SF & Astronomy, A Boy Thing, Apparently

I have email from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific announcing that they have updated their list of science fiction that contains good information about astronomy and related issues. This is a good thing, I thought. We should be educating readers as well as entertaining then. Then I went and looked at the list.


It is a very big list. I haven’t counted them. I did count the works by, or partly by, women (but not including those where the women are editors). That was a lot easier, though I may still have missed some due to initials, pseudonyms, etc. We have:

  • The Cassiopeia Affair, by Chloe Zerwick & Harrison Brown
  • “Love is the Plan the Plan is Death”, by James Tiptree Jr.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • “Amnesty”, by Octavia Butler
  • “The Fermi Paradox is Our Business Model”, by Charlie Jane Anders
  • “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi”, by Pat Cadigan
  • “Schwarzschild Radius”, by Connie Willis

Is that all, really? Does nothing that Catherine Asaro or Joan Slonczewski has written qualify? Then again, Peter Watts isn’t on the list for good alien lifeforms, so maybe they just need to read a bit more widely. Can we help them out, please?

Update: I’ve been informed that Alex Brett, author of Cold Dark Matter, is also female. However, we are still only at about 3%.

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3 Responses to SF & Astronomy, A Boy Thing, Apparently

  1. CarolC says:

    Hm. Unless I’m missing something, they don’t have a section for Living In Space at all – hydroponics, waste recycling… the things that the ISS are actually pioneering right now, and the key to us being able to colonise beyond our planet.

  2. Daniel Franklin says:

    They seem, in part, to have a stunningly narrow definition of “good information about astronomy and related issues”; one that cuts out a lot of “hard” SF, let alone female-authored ones. However, some of the female-authored works they’ve not included… and simply the paucity in general of female authors on the list… is truly weird, even given the inherent silliness of the narrowness of the list.

  3. Philippa Chapman says:

    Would Liz Williams’ future matriarchy set on Mars and Earth qualify?


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