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The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  40 reviews
33 outstanding science fiction stories by women

Travel by train to the Moon, discover living spaceships born in gas giants and explore the constellations, alternate universes and post-apocalyptic worlds of this compelling collection of SF written by women.

Whether crossing the stars or constructing the future of our planet, women have always written powerful, important scien
Paperback, 512 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Running Press Adult (first published October 16th 2014)
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Michael Drakich My own review of ENYO-ENYO by Kameron Hurley. This mish-mash of a dark future for humanity is too convoluted to provide a credible story that can be…moreMy own review of ENYO-ENYO by Kameron Hurley. This mish-mash of a dark future for humanity is too convoluted to provide a credible story that can be followed by the average reader, By the end, I never really grasped what was being said. 2 stars

Having read God's War by Kameron Hurley, a novel I reasonably enjoyed (though I did not follow the series onward), my expectations for ENYO-ENYO were high, though I did expect it to be dark as her writing tends toward. Still, this short story lacked enough hints to properly guide a reader through. I have my suspicions that the galactic trail the characters follow involve some kind of spatial time loop created by the living space ship where lives are replayed in different ways and the different versions intermingle along the way. Strictly my best guess. It is not my wont to re-read something in a effort to better glean the story. If the message failed to deliver properly the first time around, why should I subject myself to a second performance?(less)

Community Reviews

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3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  157 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a terrific collection of SciFi stories by some wonderful women writers. Many of the stories were 5 stars there were just a few that weren't so great that kept the whole collection from being a 5. A lot of the authors I had heard of and read before but I found a few new ones to pursue. I can definitely see myself returning to some of these stories to reread.
Carolyn F.
Anthology The average of the stories I read is 2.17 stars. I usually rate upwards but this is so close to 2 that I'm giving it 2 stars out of 5.

1. Girl hours by Sofia Samatar -- This felt like a poem and a free form thought progression had a sci-fi baby. I didn't like it. 1 star.

2. Excerpt from a letter by a social-realist Aswang / Kristin Mandigma -- I first had to look up Aswang : A shapeshifting monster usually possessing a combination of the traits of either a vampire, a ghoul, a witch, or d
Maggie Gordon
I am quite shocked that this book has received so few ratings so far. It's a fantastic collection of modern sci-fi done by authors who are not showcased nearly enough: women, many of them racialised.

Like all anthologies, I did not enjoy every single story. However, the compilation as a whole was quite satisfying, and the stories that stood out were simply amazing. Many of these stories engage with sci-fi from the perspective of colonised people, and the messages and themes that come out of thes
Kivrin Engle
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a wondrous collection of stories! Such a great reading experience. Each story is powerful, and deliciously complex, with such well-crafted world-building, you forget you are immersed in a short story, and not a novel. I had a chance to revisit a few of my very favorite women writers in science-fiction, and add new authors to my list. As a constant seeker of science-fiction stories by women, I realized that I had read a handful of these stories previously, but all were worth rereading! Highl ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This collection is solid, a well-chosen list of some of the best SF I've set my eyeballs on. I think it was a bold move to lead the collection with verse (Girl Hours), but it set the tone for some strange and delicious pieces.

One of the bigger threads throughout many of the selected stories is the question of what happens to one's society and the culturally constructed self in the face of the colonial entity, the power which strips bare and forces new norms. The answers vary, each holding up a
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
cross posted from fox and fiction

i read a review for another mammoth short story collection where someone complained that the book was filled with too much estrogen. being such a blatant misogynist must be terrible because they are missing out on gems like this. not only is it filled with stories by authors i love, but it introduced me to a whole new flock of women writers that i can't wait to read more of. the best part is that so many of the stories were about women loving women- that's entire
Matthew Lloyd
Ah, time to review this collection of short stories that I read over a period of two years. Let's see what I can remember.

Fortunately, I posted updates about most of the stories almost immediately after reading them, which helps. Looking back at the earlier stories, I remember "The Other Graces" by Alice Sola Kim most distinctly as a fascinating story that I would like to revisit; I enjoyed "Spider the Artist" by Nnedi Okorafor and "The Science of Herself" by Karen Joy Fowler, although I was alr
Feb 04, 2018 added it
Shelves: dnf
I'm taking this off my " currently reading" shelf because I just can't. This is probably the worst anthology that I could have bought to get me interested in short stories because it simply gives me so much frustration. If my love for short stories can be judged by how many short stories I finished while in college, that would probably be down to 1 per anthology – and even with that one, I probably skimmed it. If it was "Short Stories about Planetary Discovery by Women" or "Short Stories about A ...more
Michael Drakich
Dec 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
Where to begin? Because there is so little of it, I will start with what praise I can give before the criticism. Encapsulated within this collection are a few very good stories that deserve recognition.

My favorites, in order, are;
IMMERSION by Aliette De Bodard.
SPIDER THE ARTIST by Nnedi Okorafor.
These three were the only ones I was willing to rate as 5 stars. There are a few 4 star selections.
Brian Palmer
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don't know if this is actually a *mammoth* book -- my copy is 500-odd pages, which doesn't seem unusually thick -- but the editor chose to focus on proper short stories, so there are a whopping 33 stories. Moreover, as the introduction points out, it tries to assemble a snapshot of diversity; the stories have all been published elsewhere first, but in a pretty large number of outlets, so having them all in one location may be of great benefit. Brief author biographies are included at the end, ...more
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars (but closer to 3)

Very uneven collection, with too strong a preponderance of really mediocre work for me to rate it higher. The works here by Gorodischer, Le Guin, Kress, Fowler, and Vonarburg are classics and would be worthy inclusions in any SFF anthology (and I've seen a least a couple of these printed elsewhere), and stories by Nalo Hopkinson, Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette, Nisi Shawl, Catherynne M. Valente, Toiya Kristen Finley, Nicole Kohrner-Stace, and E. Lily Yu are enjoyab
Bad Cookie
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
I rated each story and gave 3 stars to nine stories, 2 stars to seven stories, and 1 star to the rest (seventeen stories). The following stories are the ones I actually liked and gave 3 stars:

"Spider the Artist" by Nnedi Okorafor
"The Science of Herself" by Karen Joy Fowler
"Astrophilia" by Carrie Vaughn
"Valentines" by Shira Lipkin
"Dancing in the Shadow of the Once" by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
"The Death of Sugar Daddy" by Toiya Kristen Finley
"Sing" by Karin Tidbeck
"Concerning the Unchecked Growth of Ci
Phorc Ewe
Nov 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book gets almost a solid 'WTF?'
I thought 3 stories good, and a few ok, the rest pretty much gave me a headache from my eyes being crinkled at the WTF'ness of them.


The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women
33 stories

1- "Girl Hours"
Sofia Samatar --------------> 2.3

Kristin Mandigma ----------> 3.0

Vandana Singh -------------> 3.5

4- "The queen of Erewhon"
Lucy Sussex ---------------> 4.0

5- "Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's Day"
Tori Truslow ---------------> 3.0

6- "Spider the artist"
Nnedi Okorafor -----------> 4.5

7- "The science of herself"
Karen Joy F
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
All anthologies are mixed bags, but this one more so than most. That's not just a judgment call from me - one of the entries is actually a nonfiction essay about Mary Anning. It's also not marked as nonfiction, which left my hopes for an alternate history where Mary Anning discovers alien bones sorely disappointed.

There were the expected good stories from Nnedi Okorafor, Katherine Addison, and Aliette de Bodard. There's also a set of authors I will have to look into because I liked their stories
Gnome Claire *Wishes she was as cool as Gnome Ann*
I really tried but I just had to give up at page 163 (I kept starting a story, not really enjoying it then skim-reading/skipping to the end of that one), I just was't enjoying the stories, they were all to experimental for me and felt more driven by the writing style and concept than by plot or characters. Some of them were interesting but I didn't actually enjoy any of the 11 stories I tried. Clearly who ever collated this just has a completely different reading taste to me.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Greatly enjoyed reading the different stories. It also gave me a great overview of SF female writers who do not usually get as much exposure and I definitely found some I will check out again. Definitely check out this book for a good overview. Also something that I very much liked was that there were many LGBT characters and plotlines which are not as prevalent in SF as they could/should be. That was very enjoyable.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Some of the stories in here are utterly forgettable to me and only a couple have still stuck with me now, quite a while after I've read it. I will say its a good read to get you started into some sci-fi but not a brilliant collection.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Well heck, I adore short story collections, but this one had only 3 or 4 stories I cared for. Some of the rest were incomprehensible to me and over all the tone was sad and anxious. Some exellent additions by women of color.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Finally gave up. The stories are so inconsistent - one will be good and several in a row will be really, spectacularly bad.
Jul 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Due to how busy my life is, it has taken me a very long time to make headway on this book. It helps that they are short stories. I picked it up because I am on a friendly basis with one of the authors. I am a fan of hardcore science fiction; I enjoy most everything from the genre, even the B-rated or tackier stuff. However, of course, I am also female, so it was interesting to see a collection by women.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of tales in here that are not really science fiction and due t
Matthew Gatheringwater
Favorites from this collection:
Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine's Day, Tori Truslow
Lunar Faerie Culture, Victorian Era, literary references reminded me of Possession

Spider The Artist, Nnedi Okorafor
The African setting was interesting and made me interested to read more from this author.

The Science of Herself, Karen Joy Fowler
A particular favorite, speculation based upon Jane Austin and paleontologist Mary Anning.

Boojum, Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
I know there are other stories in this universe a
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Alex Dally MacFarlane has selected an array of stories to showcase the range of science fiction stories available from women writers. Most of the stories are from recent years, with a handful pre-dating 2000.

What led me to this selection was reading Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue last year and reading Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century this year. Both got me deeply interested in the female writers of science fictio
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-story, sff
Not an easy read, but a good one. Maybe I'm just not a frequent enough short story reader, or sci-fi reader, but often times this book felt too smart for me! There were several stories where I didn't quite follow either the narrative or the cultural / historical references (e.g. I didn't know what an "aswang" was).

Nonetheless, I really liked this collection. We should all be challenged by something we read every so often, shouldn't we? And this collection felt like a good challenge. You can't f
Kris Sellgren
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This collection of SF short stories by women authors had a fascinating diversity of cultures across the planet. I really liked 18 out of 33 stories, which is a high fraction for me. I particularly liked "Girl Hours" (about the astronomer Henrietta Leavitt), "Spider the Artist", "The Science of Herself", "Mountain Ways", "The Cartographer Wasps...", and "A Short Encyclopedia of the Lunar Seas". The latter was more poetry than narrative. I also liked "The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew", but I love ...more
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this collection! Some of the highlights for me were: "Spider the Artist", "Sing", "Enyo Enyo", "The Other Graces" but I loved pretty much every story that I read. The ones I singled out were stories that are more to my tastes but like I said I liked everything. I recommend this to everyone who's into sf stories (which you probably were if you picked this up/bought it). Would love to see a mammoth book of sf stories by women of color, though I really appreciated that there were qui ...more
Aidan O'gain
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Somadeva: A Sky River Sutra" by Vandana Singh is worth five stars alone.

this book isn't giving me exactly what I expected from an SF Anthology. There are many cultural perspectives, mythologies, and references I don't know. Plot structures, conflict-narrative, character types are all in flux. But I'm very much enjoying that. Not getting what I expected. Good SF shouldn't be perfectly comfortable.

This book, with its many "alien" perspectives from my own, is reaching into my objecting mind and pr
Apr 29, 2014 marked it as dnf
Girl Hours - Sofia Samatar - 5 Stars
Excerpt from a Letter by a Social-Realist Aswang by Kristin Mandigma - 3 Stars
Somadeva: a Sky River Sutra by Vandana Singh - 5 Stars
The Four Generations of Chang E by Zen Cho - 5 Stars
On the Leitmotif of the Trickster... by Nicole Kornher-Stace - 5 Stars
Immersion by Aliette de Bodard - 5 Stars
The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew by Catherynne M. Valente - 5 Stars
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very well put together collection that highlights a lot of marginalised voices within traditional western Sci Fi, not just women's but also writers from a variety of different cultural backgrounds, sexualities etc. Some stories are far better than others and quite a few barely qualify as Sci Fi but there are enough great stories here to make this worth reading.
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women [read: Intro (really liked this); Girl Hours by Sofia Samatar; Spider the Artist by Nnedi Okorafor; The Science of Herself by Karen Joy Fowler; Concerning the Unchecked Growth of Cities by Angélica Gorodischer (translated by Ursula K. Le Guin); The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew by Catherynne M. Valente
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Alex Dally MacFarlane is a writer, editor and historian. When not researching narrative maps in the legendary traditions of Alexander III of Macedon, she writes stories, found in Clarkesworld, Interfictions Online and the anthologies Phantasm Japan, Solaris Rising 3 and The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2014. She is the editor of Aliens: Recent Encounters (2013) and The Mammoth Book o ...more