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The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin: A Library of America Special Publication
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The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin: A Library of America Special Publication

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  372 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Space-opera heroines, gender-bending aliens, post-apocalyptic pregnancies, changeling children, interplanetary battles of the sexes, and much more: a groundbreaking new collection of classic American science fiction by women from the 1920s to the 1960s

Warning: the visionary women writers in this landmark anthology may permanently alter perceptions of American science ficti
Hardcover, 531 pages
Published January 1st 2018 by Library of America
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Start your review of The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin: A Library of America Special Publication
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I really loved this book. I was familiar with a few of the well known writers in this collection but most were new to me. Favorite stories from it include "The Miracle of the Lily" from 1928 by Clare Winger Harris, "The Tunnel Ahead" from 1961 by Alice Glaser, "Space Episode" from 1941 by Leslie Perri. I plan on hunting down other works by some of these writers. The last story in the collection is from 1969, "Nine Lives" by Ursula K. Le Guin. The later stories are more in the style of "New Wave" ...more
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Miracle of the Lily (1928) by Clare Winger Harris ★★★★★
“Man is not happy, unless he has some enemy to overcome, some difficulty to surmount.”

Amazing first story! Just as humans took over for the dinosaurs so the insects are fighting to take over from man in this near future drama.

Told from multiple generations of the same family it is more about what drives us, physically and spiritually, as people. It is not enough to merely exist.

This was layered, entertaining, and insightful. Loved it!

Joe Crowe
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You need this book. Right now. I don't say that about everything I like, but I'm saying it now about this.

This book contains 25 stories from Hall of Fame-level female SF authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, James Tiptree Jr., and Marion Zimmer Bradley to people whose names you might be unfamiliar with.

Editor Lisa Yaszek includes a terrific foreword that talks about the history of women in science fiction. The TL;DR of it is that women were foundational to the beginning of the genre and to its ri
With a title like that, I was expecting this collection of short stories to have some sort of underlying feminist or somehow otherwise political theme. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The stories weren't bad, but none of them managed to impress me. ...more
021118: of the 25 classic stories i had previously read 11. so i read them again. some authors familiar if not stories, mini bios at end, good range of 20th Century sf, as any collection some great, some less. dates mostly golden age, most recent 69. great evidence key texts of sf are often short stories. read great stories never seen before: 'Contagion', 'Inhabited Men', 'All the Colors of the Rainbow', 'Nine Lives'... no critical text, only general intro, but if you know some history the dates ...more
Peter Tillman
Stories online at LoA: [I'll add more if I come across them]
● "Baby, You Were Great" by Kate Wilhelm:
● "PELT" by Carol Emshwiller:
Both of these LoA reprints include biographical sketches, original artwork and story notes. Are those in the book, too?

Book Editor's comments, which are.... interesting. She's a Professor of Science Fiction at Georgia Tech! Who knew?
Check out the
David Agranoff
This is yet another case of a project I read/reviewed after hearing it featured on Geek's Guide to the Galaxy. First and foremost the editor Lisa Yaszek being a scholar of Science Fiction had me interested in having her as a guest on Dickheads to talk about the history of the genre. Second I knew I wanted to read this book.

The concept is simple starting with Claire Winger Harris and a story called 'The Miracle of the Lilly' and ending with A Ursala K Leguin Story Called 'Nine Lives'. That takes
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthologies, sf
This is a great anthology, not just for the stories, but for the thoughtful foreword and the lengthy biographies of the writers included. There's a good mix of the oft-anthologized and rarer pieces, and of known and obscure authors. Some of the stories didn't age as well as others, but they are still interesting artifacts. ...more
4.5 stars.

Review to follow.
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
Lisa Yaszek, who along with Patrick B. Sharp previously co-edited the notable Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction, here brings us a very special and even more useful reprint anthology, whose impressive and wide-ranging contents--the first story was published in 1928, the last in 1969--more than amply prove Yaszek's introductory contention that "women who dream about new and better futures . . . have always been with us." Yes they have, and The Future is Female! offers eloquen ...more
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Classic fiction stands the test of time without seeming dated. I don't think this anthology can be considered a collection of classic stories. If you're expecting feminist stories, I can't say that these stories are feminist either. A few of these were readable and I loved In Hiding by Wilmar Shiras when I read it many years ago. ...more
Adam Gurri
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an astonishing collection. There's something for every sort of speculative fiction fan: classic far future battles with insects, space opera, weird fiction, post-apocalyptic, and didactic fiction galore covering issues from race to gender roles and gender identity. Can't recommend it highly enough. ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
This was a solid collection and well worth the read for anyone interested in female or classic SFF. I was hoping for something as phenomenal as Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology. It wasn't quite so engaging as that but I really enjoyed this.

Some of my favorite stories:

Only a Mother
The Tunnel Ahead
In Hiding
Created He Them

And there were others I liked well enough but those were equally weighed with stories I didn't think much of. This is set on chronologi
Ed Erwin
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story, sf
Not all stories are 5-star, but there isn't a single dud in the collection, so overall the book is 5-star.

The stories are arranged chronologically. The first few are rather "pulpy", but they weren't pretending to be anything else. They are still interesting, though I'm happy that more finely developed SF works are now available.

I suppose the editor picked the C.L. Moore story about Jirel of Joiry because of the female protagonist. That Fantasy seems a bit out-of-place in an SF collection, and Mo
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the worst collection of short stories ever.

And by worst, I mean the best and I loved them but jesus it was so fucking depressing to read short stories written basically (don't make me do math) a half-century ago or more that are so fucking current with race and gender issues. God, humans are such terrible creatures.
Sandra Kinzer
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic! All super interesting stories, which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. I'm not a huge reader of anthologies, just because the stories are done so fast, after I went to all that work to visualize the world in my mind! But I did enjoy this anthology.

The stories that stick out in my mind the most are Pelt, The Barbarian, and Nine Lives.

"But you recall who it was said that the capacity for wonder at matters of common acceptance occurs in the superior mind?" -James Tiptree J
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew, older SF is weird, y'all. ...more
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic collection Dr. Yaszek has curated for us! I feel like I have to address the stories individually. Generally I found almost all of them, if not enjoyable in their own right, very instructive historically. I liked having the stories in chronological order, and found the notes and bios at the end of the volume useful.

"The Miracle of the Lily" by Clare Winger Harris 1928 - The 1920s were so much fun for science fiction, its adolescence, it's mad, giddy teen years. This story capture
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Given it took me 2 years to read this, I can hardly claim to accurately summarize the entire volume in one review. But I'll give it a go! I admit--this review is weighted toward the latter stories as some of the early stories I read 2 years ago in preparation for Prof. Yaszek's visit to my local bookstore!

Some of the stories were baffling--as in, I didn't really follow what was going on. Some of them definitely need a second read to understand, as the payoff at the end of some would be quite use
Leah Rachel von Essen
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From Mary Shelley writing about monsters and men to the 1970s sub-genre of ‘feminist sci fi,’ women have been fundamental creators and readers of speculative fiction for the entire lifespan of the genre. And yet the myth of male dominance continues to pervade the conventional narrative of the genre’s birth and rise. In this incredible collection, The Future is Female! 26 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin, Lisa Yaszek has spanned a large gap in many ...more
This was really just okay. I didn’t hate it, and I was really close to putting it in the ditched pile; but I didn’t. I read the whole thing.

I just can’t give it more than 2 stars, but maybe it’s a 2 1/2. It started out so slow and every story was meh to me, especially at the beginning of this. I’m glad I didn’t ditch it because it got a lot better towards the end.

Surprisingly, there were some, I did end up liking though.

I liked All Cats are Gray by Andrew North.

I liked All the Colors of the
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last three anthologies about women's speculative fiction that I read weren't what I was hoping, but I really liked the stories in this collection. In fact, I enjoyed every single one! It's a great compilation of female voices from an iconic decade of scifi. The evolution of the stories over that time is cool to see, too.

I was inspired to buy a copy for our local library and hopefully inspire a new generation of women to reach for the stars. I do wish there was more of an emphasis on women o
Joseph Carrabis
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Future is Female! Is a definite read for historians of writing form, technique, method, and voice. Forget that it's science fiction, forget that it's all women authors; the transition from Clare Winger Harris's "The Miracle of the Lily" (1928) to Katherine Maclean's "Contagion" (1950) is worth the price of admission. The first three offerings (by Harris, Leslie F. Stone, and C.L. Moore) are definitely of their time and - in certain passages - read more like adolescent offerings than mature w ...more
The Tiptree and Le Guin stories alone (somehow I'd never read either) made this collection worthwhile, but I'd have loved more context about where the stories were first published, and having the author bios with the stories rather than at the end would have been helpful. But why no Octavia Butler in a collection of pioneering women SF writers? More diversity, please! ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Top notch collection of diverse stories from late 20’s to late 60’s by wonderful female sci-fi authors. So much to love here, but some of my favorites include “The Miracle of the Lily,” “The Black God’s Kiss,” “In Hiding,” “Ararat, “All Cars Are Grey,” “M. Sakrison’s Halt,” “All the Colors of the Rainbow,” “The Tunnel Ahead,” “Another Rib,” “When I Was Miss Dow,” and “Nine Lives.” Some quotes:

“...but who and when and how she could not even guess. As to the beings who made the shaft, in long-forg
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This anthology is a phenomenal remedy to combat erasure. A number of these surprised me with how early some of these concepts were presented before they were absorbed into the primary flow of the mainstream. And so many of these stories were incredibly powerful and resonate through the decades.

If you want an idea of what you’re diving into before committing, “That Only a Mother” by Judith Merril is available for a free listen as Episode 542 at PseudoPod.

I usually struggle about with anthologies but this was great! Admittedly it combines a few of my loves: sci-fi, women writers and history. The book starts with an introduction that in and of itself corrected a few of my assumptions, including that it was a mostly male field and that the women who were writing used male pseudonyms. Following from there, the book offers 25 short stories published between 1928 and 1969 and arranged chronologically, and I had only previously read one of them. (The l ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Biggest flaw of this book is that it is ordered by publication date, and the early/older stories were less engaging than the later ones. The first three stories (spanning 1928-1934) were a bit stilted and too long for the concept they contained. It was interesting to see how the year and the theme related to each other (for example, a rush of stories about the effects of mutation/radiation comes exactly when you would expect). I feel like the choice to order by date gives the book an academic fe ...more
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: partial-read
I’m not a huge sci fi fan but I enjoy a good story well told. While not exactly espousing feminist ideas, these are certainly entertaining and, at times, provocative stories.

I’m reading the stories in reverse order. Here are my thoughts as I completed them:


Nine Lives – A very good story about the concept of self and the collective. It also touches on the dangers of a lack of diversity among the clones. Can they solve difficult problems if they all appr
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