When science fiction’s Hugo Awards were presented in August, all the fiction categories were won by women. But women weren’t always so celebrated. Lisa Yaszek’s fascinating and well-researched anthology presents a trove of writers who helped define the genre from the 1920s through the 1960s, some nearly forgotten today ... what all the stories have in common is sheer readability and a delicious sense of discovery.
The Future is Female! is a historically-oriented anthology collecting sf written by women that spans from the early pulps to the cusp of the New Wave. All but one of the stories included were originally published in contemporary magazines, an editorial choice emphasizing the fact that women have from the start been major commentators, taste-makers, and artists within genre fiction ... The Future is Female! leans toward sociological and humanistic stories as well as stories that pushed at the boundaries of style and experimentation ... The Future is Female! does fill in a publication gap with proof-positive of the progressive drive of sf from the pulps onward, and that contribution is valuable. While there are editorial choices I’m uncomfortable with, overall it is a coherent and useful text that flows well and has a solid structure.
In her pioneering 2016 anthology Sisters of Tomorrow, Lisa Yaszek brought to light a number of women SF writers of the pulp era, most long forgotten and out of print for decades. Now, with The Future is Female!,...from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin, she extends her survey of SF by women through the 1960s, ending with Le Guin’s familiar cloning classic Nine Live and the less familiar James Tiptree, Jr. story The Last Flight of Dr. Ain, both from 1969 ... Yaszek’s meticulously researched notes, sometimes even digging up census records to track down elusive figures, are a good part of what makes the book fascinating as literary history.