A Review of The Future Is Female! Volume Two, the 1970s

Vintage Science Fiction month takes place every January, and has a few guidelines:

 – read, watch, listen to, or experience something science fiction / fantasy that was created in 1979 or earlier

 – talk about it online sometime in January

 – have fun

If any of my readers are interested in participating\ use the hashtag #VintageSciFiMonth or tag @VintageSciFi_ or @redhead5318 on Twitter if you’d like your posts to be included in the official retweets and roundups.  


Drawing of white woman wearing a spacesuit and walking on the surface of a red alien planet. Title
: The Future Is Female! Volume Two, the 1970s – More Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women

Author: Lisa Yaszek (editor)

Publisher: Library of America

Publication Date: 1971 – 1979 for the original publication dates. October 11, 2022 for this specific compilation.

Genres: Science Fiction, LGBTQ, Historical

Length: 548 pages (including author biographies, etc).

Source: I borrowed it from the library.

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb:

n the 1970s, feminist authors created a new mode of science fiction in defiance of the “baboon patriarchy”—Ursula Le Guin’s words—that had long dominated the genre, imagining futures that are still visionary. In this sequel to her groundbreaking 2018 anthology The Future is Female!: 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin, SF-expert Lisa Yaszek offers a time machine back to the decade when far-sighted rebels changed science fiction forever with stories that made female community, agency, and sexuality central to the American future. 

Here are twenty-three wild, witty, and wonderful classics that dramatize the liberating energies of the 1970s:

  • Sonya Dorman, “Bitching It” (1971) 
  • Kate Wilhelm, “The Funeral” (1972)
  • Joanna Russ, “When It Changed” (1972) NEBULA AWARD 
  • Miriam Allen deFord, “A Way Out”(1973)
  • Vonda N. McIntyre,  “Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand” (1973) NEBULA 
  • James Tiptree, Jr., “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (1973) HUGO AWARD 
  • Kathleen Sky, “Lament of the Keeku Bird” (1973)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Day Before the Revolution” (1974) NEBULA & LOCUS AWARD 
  • Eleanor Arnason, “The Warlord of Saturn’s Moons” (1974)
  • Kathleen M. Sidney, “The Anthropologist” (1975)
  • Marta Randall, “A Scarab in the City of Time” (1975) 
  • Elinor Busby, “A Time to Kill” (1977)
  • Raccoona Sheldon, “The Screwfly Solution” (1977) NEBULA AWARD 
  • Pamela Sargent, “If Ever I Should Leave You” (1974)
  • Joan D. Vinge, “View from a Height” (1978)
  • M. Lucie Chin, “The Best Is Yet to Be” (1978)
  • Lisa Tuttle, “Wives” (1979) 
  • Connie Willis, “Daisy, In the Sun” (1979)

Review:

Content warning: Starvation, dehydration, cancer, attempted murder, murder, zombies, and snakes. I will not discus these topics in my review.

There’s nothing like being introduced to so many fantastic science fiction authors at once.

I’ve never been interested in hunting frogs, but I did like the conversational style of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s “Frog Pond.” Althea was such a sweet and innocent person that I wondered why she kept disobeying her parents orders to avoid the creek and the mysterious pink and green patches that sometimes appeared in the water there. Surely there had to be something more than frogs to pique her curiosity. There were several wonderful layers to this story that I don’t want to spoil for everyone. What I can say is that the world building was fantastic and Althea was full of surprises for me. I’d love to visit her and her unusual little town again someday.

Vintage Science Fiction Blog Challenge badge. It shows a rocket ship against a red background. There is a bubble city in the background.  The sudden appearance of old age and impending death in “If Ever I Should Leave You” by Pamela Sargent piqued my curiosity. These things obviously worked different in this world than they do in our own, and it was interesting to slowly figure out what the rules were there. I also appreciated what this tale had to say about aging and grief. There were layers of meaning to it that I slowly unwrapped as I kept reading, although I should leave the details of that for other readers to discover for themselves.

As soon as I realized that the main character of “Hey, Lilith” by Gayle N. Netzer was a middle-aged woman who befriends someone much older than herself, I couldn’t stop reading. So many science fiction books are about teenagers and people in their early 20s that it’s a thrill to see other age groups represented. I appreciated the protagonist’s wry approach to suddenly finding herself in a post-apocalyptic storyline. Honestly, I’d react the same way, and her previous knowledge of how dangerous these settings can be made her refreshingly cautious about her predicament.

This is the second anthology in a series that does not need to be read in order.

The Future Is Female! Volume Two, the 1970s – More Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women was even better than the first volume of The Future Is Female. I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who loves vintage science fiction.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Something I’m Proud of Doing

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

This week’s prompt was a little tricky for me because I’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately. January isn’t my favourite month of the year, and this one seems to really be dragging on.

I don’t know about all of you, but sometimes my brain likes to focus on the things I wish I’d done differently instead taking note of what I think I’ve done well in life so far. I will take this as a challenge to congratulate myself on how far I’ve come, though!

A white person’s hand and forearm has punched through a yellow wall and is reaching out for help with all five fingers extended. When someone needs help, I’m the sort of person who will leap to the occasion. That’s a positive character trait in many situations, but sometimes it can be taken too far if you don’t also look after your own needs or if the person who wants help doesn’t respect boundaries.

In the past few years, I’ve noticed that it’s slowly become easier for me to realize what my limits are and stop before I’ve been pushed past them.

As a hypothetical example, I can be available to do A or B for someone on the first Tuesday of the month from 7 to 8 pm but not be able to do anything outside of that time frame and never agree to do C, D, or E for them.

It’s a huge win, especially when the occasional person demands I give them all of the letters of the alphabet on any given day and hour of the week and I still stand firm in how much time and energy I actually have for them.

Not only that, but my guilt about saying no is decreasing, too, and I can now more easily end my availability to do A or B temporarily (or even permanently) for people who try to push past my limits one too many times.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A typewriter with a white sheet of paper stuck in it. The phrase “something worth reading” has been typed on to the sheet of paper. Many of the books I read in 2022 were written by authors I hadn’t tried before. Here are ten of them.

Just like last year, I’ll also be including what books I read from them and whether I want to read more from them in the future.

1. Author: Marlene Campbell

What I Read from Them: Vintage Christmas: Holiday Stories from Rural PEI

Would I Read More from Them? Maybe. I liked some parts of this collection but found other sections a bit too repetitive. Then again, I am not a particularly sentimental person, so other readers might have a completely difference experience with it.

 

2. Author: Sonia Hartl

What I Read from Them: The Lost Girls

Would I Read More from Them? Yes. I loved the author’s tongue-in-cheek approach to the pitfalls of romances between vampires and teenage girls.

 

3. Author: Kate Nunn

What I Read from Them: The Only Child

Would I Read More from Them? No, and it pains me to say that. I loved the premise of this book but found the character and plot development thin and predictable.

 

4. Author: Riley Black

What I Read from Them: “The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World

Would I Read More from Them? Yes. Not only was Ms. Black an excellent writer, she knew exactly how to translate often complex scientific information into something the average person can easily understand. That’s difficult to do but so meaningful when it does occur.

 

A quiet wooden cabin in a snowy winter woods. The cabin has a stone chimney. 5. Author: Yah Yah Scholfield

What I Read from Them: “On Sundays She Picked Flowers

Would I Read More from Them? Assuming her next work isn’t quite so violent, absolutely. I enjoyed her poetic writing style but can’t handle reading many of the types of scary stuff I loved before this pandemic began.

 

6. Author: Nice Leng’ete

What I Read from Them: “The Girls in the Wild Fig Tree

Would I Read More from Them? Yes. She’s lived an interesting and useful life so far. I’m curious to see what she does with her talents next as she continues fighting to end female circumcision in Kenya.

 

7. Author: Julia Scheeres

What I Read from Them: “Listen, World!: How the Intrepid Elsie Robinson Became America’s Most-Read Woman

Would I Read More from Them? Probably not. This was a neat peek at a portion of history I wasn’t aware of, but the writing style wasn’t my cup of tea.

 

8. Author: Carl Matlock, MD

What I Read from Them: “The Annals of a Country Doctor

Would I Read More from Them? Yes. He was a great storyteller.

 

An empty church that has white wooden pews and white painted statues of saints on their walls. 9. Author: Daphne du Maurier

What I Read from Them: “Rebecca

Would I Read More from Them? Maybe. I understood why this novel is a classic and did enjoy the storyline itself, but I was exasperated with all of the characters for reasons ranging from how passive aggressive they were to how little regard they had for basic interpersonal boundaries to how much they relied on what other people thought of them when making every single decision in life. Let met take a break from Ms. Du Maurier before seeing if this is a pattern in her work or if her next book will be filled with characters I’d actually want to hang out with in real life. Ha!

 

10. Author: by Deesha Philyaw

What I Read from Them: “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

Would I Read More from Them? Yes. I connected beautifully with her characters and would love to see what she writes next. She was delightful.

Vintage Storytellers: A Review of The Future Is Female

Vintage Science Fiction month takes place every January, and has a few guidelines:

 – read, watch, listen to, or experience something science fiction / fantasy that was created in 1979 or earlier

 – talk about it online sometime in January

 – have fun

If any of my readers are interested in participating\ use the hashtag #VintageSciFiMonth or tag @VintageSciFi_ or @redhead5318 on Twitter if you’d like your posts to be included in the official retweets and roundups.  

The Future Is Female by Lisa Yaszek (editor) book cover. Image on cover shows a woman wearing rubber boots, a futuristic white body suit, and a glass bubble around her head standing on a white mound of sand or rocks while looking at up at a dark and mostly cloudless sky. Title: The Future Is Female

Author: Lisa Yaszek (Editor)

Publisher: Library of America

Publication Date: September 25, 2018 for this anthology. All stories in it were originally published between 1928 and 1969.

Genres: Science Fiction

Length: 432 pages

Source: I borrowed it from the library.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Space-opera heroines, gender-bending aliens, post-apocalyptic pregnancies, changeling children, interplanetary battles of the sexes, and much more: a groundbreaking new collection of classic American science fiction by women from the 1920s to the 1960s

SF-expert Lisa Yaszek presents the biggest and best survey of the female tradition in American science fiction ever published, a thrilling collection of twenty-five classic tales. From Pulp Era pioneers to New Wave experimentalists, here are over two dozen brilliant writers ripe for discovery and rediscovery, including Leslie F. Stone, Judith Merril, Leigh Brackett, Kit Reed, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree Jr., and Ursula K. Le Guin. Imagining strange worlds and unexpected futures, looking into and beyond new technologies and scientific discoveries, in utopian fantasies and tales of cosmic horror, these women created and shaped speculative fiction as surely as their male counterparts. Their provocative, mind-blowing stories combine to form a thrilling multidimensional voyage of literary-feminist exploration and recovery.

Review:

Content warning: War, radiation, pregnancy,  childbirth, pandemics, sex reassignment surgery, kidnapping, and birth defects. I will be discussing pregnancy, radiation, and birth defects in my review.

Buckle up for a wild ride.

I can’t review all of the stories in this collection in my review, so I’ll pick a few of the most interesting ones.

Leslie Perri’s “Space Episode”  began with the terror some astronauts felt at the exact moment they realized that they’d either need to find a way to dislodge the meteor stuck in their engine immediately or crash onto Earth and die. There wasn’t even time to share the characters’ names with the audience in that scene, and yet I immediately sympathized with them and couldn’t stop reading until I’d found out their fates.I can’t say much else about the storyline without giving away spoilers, but I thought was well paced and exciting. While I must continue being vague, the ending also had a nice twist in it that made me wish for a sequel.

Margaret’s fear of having accidentally exposed her fetus to dangerous amounts of radiation was overwhelming in “That Only a Mother” by Judith Merrill. It wasn’t difficult to figure out where the plot was going from there, so I was mostly interested in Margaret’s character development as she went through her pregnancy and began adjusting to being a new mom. I found myself wishing I could sit down with the author to confirm whether this was what she was hoping her audience would do given how easy it was to guess what would happen next. Then again, maybe this sort of storyline was much less used in the 1940s and would have been fresher for readers back then!

I was intrigued by Alice Eleanor Jones’ “Created He Them” immediately. The main character lived in a society where many necessities of life were difficult to get, from eggs to new clothes. She had two young sons to look after and was increasingly having difficulty keeping everyone in her family fed and warm. I’ll leave it up to other readers to discover more about her world, but I thought it was a memorable (if also depressing) place that could have easily been expanded into a full-length novel.

The Future Is Female was a memorable introduction to plenty of vintage science fiction authors I’d never heard of before.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: New Things I’ve Tried Recently

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

I usually try new things more often during the warm months of the year when it’s easier to travel and there are fewer germs floating around that my household needs to avoid, but I have tried some cool stuff this winter. (No, this isn’t an ad. I don’t do paid or sponsored posts of any sort. These are simply things I’ve tried recently and liked).

Duolingo Math.

Logo for the Duolingo app. The logo consists of the word “Duolingo” written in a plain, bright green font against a white background. There is nothing else to be seen in this image. I was an average math student in school, but I didn’t find it particularly interesting or relevant to my life most of the time. It seemed like something that a few students were naturally good at while the rest of us slogged through it.

When this was released at the end of December, it piqued my interest. Maybe I’d have a different opinion on this subject now that there are no quizzes, exams, or grades to worry about?

Well, it turns out that I’m really enjoying it so far. Turning math into a game makes it practical, fun, and low pressure.

The lessons run the gamut from easy to challenging. There is a section for elementary students as well as a different one for older kids or adults who want to improve their mental math skills, so this is one of those free games that truly does have something for everyone.

 

Station Eleven Novel and Miniseries

Book cover for “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. Image on the cover shows four tents that have been erected outside in a field. It is night outside and the cloudless sky is glowing with stars. Each tent has a bright light inside of it as well. The tents are surrounded by a waist-high fence that appears to be made out of hay bales piled on top of each other. I’d heard so many good things about ”Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, so I finally started watching it this winter.

It follows several of the same characters at different points in their lives as they encounter a deadly form of the flu that kills most of humanity and then about 20-30 years later to see how the survivors have fared.

If you’re comfortable reading about fictional pandemics, this is such an interesting look at how quickly the definition of normal can change. The people who were born after that pandemic had unique and sometimes humorous takes on what life must have been like back when unbelievable luxuries like airplanes, dentists, air conditioning, and the Internet still existed.

Unlike many books in this genre, this one is filled with characters who are kind and decent folks (with rare exceptions). They’re traumatized in the beginning, of course, but the storyline mostly focuses on them doing good things like adopting orphans, preserving as much of the past as they can, and simply surviving in a world where you must grow, knit, build, or scrounge around for everything you need.

I liked the hopeful approach this took to a genre that often assumes the worst about humanity.

The miniseries has been good so far as well. There were some major changes made to certain portions of it in order to help the storyline flow better on screen, but it remains true to the themes and characters of the book. Honestly, that’s exactly what any adaptation ought to do. I don’t need every single line of dialogue to remain identical so long as it still feels like the original.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals for 2023

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl I like to set (mostly) realistic goals at the beginning of each year. Let’s see how many of these I complete before 2024 sneaks up on us. 1. Read more classic novels this winter. It’s something I do every winter to expand my vocabulary and explore stories that generations… Read More

A Review of In a Glass Darkly

Vintage Science Fiction month takes place every January, and has a few guidelines:  – read, watch, listen to, or experience something science fiction / fantasy that was created in 1979 or earlier  – talk about it online sometime in January  – have fun If any of my readers are interested in participating\ use the hashtag… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What I Think of New Year’s Resolutions

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year. I believe New Year’s Resolutions, as well as goal setting activities in general, are a fabulous starting… Read More

A Review of The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

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