August 15, 2020, 05:40:40 PM

Author Topic: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now  (Read 24527 times)

Offline Overlord

Hi Guys and Girls,

Great article on the best of today's Women SFF Writers published in British national paper The Independent. What I like most about it is that they haven't gone for the big hitters (Hobb) or those who have been established across generations (Le Guin), etc as so many lists do... Instead they've gone with lots of relatively new authors and lots of British authors, many of whom we've read and reviewed here at F-F, even a member of our team! And, a couple we've missed too.

Here is the list (link to article at the bottom):

'A Darker Shade of Magic' by V E Schwab.
'The Death House' by Sarah Pinborough
'The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August' and 'Touch' by Claire North
'Glorious Angels' by Justina Robson
'Bel Dame Apocrypha' trilogy by Kameron Hurley
'Starborn' by Lucy Hounsom
'The Iron Ghost' by Jen Williams

Linky:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/from-victoria-schwab-to-justina-robson-the-best-female-science-fiction-and-fantasy-writers-you-should-read-now-10092426.html

Any you've read and want to agree/disagree with?
Any you are excited to read (Go! Google!).
Any you think the paper should have included in addition?
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Online Alex Hormann

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Haven't actually read any of those (yet), but I'll probably get The Copper Promise next time I see it.

I think Marie Brennan deserves a place on the list too. Memoirs of Lady Trent is one of the best series going at the moment, as far as I'm concerned.
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Offline Elfy

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Emma Newman and Rachel Aaron/Bach should also make it.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Arry

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I'm excited to read Copper Promise, ADSoM and Death House. I've heard great things about all of them. Star ours sounds promising as well.

I'm one who really enjoyed Mirror Empire, so I'm glad to see Hurley on the list.

I've read both of North's books. I absolutely love Touch. It's quite different, but in a very positive way. Highly recommend it. The First Fifteen Lives was a book club read here. I struggled a bit with the plot, but others loved it. And I enjoyed North's writing style, which is why I read Touch. Very glad I did!

Two women authors I'd include would be Ann Leckie and Lauren Beukes.
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Offline Elfy

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Let's add some of the better credentialed writers like Jo Walton (the winner of both a Hugo and a World Fantasy Award for best novel) and Connie Willis (one of the most, if not THE MOST, decorated authors in SFF), should also throw Lois McMaster Bujold in there who has won Hugos for best novel with both science fiction and fantasy entries.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Roxxsmom

I agree with Overlord that there's a real issue with the same relatively small list of acknowledged female masters (Le guin, Hobb, Willis, Bujold and so on) getting tossed around over and over, while we seem to see more new male writers getting mentioned alongside the list of masters.

Nothing against masters of either gender, but when I ask for a recommended reading list, I'm always a bit perplexed when people assume I haven't heard of or read Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Le Guin, McCaffrey, Butler and so on.

There is one female master who gets left off a lot of lists, though, and that's CJ Cherryh. She pioneered a lot of narrative techniques and characterization styles that are pretty common today.

As for newer writers who are women.

Kameron Hurley's Mirror Empire is an epic fantasy that's really good and different.

Anne Leckie, of course (last year's Hugo and Nebula winner)
Katherin Addison (Goblin Emperor)
Karen Lord the Best of All Possible Worlds

I really liked Glenda Larke's Stormlords books too. They never seemed to get the attention they deserved.

Also, N.K. Jemisin and Amanda Downum.


Offline ladybritches

It's hard for me to name the "best", as there are so many amazing female writers out there. I'll second  N. K. Jemisin.  Read Hundred Thousand Kingdoms with the FF book club and was blown away by her writing.

I'm also a huge fan of Juliet Marillier. Her book Wolfskin reminds me a lot of some of the books that show up on so many favorites lists, and yet it seems very few of my fantasy reading friends have even heard of it or Marillier.

 


Offline Ryan Mueller

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I really liked Glenda Larke's Stormlords books too. They never seemed to get the attention they deserved.

Also, N.K. Jemisin and Amanda Downum.

I'm glad to see another Larke fan. I don't understand why the reviews on her books are so mixed. Sure, she uses some common tropes, but it's a good story in a setting that feels fresh and has a great sense of depth. These books were actually the biggest inspiration for one of my own fantasy series. I went to a different extreme in setting, creating a world with a weak sun, where the magic revolves around ways to survive in that world.

I've only read two books by Jemisin, but I've enjoyed both of them. She's also a good one to include because she's a woman and a POC, and both those aspects show up in her books.

I haven't read Downum yet. She's another one whose reviews are not all that good, so I've been wary about reading her books.

Offline Elfy

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I agree with Overlord that there's a real issue with the same relatively small list of acknowledged female masters (Le guin, Hobb, Willis, Bujold and so on) getting tossed around over and over, while we seem to see more new male writers getting mentioned alongside the list of masters.

Nothing against masters of either gender, but when I ask for a recommended reading list, I'm always a bit perplexed when people assume I haven't heard of or read Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Le Guin, McCaffrey, Butler and so on.

There is one female master who gets left off a lot of lists, though, and that's CJ Cherryh. She pioneered a lot of narrative techniques and characterization styles that are pretty common today.

As for newer writers who are women.

Kameron Hurley's Mirror Empire is an epic fantasy that's really good and different.

Anne Leckie, of course (last year's Hugo and Nebula winner)
Katherin Addison (Goblin Emperor)
Karen Lord the Best of All Possible Worlds

I really liked Glenda Larke's Stormlords books too. They never seemed to get the attention they deserved.

Also, N.K. Jemisin and Amanda Downum.
Katherine Addison is actually Sarah Monette. She was asked why the name change and her response was 'because publishing is deeply, deeply weird'.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline ScarletBea

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I would also add Anne Lyle, I really enjoyed the Night Masque trilogy.

And Judith Tarr too.
I love her Alamut and Hound and the Falcon series.

I don't know/haven't read many of the writers mentioned previously because I don't normally read SF or urban fantasy - is it me, or the majority of those names write in those genres?
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Offline Justan Henner

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Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2015, 02:55:06 PM »
Nothing against masters of either gender, but when I ask for a recommended reading list, I'm always a bit perplexed when people assume I haven't heard of or read Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Le Guin, McCaffrey, Butler and so on.

I don't think it's that perplexing. I haven't read any of these, and before this forum, Asimov was the only one I had heard of. Of course, I've never claimed to be well read.

Offline Elfy

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Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2015, 11:06:13 PM »
Mercedes Lackey is also highly prolific and has a huge amount of work across a few areas. Andre Norton and Julian May are two SFF writers who are highly respected, and I'm not sure if because of their androgynous names that many people actually realise they're female. I believe Norton was the first woman to be awarded the Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, the first female author to be an SFWA Grandmaster and the first to be inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. She was also the only woman to be a founding member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers Guild of America. Membership was later extended to C. J Cherryh, Diane Duane, Katherine Kurtz and Tanith Lee. Someone else who hasn't been mentioned here yet, but deserves a shout out is Catherynne M. Valente, who does the most mind bending things with words that you could ever think of.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Roxxsmom

Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2015, 02:35:29 AM »
Nothing against masters of either gender, but when I ask for a recommended reading list, I'm always a bit perplexed when people assume I haven't heard of or read Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Le Guin, McCaffrey, Butler and so on.

I don't think it's that perplexing. I haven't read any of these, and before this forum, Asimov was the only one I had heard of. Of course, I've never claimed to be well read.

Well, I don't think there are very many people who grew up voraciously reading SF and F who haven't heard of most of those authors anyway, though not everyone has necessarily chosen to read them. Do we really need to keep putting Tolkien on our favorites list? Yeah, most of us have read him, and a lot of us loved him, while others might feel he's over rated. But most people already have opinions one way or the other.

I saw a refreshing thing recently--a 25 fantasy books you must read list where nearly all were from the past few years, and some were very recent. Sadly, far more of them were men (the only two women on the list were Hobb and LeGuin, neither of whom is exactly a rising new talent in the genre), but someone in the comments complained about the relative lack of old favorites on the list. Excuse me, but I don't need to see yet another list that tells me I *must* read Tolkien, Jordan and so on. If I haven't by now, there's probably a reason.

The issue with nearly all the recent blockbuster bestselling secondary world fantasy debuts being by men in recent years (Rothfuss, Lynch, Abercrombie, Weeks, Brett, Lawrence, Wexler, McClellan and so on) is sad and puzzling, however. Not questioning the success of any of these writers--they've earned it--but why is it so hard for new female writers of adult fantasy to get a big following right off the bat these days?

This seems to be less true, perhaps, for urban fantasy and YA fantasy, where you do see more women doing well, even very well, with sales. Why is that?

Offline cupiscent

Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2015, 04:55:46 AM »
...but why is it so hard for new female writers of adult fantasy to get a big following right off the bat these days?

This seems to be less true, perhaps, for urban fantasy and YA fantasy, where you do see more women doing well, even very well, with sales. Why is that?

Terrible as it feels to say, the thing that seems to leap up right off the bat on that question is that urban and YA fantasy are generally acknowledged as having a significant percentage of female readership.

Offline Roxxsmom

Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2015, 06:00:29 AM »

Terrible as it feels to say, the thing that seems to leap up right off the bat on that question is that urban and YA fantasy are generally acknowledged as having a significant percentage of female readership.

I've heard that, though I've run across many male UF fans and aspiring male UF authors in online writing communities, and Jim Butcher and other male UF writers get mentioned a lot.

I generally prefer secondary world fantasy written for adults myself, and I know so many women who do that it never occurred to me that female readers were much (if any) of a minority than male ones. Women read more than men overall, so anyone who wants to be a bestselling author probably needs to appeal to women as well as men. And I've never had trouble finding women who write secondary world/epic style fantasy. There was a time, in fact, when I had to purposely make myself look for contemporary male EF or HF writers. So it is puzzling how some popular women who have been writing this stuff for years just seem to have fallen off the radar, and how many newer female writers of epic style fantasy aren't getting noticed/mentioned as much as a lot of male writers are these days.