The Future is Female! Volume Two: The 1970s

The Future is Female! Volume Two: The 1970s
Ed. by Lisa Yaszek

This book is a follow-up to a previous anthology published by the prestigious Library of America that showcased classic science fiction stories by women from SF’s pulp era through the golden age. You can now get both volumes together as an attractive boxed set, though they’re also great as standalones.

Chronologically, we pick up here where the first book left off, with some names like Ursula K. Le Guin and James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) carrying over. But much in the literary landscape has changed. In the first book SF was in the process of being fashioned into its modern form and the writers were pioneers breaking new genre ground. In this collection we’re deeper into SF’s New Wave and the stories have become more overtly political, drawing on the politics and cultural energy of second-wave feminism in its heyday.

In general, the longer pieces tend to be the best because they allow for more ambiguity in the messaging, while the shorter ones involve more obvious sloganeering. Overall, however, editor Lisa Yaszek has come up with a great mix and, as is the case with most such historical anthologies, the real treat is in discovering some terrific but less well-known works by authors now largely forgotten.


8 thoughts on “The Future is Female! Volume Two: The 1970s

    1. They make for an interesting sort of object lesson on the evolution of feminism in the culture in the 20th century. The first book was more “stories by women” while in this one you feel more of the political edge. But they’re good stories too. Or most of them are.

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    1. One of the more remarkable things I experienced reading these stories was seeing that even at its most political ’70s messaging wasn’t as crude and reductive as the stuff we get today. It’s weird how things have gotten better in terms of social justice in the last fifty years but the rhetoric has become more apocalyptic and angry.

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