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Geek novels written by women

via hfnuala

I've bolded the ones I've read.

I'm willing to listen to arguments why I should read the ones I haven't read.

The Earthsea Trilogy - Ursula Le Guin
[I have always wanted to be Ursula K. Le Guin when I grew up.]

Ash - Mary Gentle

Cyteen - CJ Cherryh
[Not yet, but I'm reading Downbelow Station right now.]

Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone - JK Rowling
[The Harry Potter books are getting better. I'm not a raving fan, though. I also question this as a "geek book" because of its popularity.]

The Warrior's Apprentice - Lois McMaster Bujold
[I've read all her stuff and love or like all of it.]

Nylon Angel - Marianne de Pierres

The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell
[Not yet but I plan to.]

Slow River - Nicola Griffith

1610: A Sundial in the Grave - Mary Gentle

Deep Secret - Diana Wynne Jones

Dark Lord of Derkholm - Diana Wynne Jones

China Mountain Zhiang - Maureen McHugh
[No, but I plan to.]

Magic for Beginners - Kelly Link

Wildseed - Octavia Butler

Oryx & Crake - Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
[I hated it.]

The Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

Dragonflight - Anne McCaffrey
[Read as a teenager.]

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

Tam Lin - Pamela Dean

The Lioness Quartet - Tamora Pierce

And now to add to the list. (I've read all of these.)

Emma Bull, Bone Dance ["a fantasy for technophiles"]
Elizabeth Moon, Remnant Population [a bit of a stretch geek-wise, but the protagonist is kinda "my kind of geek"]
Joanna Russ, The Female Man [geeky because so erudite]
Robin McKinley, Beauty [geeky because protagonist is geeky]
Vonda N. McIntyre, The Moon and the Sun [geeky because well researched]
Elizabeth Moon, The Speed of Dark [geeky because of subject matter]
Carol Emshwiller, Carmen Dog [a bit of a stretch geek-wise, but I like it so much I couldn't leave it out]
R.A. McAvoy, Tea w/ Black Dragon [geeky because of some plot elements]
Eleanor Arnason, A Woman of the Iron People [geeky because well researched]


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 28th, 2005 09:07 pm (UTC)
Re Mary Gentle: I like her a lot, but she seems to be a more particular taste than some other writers. 1610 is more geeky than Ash, I think: Ash is a secret history. (I just realized that anything I say about 1610 is likely to be a spoiler, so I'll stop for now--there's no way to put an lj-cut in a comment.)

Again, I like Griffith a lot, but would suggest that Ammonite is as geeky as Slow River--but that's more biology, and Slow River is more computers/"high tech" stuff, so it gets more geek points.

Wild Seed is excellent, and not as dark as some of Butler's work; I'm not sure how geeky it is, in part because it's been a while since I read it, and in part because I'm not sure of definitions here. It's geekier, imho, than The Female Man, for what that's worth.
Nov. 28th, 2005 09:11 pm (UTC)
I'd recommend some Butler. She's not only interesting on gender, but also on race and violence. The books are rather bleak, though.
Nov. 28th, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
I personally consider Butler absolutely required reading, and she's a person for whom I'll drop my entire queue when there's a new book. WILD SEED would not be my first choice, however. KINDRED first beyond a doubt, then probably the Parable books, then WILD SEED. The new one, FLEDGLING, is (comparatively) minor, and entertaining.
Nov. 29th, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)
I LOVE Butler. The Parable books and Lilith's Brood. Just discovered Fledgling. Meh. Not awful, but, yeah, comparatively minor.

I can't wait to try some of the other folks on this list.
Nov. 28th, 2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
How does "geeky" differ, in this context, from well-researched, well-written science fiction/fantasy?
Nov. 28th, 2005 09:43 pm (UTC)
I *think* it's because the original thought was around books you devoured as a teenaged girl - it was a reaction to The Guardian's list of 'geeky reads' which were all written by men.

Here's a thread about it:

Nov. 28th, 2005 09:48 pm (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense.
Nov. 28th, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC)
I've read everything Tamora Pierce has written, and liked all of it. That said, the Lioness Quartet is the weakest of all. It's her first work, and it's very Mary-Sue-ish. Allana, the heroine, disguises herself as a boy to sneak off to knight school, where she ends up a better fighter than all the boys, and she sleeps with the handsome prince, AND the young head of the Thieves' Guild, and she's got Magical Twinkly Powers, and she's got a magical cat with purple eyes.

I kid you not.

And yet -- it's GOOD. Not great -- although some of Tammy's later stuff is -- but it's good. It manages to not suck. Part of it is that the characters manage to be, y'know, CHARACTERS -- they do stuff because it's what THEY want to do, not what the plot demands of them. This quite annoyed Tammy when she wrote it, because she'd intended to marry the prince to her heroine, and the two characters just looked at her and said, "You have GOT to be shitting me -- I'd sleep with him, and have friendly sex, and be best friends -- but there's no WAY we're getting married."

Not bad for a YA novel.

I'm also biased towards her work because I so admire her personally. She won a well-deserved Skylark award a couple years back -- science fiction's "nice guy" award. (Hal Clement won two.) Whenever she's at a con, she's always followed by a crowd of pre-teen and young teenage girls, who follow her from place to place like a flock of ducklings -- and she encourages this. Not as an ego thing for her -- but as an ego thing for THEM. When one of these kids shoves a piece of their own writing in front of her, she reads it, and gives helpful advice. She wants this crowd of girls and young women to feel confident in their own voices, in their own lives.

So even if her work sucked -- and it doesn't, in my opinion -- I'd STILL read it, because I admire HER. I admire how she treats her fans, I admire how she treats people in general. I admire that she writes books with strong female protagonists, partially because that's what she wants to write, but partially because she wants those girls who she hangs out with at cons to have them to read.

And I find all her books to be fun, easy reads, but with enough meat in them to be at least a LITTLE filling. And the quality of them does go up with time.
Nov. 28th, 2005 09:25 pm (UTC)
He, She and It by Marge Piercy.

Nov. 28th, 2005 09:25 pm (UTC)
Should you ever feel like taking the time to discuss it (or if you have pointers to where you may've done so before), I'd love to hear more details of your reaction to The Handmaid's Tale.
Nov. 28th, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
Nov. 28th, 2005 11:03 pm (UTC)
Me three.
Nov. 28th, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC)
details, such as they are, posted: http://firecat.livejournal.com/375406.html
Nov. 28th, 2005 09:35 pm (UTC)
_The Steerswoman_ is *profoundly* geeky. The world-building and plot are pretty good, but the core of the novel is sharing the joy of being a geek, in a world where that's an accepted social niche.
Nov. 28th, 2005 10:29 pm (UTC)
China Mountain Zhang is great. I really like McHugh's prose style, and it's a fascinating universe she hypothesizes.
Nov. 28th, 2005 10:59 pm (UTC)
I highly recommend Princess of Flames by Ru Emerson. It's a quest and a coming-of-age and a gender-bender all in one, with touches of both Cinderella and Double Star thrown in for good measure.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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