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Analysis: 100 Great sf stories by women


I have to admit the list of 100 Great science fiction stories by women has done considerably better than I expected, and seems to have gone a little bit viral. Loads of people tweeted a link to it, someone posted it on reddit (where a typically clueless number of discussions subsequently took place), it’s been linked from several blogs and sites (including and SF Signal), and has even appeared on several tumblrs. The hits here have gone through the roof – it is officially my most popular post, with even more hits than the one in which I wrote that Asimov was a shit writer. I was expecting people to turn the list into a meme, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. But it’s not like I’m complaining…

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to stick up a few charts about the list.

The list is slanted a little toward the twenty-first century, but there are more women writing sf now than there were in the first half of last century.

Unsurprisingly, more than half of the list are short stories – ie, 7,500 words or less.

I used the tables of contents of several year’s best to find titles for the list, so these numbers come as no real surprise – but I was surprised to discover that some of the earlier stories had appeared in year’s bests of the 1950s and 1960s.



Again, I looked at award shortlists for titles, so the high number of nominees and winners is not unexpected.

I didn’t use the Locus poll at all, so the number of stories which appeared on it – nearly a third of the list – came as a surprise.

Quite a few of the older stories have been reprinted a huge number of times. The most-reprinted story is Judth Merril’s ‘That Only A Mother’, with 24 reprints, including Women of Wonder – and in my review of that anthology here, I called it “a bona fide classic of the genre”. It seems I’m not the only person who thinks so…

2 thoughts on “Analysis: 100 Great sf stories by women

  1. If something should go a “tad viral” is is something instructive like your list….. I suspect many sci-fi fans have read very few of the authors — let alone stories — on the list!

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