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The Other Half of the Sky

(Feral Astrogators #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  156 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Women may hold up more than half the sky on earth, but it has been different in heaven: science fiction still is very much a preserve of male protagonists, mostly performing by-the-numbers quests.

In The Other Half of the Sky, editor Athena Andreadis offers readers heroes who happen to be women, doing whatever they would do in universes where they’re fully human: starship
ebook, 445 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Candlemark & Gleam
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  156 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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MrsJoseph *grouchy*
I discovered The Other Half of the Sky in 2014 when the controversy regarding long time hate blogger and new author WinterFox aka RequiresHate aka Benjanun Sriduangkaew . As I was reading up on all of the drama, I noticed there were some decent looking authors being mentioned (the authors were being harassed by Requires Hate and her group of friends). The Other Half of the Sky - with its clear feminist themes AND the promise of Space Opera - caught my eye and I decided to give it a try.

I purc
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I wasn't sure if I would read this, but the editor's introduction packed the literary equivalent of fist to gut. I was the reader Athena spoke of, who enjoyed typical science fiction stories, many of them with particular and dated visions of women. Women as wives, mothers, weak. Screw this, Athena says, women "can be heroes not merely heroines."

I consider myself, without really applying labels, an broadly accepting person and I found this bit about myself disturbing. It's nothing wrong to like
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mimesis by Martha Wells (Books of the Raksura Series)
Short story about a mimetic new creature in the Reaches.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
All in all, a very enjoyable anthology. As with the other Athena Andreadis-edited anthology I've read, this had a lot of excellent, woman-centered stories. Again, some of my favorites were by authors I already know and love - "The Waiting Stars", by Aliette de Bodard is possibly the best story in the entire book, although Vandana Singh's "Sailing the Antarsa" was also incredible. Unfortunately the last two stories were some of my least favorite, so it didn't end on a great note, but overall I th ...more
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I admit, I actually skipped some of the stories, especially in the first part of the book. But I persevered and read enough, imo, to count as read and to rate.

So, if Vandana Singh weren't in this, I probably wouldn't have gone to the trouble of ordering it from out-of-system ILL. Her story here was not disappointing, but not amazing, either.

Other stories worth reading, imo, were Ken Liu's The Shape of Thought, which took a bit to get into but turned out to be rather brilliant about truly ali
Victoria Hooper

This anthology actually comes at a very appropriate time, with a lot of discussion happening at the moment about women in science fiction and fantasy, the problems facing female authors, and representation of women on the nomination lists for major genre awards. On a more personal level, I recently tried to put together a list of favourite characters in science fiction books and found that not only did I struggle to think of enough, but there were no female characters even close to making the li
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
This was an uneven collection. After a wonderful introduction, in which the editor explained what she wanted to do differently, we get two original and exciting stories with a strong female viewpoint.

Unfortunately the next stories were less impressive. It's always a matter of taste, especially when it comes to short fiction, but I felt a strong disappointment to hit one mediocre story after the other. Things got better when I reached two of my favourite contemporary authors (Aliette de Bodard an
I'd heard a lot about this anthology while it was still in development, and loved the idea immediately; after reading the free Kindle sample, I was sold (and truly, Andreadis writes a very stirring introduction). Female characters in lead roles? Slice-of-life science fiction stories? Sign me up!

And to some extent it succeeds, with two notable standouts:

Vandana Singh's "Sailing the Antarsa" is beautiful and alien, and very well done. To say it's a story about a female explorer who rides in a spac
Apr 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Sci-fi is not really my genre, but there were some gems in this collection. Bad Day on Boscobel by Alexander Jablokov and Sailing the Antarsa by Vandana Singh were two of my favorites.

There are sad stories, mysteries, adventures, and even some humor. The thread that holds the stories together is that in all of them, there are strong, smart, determined women exploring, having adventures, rescuing themselves, traveling between the stars, in other words, holding up their half of the sky.
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A really excellent collection of short science fiction featuring female main characters. It reminded me of why I fell in love with science fiction in the first place.
Sep 30, 2013 marked it as to-read

Here's one for all the ladies out there...
Average: 3 Stars

I didn't finish the anthology, but hope to come back to it eventually. So far, there was a lot of interesting ideas, but no story really stood out or was incredible.

Favorites: "Finders" by Melissa Scott and "Missions of Greed" by Sue Lange

Worst: "Landfall" by Joan Slonczewiski

"Finders" by Melissa Scott
4 Stars
Scavengers Cassilde and Dai must decide whether to risk all their funds and Cassilde's declining health when their untrustworthy ex-partner/lover returns promising a possible
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Like any short story compilation the reader will find some stories to their liking and some not. This book is no different, except that some of the stories read more like an excerpt from a bigger tale that has dropped you into the middle of the story.

That being said, I enjoyed most of the tales in this book, with my particular favourites being Finders, Mission of Greed and Cathedral
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
A strong collection of feminist sci fi. A few stand outs, but also a few that fell flat for me. I encourage you to also read the second anthology in the series, which I happened to read first, that I thought was even stronger.
Carolyn Fitzpatrick
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
The individual stories were all very good. I just have a hard time getting into anthologies.
Carol Gleason-rechner
Sometimes I miss the old days when you read a science fiction story and could figure out what was going on before you were halfway through.
This is a really good compilation of stories.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
You can find the full review over at The Founding Fields:

Shadowhawk reviews the latest anthology from Candlemark & Gleam, featuring stories that are primarily about female protagonists and how they fit into the wider SFF worlds.

“A very thought-provoking anthology that forces the reader to realise that female protagonists can be just as incredible and compelling as their male counterparts in the wider SFF fields, particularly space opera. ” ~The Founding Fi
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This had been in my to-read pile since I first noticed reviews of it during its release, but reminder conversations online thankfully brought it out from the pile into my hands. First and foremost, this anthology is a reminder that women do write science/speculative fiction of all varieties and tastes, from the light side of the spectrum to the hard, no matter how one defines those relative terms (and those definitions really shouldn't include the view that one is inherently 'better' or 'easier' ...more
Morgan Dhu
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it

The Other Half of the Sky is one of several recent projects aimed at encouraging sff writing that includes women as diverse characters with all the range of characterisations, goals, abilities, occupations and agency that male characters have - in short, that write women as full humans. The title is taken from a Chinese saying (famously quoted by Mao Zedong) that women hold up half the sky - in sff, we have seen much of the half of the sky that men hold up, but relatively little of that held up
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Most of the stories in this anthology reflect the theme admirably, and are in the good-t-excellent category. And most of these are at a minimum very good.

Both the introduction and the first story were excellent, and there were many other excellent stories throughout the volume. I'm giving it 5 stars on this account.

There were 3 stories I had problems with:

Cat Rambo's "Dagger and Mask" was an excellent story... but was almost 100% POV of a male character, which seemed to me to go agains
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I originally bought this anthology just for Martha Wells's story from the world of the Raksura. Although I enjoyed that story, it was not perhaps the most interesting one of hers that I've read. However, I found that reading all of the stories more than made the purchase of the book worthwhile.

This book is a collection of hardcore science fiction short stories, focusing on feminine and/or minority view points. Quite an amazing range of subgenres and styles are covered, ranging from cyberpunk tr
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent collection of short stories, with only a couple of misfires that are quickly made up for by all of the very good ones.

Nisi Shawl has an 'Amends' story, "In Colors Everywhere," that stands perfectly well alone but leaves you looking forward to reading her others, and Martha Wells' "Mimesis" is an 'Arbora' story that does the same. So this is one of those collections that thoroughly entertains while adding even more books to your short list.

And there are many other standouts. Melissa
I really really wanted to like this book. I fucking love the concept and was looking forward to a good adventuring time. Sadly this didn't really pan out.

It's bewildering having stories from a male POV, some hardly complimentary. Several stories also have a trope I cannot stand, with our one true female hero being actively fucked over OR actively fucking over other women, which gross.

Ken Liu's The Shape of Thought gets a special mention, it had me NOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENOPE-ing like that octopus
Dec 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Fine intro ("One is what I call neoteny: the focus on coming-of-age or finding-one's-self stories, linked to the Campbell/lite quest that makes much of SF fit for the emotionally immature and genre-locked of all ages regardless of its purported target audience." Take that! And as for fantasy? Replete with "Wasp-waisted, turbo-breasted courtesans." Wowza.), but I found several of the stories in this collection just...unreadable. Examples: "Sailing the Antarsa," "The Alakie and the death of Dima," ...more
no star: I didn't read until the end
one star: I finished it, but was disappointed
two stars: average story
three stars or more: I will read it again someday

Dreaming the Dark **
Finders ***
Bad day on Boscobel **** - interesting world
In Colors Everywhere - not my taste at all
Mission of Greed **
Sailing the Antarsa **** - very nice to read, calm and relaxing mood
Landfall **
This Alakie and the Death of Dima - strange language
The Waiting Stars **
The Shape of Thought ***** - brilliant
Under Falna's Mask *
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I spent most of the short stories in this anthology wishing for entire novels with the settings & characters in the stories. It's an anthology so the stories did vary in quality and some weren't to my taste, but for the most part this was EXACTLY what I want out of science fiction: neat characters in cool or challenging situations with fascinating tech/aliens/spaceships/biology/etc, having adventures--and featuring women front and centre as the people doing all these things, not just the ones wa ...more
Sep 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I almost tossed this aside because I was so offended by the introduction (Unlike the editor, I somehow have no trouble finding good scifi out there by/about women. And is it really necessary for the scifi fans to insult fantasy AGAIN?) Luckily the stories themselves made up for the questionable beginning.

As always with collections, I liked some stories better than others. A few just didn't work for me at all *coughInColorsEverywherecough*, but overall it was very good, and I found a few new aut
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories, sci-fi
The only thing wrong with these stories is that they're all too short.

There are no tired old tropes in this collection, no scenic tours of twentieth century sensibilities. Every tale feels fresh like new snow, beautiful and unmarred. Every character fascinates; every world beckons. I would love to read a novel of any of these stories, to explore their settings, to understand their characters. I got a taste, and I want more.

Athena Andreadis set out not only to collect science fiction about women;
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I guess the premise and title are quite cis-sexist, so that's a minus. For the rest, I liked most of the stories, some were really excellent. Only "This Alakie and Death of Dima" wasn't for my taste as the language was too complicated and constructed to follow the storyline, even if I liked the idea of plant-based beings a lot. If you like sci-fi and want to get to know some new authors, take a look at this fine collection of short stories. My favourites were "The Shape of tought" by Ken Liu and ...more
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