Science Fiction, Fantasy & Utopia
	... www.feministsf.org ... est. 1994

[HOME] [CHECKLIST | anthologies | lists | writers]   [criticism]   [community | listserves | blogs | WIKI]   [SEARCH]

critical resources: Tiptree Award | Wiscon | Broad Universe

A Brief History of Feminist SF/F and Women in SF/F

B.F.: Before Frankenstein
1666 / 1668 Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World [aka: The Description of a New World Called The Blazing-World]
Identified by Lyman Tower Sargent as the first utopian fiction in English by a woman, in British and American Utopian Literature, 1516-1985
1762 Sarah Scott, A Description of Millennium Hall
The Nineteenth Century: After Frankenstein
1818 Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, often cited as the first example of a "science fiction" novel
1827 Jane Webb Loudon publishes The Mummy!: A Tale of the Twentieth Century
1872 J. Sheridan Le Fanu publishes "Carmilla", one of the earliest or possibly the first published lesbian vampire story
1880-81 Mary E. Bradley publishes Mizora: A Prophecy
late 19th/early 20th century Suffragette backlash: loads of novels published where humorless women take over the world, for good but more often for ill; laughing valiant men usually take it right back to the satisfaction of both sexes
1915 Charlotte Perkins Gilman publishes Herland
1918 Frances Stevens (pseudonym for Gertrude Barrows Bennet) publishes Citadel of Fear
Gertrude Franklin Atherton published The White Morning: A Novel of the Power of the German Woman in Wartime
The 20th Century: After The Great War
1926 Thea Von Harbou publishes Metropolis
1928 Virginia Woolf publishes Orlando
1935 Katharine Burdekin publishes The End of This Day's Business
1930s C. L. Moore begins publishing the Jirel of Joiry stories
After WWII
  • A flood of new writers, including Judith Merril, Leigh Brackett, Miriam Allen deFord
  • 1948
  • Lisa Ben's "New Year's Day", first modern "gay" sf story published
  • Shirley Jackson publishes "The Lottery"
  • Judith Merril publishes "That Only a Mother"
  • Wilmar Shiras publishes "In Hiding" which is later made into a novel, Children of the Atom (1953)
  • 1950s
  • New women writers include Katharine MacLean, Margaret St. Clair
  • Cautionary tales about "the sex war" begin to appear again, depicting the socialist hive-like societies that women create; as in the earlier backlash, the societies run by women are usually authoritarian, humorless, dull, and lack ingenuity
  • 1950
  • Judith Merril publishes Shadow on the Hearth
  • 1952
  • Zenna Henderson begins publishing the People stories
  • Andre Norton begins publishing
  • 1953-1967
  • no female Hugo Award winners for fiction
  • 1954
  • Summer: Femizine "all female" SF fan zine created in England (by Sandy Sanderson using a female pseudonym, Joan Carr; Frances Evans; and Ethel Lindsay). Hoax revealed to U.K. fandom in May 1956. -- Merrick, 1999.
  • 1960s
  • Numerous women begin publishing, including Marion Zimmer Bradley, Rosel George Brown, Sonya Dorman, Sylvia Louise Engdahl, Phyllis Gotlieb, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), Kate Wilhelm
  • 1960
  • Theodore Sturgeon publishes Venus Plus X
  • 1961
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley publishes The Door Through Space
  • 1962
  • Naomi Mitchison publishes Memoirs of a Spacewoman
  • Madeleine L'Engle publishes A Wrinkle in Time
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley publishes Planet Savers (first Darkover novel)
  • 1963

    Women are writing SCIENCE-FICTION! Original! Brilliant!! Dazzling!!! Women are closer to the primitive than men. They are conscious of the moon-pulls, the earth- tides. They possess a buried memory of humankind's obscure and ancient past which can emerge to uniquely color and flavor an novel.

    Such a woman is Margaret St. Clair, author of this novel. Such a novel is this, SIGN OF THE LABRYS, the story of a doomed world of the future, saved by recourse to ageless, immemorial rites... FRESH! IMAGINATIVE!! INVENTIVE!!!

    from the back of the Bantam 1st edition of Sign of the Labrys by Margaret St. Clair, 1963

  • Ursula Le Guin first publication: Rocannon's World and Planet of Exile
  • Rosel George Brown publishes Sibyl Sue Blue
  • 1967
  • Pamela Zoline's "The Heat Death of the Universe" published in Michael Moorcock's New Worlds
  • Anna Kavan's Ice published
  • Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions anthology includes some ground-breaking work by Delany, Sturgeon & Emshwiller
  • 1968
  • Samuel Delany's Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, a major sf novel with a gay protagonist
  • Joanna Russ' Picnic on Paradise
  • Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) kiss on "Star Trek" -- the first interracial kiss to be shown on American TV ("Plato's Stepchildren", third season)
  • 1969/1970s: Stonewall & Beyond: Gay Lib, Lesbian-Feminism & Wiscon
  • Angela Carter's Heroes and Villains
  • Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness published
  • Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sang first published
  • 1970s
  • Publication of The Witch and the Chameleon, the first feminist fanzine
  • Publication of Janus, a feminist fan-zine from the group that later founded Wiscon
  • Women's Periodical, a British women-only publication started after Janus
  • Numerous women begin publishing in the field, including Octavia Butler, C. J. Cherryh, Jo Clayton, Diane Duane, Sally Miller Gearhart, Jody Scott, Sydney J. Van Scyoc, Elisabeth Vonarburg
  • And of course the feminist backlash: various misogynistic / anti-feminist novels (and simultaneously exploitive) published re-asserting that women were happiest when dominated by men and lesbians don't really know how to have sex ...
  • 1971
  • Monique Wittig published Les Guerilleres
  • Dorothy Bryant publishes The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You
  • Doris Lessing publishes Briefing for a Descent Into Hell
  • 1972
  • Joanna Russ' "When It Changed"
  • 1973
  • James Tiptree, Jr.'s "The Girl Who Was Plugged In"
  • 1974
  • Suzy McKee Charnas publishes Walk to the End of the World, first in the important series
  • Pamela Sargent publishes Women of Wonder: Science Fiction Stories by Women about Women - the first women in sf anthology
  • Diane Marchant published the first known Star Trek slash, "A Fragment Out of Time," an oblique Kirk/Spock story
  • 1975
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley publishes The Heritage of Hastur
  • Tanith Lee publishes The Birthgrave
  • Naomi Mitchison publishes Solution Three
  • Joanna Russ publishes The Female Man
  • Robert Silverberg described James Tiptree, Jr.'s, writing as "ineluctibly masculine" in the introduction to Warm Worlds and Otherwise
  • 1976
  • Feminist panel at MidAmericon set up by Susan Wood - the first women and science fiction panel; led ultimately to founding of A Women's Apa
  • Samuel Delany publishes Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia
  • Marge Piercy publishes Woman on the Edge of Time
  • Vonda McIntyre & Susan Janice Anderson publish Aurora: Beyond Equality, another early influential feminist sf anthology
  • Anne Rice publishes Interview With the Vampire, which brings homoeroticism to mainstream culture, re-popularizes vampires, and helps kick-start the goth movement
  • 1977
  • First Wiscon held - a confererence / convention for the feminist sf community
  • At Suncon, Miamia's Worldcon, fans organized against Dade County's anti-gay laws
  • 1978
  • First "A Room Of One's Own" organized by Susan Wood at Westercon in Vancouver
  • Esther M. Broner publishes A Weave of Women
  • Vonda McIntyre publishes Dreamsnake
  • 1979
  • Octavia Butler publishes Kindred
  • Diane Duane publishes The Door Into Fire (ya)
  • Sally Miller Gearhart publishes The Wanderground: Stories of the Hill Women
  • Doris Lessing publishes Shikasta (first novel in Canopus in Argos series)
  • Jessica Amanda Salmonson edits & publishes Amazons!
  • the glb bookstore A Different Light gets its start, and names itself after Elizabeth Lynn's novel of the same title.
  • 1980s & Beyond: Cyberpunk, Cyborgs, and "Post-Feminism"
  • Large amounts of Latina fiction being published in English, including elements of magical realism, such as Ana Castillo, Luisa Valenzuela, and Laura Esquivel.
  • Lots of lesbian publishing from Naiad Press & others, as the women's presses & women's bookstores from the 1970s gain steam (and then wind down again in the late 1980s and early 1990s)
  • 1980
  • Octavia Butler publishes Wild Seed
  • Elizabeth Lynn publishes Northern Girl
  • Kate Wilhelm publishes Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
  • 1981
  • Julian May publishes Too Many Colored Lands
  • WomanSpace: Future and Fantasy: Stories and Art by Women published by New Victoria Publishers
  • Elisabeth Vonarburg publishes La Silence de la Cite, translated into English in 1988 as The Silent City
  • 1982
  • Tanith Lee publishes The Silver Metal Lover
  • 1983
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley publishes The Mists of Avalon
  • Mary Gentle publishes Witchbreed
  • Joanna Russ publishes How to Suppress Women's Writing
  • 1984
  • Suzette Haden Elgin publishes Native Tongue
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley publishes Sword and Sorceress, the first in a series of anthologies that lets many new writers get their first start, and consistently creates a place for stories about women
  • Kindred Spirits: An Anthology of Gay and Lesbian Science Fiction Stories, edited by Jeffrey M. Elliot, and published by Alyson, is perhaps the first explicitly g/l sf anthology, reprinting g/l stories from previous publications.
  • 1985
  • Margaret Atwood publishes The Handmaid's Tale
  • 1986
  • Joan Slonczewski publishes A Door Into Ocean
  • Gaylaxian Science Fiction Society formed
  • Worlds Apart, an second anthology reprinting lesbian & gay sf & fantasy, edited by Camilla Decarnin, Eric Garber, and Lyn Paleo
  • "Aliens": Sigourney Weaver kicks ass (dir., James cameron)
  • 1987
  • Toni Morrison publishes Beloved
  • Pamela Sargent publishes The Shore of Women
  • Gwyneth Jones publishes Divine Endurance
  • Octavia Butler publishes Dawn, first book of the Xenogenesis trilogy
  • James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) dies, 1915-1987
  • 1988
  • Carol Emshwiller publishes Carmen Dog
  • C. J. Cherryh publishes Cyteen
  • Sheri Tepper publishes The Gate to Women's Country
  • first glb sf convention held: Gaylaxicon
  • 1989
  • Lambda Literary Awards, in their second year, split the lesbian mystery/sf category, and create a category for Lesbian Science Fiction/Fantasy. (The previous year mysteries were chosen.) Jessica Amanda Salmonson's What Did Miss Darrington See? wins. The categories are shifted over the years but remain.
  • Susanna Sturgis publishes Memories and Visions: Women's Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • 1990s
  • New women authors: Pat Murphy, Elizabeth Hand, Stephanie Smith, Cecilia Tan
  • Queer sf comes of age: new anthologies, lots of new writers, and a queer sf erotic press (Circlet Press)
  • 1990
  • Pat Murphy publishes Points of Departure
  • "The Handmaid's Tale" (the film) released
  • 1991
  • February: At Wiscon, Pat Murphy announced creation of the James Tiptree, Jr., Award for sf or fantasy that explores and expands gender roles.
  • Jewelle Gomez publishes The Gilda Stories
  • first James Tiptree Jr., Award for given to Eleanor Arnason's A Woman of the Iron People and Gwyneth Jones' The White Queen
  • Rebecca Ore publishes The Illegal Rebirth of Billy the Kid
  • Marge Piercy's He, She, and It
  • Eric Garber edits Embracing the Dark, and Alyson Press publishes it -- the first explicitly lgb anthology (horror) that includes some original content
  • 1992
  • Nicola Griffith publishes Ammonite
  • Kim Stanley Robinson publishes Red Mars, first in a new trilogy
  • Angela Carter dies
  • Sally Potter directs "Orlando"
  • 1993
  • Pam Keesey publishes Daughters of Darkness: Lesbian Vampire Stories, one of the first explicitly lesbian anthologies of fantasy / horror.
  • 1994
  • Nancy Kress publishes Beggars in Spain, first in an important trilogy
  • Kathleen Ann Goonan publishes Queen City Jazz
  • Maureen McHugh publishes Half the Day is Night
  • December - First web page on Feminist SF (which eventually became feministSF.org)
  • 1995
  • Nancy Springer publishes Larque on the Wing
  • Lucy Sussex edits She's Fantastical, the first book of Australian women's sf/f
  • 9/9/1995: "Xena: Warrior Princess" series premiere airs in the US (UK airdate, 9/8/1996)
  • "Tank Girl" directed by Rachel Talalay
  • 1996
  • Two new queer sf anthologies come out that include glb content, Swords of the Rainbow ed. by Eric Garber & Jewelle Gomez, and Bending the Landscape: Fantasy, ed. by Nicola Griffith & Stephen Pagel. BTL is the first in a planned 3-volume trilogy of fantasy, sf, and horror.
  • 1997
  • Judith Merril dies
  • March 10: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" series premiere
  • 1998
  • Nalo Hopkinson publishes Brown Girl in the Ring
  • Flying Cups and Saucers, the Tiptree Anthology, published by the Secret Feminist Cabal
  • Gaylactic Network establishes the Spectrum Awards "to honor works in science fiction, fantasy and horror which include positive explorations of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered characters, themes, or issues."
  • 1999
  • FemSpec, a new journal dedicated to the study of women & speculative literature, founded
  • Spaced Out Inc., Australia's first sf club for the glb etc. community, founded
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley, 1930-1999, died
  • Naomi Mitchison, 1897-1999, died
  • 2000
  • Fall: Broad Universe founded to promote women writers of sf/f/h
  • 2001
  • Astrid Lindgren died
  • Kathleen Massie-Ferch died, 1954-2002
  • First year of "ConBust", a con on women in sf, gaming & anime, at Smith College, MA
  • Whileaway LiveJournal began, 2002 June 26
  • 2006
  • feministSF wiki born [wiki.feminisntsf.net]
  • Octavia Butler died
  • WisCon 30 year anniversary!

  • Historical Documents & Records

    Accounts of the History of Feminist SF


    I've selected significant publications, and/or first works by significant writers. I created this timeline to give a little sense of historical perspective to particular in sf history, and to show off a little of the history of women & feminism in sf. -- lq, 1/8/2001

    Based on listserv discussions, personal collection, and the recollections of many many people.

    Initial drafting: Jan. 2001. Latest revision: April 2006.


    [HOME] [CHECKLIST | anthologies | lists | writers]   [criticism]   [community | listserves | blogs | WIKI]   [SEARCH]

    critical resources: Tiptree Award | Wiscon | Broad Universe


    Donate towards our web hosting bill!

    We welcome your comments, suggestions, and offers of assistance.
    Please be patient while waiting for us to get back to you.

    about | credits | disclaimer | faq | feedback | privacy

    Watches Shop Top Fashion News Furniture Review Furnitures Info Handbags Shopping Shop Handbags and Shoes

creative commons licensenoncommercial creative commons licensesharealike 
creative commons license
    These pages are edited and maintained at http://www.feministsf.org/ by Laura Quilter.
    updated 06/13/07 .