Women of Science Fiction

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Mary Shelly

Imagine an alternate universe where Mary Shelly did not take a trip to Geneva, Switzerland.  Because she did not take this trip she never thought of or wrote Frankenstein.

Now imagine our culture without Frankenstein’s monster.  Abbot and Costello never meet him (Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein – 1948); Kenneth Branagh never creates him (Frankenstein – 1994); Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder never spoof him (Young Frankenstein – 1974).  Halloween and The Munsters also seem to be missing a vital character.

Mary Shelly is said to be the first science fiction author, helping shape the way for other women in a male dominated genre.  Her legendary monster has also shaped much of our pop culture.  Her creation has spawned dozens of movies and plays and inspired artists, authors, and those in costume.

Clare Wiggins Harris

Did you know that the author who is now recognized as a pioneer of women authoring science fiction was the first woman to publish her writings in science fiction magazines under her own name and helped to shape the cyborg mythology?

Captain Jean-Luc Picard should tip his hat to Clare Wiggins Harris, author of many science fiction short stories published in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Her most famous story The Miracle of the Lily, published in 1928, may have originated the now popular sci-fi/cyborg question and theme, “What is human?”

Other Authors

If you are interested in reading science fiction authored by women you may be interested in:

  • Margaret Atwood: Oryx and Crake (2003) and The Year of the Flood (2009)
  • Octavia Butler: Patternmaster (1976), Mind of My Mind (1977), Survivor (1978), Wild Seed (1980), Clay’s Ark (1984)
  • Ursula K. LeGuin: The Dispossessed (winner of 1975 Nebula and Hugo Awards) and other works
  • Madeline L’Engle: Poor Little Saturday (short story – 1956)

Come check out the new Science Fiction Popular Reading Display at the Jennie King Mellon Library.  For any science fiction books we don’t have, use E-ZBorrow to get them from another library!

One Comment

  1. The field of science fiction is wide open for women. I hope Clare Wiggangs Harris is just the first of many.

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