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The Women’s Press sf

During the mid-1980s to early 1990s, The Women’s Press published a line of feminist science fiction novels and collections by women writers. The books all boasted the same design: a grey border and spine, and distinctive cover-art. The books were a mixture of new works and older classic books (the original years of publications are given in brackets; asterisked titles were original to The Women’s Press).

Kindred, Octavia Butler (1979) – review, review
*Walk to the End of the World and Motherlines, Suzy McKee Charnas (1989) – review
The New Gulliver: Or The Adventures of Lemuel Gulliver, Jr. in Capovolta, Ésme Dodderidge (1979)
Machine Sex and Other Stories, Candas Jane Dorsey (1988)
Native Tongue, Suzette Haden Elgin (1984) - review
The Judas Rose, Suzette Haden Elgin (1987)
*The Incomer, Margaret Elphinstone (1987)
*Carmen Dog, Carol Emshwiller (1988) – review
*The Fires of Bride: A Novel, Ellen Galford (1986)
The Wanderground, Sally Miller Gearhart (1978) - review
Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1915)
*Despatches from the Frontiers of the Female Mind, Jen Green & Sarah LeFanu (1985) – review
*The Godmothers, Sandi Hall (1982)
*Women as Demons, Tanith Lee (1989)
*In the Chinks of the World Machine, Sarah LeFanu (1988)
The Book of the Night, Rhoda Lerman (1984) – review
*The Total Devotion Machine, Rosaleen Love (1989)
*Evolution Annie and Other Stories, Rosaleen Love (1993)
*The Revolution of Saint Jone, Lorna Mitchell (1988)
Memoirs of a Spacewoman, Naomi Mitchison (1962) - review
The Mothers of Maya Diip, Suniti Namjoshi
*The Planet Dweller, Jane Palmer (1985) - review
*The Watcher, Jane Palmer (1986) – review
Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy (1976) – review, review
Star Rider, Doris Piserchia (1974) – review
The Female Man, Joanna Russ (1975) - review, reviewreview
We Who Are About To…, Joanna Russ (1977) - review, review, review
The Two of Them, Joanna Russ (1978) - review
The Adventures of Alyx, Joanna Russ (1983) - review, review
Extra(Ordinary) People, Joanna Russ (1984) - review, review
The Hidden Side of the Moon, Joanna Russ (1988)
*Queen of the States, Josephine Saxton (1986)
*Travails of Jane Saint and Other Stories, Josephine Saxton (1986)
Passing for Human, Jody Scott (1977) - review
I, Vampire, Jody Scott (1984)
A Door Into Ocean, Joan Slonczewski (1986)
*Correspondence, Sue Thomas (1992) - review
*A Spaceship Built of Stone and Other Stories, Lisa Tuttle (1987) – review
Across the Acheron, Monique Wittig (1987)

Also, worth seeking out is the Women of Wonder series of anthologies edited by Pamela Sargent. Three were published in the 1970s, and a further two in the 1990s.

Women of Wonder (1975) – review
More Women of Wonder (1976) – review
The New Women of Wonder (1978) – review
Women of Wonder: The Classic Years (1995)
Women of Wonder: The Contemporary Years (1995)  - review, review

Other women-only science fiction anthologies:

The Venus Factor, Vic Ghidalia & Roger Elwood, eds. (1972)
Aurora: Beyond Equality†, Vonda N McIntyre & Susan Janice Anderson, eds. (1976)
The Crystal Ship‡, Robert Silverberg, ed. (1976)
Millennial Women, Virginia Kidd, ed. (1978) – review
Asimov’s Space of Her Own, Shawna McCarthy, ed. (1983)
New Eves: Science Fiction About the Extraordinary Women of Today and Tomorrow, Forrest J Ackerman, Janrae Frank & Jean Marie Stine, eds. (1994) – review, review
Daughters of Earth, Justine Larbalestier, ed. (2006)
The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women, Alex Dally McFarlane, ed. (2014)

† a specifically feminist anthology, it does include three stories by men: David J Skal, PJ Plauger and Craig Strete.
‡ Silverberg edits and provides an introduction to three novellas by women sf authors: Joan D Vinge, Marta Randall and Vonda N McIntyre

9 Comments leave one →
  1. kev mcveigh permalink
    June 11, 2011 3:35 pm

    Most of those Women’s Press titles had the distinctive grey spines, but a handful of the later ones had the more general Women’s Press black & white stripes even when clearly labelled as SF. Russ’ The Hidden Side Of The Moon is one.
    There was also at least one noteworthy additional title, published after the SF line stopped being separate. Josephine Saxton wrote Jane Saint & the Backlash, a sequel to The Travails of Jane Saint.
    In the Chunks of the World Machine, Sarah Lefanu’s study of Feminism & Science Fiction, was also a Women’s Press volume.

    • June 11, 2011 8:39 pm

      Edited to add In the Chinks of the World Machine. Ta.

      The Candas Jane Dorsey collection also has the black & white striped cover design.

  2. Jenni permalink
    June 28, 2011 9:41 pm

    There is what may be a more complete list of included titles here. I have a copy of Joan Slonczewski’s A Wall Around Eden in a Women’s Press edition from 1991, badged with “sf” on the front, and it’s on the longer list I link to, but I haven’t otherwise double-checked the longer list.

    • June 29, 2011 10:15 am

      I seem to recall checking that list when I originally put together mine, but there was some confusion over whether certain books were badged as “sf” or not. It didn’t help that some had the standard black-and-white striped design but with “sf” on the front, whereas the others were all plain grey and labelled “The Women’s Press SF”… Like you say, it needs double-checking.

  3. September 13, 2013 7:23 pm

    You have a wonderful site here. I just wanted to give Kudos where they are due. :)


  1. Woman's Press Science Fiction List - Science Fiction Fantasy Chronicles: forums
  2. The New Women of Wonder, Pamela Sargent | SF Mistressworks
  3. Literary theory - Page 2 - Science Fiction Fantasy Chronicles: forums
  4. Book Review: The Crystal Ship (three novellas by Vonda N. McIntyre + Marta Randall + Joan D. Vinge), ed. Robert Silverberg (1976) | Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

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