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carlotta
04-22-2011, 11:46 AM
When I was a teenager (in the 80s) I loved me some science fiction. I mostly read Asimov and Heinlein and collections of Hugo winning short stories.

As I got older I think I left those guys behind because the sexism and the clunky writing got more apparent.

Don't bother recommending Connie Willis because I already found her, read everything she ever wrote and am eagerly awaiting whatever she comes up with next.

Does she have a peer?

Did Douglas Adams and Helen Fielding perhaps have a love child?

Czarcasm
04-22-2011, 11:48 AM
Mercedes Lackey and Tanya Huff.

Infovore
04-22-2011, 11:51 AM
A little more obscure, but Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah (together or separately) write some pretty good stuff, including the Sime/Gen series (which is now being republished in Kindle format after many years).

Peremensoe
04-22-2011, 11:51 AM
Is "girly" here understood to just mean female, or something else? It's been a while since I've read Connie Willis, but I don't recall thinking of her as attitudinally "girly."

carlotta
04-22-2011, 11:55 AM
Surely you know Ursula K. Le Guin?

Yes, I've never been able to make it through the first chapter of any of her books.

Peremensoe
04-22-2011, 11:58 AM
Yes, I've never been able to make it through the first chapter of any of her books.

That would be a no, then. ;)

carlotta
04-22-2011, 11:59 AM
Is "girly" here understood to just mean female, or something else? It's been a while since I've read Connie Willis, but I don't recall thinking of her as attitudinally "girly."

I think I mean more than just female. You're right Connie Willis isn't all that girly, but she's girlier than Ursula K. LeGuin. I suppose I'm also looking for a lightness of touch, a sense of humor. My favorite of Connie Willis is "To Say Nothing of the Dog" which probably is her "girliest" (much discussion of Victorian women's clothes) and funniest.

Implicit
04-22-2011, 12:10 PM
Anne McCaffrey's Pern series isn't girly per se, but it isn't the usual chauvinist sci fi fare either.

Lemur866
04-22-2011, 12:17 PM
"As your president, I would demand a science-fiction library, featuring an ABC of the genre. Asimov, Bester, Clarke!"

"What about Lois McMaster Bujold?

"I'm aware of her work..."

Cat Whisperer
04-22-2011, 12:36 PM
Yes, I've never been able to make it through the first chapter of any of her books.
I just read "The Dispossessed" - it was one of the best books I've read in a long, long time. They might not all be gems, but I completely endorse that one.

I haven't read much Octavia E. Butler, but what I have read, I have really liked.

I have never found Robert Silverberg particularly sexist. His Majipoor series is wonderful.

I hear you on the sexism - I got a bunch of old science fiction books at a garage sale, and while the stories and writing were great, the sexism was hard to swallow.

Eleanor of Aquitaine
04-22-2011, 12:50 PM
Definitely Lois McMaster Bujold - start with Cordelia's Honor, which contains two novels about Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan.

I loved Kage Baker's In the Garden of Iden, which has a different twist on a time travel story, and is set mostly in England during the reign of Bloody Mary. I don't like the direction Baker eventually took the series, but the first few books are good.

Tanya Huff has already been mentioned - she writes mostly fantasy, but her Valor series is good military sci-fi starring a female marine sergeant. Lots of humor, and gender equality is really her thing.

I liked the Honor Harrington books, but they get kind of cheesy after a while.

Joe Haldeman's Forever War books aren't girly, but there's gender equality and a nice, mature romance.

xenophon41
04-22-2011, 12:56 PM
Sherri S. Tepper (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheri_S._Tepper) covers some themes, and provides some perspective you don't usually see from "traditional" male sf writers. You might want to check out The Gate to Women's Country as an exploration of ecofeminism, but I highly recommend any of her work. I was introduced to her work through her novel Grass, which, although part of a trilogy including Raising the Stones and Sideshow, works well as a standalone story.

jharvey963
04-22-2011, 12:57 PM
Not "girly" per se, but it you're looking for good character development, you might check out Orson Scott Card. I find his books very emotional, and I'm a guy. Ender's Game would be a good first choice.

J.

carlotta
04-22-2011, 01:04 PM
I have never found Robert Silverberg particularly sexist. His Majipoor series is wonderful.


I'd almost completely forgotten about those! I taught myself to juggle (age 16) after reading Lord Valentine's Castle.

I like the sound of In the Garden of Iden especially, thanks Eleanor of Aquitaine (and good recommendation/username combo)

dangermom
04-22-2011, 01:09 PM
I was coming in to recommend In the Garden of Iden. It does become truly bizarre by the end of the series, but I liked it.

Mrs. Cake
04-22-2011, 01:32 PM
I highly recommend Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair, as well as the rest of his Thursday Next series.

Lynn Bodoni
04-22-2011, 01:35 PM
Sherri S. Tepper (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheri_S._Tepper) covers some themes, and provides some perspective you don't usually see from "traditional" male sf writers. You might want to check out The Gate to Women's Country as an exploration of ecofeminism, but I highly recommend any of her work. I was introduced to her work through her novel Grass, which, although part of a trilogy including Raising the Stones and Sideshow, works well as a standalone story. I found her True Name series to be uninteresting for the most part, but I love her stuff after that. I'm currently rereading Gate, as a matter of fact. Tepper was a top official in Planned Parenthood, and most of her books do address the subject of humans breeding, or overbreeding.

I just read A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer. VERY feminist...few boys are born or survive infancy. I believe the numbers are about one person in ten is male. Males are kept secluded, and are expected to do most of the housework and child rearing. They are property, and are sold or swapped for marrying purposes. A man's value is in his beauty, his chastity, and his family's health. Most males are not even taught how to read.

Even though you might not like most of what Ursula K. Leguin writes, you should at least give the Earthsea trilogy a try. There are additional books in the series, but the trilogy is the one that appeals to most people.

Just say NO to Mercedes Lackey.

Tanya Huff might be exactly what you're looking for, as might Carrie Vaugn.

Vonda McIntire (or is it McIntyre?) is more hard SF than fantasy.

Left Hand of Dorkness
04-22-2011, 02:04 PM
I love Le Guin (obviously) and loathe Tepper (admittedly based on only one book, but still). So take that as a guide for what I write.
The Sparrow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sparrow_%28novel%29) doesn't especially have a great sense of humor, but it's incredible science fiction, some of the best I've ever read. I'd put it up there with Le Guin.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Strange_%26_Mr_Norrell) is decidedly fantasy, not science fiction, but it's got an awesome sense of humor, very clever and intelligent stuff. It begins slowly, but oh does it ever pick up. I think it compares favorably to To Say Nothing of the Dog, with a reasonably similar sense of humor.

PookahMacPhellimey
04-22-2011, 02:29 PM
The ones I've read are more fantasy, albeit urban and comtempary rather than your medieval type questy stuff, but I adore Emma Bull (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Bull) and I the wiki page says that Bone Dance is more Sci-Fi. Actually, very tempted to order that now...

Hunter Hawk
04-22-2011, 05:00 PM
James Tiptree Jr. (pen name of Alice B. Sheldon) is highly regarded as a female author who examines issues related to gender and power. She tries to be Very Profound and personally I find her eye-rollingly unreadable (Teh earthmans r teh suxxor! Teh mans r teh suxxor!), but if you're into Very Profound stuff you might want to give it a shot.

ENugent
04-22-2011, 05:09 PM
Connie Willis is my very favorite author in the whole world, and I also very much enjoy Kage Baker, Sherri Tepper, and Emma Bull. I need to wait until I get home and look over my shelves for you, but one that comes to mind that you might enjoy is Bridge of Birds (http://www.amazon.com/Bridge-Birds-Novel-Ancient-China/dp/0345321383), by Barry Hughart. It's fantasy, not science fiction, but I think it has the right blend of humor for you. And I am shocked to be the first one to recommend Terry Pratchett - again fantasy, but very worthwhile fantasy. Neither are "girly," exactly, but they're not laser guns or swords and sorcery, either. (Well, Pratchett does some great sendups of swords and sorcery, but he's not serious about it.)

misling
04-22-2011, 05:21 PM
I recommend James H. Schmitz, particularly "the demon breed" and "witches of karres". His books often have female leads (and not thinly-disguised males either), and they are great adventures. They are from the 40s and 50s.

Evil Captor
04-22-2011, 05:42 PM
C.J. Cherryh!!!!!! "Downbelow Station" absolutely ROCKS, comparable to the best SF by anybody!

BrassyPhrase
04-22-2011, 09:29 PM
John Varley writes fantastic female characters-(well he used too, the last few books have been a bit meh). Check out his Titan trilogy.

:) BrassyPhrase

Andy L
04-22-2011, 09:32 PM
Julian May might be up your alley - she wrote a terrific series in the 80s called "The Saga of the Pliocene Exile" (there was a previous thread about it).

Zsofia
04-22-2011, 10:15 PM
C.J. Cherryh!!!!!! "Downbelow Station" absolutely ROCKS, comparable to the best SF by anybody!
CJ Cherryh and Connie Willis may be some of my favorite authors, but I'm not sure they have a lot in common! Cherryh writes best when she's writing about going native. Her books are generally Very Serious, but also very personal. Try Foreigner and see if it's for you. (If it's too politic-y, try The Pride of Chanur, which series is like a dry run for Foreigner.)

runcible spoon
04-22-2011, 10:20 PM
I'll add to the recommendations for Kage Baker. I actually didn't really like In the Garden of Iden (mostly because I didn't think it went much of anywhere, which frustrates me; you may not have this hangup), but I really liked Anvil of the World/House of the Stag/Bird of the River (same world, not really same plot though). They're light, funny fantasy (not sci-fi) which doesn't take itself too seriously, has some serious anachronisms, and some strong female characters. Very sad there won't be any more...

Otherwise, I remember liking Anne McCaffrey's sci-fi a lot, although in retrospect it may be a little dated. Lots of good female protagonists, but also a little more rape-except-she-liked-it than I'm totally comfortable with.

Let's see... for actual sci-fi, I can't recommend Iain M Banks enough - again, not girly per se, but also decidedly non-sexist. The Culture doesn't really consider gender important (except sometimes you switch, just for the hell of it), and there are a lot of very well done female characters. Dunno if I'd call it light; I tore through them, but they tend towards doorstoppers.

Lynn Bodoni
04-22-2011, 10:23 PM
I recommend James H. Schmitz, particularly "the demon breed" and "witches of karres". His books often have female leads (and not thinly-disguised males either), and they are great adventures. They are from the 40s and 50s. If you can find any stories by Schmitz, by all means, read them. Very good, and surprisingly nonsexist, especially considering when they were written.

Also, you might try Andre Norton. She had some clunkers, but she was quite prolific. She's hard to find, though.

I love Le Guin (obviously) and loathe Tepper (admittedly based on only one book, but still). So take that as a guide for what I write. I like SOME of LeGuin's books very much indeed, and actually love some of them. However, if I had read Always Coming Home first, instead of the first Earthsea book, I would have probably never given her a second chance. As it was, I bought the Earthsea book when it first came out, long before she wrote Always Coming Home.

Left Hand of Dorkness
04-22-2011, 10:42 PM
I like SOME of LeGuin's books very much indeed, and actually love some of them. However, if I had read Always Coming Home first, instead of the first Earthsea book, I would have probably never given her a second chance. As it was, I bought the Earthsea book when it first came out, long before she wrote Always Coming Home.
Always Coming Home is probably her most difficult book, and I agree, it'd be a lousy introduction to her for most people. However, it's also one of my favorite books by her, and she is uniquely qualified to have written it.

(For folks unfamiliar with it/her, the book is an anthropological treatise on a culture that existed on the California coast some 200,000 years or so in the future. Le Guin's father was an anthropologist, her mother an author, giving her a unique background that permeates all her books, none more so than this one.)

Bill Door
04-22-2011, 11:58 PM
A lot of chicks dig Zenna Henderson.

adhemar
04-23-2011, 12:00 AM
Selina Rosen's books are girly in a different way but very fun reads.

Aspidistra
04-23-2011, 06:42 AM
On the theme of "science fiction that appeals to girlies" rather than necessarily "science fiction written by girlies" I'd also like to recommend Vernor Vinge - good old fashioned 'hard' SF but without the clunky stereotypes that often bedevilled writers of the Golden Age, and loads of great female characters.

An obscure one - Nancy Kress, especially An Alien Light - descendents of the crew of a spaceship of Middle Eastern origin have separated into an Athenian/Spartan dichotomy of city states and come under investigation by an alien race at war with humanity, who want some isolated humans to experiment on and find weaknesses in. Very similar feel to Octavia Butler, if you end up reading and liking her.

Katherine Kerr (NOT by any means Katherine Kurtz) is a prolific fantasy writer who has also delved a little into Science Fiction - Snare is another good 'human societies on future alien planets' one.

Given your profile of things you like I have to re-endorse Julian May too - the original Saga of the Exiles is so much fun. Not so much the Galactic Milieu prequels though - she kept going too long after she'd run out of things to say.

Thumbs down on Anne McCaffrey for me - I don't know if her books are girly or not but...boring. They seem to be very popular though so maybe that's just me.

Hunter Hawk
04-23-2011, 11:22 AM
If you can find any stories by Schmitz, by all means, read them. Very good, and surprisingly nonsexist, especially considering when they were written.

Baen Books reprinted a lot of his material a few years ago, and they are currently available on the Baen Free Library if you prefer softcopy (though I recommend getting the physical copies).

http://www.baen.com/library/defaultTitles.htm

Zsofia
04-23-2011, 11:44 AM
Cordwainer Smith is a guy who wrote wonderful bizarre sci fi - he was the New Weird long before there was a New Weird.

Reepicheep
04-23-2011, 11:47 AM
More on the humor side, I recommend checking out Gini Koch's Alien Series - Touched by an Alien ('http://www.amazon.com/Touched-Alien-Gini-Koch/dp/0756406005/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1303576781&sr=8-2'), Alien Tango ('http://www.amazon.com/Alien-Tango-Gini-Koch/dp/0756406323/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1303576781&sr=8-4') and Alien in the Family ('http://www.amazon.com/Alien-Family-Gini-Koch/dp/0756406684/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303576781&sr=8-1')

Lynn Bodoni
04-23-2011, 11:47 AM
Thumbs down on Anne McCaffrey for me - I don't know if her books are girly or not but...boring. They seem to be very popular though so maybe that's just me. They are somewhat girly, at least. The first six or so, plus Moreta and Nerilka's Story, I enjoyed. I think that she said everything that she had to say in those eight books, and after that, she kept writing because her fans kept clamoring for more.

Tamerlane
04-23-2011, 11:49 AM
A lot of chicks dig Zenna Henderson.

Hell, I dig Zenna Henderson. Or I did when I was younger, I don't think I've read any of her work since I was in my late teens. Her stories tend to be very...gentle, I guess. Her background as an elementary teacher often stands out.

Cat Whisperer
04-23-2011, 01:09 PM
I'm a little surprised at the recommendations for Anne McCaffrey - I thought she was a young adult writer.

Tamerlane
04-23-2011, 03:26 PM
I'm a little surprised at the recommendations for Anne McCaffrey - I thought she was a young adult writer.

Oh, not at all. There is sex ( not particularly explicit, but certainly suggestive ) in most of the dragon books. I think the popular dragonsinger books were deliberately pitched to younger audience, like LeGuin's Earthsea novels. But McCaffrey, like a lot of working sf writers I understand, even stuck her toe into the softcore sf short-story field when that was paying some bills in the 1970's.

Brainiac4
04-23-2011, 04:04 PM
Sharon Lee and Steven Miller's Liaden series is some of my favorite stuff - there's humor, emotion and action, all wrapped up in a way that reminds me a bit of Jane Austen. I started with Agent of Change (the first one written). Sharon Lee has a post on possible reading orders here: http://sharonleewriter.com/bibliography/correct-reading-order/

I'll chime in on Lois McMaster Bujold - her stuff is excellent.

Sarah Zettel's work is very good as well - my favorite is Fool's War.

If you are interested in fantasy as well as SF:

Elizabeth Willey's Argylle series (The Well-Favored Man, A Sorceror and a Gentleman, The Price of Blood and Honor) is very good (and strongly reminiscent of Zelazny's Amber series). Only three books by her so far - I have an alert set up on Amazon in case any more show up. I don't do that for most authors.

Martha Wells is another great one. Start with The Element of Fire, her debut novel, in part to set up The Death of the Necromancer (but also because it's very good).

Icerigger
04-23-2011, 04:16 PM
A have read a couple from Melissa Scott that were good.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melissa_Scott_(writer)

Der Trihs
04-23-2011, 04:32 PM
Mirabile by Janet Kagan is a good collection of connected biology-themed stories set on the world of Miribile with a strong female protagonist. Her Hellspark was good too IIRC; sadly she died before being able to write much else.

Hell, I dig Zenna Henderson. Or I did when I was younger, I don't think I've read any of her work since I was in my late teens. Her stories tend to be very...gentle, I guess. Her background as an elementary teacher often stands out.I'm male too and liked her stuff, I have several books by her I inherited from my mother.

runcible spoon
04-23-2011, 05:25 PM
Oh, not at all. There is sex ( not particularly explicit, but certainly suggestive ) in most of the dragon books. I think the popular dragonsinger books were deliberately pitched to younger audience, like LeGuin's Earthsea novels. But McCaffrey, like a lot of working sf writers I understand, even stuck her toe into the softcore sf short-story field when that was paying some bills in the 1970's.

I think cringe-inducing softcore sci-fi fits perfectly into the young adult genre...

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
04-23-2011, 05:59 PM
Author-- Zenna Henderson

Zsofia
04-23-2011, 08:56 PM
Oh, not at all. There is sex ( not particularly explicit, but certainly suggestive ) in most of the dragon books. I think the popular dragonsinger books were deliberately pitched to younger audience, like LeGuin's Earthsea novels. But McCaffrey, like a lot of working sf writers I understand, even stuck her toe into the softcore sf short-story field when that was paying some bills in the 1970's.
Ha, I read a few novellas by her in the 70's, maybe? That were quite a bit more than softcore, at least I thought they were in ninth grade.

carnut
04-23-2011, 09:57 PM
I like Walter Jon Williams. His female characters are definitely girls and he is not sexist. I really liked Maureen McHugh but she is not writing any more - she's doing some pretty cool stuff with alternate reality games. But go find her old books.

If you want girly, try Robin McKinley - but it is definitely fantasy, not SF. "Sunshine" was great.

I love LeGuin. Very worth getting yourself past the first chapter. "The Dispossessed" is still awesome. She is still writing and has tons of stories.

Have you tried Sheri Tepper? Some of her stuff is kind-of silly but "The Gateway to Women's Country" is powerful stuff.

Tamerlane
04-23-2011, 10:27 PM
That were quite a bit more than softcore, at least I thought they were in ninth grade.

Yeah, I have no doubts :). I was being cautious as I only remember reading one or two of her racier stories and they weren't Philip Jose Farmer explicit ( then again, I guess not much is ). But weird porn and near-porn was definitely one way to earn grocery money for younger authors back in the day.

lshaw
04-24-2011, 12:47 PM
I haven't read much Octavia E. Butler, but what I have read, I have really liked.

I had no idea she was considered a sci-fi writer, as I've only read one of her work - Fledgling (which I enjoyed). Which of hers would you recommend?

infinitii
04-24-2011, 01:57 PM
What about Joanna Russ? I've mostly read fantasy by her, but its definitely feminist works, although I don't necessarily know about girly.

carnut
04-24-2011, 05:45 PM
What about Joanna Russ? I've mostly read fantasy by her, but its definitely feminist works, although I don't necessarily know about girly.

I had forgotten her work. Shame on me. I liked her women.

Left Hand of Dorkness
04-24-2011, 05:55 PM
I had no idea she was considered a sci-fi writer, as I've only read one of her work - Fledgling (which I enjoyed). Which of hers would you recommend?

My personal favorite of hers is Wild Seed. It's on the border between SF and fantasy. Lilith's Brood, a trilogy about humanity's end as it's changed irrevocably by contact with an alien race, is also pretty good.

Lynn Bodoni
04-25-2011, 02:44 AM
I had no idea she was considered a sci-fi writer, as I've only read one of her work - Fledgling (which I enjoyed). Which of hers would you recommend?

My personal favorite of hers is Wild Seed. It's on the border between SF and fantasy. Lilith's Brood, a trilogy about humanity's end as it's changed irrevocably by contact with an alien race, is also pretty good. Seed to Harvest contains Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay's Ark, and Patternmaster. Oddly, Butler wrote Patternmaster first, and then kept working her way back through the history of the Patternist peoples.

I liked all of her books, and her short stories, and I was deeply saddened by her untimely death.

liirogue
04-25-2011, 06:10 PM
I recently read Origins Spinward Fringe (http://www.amazon.com/Origins-Spinward-Fringe-ebook/dp/B004EPYUXA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1303772668&sr=8-1) by Randolph Lalonde and loved it. It's a free download you can read on the Kindle or on the computer. I'm not a big space scifi fan, but I was engrossed in this from the beginning. There is great character development and the story was enthralling.

raspberry hunter
04-25-2011, 10:39 PM
Bujold, Bujold, Bujold! Hard SF but with a twist that the technology is practical for women's issues, a great sense of humor... brilliant stuff. I think she is somewhat like Connie Willis but better (although I love Willis as well).

I also concur with Zenna Henderson and the Lilith's Brood Butler books.

If you don't need your SF to be strictly, um, accurate, you could try Diane Duane's books. As sloppy as all get out, but fun reads. Oh, same goes for Kate Wilhelm. Wince-inducing science, but good books.

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