Updated: Jan 10
Let’s be honest about something. The golden age of sci-fi produced many fine writers and many, many futuristic stories that seem to stick with us throughout our personal journeys into the future. BUT, the genre back then was decidedly male-dominated and, in many cases, misogynistic. So much so that it was common for female sci-fi authors to assume pen names that either sounded male or were gender ambiguous.
You might not know that vintage sci-fi writers like Andre Norton (Alice), James Tiptree Jr. (also, Alice), Pat Murphy (Patricia), Robin Hobb (Megan), and C.J. Cherryh (Carolyn Cherry), to name a few, were all women. That last writer was encouraged to assume a gender-neutral nom de plume by an editor who thought her real name sounded too much like a “romance novelist.”
The stories and novels of Octavia Butler, including her 1995 story Bloodchild provide some of the most imaginative and, sometimes, frightening visions of gender, race, and humanity of any science fiction ever written. She was fearless, and her characters, female and otherwise, still are.
Check out these other great female sci-fi writers and their stories that explore the boundaries of what it means to be female. Seriously. Follow the links and go read these masterful works of short fiction! You'll be the better for it.