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Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  173 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Women's contributions to science fiction over the past century have been lasting and important, but critical work in the field has only just begun to explore its full range. Justine Larbalestier has collected 11 key stories--many of them not easily found, and all of them powerful and provocative--and sets them alongside 11 new essays, written by top scholars and critics, t ...more
Paperback, 397 pages
Published May 22nd 2006 by Wesleyan University Press
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Nat Smith
Apr 29, 2009 Nat Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: spec-fic
So far, I am really enjoying some of the groundbreaking fiction, though it seems as if they are deemed feminist by merely being by women writers or centralizing female characters to say nothing of the lack of black and brown writers. In my book feminism is more than that, or not that at all. But the pieces are important ones, dating back to 1927, in terms of the history of the recognition of women spec fic writers. The essays that accompany each piece are really interesting. I am not much of a l ...more
Feb 14, 2015 Simon rated it it was amazing
An outstanding anthology that pairs stories with critical pieces. Of the stories, I thought the best were those by Zoline, Tiptree, Murphy, Jones and Fowler. These were just mind-blowing, especially the last three. Duchamp's essay on Fowler's story was also extremely rewarding, as was Hairston's essay on a (very good) story by Octavia Butler.
Jun 14, 2008 Shel rated it it was amazing
"The Heat Death of the Universe," by Pamela Zoline and "Rachel in Love," by Pat Murphy and "What I Didn't See," by Karen Joy Fowler were highlights of this collection of short fiction. Includes Octavia Butler's "The Evening and the Morning and the Night," about an invented Duryea-Gode disease which makes people tear at their own flesh, and is also in her collection Bloodchild and Other Stories. The essays that follow each story provide a great introduction to feminist science fiction and point t ...more
I think the hybrid form of this anthology is genius.
I don’t admit to knowing much about feminism, nor am I an avid reader of science fiction. I’d recommend this for everybody, whether or not you read the essays. It’s just one of those books that you read, and at some point, you’re going to run into a sentence, a line that you take issue with. It’s an eye opening experience for the complete sci-fiction newbie. First off, Daughters of Earth isn’t a complete introduction, especially if you read the essays,

While the stories are wonderful introduction
Dec 21, 2011 Shara rated it it was amazing
Daughters of Earth is far more than a critical text of the genre. It's a short story anthology. There are eleven short stories in this volume, each with a companion critical essay discussing the story itself, the author and her other work, and the feminist and historical times in which the story was written. And I must say, this was fascinating stuff. I'd kill to find more critical texts like this one, because not only did it give me access to stories I may have never found otherwise, but it all ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Ian rated it really liked it
This is one of the best sf anthologies I’ve read, not just because it features an excellent selection of stories, ranging from 1927 to 2002 and so providing a really good historical spread of feminist sf, but also because every story is followed by a critical essay, discussing either the story, writer, or the science fiction of the time of the story’s publication. There are some favourite pieces of short fiction in here: ‘ The Heat Death of the Universe’ by Pamela Zoline, ‘And I Awoke and Found ...more
Jun 16, 2007 Paul rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Ursula LeGuin/Octavia Butler
This book is incredible. It's 11 science fiction stories by (mostly) feminists spanning the century, each followed by a feminist essay on the story. The stories are all very solid, and the essays give such great perspectives and historical background about both sci fi at the time, and feminism at the time. It was an excellent introduction to a whole bunch of new writers for me.
Aug 23, 2015 Kendra rated it really liked it
A collection of 11 science fiction stories and essays about them. I liked the more recent stories much better than the older ones, but would recommend alongside The Left Hand of Darkness, Woman on the Edge of Time and the Xenogenesis trilogy as a great introduction to feminist science fiction.
Jan 06, 2015 Esther rated it it was amazing
I started the year with what - to me - was a perfect book. Was it perfect in that it made no mistakes? Not at all!

For me, it was perfect in that it fed so many different parts of me. It fed me as an academic (albeit in a different field), a story lover, a feminist and a follower of science fiction. I loved being able to alternate between all these different aspects of myself in one book.

The book is structured as an introduction to the subject matter - feminist science fiction - followed by elev
Linda Robinson
Sep 24, 2013 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing
I want to now read every anthology with science fiction by women constructed the way Larbalestier put this book together. 11 scifi short stories by women in published chronological order beginning with Clare Winger Harris in 1927, and ending with Karen Joy Fowler in 2002. Each short story is followed by an essay written by a feminist scholar. Larbalestier introduces us to the collection explaining she chose the essayists and let each pick the story to write about. The essays are academic, and di ...more
My reactions to these stories were occasionally, "Is this really science fiction?" and occasionally, "I wouldn't call that feminist!" But that's one of the great things about an anthology that spans a century of social change, scifi, and feminist theory. Still my favorites were almost all at the end with the more recent writers. Standouts for me were "Wives" by Lisa Tuttle and "The Evening and the Morning and the Night" by Octavia Butler. (I really have to read more Butler.) I've seen some compl ...more
Jul 21, 2014 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Wow! Some of these stories just blew me away! I was very surprised to see how early feminist sf was being written! I had no idea! The first story: The Fate of the Poseidonia was written in 1927. Sure the language usage is a little dated, but it kinda still works even after all these years. Some of the events in the story are relevant to today's headlines. (Such as that Indonesia airplane that disappeared 4 months ago).
The second story: The Conquest of Gola, was written in 1931! and the third s
Rift Vegan
Feb 01, 2008 Rift Vegan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
What a great book! I don't read very much theory, but the essays really add to the value of the stories... Usually I read too fast to actually think about the underlying themes and such, so the essays -- "think about this" -- were enjoyable.

My favorite story is Pat Murphy's "Rachel In Love", about a little girl's human brain in a chimp body. Of course my animal rights side was screaming at the lab, but it's a great story to expose people to these issues. And it should be obvious: if you are a fe
Nov 04, 2014 Heidi rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, for-school
So this is the first anthology I've read from cover to cover including critical essays and all. And I enjoyed it quite a bit for the most part.

As far as reading the stories with a feminist critique and with the critical essays, all of the stories are important and bring up good points. It was kind of like reading a history of feminism throughout the twentieth century but via stories. Which I think is a very good way to study history. Looking at influential stories can really show what the public
Oct 24, 2007 Summer rated it really liked it
This is a fine book and a great mix of excellent stories and thoughtful commentary, but it only gets four stars because it's a book about feminist science fiction without a single story by Ursula K. LeGuin or Joanna Russ, and that's like putting out an anthology on Elizabethan drama without anything by Shakespeare or Marlowe. The editor gives the lame excuse that none of the contributors wanted to write essays on the two, but when every contributor's essay mentions LeGuin or Russ, you march back ...more
Nov 12, 2015 Leonie rated it really liked it
The stories themselves were electrifying. Rachel in Love, and The Evening and the Morning and the Night, and And I Awoke and Found Me on the Cold Hillside in particular. The essays were informative and often a bit hardgoing but rewarding.

Definitely a collection worth reading if you're interested in Feminist SF.
Feb 10, 2013 Jenny rated it really liked it
I read this for my thesis (expect to see that opening A LOT in the next few months) and I really enjoyed it. The book has one story from each decade of the twentieth century with an accompanying essay. The essays were generally enlightening and helped me to develop a better feel for the history of feminist SF. The stories were excellent. Highly recommended if you're a fan of SF in general.
Oct 02, 2007 Annie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who likes sf
Shelves: sf-f
Full of good sf w/ feminist themes from 1920's to the present that explore human sexuality and the role of the feminine. Includes stories by James Tiptree Jr and Octavia E Butler. Stories are paired with an essay analysis that make for interesting reading between the short stories.
May 28, 2014 Allan is currently reading it
Outstanding collection of feminist SF, compiled based on recommendations of other feminist SF writers.
Aug 05, 2014 Alexa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fab-14
This is an excellent combination of some great yet little-known stories along with accompanying essays that makes for an absolutely fantastic read.
June Schwarz
Aug 29, 2012 June Schwarz rated it it was ok
Shelves: shelved
Dear Justine,
I would have written an essay on either Joanna Russ or Ursula LeGuin. Including them should have been mandatory. Next time, just ask around.
Definitely a mixed rating - the stories themselves were good and I enjoyed reading them. The academic essays following each story were very tedious, on the whole.
Jake B.
Jake B. rated it liked it
Jul 09, 2013
Sarah Gorman
Sarah Gorman rated it liked it
May 20, 2008
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Mar 23, 2015
Stephani rated it it was amazing
Jul 03, 2007
Jen rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2012
Kat Worthington
Kat Worthington rated it it was amazing
Oct 10, 2010
Kathy rated it liked it
Sep 06, 2016
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Justine Larbalestier is an Australian young-adult fiction author. She is best known for the Magic or Madness trilogy: Magic or Madness, Magic Lessons and the newly released Magic's Child. She also wrote one adult non-fiction book, the Hugo-nominated The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction (Best Related Book, 2003), and edited another, Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentiet ...more
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