental and modernist writing techniques; her particular subject matter tends to be feminist. I am allergic to something in her style and can't offer you a reasonable opinion on it.

Phyllis Gotlieb can be variable, but her best work is poetic, precise, and moving. I like the short stories in Blue Apes and the novel Flesh & Gold (but not its sequel Mindworlds; the first book stands alone). Flesh & Gold has lovely alien aliens and convincingly good people in the human characters.
21st-Apr-2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
Have you read Phyllis Gotlieb's Violent Stars? B&N says that it, along with Flesh & Gold and Mindworlds is a trilogy.

Anyway, thanks very much for all of the information!
21st-Apr-2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
No, I haven't read it yet. Flesh & Gold and Mindworlds do link up, but they do both also work as standalones, so I haven't been in a great hurry. Oh, and I also read Heart of Red Iron and O Master Caliban, but long enough ago that I remember nothing about them but a vague impression of goodness.

I'm not sure I have a good enough sense of your tastes, despite all the book reviews, but if you're looking for good sf with queer characters, I'd also recommend The Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter (really gorgoeous writing, a mostly good thriller plot with some stumbles at the end, an interesting take on post-cyberpunk worldbuilding); Geoff Ryman, most notably The Child Garden (Lust didn't entirely work for me, and 253 *really* didn't work for me; but Ryman does something different with each novel, which is one reason I think he's worth following); Nicola Griffith - I tend to like her work rather than love it, but I'm in a minority on this; her partner Kelley Eskeridge's novel Solitaire is also an interesting attempt at near-future sf based in Asia rather than the usual sf settings.
21st-Apr-2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
I thought Geoff Ryman's Was was one of the best novels that I've read in a long time and liked Lust far more for its humorous use of famous personalities than for it's sci-fi. (Ryman seems way more interested in people than in world-building, which definitely hurt him in the fantasy department, at least.)

Other than that, my tastes in reading ARE pretty spread out, though in general I prefer writerly skill/technique and thematic unity more than plot or innovative effort. I'm most partial to so-called "literary fiction," but as far as genres go, I'm inclined toward sci-fi/fantasy and minority lit (especially black and queer lit...generally NOT a fan of Asian-American lit, though). I've also read a TON of Japanese and Korean manga, way more than I've admitted in public in a long time.
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