Lesbian Sci-Fi Author Joanna Russ Is Dead–Now Read Her Masterpieces.

The coolest woman in sci-fi since Alien’s Ellen Ripley, sci-fi writer and feminist critic Joanna Russ, died on her home planet this Friday. She would have wanted you to read her books (namely because they’re awesome), so here’s where to start:

The famous 74-year-old author wrote The Female Man, a book about women fighting against misogyny in alternate universes and How to Suppress Women’s Writing, an examination of sexism in the art world. She also published The Adventures of Alyx a short-story collection following her swashbuckling heroine’s adventures through time and On Strike Against God a semi-autobiographical novella about experiencing lesbian love.

Russ was definitely one of a kind, considering the paltry number of female writers in sci-fi. Who’s your favorite female sci-fi writer? We have a soft spot for Pamela Gray, who wrote the “Violations” episode of ST:TNG. The Troi episodes were always so crazy.

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  • TheWeyrd1

    Queerty…you’re BACK! And gee, I need to add this author my summer reading list!

  • EdWoody

    There are other great female authors in the Trek fold too. SD Perry, Heather Jarman and Una McCormack have all done excellent work on the DS9 novel series, and Kirsten Beyer has made Voyager enjoyable for the first time in 15 years. (I don’t think any of them are lesbians, but that’s not required, is it?)

  • John D

    More for the reading list.

    Ellen Kushner
    Delia Sherman

    Melissa Scott
    Lisa Barnet

    Ellen and Delia are wives. Melissa was partnered with LIsa until Lisa died.

  • Fitz

    Robin Hobb… that’s where I stole my moniker from!

  • Lefty

    Ursula LeGuin?

  • twinski

    Octavia Butler, Nicola Griffith

  • bigbadbob

    Andre Norton
    Anne McCaffrey
    Diane Duane
    Mercedes Lackey
    Mary Shelly
    Margret Atwood
    C.J. Cherryh
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    Sherri S. Tepper
    Madeleine L’Engle

    the number is not as paltry as one might think

  • rick mechtly

    James Tiptree ! Yes- she’s female ————

  • John D

    Ah, but our category is lesbian sf writers.

    Ursula K. LeGuin is straight. Octavia Butler kept her sexuality ambiguous. Alice Sheldon (Tiptree) was married twice but expressed an interest in women.

    Nicola Griffin. Yup.

  • Todd Mason

    There’s hardly a “paltry” number of women writers of sf…they’ve been heard from in force since the 1970s.

    Joanna Russ was brilliant. So is or have been Le Guin, “Tiptree,” Leigh Brackett, Kate Wilhelm, Katherine Maclean, Butler, Karen Joy Fowler, Margaret St. Clair (who might’ve been lesbian), Pat Murphy, Connie Willis, Judith Merril, Hilary Bailey, Lisa Tuttle, Pamela Zoline, Lee Hoffman, Margaret Atwood, Patricia Highsmith (who verged on sf occasionally, and very bi), Pat Cadigan, Kit Reed, Anna Kavan, Jody Scott (almost certainly bi), Marge Piercy, and a young writer you’ve heard of, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (who lived to write another sf novel at the end of her life, THE LAST MAN). And that’s for starters off the top, not to slight the other talents cited already or such folk as Pamela Sargent (editor of the WOMEN OF WONDER anthologies) or the mtf transgender folks such as Rachel Pollack or Jessica Amanda Salmonson.

  • MikeE

    @John D: no, the question is “who’s your favourite female sci-fi writer”, not “who’s your favourite lesbian sci-fi writer”.

    And mine would be Julian May.

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