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Worlds Without End Blog

New List: Science Fiction by Women Writers Posted at 6:53 PM by Dave Post

Dave Post

Hello everyone!  We’ve just added a new “best of” list to Worlds Without End (#33!) that we think you’re really gonna like: Science Fiction by Women Writers.

This list comes to us from WWEnder and Uber User, the King of Lists himself, Mr. James Wallace Harris and his compatriot Mike Jorgensen.  Jim and Mike created this new list using the time tested method that gave us the much revered Classics of Science Fiction list.  Basically they reviewed every damn list they could find (65 in all!) and picked the books by women writers that made it onto at least 4 of those lists.  The result is a who’s who of women in genre fiction and a great place to find some great reads.  Be sure to check out the Classics of Science Fiction website for the source lists and essays.

This new list is an excellent addition to the other women-centric lists we feature on WWEnd including Ian Sales’ popular SF Mistressworks, David G. Hartwell’s 200 Significant SF Books by Women, and WWEnd’s own Award Winning Books by Women Authors.  If you’re ready to explore more works by women authors these lists will take you far along that road.

And as long as you’re at it join us for the 5th annual WWEnd Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge!  This year’s iteration has reading levels from just 6 books, enough to get your feet wet, all the way up to 48 books, for those looking to dive deep.

Our thanks to Jim and Mike for building such a great list and sharing it with us on WWEnd!  Let us know what you think about the new list in the comments below.  Read on!


dalex   |   11 Feb 2017 @ 02:22

I was hoping the list would include more titles from the last 10 years rather than being another list of “old books” but thanks for taking the time to add this to the resources available at WWEnd.

Jim Harris   |   12 Feb 2017 @ 11:44

Dalex, our list was generated by a mathematical system, which unfortunately doesn’t catch the newer titles. Our goal was to track the books that are being remembered, and we looked at 65 lists cover 1949-2016.

I wish we had access to Nielsen Bookscan data so we could track newer books. We’ve tried writing computer programs that would automatically search Google for book reviews, but that’s turned out to be an almost impossible job.

For a ten year survey, I’d recommend reading the introductions to Gardner Dozois’s annual short story anthologies, he highlights the best books. And Locus Magazine’s annual issue on summarizing the previous year’s science fiction is a good way to see what’s being remembered.

It’s really hard to track the popularity of recent books. I’d say 99% of novels published are forgotten within one year. Sales don’t equal reader reactions. Even awards aren’t that good at tracking books that will be remembered.

Emil   |   16 Feb 2017 @ 09:26

A good list. Some catch up to do.

dalex   |   17 Feb 2017 @ 07:50

Jim Harris – Maybe the reason ” 99% of novels published are forgotten within one year” is because people keep making lists that feature primarily older titles rather than focusing on new publications. No offense…I do appreciate all the work you and your team did to generate this list and it is a good addition to the resources available on WWEnd.

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