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The Women’s Press science fiction

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During the mid to late 1980s, The Women’s Press published a line of feminist science fiction novels by women writers. The books all boasted the same cover design: a grey border and spine, and distinctive cover-art. The books were a mixture of new works and older classic books. I remember the books quite well, and bought several of them. While I was researching my SF Mistressworks meme, I was reminded of The Women’s Press novels and it occurred to me that their list too made for a good meme.

So let’s do it again. Bold if you’ve read it, italics if you own it but haven’t read it. Obviously, it doesn’t have to be The Women’s Press edition, but bonus marks if it is…

As far as I can determine, this is the full list:

1. Kindred, Octavia Butler
2. Walk to the End of the World and Motherlines, Suzy McKee Charnas
3. The New Gulliver: Or The Adventures of Lemuel Gulliver, Jr. in Capovolta, Ésme Dodderidge
4. Machine Sex and Other Stories, Candas Jane Dorsey
5. Native Tongue, Suzette Haden Elgin
6. The Judas Rose, Suzette Haden Elgin
7. The Incomer, Margaret Elphinstone
8. Carmen Dog, Carol Emshwiller
9. The Fires of Bride: A Novel, Ellen Galford
10. The Wanderground, Sally Miller Gearhart
11. Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
12. Despatches from the Frontiers of the Female Mind, Jen Green & Sarah LeFanu
13. The Godmothers, Sandi Hall
14. Women as Demons, Tanith Lee
15. The Book of the Night, Rhoda Lerman
16. Evolution Annie and Other Stories, Rosaleen Love
17. The Total Devotion Machine, Rosaleen Love
18. The Revolution of Saint Jone, Lorna Mitchell
19. Memoirs of a Spacewoman, Naomi Mitchison
20. The Mothers of Maya Diip, Suniti Namjoshi
21. Planet Dweller, Jane Palmer
22. The Watcher, Jane Palmer
23. Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy
24. Star Rider, Doris Piserchia
25. Extra(Ordinary) People, Joanna Russ
26. The Adventures of Alyx, Joanna Russ
27. The Female Man, Joanna Russ
28. The Hidden Side of the Moon, Joanna Russ
29. The Two of Them, Joanna Russ
30. We Who Are About To…, Joanna Russ
31. Queen of the States, Josephine Saxton
32. Travails of Jane Saint and Other Stories, Josephine Saxton
33. I, Vampire, Jody Scott
34. Passing for Human, Jody Scott
35. A Door Into Ocean, Joan Slonczewski
36. Correspondence, Sue Thomas
37. A Spaceship Built of Stone and Other Stories, Lisa Tuttle
38. Across the Acheron, Monique Wittig

Oh, well – I’ve not done so well on this one, although there are a number of titles I plan to read (as soon as I pick up copies).

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4 thoughts on “The Women’s Press science fiction

  1. That was an interesting list. The anthology Despatches introduced me properly to quite a few authors I went on to read more of. That was its purpose I guess.

    A few quibbles though. A couple of these books weren’t published in the standard grey spine/border style that marked the SF line but in the distinctive black & white stripes of the general Women’s Press line. I know Russ’ collection The Hidden Side Of The Moon was and I think Galford’s Fires of Bride too.
    If you want to include the latter then also add Josephine Saxton’s Jane Saint and the Backlash – Further Adventures of Jane Saint her 1989 sequel to Travails.

    • The ones with the black and white striped spines often had the letters “sf” on the front cover. The copy of Candas Jane Dorsey’s Machine Sex I own certainly has.

  2. Pingback: The Women’s Press SF Line – A Son of the Rock -- Jack Deighton

  3. This is an interesting list. I remember seeing these about when I was a kid, but being 12 I was put off by the ‘womens press’ imprint, in the same way that I didn’t go near anything that said ‘adult fiction’ (I would not have brought ‘Machine Sex and Other Stories’ back to the family home!).

    Now though, I see that there’s several names in this list that interest me. I’ve since read Lisa Tuttle’s “Memories of the Body” short story collection, and her entries in this list would be among the first I’d get. And there’s Octavia Butler, whom everyone talks of, but whom I’ve never yet read.

    It should be possible to pick these up cheap on ebay these days. Now that I know what I’m looking for, I think I’ll go do it. Thanks for providing the list!

    Colum

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