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Science Fiction/Fantasy

Women Who Imagined the Future: Science Fiction Anthologies By Women

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Science fiction has a reputation for excluding women writers, but recent science fiction anthologies suggest that wasn’t always true. Library of America (LOA) is taking pre-orders for The Future Is Female!: 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin edited by Lisa Yaszek. Being published by LOA is literary recognition, see “Library of America Recognizes Ursula K. Le Guin (and Science Fiction)” to understand why.

But if you don’t want to wait until September 25, 2018, there’s are several retrospective science fiction anthologies that focus on women writers you can read now, including another co-edited by Lisa Yaszek.

Out-of-Print Science Fiction Anthologies

Sadly, science fiction anthologies go out of print quickly – I assume because editors only buy limited rights. Since the following books are out-of-print I’m going to list them with links to the Internet Science Fiction Database ( so you can read their table of contents. If you click on the story title link, you’ll be taken to the story’s publication history. That will show you when and where the story was first published, and how often it was collected in other anthologies.

This is very useful for discovering the popularity of a story. For example, just look at all the places “That Only a Mother” by Judith Merril has been reprinted. If you study these listings, you’ll also see how often some stories are repeatedly used, or even if the story has never been reprinted before.

Pamela Sargent edited a series of groundbreaking anthologies on women science fiction writers starting with Women of Wonder back in 1974 and updated them in 1995 to the two-volume Women of Wonder: The Classic Years and Women of Wonder: The Contemporary Years. These are well worth searching for on the used market. It’s a shame they haven’t stayed in print, and I’d love to hear them on audio. (Hint, hint, Audible.)