The best science fiction and fantasy books about or by women

Stephanie A. Smith Author Of Asteroidea
By Stephanie A. Smith

The Books I Picked & Why

The Left Hand of Darkness

By Ursula K. Le Guin

The Left Hand of Darkness

Why this book?

Ursula K. Le Guin is a consummate master of storytelling and awe-inspiring imagination, surpassed by none other in SF/F. I love this book because of the prose because the world she built was so dense and wonderfully challenging and the characters, wholly unforgettable—every time I teach this book, the students are bowled over. Le Guin was my teacher, my mentor, my friend of thirty years and I never tire of her powerful voice, urging us all on to make the world a better place.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Exile Waiting

By Vonda N. McIntyre

The Exile Waiting

Why this book?

Vonda N. McIntyre is an often over-looked science fiction and alternate history author whose prose is lush, whose imagination is daunting, and who was unfailingly generous to the fan community, and to the community of writers she knew and supported; she was also my teacher, my mentor and my friend of thirty years, and she knew how to make you laugh! Exile is back in print after being out of print, and it is a terrifyingly beautiful, thought-provoking read.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Kindred

By Octavia E. Butler

Kindred

Why this book?

Octavia E. Butler is now recognized as the ‘mother of afro-futurism’ and I think Kindred is possibly her best novel—taut, searing, heartfelt, Kindred makes the past of race-slavery startlingly present, and her protagonist must deal with some very difficult yet insightful issues as she time-travels from the 1970s to the 1830s. It also asks the reader to reconsider what it means to be family, as the protagonist, Dana is repeatedly confronted with a white ancestor she had previously not known about. My students always rave about this novel.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Female Man

By Joanna Russ

The Female Man

Why this book?

The Female Man gives the reader a slice of the 1970s up close and personal from the perspective of young women who don’t fit it, who don’t want to be used as an object, who both come from and see into a different way of life. A challenging read, but as one of my students said when you get finished, you have so much to talk about you could talk for days. Russ, too, is somewhat overlooked today, which is a shame because she was brilliant, funny, and angry, really, really angry and somehow, I appreciate the depth of that anger—and share it. Joanna was also a dedicated teacher/scholar and her book How to Suppress Women’s Writing still hits the nail on the head.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

A Wrinkle in Time

By Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time

Why this book?

I read this book as a child and have never forgotten it; it holds up well, the characters are utterly memorable, and the story still breaks my heart. About the nature of time and space and what love, friendship, courage, and morality are about, the novel is at once simple and profound, suspenseful, and thoughtful. It won all sorts of prizes for good reasons, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists