A Request: Recent Feminist Stories (updated)

A few weeks back I was asking about who the feminist sf writers are now. I had an ulterior motive: I’d just been asked to put together a panel for Madison’s Centre for the Humanities “Rooted Cosmopolitans” lecture series (if like me, you are Australian, you will find that title rather amusing). That panel is now a go:

“A Feminist Utopia in Madison? Global Communities, Science Fiction and Women”
24 May, 2006, 7:30 pm
Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium, 816 State Street.
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Open to the public, free of charge
Panelists: Elizabeth Bear, Karen Joy Fowler, Nalo Hopkinson, Justine Larbalestier (moderator), Meghan McCarron

I hope some of you can come to cheer us on (or heckle, whatever you prefer).

We’d like to refer to two stories during the panel: one older and one more recent. And we’d like to let everyone know before the panel what those stories are so they’ll have time to read them. The older story will prolly be Joanna Russ’ “When It Changed”. But we’re not sure about a more recent story. So:

    What’s the best recent feminist short story you’ve read?

Recent as in published this century and preferably this year or last. Even more points if you come up with a story that’s available online, which will make it easier for more people to be able to read it. We’re not considering stories written by the esteemed panellists.

Update: There will be a long list of essential feminist sf reading that will be a hand out at the panel. So if you have suggestions for that, fire away. If you can think of less obvious ones that would be extra helpful. You can rest assured that Suzy McKee Charnas, Ursula Le Guin and Joanna Russ will all be on the list.


  1. cecil on #

    I just want to come and listen to the panel.

    So I may learn.

    Also, Meg is kick ass cool. I just met her last week.

    xo cc

  2. carbonel on #

    My favorite feminst short story dates back to the early ’90s I’m afraid: Connie Willis’ Even the Queen

  3. shana on #

    oh, on wednesday? bummer. i’ll have to leave tuesday to use frequent flier miles anyways — can’t justify coming in that early too!

    podcast it! there’s enough techies in that group to manage it, isn’t there? (meg?)

  4. Diana Peterfreund on #

    Just science fiction? I’m out. BUt I was always quite the fan of MILLENIUM HALL, which *sounds* like science ficiton, and is a regency-era feminist utopian tale.

  5. Justine on #

    Cecil: come to Wiscon! Come to the panel before WisCon! you’ll love it. Honest!

    Carbonel: that would be cool indeed. That story always generates much heat in discussions. Sadly, tis not recent enough. I’ll add to the long list though.

    Shana: Podcasting, eh? I’ll mention to the organisers that it’s been suggested.

    Diana: nah, spec fic in the broadest sense. But it has to be a short story and it has to be online. Who wrote Millenium hall I confess I do not know it.

  6. Niall on #

    Well, I guess I’ll stick my neck out if nobody else is going to …

    Little Faces?

    Planet of the Amazon Women?

    I’m pretty sure something recent by Carol Emshwiller should be in consideration, but I don’t think I can narrow it down to a single story, myself.

  7. Diana Peterfreund on #

    Sarah Scott, Justine, and you *must* read it. It’s Enlightenment feminism, or, as I said in the paper I wrote about it schoolside, “what would happen if all the jane austen books took a turn for the tragic, and the chicks bailed on the system.”

  8. Meghan on #

    Cecil! Come to wiscon with me! We can even fly together and you can assure me we won’t fall out of the sky! doesn’t that sound like FUN?

    Or not.

    A podcast would be really interesting. I know how to do sound editing. I”m not so much w/ the having of equipment, however.

    Um, i’m thinking about all this. I have no actual thoughts tho.

  9. Jackie M. on #

    I’m not sure about best, I can’t remember what all I’ve read recently. But Nagata’s Goddesses is stuck in my brain right now.

    Just to contrast the Amazons, La Malcontenta is also one of my favorites. But I don’t know, maybe that’s even the opposite of feminism?

  10. Justine on #

    Thanks all, am checking them out.

  11. Jenny D on #

    I don’t read a lot of short stories, sorry to say, but I thought Kelly Link’s “The Faery Handbag” was sort of a feminist story, no?

    I too love Millennium Hall, great book…

  12. Justine on #

    That’s a great idea, Jenny. Fabulous story. Not quite sure it fits our them, but maybe we can make it fit our theme.

    Okay, if both you and Diana say I must read Millenium Hall then read it I will.

  13. Josh on #

    I’d like to see Kit Reed’s and Carol Emshwiller’s short fiction represented on the “essential feminist sf” list –perhaps “The Hall of New Faces” and “Adapted”?

    And I guess I gotta nominate “It Walks in Beauty.”

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