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This blog aims to be a resource providing reviews of science fiction books by women writers. It will demonstrate that:

a) women have been writing science fiction since the genre’s beginnings,

b) many of their books should qualify as classics, and

c) many of their books are, in fact, better than “classics” by their male counterparts, and have at least aged better.

How it works

People send me reviews of eligible books, I post them here. That’s books that are science fiction (but not YA or children’s sf), first published during the twentieth century or before and, most importantly, written by women.

They don’t have to be titles from the sf mistressworks list – you might, perhaps, think the book you want to review deserves to be on the list anyway. It doesn’t matter if there’s already a review of the book on the site: I like the idea of books having multiple reviews; it generates a conversation about individual titles.

Reviews don’t have to be original to this site. I’ll happily take reprints, and will link through if desired to the review’s original appearance (assuming it’s online).

If you need a word limit, then 500 words or more should be enough. I’ll source cover-art for the review. If you want to submit under a pseudonym, I’m happy with that. You don’t need my permission to select the book you want to review, I ask only that it’s eligible. I can’t promise I’ll post every review I’m sent, and if something is confusingly-phrased in a review I may ask for clarification.

Reviews don’t have to be positive, though, of course, I’d hope they would be.

I think that covers it. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.


Edit: I have now created an email address for SF Mistressworks, so if you wish to volunteer or contribute a review please send it to: sfmistressworks (at) gmail (dot) com.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2011 6:34 pm

    Love this project. I’m interested in sending in a review, but I’m not sure where exactly to send it. Am I overlooking a crucial bit of information above?

  2. June 13, 2011 10:09 pm

    Hi – I just reviewed Primary Inversion, which is on this list. My review is posted at:

    Feel free to link it in, if it fits with your meme.

  3. June 21, 2011 5:06 pm

    Ian, here’s my review of Doris Piserchia’s wonderful A Billion Days of Earth.

  4. June 24, 2011 2:16 pm

    Hi, saw you on LibrayThing. I have a few reviews from my now-defunct blog on the same subject that I’d be happy to contribute. If you email me, I’ll send them to you: shannon.turlington @

  5. July 1, 2011 10:39 am

    Great idea and good execution too! Am very impressed that you are consistently (so far) uploading a review per day, pretty much. This should be a really great resource.

    Any previous reviews I’ve written of mistressworks (eg on Goodreads) are unfortunately likely to be far too short for you, but I will try to work something up into a longer form if I can.

  6. July 21, 2011 8:05 pm

    Hi, like the first comment, I think this is a great project and have quite a few submissions to put forward, but not sure where to submit them.

  7. August 5, 2011 6:04 pm


    Lovely idea. Glad to see Maureen F McHugh for example getting some recognition. Joachim suggested I mention my review of Moxyland (here:

    A shame nobody’s done CJ Cherryh yet. I hope they do.

  8. August 18, 2011 7:29 pm

    I think this is a wonderful project, which will give me lots of inspiration for new reading matter, and I would also like to contribute with a review of a Lois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan novel.

    How would I go about submitting a review?

  9. Thomas baughman permalink
    January 2, 2012 8:17 pm

    There is no contact information in order to send a review. Could someone please submit that information.

  10. scifan permalink
    January 10, 2012 3:55 am

    Help me obi wan, you are my only hope…

    I’ve been struggling to recall the author and title of a wonderful slice of old school SF from a lady author. All I can recall is that the ruling overlords spoke a highly developed acronymic command tree language and the proles had sockets in their brains whereby they were plugged in daily and had the grey matter used for processing space. The nascent rebellion spoke ‘sythetic neo dravidian’ irrc.

    This has been bugging me for literally years and almighty google has failed me so often when looking- it must be my woolly search terms. Who am I to question google, our god now.

  11. scifan permalink
    January 11, 2012 2:32 am

    oh you absolute darling, I recognise it from the blog post and the graphics. I owe you a bash, and if you are ever in Kettering I will default on that promise and instead get you a beer or non alcoholic beverage of your choice. I sincerely love you more than can be expressed. YEARS i’ve been grubbing around for this fucker YEARS.

    For my new year to be complete I want someone to give me a copy of Vherry Wilder’s ‘Second Nature’ that is better than my own. I’m not a massive book snob when it comes to quality of text but the one I have is from the charity shop and has yellowed pages and some bastard spilled coffee on the third chapter, two pages in.

    I love sci fi, and a womans touch on the genre is a welcome and often suprising touch, BUT SOME ARSE HAS SPILLED COFFEE OVER AN IMPORTANT BIT OF THE TEXT. First against the wall come the glorious revolution.

    Thankyou again btw, I can die happy now I have found the elusive text

  12. January 24, 2012 8:53 pm

    I have about a half-dozen reviews, with a few more on the way. Apart from spamming you with links, how would I go about submitting those?

  13. Helen Ashford permalink
    January 27, 2012 6:52 pm

    Hi there,

    what a wonderful blog! And I so agree with what you say about women sci-fi writers not getting the same recognition as males. I am a big fan of Sheri Tepper (although I admit her work is variable), and will send you some reviews that I have written.

    Helen Ashford

  14. January 27, 2012 11:46 pm

    Hi Ian,
    Think that this is a GREAT idea! I have a few suitable reviews – I’ll let you have the link… HOPE it works – if not, I’ll try to get it to you another way.

  15. January 27, 2012 11:47 pm

    Er… yeah… might be a good idea to let you know that this is a review of The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip.

  16. April 25, 2012 1:15 am

    Great site, Ian!

    I have a review of Sherri S Tepper’s Six Moon Dance here:

    I am in the process of reviewing Anne McCaffrey’s The Ship Who Sang, so I can let you have the link to that when I’ve posted it.

    If you need to contact me, just drop me a Tweet.

    Keep up the good work!


  17. November 6, 2012 2:28 am

    I’ve got two reviews of possible interest: “The Sensual Science Fiction of C.L. Moore” (Stories of C.L. Moore):

    And Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow:

  18. January 27, 2013 2:04 am

    Hi Ian!

    I just posted a review of Andre Norton’s The Zero Stone that you might be interested in. It’s my favorite Norton so far!

    • January 27, 2013 2:54 pm

      Thanks. I’ve scheduled in to appear here in a couple of weeks.

  19. August 10, 2013 9:53 pm

    Does the original Mistressworks site still exist? I can’t find it, and I really dislike this version. It displays poorly, with the number of books for each author being two lines below her name, which means lots and lots of scrolling. The same is true of the archives. More important, there’s no way to search for a specific title unless you know the author’s name.

      • August 12, 2013 4:14 pm

        Nm, I thought you were asking for the original list — as for the site, no, he changed the template.

        • August 12, 2013 4:26 pm

          Okay, thanks. I much preferred the old format, but I suspected that it doesn’t exist anymore.

          • August 12, 2013 4:27 pm

            I like the title at the top an the graphic but I too find it slightly more difficult to navigate. Perhaps a page with where all the authors who have been review are listed with links to the books…. But that would be a lot of work.

    • August 12, 2013 4:31 pm

      I changed the template as the old one was looking a bit tired and a few people had complained the text was too small to read comfortably. I’ll have a look around for another template that allows for easier navigation, without sacrificing the readability

  20. December 27, 2013 6:40 am

    Hi Ian,

    Joachim introduced me your blog and suggested that I should submit my review of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness to you.

    Let me know if it would be a good fit:


  21. February 10, 2014 4:36 pm

    Hi, I just wrote a review of the novella Beggars in Spain. Would you like to reprint it? The URL is:

  22. March 21, 2014 4:56 pm

    I am super excited to have found this! I’m a huge lover of science fiction, female authors, and, thusly, sic-fi written by female authors. I post brief book reviews on my blog, and am also moderator for a feminist science fiction reading group. Stop by and take a look if you are interested!

  23. May 9, 2014 1:12 am


    Curious as to whether you’d consider posting a review of a sci-fi screenplay by a female author? No worries if not – very much enjoy reading the work you have up here now, and have found some great books as a result! Loving reading Zenna Henderson’s work right now!



    • May 9, 2014 9:15 am

      Good question. I might be open to special one-off reviews of short fiction, screenplays, etc. Which film is it?

  24. June 12, 2014 12:07 pm

    Fantastic project!

  25. July 17, 2014 12:49 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great site: thanks!

  26. December 19, 2014 3:19 am

    This is a wonderful project and I have at least 2 reviews I could submit. Like others, I’m confused about where to submit work. Please advise.

    • December 19, 2014 9:31 am

      Hi. There’s an email address now given in the post – see the bit after Edit.

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