December 17, 2018, 05:16:55 PM

Author Topic: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work  (Read 1802 times)

Offline Nora

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SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« on: February 01, 2018, 08:10:43 PM »
What a dry title!

Anyone, here's the story :

My work life has turned a weird, muddied mess right now, with managers treating me as a free agent, in charge of several things instead of having a clear assignment. But officially, as the top manager says, I've been more or less temporarily moved to the fiction floor, to be responsible for the Science Fiction and Fantasy, manga and board game section. (At the second biggest Waterstones in the UK, £££ wise)
A childhood dream almost come true.

Anyway.

With Ms Le Guin passing away, we have ordered bulk of her books and given her a little table in my section, for which I wrote the header. I will also have on my hands quite a few copies of Jemisin's The Fifth Season, as I chose it for the february book group, but we'll most likely have overstock.
So it got me thinking that when the table for Le Guin officially goes, I should keep some of her books on and add my Jemisin pile, and maybe add more female authors there to do a sort of "pro-feminist" corner.
I'd definitely add some of Sheri S Tepper's books (Gate to Women Country or Grass), but after that I'm not too sure.
The manager who orders stock loved the idea (not like it's entirely new! The general fiction will soon have a wall of "femal authors" similar to my table, and we've had a corner of feminist non-fiction on the ground floor for a while) and let me decide on a list. I still have to float the idea by my main manager on the floor, but I reckon it'll be ok until another event requisitions the table.

So here is my task for you. I want you to make a compact recommendation of female authors you'd like to see being put forward. And if possible a specific title from them, and why the book is appropriate there.

– They don't need to be classics, they can be recent authors.
– They have to be feminist-minded in their discourse, or explore beyond traditional gender ideas.
– They can't be obscure and impossible to source or sell, though I can tell that better than most of you since I have an access to Waterstone's system, so I can see the publication status of books and their availability.
– Only one title per author.
– The MC doesn't have to be female. If it was in SFF, I'd say that The Song Of Achilles would fit there perfectly. So does The Left Hand Of Darkness.
– No hardbacks.


The core set will be a book by Le Guin, Sheri S Tepper and Jemisin.The table can sit 3 to 4 more books. So I'll take four or five off of you and then see what can be ordered.

In the end if it happens, I'll submit my list, and if I get my say, I'll take a picture of the table and post it here to reward everyone's good efforts!

Please feel free to make recommendations based on balance. As in "5 titles that would go together". You can balance through publication years, to have some 70/80s, 90/00, 10s, or you can balance by genre and overall mood (not a table of pure rebellion or depression, etc). Or you can just throw titles you think are very little known along with much more famous one, to catch the eye of readers who've "liked that one", and will hence be curious to look at "similar ones".

Anyone game?  :D
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 10:54:19 PM by Nora »
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 08:33:38 PM »
To balance out the many female authors others will provide, for balance you might consider Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold, as Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, is a wonderful female character.
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Offline Nora

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2018, 09:16:01 PM »
No sorry, as I said, I'm not looking to have a male author on that table at all. Besides, Abercrombie has half an entire shelf to himself and needs no help selling books.
I'm not considering characters only either. One good female character doesn't make a book that expresses different views on gender constructs.
A book can have a great female character and still try in no way to change the pov of the reader, or explore deeper themes in relation with gender roles.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 09:20:22 PM »


My bad. I misinterpreted:
– They can't just be women
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 10:06:10 PM »
Elizabeth Bear, "Karen Memory" --> 'lady of the night' that kicks ass in a western/steampunk environment

Jen Williams, "The copper promise" --> Wydrin definitely isn't your usual quiet girl ;D

And I'm surprised you didn't think of Marie Brennan and Lady Trent - she definitely went against what was considered 'proper' for females of her time!
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Offline xiagan

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 10:08:29 PM »
Kameron Hurley's Mirror Empire and Ann Lackey's Ancillary Justice should fit in nicely.

Uprooted has a feminist vibe too.

If YA is okay, I could recommend something from Tamora Pierce. I know you DNF'ed Song of the Lioness but other books are way better and if you read up a bit on her thousands of female readers name her books for making them the woman they are.

(@The Gem Cutter, I made the same mistake.)
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Offline Nora

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 10:53:46 PM »
Sorry, I meant this whole sentence as "not only female but also" as in "in addition to being that.."
I'll correct it.

But both lady Trent's memoir and ancillary justice are excellent choices!  ;)
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2018, 12:22:57 AM »
Absolutely second Lady Trent, hope the paperback covers are lovely as well as the hard copy. ;D

I know you didn't much like Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho but it is fairly popular and good challenger of both gender and racist attitudes in a faux Georgian setting. The MC is male but comes to share prominence with a strong female character. Added to which it is a lightweight easy read suitable for adult or YA and has good covers for display. Jemisin and Ancillary Justice pretty serious reading, this would appeal to different customers.
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Offline Vizhigoth

Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2018, 12:31:05 AM »
Well I would have suggested Tepper but you've got that covered. The only other one that springs to mind is Hermetech by Storm Constantine - might not be feminist but does have extreme body-mods to make characters "intersex" and deals with alternative sexuality, as I believe much of her work does.

Offline Lanko

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2018, 12:56:49 AM »
I'm not sure about feminist vibes, but here are some names and works:

Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni. It's set in the 10s or 20s and deals with Syrian, Jew and other immigrants in the New York of that time. Could actually be pretty relevant considering everything happening nowadays...

Elizabeth Moon, author of The Deed of Paksenarrion. It's a 90's book, but I think it fits the feminist theme? Main protagonist is a young woman who runs from her farmhouse to escape an arranged marriage and inspired by her brother wants to be a knight and joins a mercenary company. She ends up being a paladin. There are elves, dwarves, orcs, necromancers, etc.

Katherine Addison, author of The Goblin Emperor. The MC unexpectedly becomes emperor after a sudden family accident.

Cecilia Ekbäck, author of Wolf Winter. This book was in my top 10 of last year. The author is Swedish. It's set in the 1700's when a family moves to a farm in a mountain region. The husband has to leave quite early and the story is pretty much the mother and her two daughters living there, taking care of the farm, trading with the neighbors, etc... it's also the harshest winter in the history of the place. At the same time there's a murder mystery and one of the daughters actually has aptitude for shamanism and can see and talk with the ghost of the murdered victim. And then the Church becomes more active in the area.
Really well-written, with a pretty cold and dark atmosphere, would recommend you to give it a try even if you don't use it.

Jen Williams author of The Copper Cat trilogy. I think she's a favorite here in FF. The female MC is a rogue and her mother is a pirate (though this is shown in book 3 if I'm not mistaken).

And of course, there's Robin Hobb for a very well-know name.
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Lanko's Year in Books 2018

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2018, 02:03:33 AM »
Lois McMaster Bujold writes books w strong women who are MC but also others who have to fight for acknowledgment, allowed to be independent etc all within excellent fantasy plots. Especially Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls.

There are many others but not familiar with them, others here may know examples from her work that have same theme
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline cupiscent

Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2018, 02:47:27 AM »
+1 to Naomi Novik's Uprooted. It's recent, it's popular, and it has a strongly feminist "rewrite the fairytale" feel.

+1 to Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown. The historical gender-role-busting is a lovely part of the story.

Perhaps Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamorist Histories? (First book Shades of Milk and Honey.) Within a very strongly Jane Austen world, the main character (and her husband) negotiate what they want their marriage and relationship and roles to be, independent of what society expects them to be.

I don't want to pass up an opportunity to rec K Arsenault Rivera's The Tiger's Daughter because it's two wonderful kick-ass ladies taking on the world, but I suspect it hasn't been published in the UK yet?

Offline tebakutis

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2018, 04:44:35 AM »
Interesting! I can definitely recommend some female authors I've enjoyed over the years, both famous and indie. It's a bit of a grab bag ranging from the traditional press authors I grew up on and a mix of traditional and indie authors I've enjoyed recently. We've mentioned Jen Williams already, so while she's not here, I'd +1 her and of course the amazing Robin Hobb.

Suggestions!

C. J. Cherryh has always been a huge favorite of mine, so I'll toss out Gate of Ivrel, the first book in her series The Morgaine Cycle. It's got a badass female protagonist who's relatable, interesting, and is actually a galactic traveler with a sword that swallows souls. DAW is the publisher.

Obviously Anne McCaffrey needs no introduction, but I loved her Dragonrider series and I'd heartily recommend Dragonflight (the first book in her series) for your table. The main character, Lessa, is the last surviving member of a noble family murdered by a bad dude, so she's been hiding out waiting to restore her name. She's also telepathic and has a pet dragon dog thing. The books were really fun and I need to re-read them one of these days.

Jane Yolen's Pit Dragon Trilogy, while YA, reads far above it's level and I always recommend it when people ask for fun fiction. The first book is Dragon's Blood, about a young stablehand who steals a baby dragon and raises in in secret to fight in the dragon fighting pits. There are dragon fighting pits. It's good.

A little more recently, Cary Osborne's Iroshi series (originally published by Ace) was just republished by a small press as e-books (not sure if they're in print, so you'll need to check). It's telepathic ninjas in space, which is why the hell wouldn't you read that. The main character is a female space explorer who can sword fight and ends up founding a huge company of mercenary space ninjas. The first book is, unsurprisingly, titled Iroshi.

I met Cat Kimbriel at an Armadillocon recently and read one of her sci-fi books, which was a fun read. She's written a ton of great stuff, so I'd suggest either her recent fantasy book Night Calls, or one of the books in her older series, such as Fires of Nuala (scifi).

Another indie author I know who is a super talented writer is Leona Wisoker, who writes a series called Children of the Desert. All of her characters are awesome (a great mix of male and female) and the world is super cool, like a cross between Dune and Tatooine with super powerful old ones who are like dragon cthulhus. First book is called Secrets of the Sands.

Oh! And specifically for YA, Mari Mancusi is another great author I got to know at a recent con in Austin, and has written a ton of stuff. Her most recent book, The Camelot Code is coming out from Disney Hyperion in October. She's also got a huge backlog of YA, so if you are looking for YA stuff, any of her books would be great. Check out Scorched, Boys that Bite, or Tomorrow Land.

If more come to me I will add them.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2018, 04:50:32 AM by tebakutis »

Offline Rostum

Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2018, 05:20:25 AM »
Ellen Kushner springs to mind. Thomas the Rhymer or the Swordspoint books.

Offline Elfy

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Re: SFF Female Author Recommendation Needed for Work
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2018, 06:45:44 AM »
Andre Norton is another one to consider, as is Julian May. If you are looking at including someone as recent as K. Arsenault Rivera consider Ada Palmer and no recommendation like this from me would be complete without mention of Catherynne M. Valente.