New review: Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century

// 17 March 2010

Jess McCabe reviews Justine Larbalestier’s collection of 11 stories and accessible essays, which provide an engaging introduction to feminist scifi

daughtersofearth.jpgCurious about feminist science fiction, but don’t know where to begin reading? Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century is a great place to start.

Justine Larbalestier has curated a collection of 11 short stories, each followed by an analysis from a feminist science fiction academic or critic.

“I wanted to find a balance in this anthology between introducing people to long-out-of-print stories they would never otherwise read and reprinting better-known works that have never been the subject of study,” Larbalestier says in the introduction. (You might recognise Larbalestier’s name – she is also the young adult author who recently drew attention to the ‘whitewashing’ of the US cover for her novel Liar.)

Daughters of Earth opens the door to a selection of feminist and women’s science fiction writing, then puts these examples in historical and literary context through critical essays written in a broad and accessible tone. These essays sprout hundreds of branches, tantalising the reader with glimpses of the history of US women’s speculative fiction, the development of science fiction as a genre, the development of feminist ideas, feminist critique and the relationship between ‘genre’ and ‘literary’ writing.

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