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!
For the very last time here are the winners for the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge December review poll!
December WoGF Review Poll Winners:
Congrats to Alix, Megan and Scott and thanks to everyone who participated in the poll. Our winners will find an Amazon gift card, $25, $15.00 and $10.00 respectively, waiting for them in their email inbox.
An thus the 2013 Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge comes to an official end. It was a great challenge and we want to say thanks to everyone for all the great reviews. Of course the Roll-Your-Own Reading Challenge is underway for 2014 and it includes the 2014 WoGF along with 19 other challenges so there’s more reviews coming and more chances to win prizes. If you haven’t joined a challenge for the new year, what are you waiting for? Take your pick from the 20 member created challenges already on offer or roll-your-own!
We posted eleven great reviews in the blog for December and it’s time to vote for your 3 favorites. As always, there are 3 prizes up for grabs. We’ll keep the poll open until January 20 so you’ll have time to read all the reviews.
- Heartwood by Freya Robertson – Wendy B. (nightxade)
- Debris by Jo Anderton – Rob Weber (valashain)
- Among Others by Jo Walton – Stephen Poltz (spoltz)
- Hild by Nicola Griffith – Alix Heintzman (alixheintzman)
- Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente – Megan AM (couchtomoon)
- Forays into Fantasy: Arabian Fantasy and G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen – Scott Lazerus (Scott Laz)
- Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – Nadine Gemeinböck (Linguana)
- Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin – Steff S. (MMOGC)
- The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells – Sue Bricknell (SueCCCP)
- He, She and It by Marge Piercy – Allie McCarn (Allie)
- The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo – Lynn Williams (lynnsbooks)
This is the final review poll for the WoGF in what has been a fabulous year for reviews on WWEnd. Our hats are off to all our members for so many quality reviews. We threw down the gauntlet and you picked it up and slapped us smartly across the face with it.
General Stats After 12 Months:
Time Remaining: 0 days
Books Read: 1,236
Books Reviewed: 679!
Thank you all for being a part of the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge! We’re extremely proud of how the challenge turned out and we’re still a little shocked that we got almost 400 people signed up. Over 1,200 books by women authors read is nothing to sneeze at and we like to think, and are also a little afraid to think, that many of those women might not have gotten read without the challenge spurring you on to try some new authors. And speaking of new authors, we added 127 new women authors to our database over the course of the year, all by member request, and some hundreds of their books to boot. We moved the parity needle in the right direction as far as our data goes and we hope to continue that positive trend going into a new year. The 679 reviews is just a stunning number but it’s more than just the quantity that we’re proud of. The majority of those reviews have been top quality and our site is so much better for having them.
It was a tremendous pleasure being your host and we hope to see you all back for the 2014 challenge which we should be announcing on Tuesday. Come back for the big unveiling and prepare to be amazed. We can honestly say that nobody will be able to resist the new challenge theme.
For Lynn Williams (lynnsbooks) books are much more than a hobby or a pastime they’re really an obsession. If she’s not reading a book, she’s talking about books on her blog, Lynn’s Book Blog, or deciding which books to buy next. Lynn reads all sorts of books, sometimes straying into YA, but her first love is fantasy. Recently she started to cross into science fiction thanks to the suggestions of some very excellent bloggers.
Editor’s Note: This review counts for December.
Just finished reading The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo – talk about getting your last challenges in right on the last minute – this book is both my 100th book of the year and also my December read for Worlds Without End, Women of Genre Fiction reading challenge – can I just say what a great challenge the WoGF has been – sincerely I hope they hold this next year, I will be all over it if they do!
Anyway, moving swiftly on and away from my gloaty back patting self (the book review being the actual purpose of the post!) I do have mixed feelings about this book – which would probably resolve themselves if I had the chance to mull it over a little longer and really establish how I feel, but – deadlines are pressing – so, mixed feelings are what I’m going with on this occasion. Although, for clarity’s sake I certainly didn’t dislike this, just not quite sure about exactly what my emotions are at this point (did I love it, maybe not. Did I hate it – definitely not.)
The story is about a young girl, Li Lan, living in Malaya. Her mother has died and her father has retreated into the world of opium. As a result, and although she certainly doesn’t seem to have suffered any hardship having been raised mainly by her very loving Amah, her future does not seem to have been taken care of in the traditional sense leaving her with no future marriage prospects. Her father’s business has deteriorated, as you would likely imagine as he spends most of his time with cloudy eyes chasing the dragon, and, on top of that, he also seems to have run up considerable debts. Then along comes a marriage proposal of a most unusual nature. A very well to do family would like Li Lan to marry their son. Yes, it’s the old ‘attractive young girl marries into a wealthy family to save her own family honour’ chestnut. Or is it? Before we all start jumping to those conclusions – there’s a snag with this marriage proposal, just a tiny one, maybe not insurmountable to some – although I think I might object – the would-be groom has already passed away. Now, tell me that you’re not intrigued!
Allie McCarn (Allie), reviews science fiction and fantasy books on her blog Tethyan Books. She has contributed many great book reviews to WWEnd including several Grand Master reviews featured in our blog. Allie has just kicked off a new blog series for WWEnd called New Voices where she’ll be reviewing the debut novels of relatively new authors in the field.
“In the 21st century, the Earth is very nearly ruined. People live within domes or wraps, and most wear protective clothing to brave the toxic wasteland that the world has become. Most power resides with massive corporations, “multis,” who expect the indentured employees within their domes to shape their bodies, minds, and cultures to the company ideal. A small fraction of the Earth’s population are able to live in independent “free towns”, through selling their skills and products to multis, instead of themselves. The unlucky rest of humanity lives in the violent, poisonous “Glop”.
Shira Shipman has never embodied the physical or cultural ideal of her multi, and when custody of her young son is given to her ex-husband, she decides her future lies elsewhere. She returns to her childhood home of Tikva, a Jewish free town, where she has a new job aiding in the development of an illegal cyborg protector, Yod. As Yod struggles to understand his role in the world, he finds insight in a story of Prague’s Jewish ghetto in 1600, about a famous kabbalist who once created a golem protector.” ~Allie
Marge Piercy’s He, She and It is my final novel for WWEnd’s Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge. Marge Piercy is a poet and a novelist, and her works range from science fiction to other genres. I have read that her novels tend to focus on women’s lives, and He, She and It (also published as Body of Glass) is no exception.
Sue Bricknell (SueCCCP) is an ex-pat Brit living in Maine. She has no real memory of learning to read and has always had a great love of fantasy. She blames this on her early introduction to the Tales of Beatrix Potter, which she had memorized by the age of four. From an early obsession with Fantasy she has expanded her interests into the Science Fiction, Mystery, Horror and Crime genres. Joining a local book group made her realize that she really likes talking about books, so she began her blog, Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers. She has recently had the good fortune to be hired as an assistant librarian, so now she can think about books even more!
Martha Wells was an author that I had not come across until I read her Guest Post for Women in SF&F Month at Fantasy Cafe. Since then I have had her on my TBR list, but it finally took the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge at Worlds Without End to put this book on my coffee table. I am only sorry that I ignored it for so long because it was a great read and I look forward to reading the other volumes in this series as well as more of Ms Wells’ titles when I can fit them in.
One thing I always appreciate in Fantasy writing is a world that is well drawn, whether it is loosely based upon Earth at some point in its history or is totally alien. Ms Wells creates a pleasantly unique world, inhabited by a wide variety of interesting creatures and races inhabiting the three realms. Although we do not explore the sea at all, we see several examples of the groundling races, which show adaptations to various habitats and climates. They also display a variety or temperaments, beliefs and cultures, which were sketched out with sufficient detail without a heavy-handed need for exposition. By making Moon an outsider in almost all situations, Ms Wells was able to let us explore this world through his experiences and so the world building did not feel forced or boring.
Steff S. (MMOGC), is an avid reader with an eclectic taste in books. While just about anything can catch her eye, she has a particular soft spot for fantasy and science fiction, and especially loves space operas and stories with interesting magic systems. Besides reading, she enjoys adventuring in the virtual words of MMORPGs, and first started blogging about games before branching out to contribute her book reviews at The BiblioSanctum with her friends.
I’ve long been curious about Ice Forged. Though I also own The Summoner from her Chronicles of the Necromancer series, for some reason I just knew I wanted this one to be my first Gail Z. Martin book. They’re both stories set in high fantasy worlds, but lands of ice and snow have always fascinated me, I don’t know why. Maybe because I think these harsh settings are often fertile ground for exceptional protagonists, driven to be harder in an environment marked by extreme temperatures and scarcity. I love to read about characters becoming shaped by those experiences and overcoming those challenges.
So it was a pleasant surprise when the book began by throwing its main protagonist into a situation that was even more harrowing than I’d expected. Blaine McFadden is convicted of murder, and though his reasons for the killing were honorable, the young nobleman is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a penal colony on Velant, an icy wasteland at the edge of the world. Six years later, Blaine (now known as “Mick”) is a new man, emerging as a natural leader in the eyes of the other convicts and colonists. Still, they are kept under the thumb of an oppressive governor, and are at the mercy of the mages who are always too keen to administer their swift and often cruel discipline.
Nadine Gemeinböck (Linguana) has been reading fantasy for as long as she can remember. She started blogging about books on SFF Book Review in 2012, hoping to keep track of what she read and how she liked it. The book blogging community has since helped her open her literary horizons and thanks to WWEnd, she is currently working her way through NPR’s Top 100. Her blogging resolution is to review more foreign language books and finally take the plunge into a big, swooping space opera.
This debut novel is making waves on the internet like none I’ve ever seen before. It’s difficult to find a single negative review of this title, and – if you ask me – Ann Leckie is doing that whole promotion thing rather well. I came across her on many of my favorite online hangouts, doing interviews, guest blogs, tweeting and giving away signed books. But she always has interesting things to say, so buying the book was a no-brainer.
Boring as it may seem, I join the legions of new Ann Leckie fans. What a remarkable, memorable, thought-provoking novel.
Published by: Orbit, October 2013
Paperback: 432 pages
Series: Imperial Radch #1
My rating: 9/10
First sentence: The body lay naked and face down, a deathly gray, spatters of blood staining the snow around it.
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren – a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.
An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.
Ancillary Justice is a fantastic book for many reasons, and these reasons change throughout the reading experience. I can only tell you how it was for me, although what I’ve seen on the internet so far, other people are intrigued by the same ideas.
Just in the nick of time for Christmas here are the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge November review poll winners! We had a tie for second place so we’re just going to split the 2nd and 3rd place prizes.
November WoGF Review Poll Winners:
Congrats to Stephen, Rob and Carl and thanks to everyone who participated in the poll. Our winners will find an Amazon gift card, $25, $12.50 and $12.50 respectively, waiting for them in their email inbox.
There is only one more month to go for the WoGF review polls. Good luck next month to everyone.
Megan AM (couchtomoon) first discovered she was a SF nerd when a group of nerd boys sat near her friends in the school cafeteria and she overheard them talking about her favorite books and movies. Her friends noticed, too. Nowadays, when she is not managing crises at work, or hanging out with her gorgeous husband, you can find her curled up on the couch reading SF novels. She posts her reviews of these novels on her blog From couch to moon.
Lewis Carroll meets Anne Rice (the erotica years) in this surreal urban fantasy about four individuals who travel to the city of Palimpsest via a sex portal. Yes, you read that correctly: In order to visit the city, instead of going down the rabbit hole, you need to go down someone else’s hole.
Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente is an adult fairy tale in every sense, and not for the pearl-clutchers who may accidentally pick up this book expecting a story about medieval manuscripts. But, that’s not to say that this is a one-handed read either. Fans of the recent boon in erotic fiction probably won’t be satisfied, either. The sex happens in the real world, among ugly, destitute characters who view sex as an mere gateway, and sometimes obstruction, to their dream city. There may be a few titillating phrases here and there, but this is not erotica. Sometimes, the sex seems incidental, as if all the good portals have already been taken.