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Feminist science fiction

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Feminist science fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that deals with feminist issues.

Authors who are considered to write Feminist SF include:

Reading listsEdit

The Feminist SF on Wikipedia article has a longer overview of feminist science fiction.

The feministsf.org recommended reading list

Science fiction and fantasy frequently mis-recommended as feministEdit

Feminists often receive recommendations for feminist fiction. Sometimes well-meaning people who have relatively little experience with feminism recommend science fiction and fantasy works as feminist, but sometimes people who have more experience with feminism may see those same works as non-feminist or even anti-feminist.

There are a variety of reasons that such a work may look feminist at first glance. For example:

  • It has strong female characters.
  • It was written by a woman.
  • It was written by a man with the intention of being woman-positive.
  • It has significant feminist content but also significant anti-feminist content.
  • It was progressive for its day, but hasn't aged well.
  • It was eye-opening to readers who read it when young, but a more sophisticated look reveals flaws.

However, none of those factors guarantees that the work is feminist, and none of them guarantees that feminists who are tired of reading anti-feminist material won't find the work annoying or upsetting.

Here's a partial list of SF&F books commonly recommended as pro-women, but that have significant non-feminist aspects:

  • All of Robert Heinlein's work
  • The Honor Harrington series by David Weber
  • Most of Anne McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern series
  • Glory Season by David Brin
  • The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson
  • The Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean M. Auel (warning: triggering themes)

Note that labeling these works as having significant non-feminist aspects doesn't imply that it's wrong or evil to enjoy them. Many feminists have a longstanding fondness for some of these works, often dating back to childhood - but that doesn't make the works feminist. It's even okay to recommend such works to a feminist; but if you do so, it's a good idea to make clear that your recommendation isn't on feminist grounds, so they'll know what to expect.

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