Starting with the assumption of feminism that “women and men are inherently of equal worth” (Freedman 7) many writers of feminist science fiction use the genre’s inherent liminal position to discuss issues of boundary, transgression and change. The topics addressed by these writers engage the social construction of our identity, be it determined by class, race, gender, sex or age. The essay presented here thus establishes first a discussion of what “feminist science fiction” is and sets out to do, before then following the development of feminist writing from Mary Shelley onward, through waves of feminisms and up till today. The question, sometimes brought out by critics, whether we still need a category (and thus a separate page here in the project) of feminist SF is firmly answered by Ritch Calvin: yes, we still do, because feminism is changing, as is our human condition and as long as we are not fully equal in every component of identity, we will still need feminist SF.
This is the lecture “Feminist Science Fiction” by Prof. Dr. Ritch Calvin (SUNY Stony Brook):
Videofile – MP4
Audiofile – MP3
Or download this link via right-click and “save as…”: Lecture
The introductory essay “Feminist Science Fiction” by Prof. Dr. Ritch Calvin isavailable for download here:
THE ROAD TO SCIENCE FICTION, VOL. 3: FROM HEINLEIN TO HERE (ED. JAMES GUNN):
Merril, Judith. “That Only A Mother” (1967) – pages 117-25.
Early “Galactic Suburbia” story dealing with mutation and mother’s love in the atomic age.
Russ, Joanna. “When It Changed” (1972) – pages 526-33.
A story about the all-female planet Whileaway and the first contact with earth men after 300 years of seclusion.
THE ROAD TO SCIENCE FICTION, VOL. 4: FROM HERE TO FOREVER (ED. JAMES GUNN):
Zoline, Pamela. “The Heat Death Of The Universe” (1967). – also available online.
The life of a house wive is likened to universal entropy, spiraling towards the ultimate “heat death” of the title.
WESLEYAN ANTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION (ED. ARTHUR B. EVANS ET AL.):
Merril, Judith. “That Only A Mother” (1948) – pages 211-20. / Zoline, Pamela. “The Heat Death Of The Universe” (1967) – pages 415-29. / Russ, Joanna. “When It Changed” – pages 507-15
for these stories, see above entry
Cadigan, Pat. “Pretty Boy Crossover” (1986) – pages 587-97.
A story about sexuality, gender politics and show business – the making of a model and sexual desires.
ADDITIONAL READING (ASIDE FROM THE ANTHOLOGIES):
A bibliographic list of Early Feminist SF and Utopias compiled by Timmel Duchamp and edited by Ritch Calvin: Early Feminist SF – Bibliography And a long bibliographic list of Feminist SF recommended by Ritch Calvin: Feminist SF – A Reading List
- Feminist Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Utopia.
- Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy: An Incomplete List.
- Feminist SF Carnival.
- Feminist SF: The Blog!
- Feminist SF Wiki.
- James Tiptree, Jr. Award.
- Lesbian Science Fiction.
- SF and Feminism on the Web.
- Daughters of Prometheus: 21st Century Women Writers of SF.
- WisCon: The World’s Leading Feminist Science Fiction Convention.
Works Cited on this page:
- Freedman, Estelle. No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women. New York: Ballantine, 2002
MLA Citation for this page:
Video Lecture: Calvin, Ritch. “Feminist Science Fiction”. Video Lecture. A Virtual Introduction to Science Fiction. Ed. Lars Schmeink. Web. 2012. <http://virtual-sf.com/?page_id=368>.
Essay: Calvin, Ritch. “Feminist Science Fiction”. A Virtual Introduction to Science Fiction. Ed. Lars Schmeink. Web. 2012. <http://virtual-sf.com/?page_id=368>. 1-14.
Info Page: Calvin, Ritch and Lars Schmeink. “Feminist Science Fiction”. Web Page. A Virtual Introduction to Science Fiction. Ed. Lars Schmeink. Web. 2012. <http://virtual-sf.com/?page_id=368>.