Looking for a good SF&F book to read? Try one from these known feminists

Science fiction magazine covers

Not new authors
CC BY-SA by Zepfanman.com

Here at the Ada Initiative, we like to relax with a good science fiction or fantasy book at the end of a long day of fighting harassment at conferences. Luckily for us, one of the benefits of keeping up with the latest news in conference anti-harassment work is that it’s a good way to find new science fiction and fantasy authors to read.

Chances are, if an author takes a public stand against harassment of any kind (gender, race, sexuality, in person, online, in print, in professional associations, etc.), they probably write better books. Books that have interesting, surprising plot twists because they don’t rely on lazy sexist tropes. Books that have believable, varied characters instead of paper cut-outs supporting the straight white male protagonist. Books that explore ideas and viewpoints that weren’t already tapped out in Homer’s time. (And better short stories and poems too.)

We thought we’d share our favorite discoveries from following and researching conference anti-harassment work in the science fiction and fantasy communities. This list is necessarily incomplete, so please leave a comment with anyone we missed who was involved in SF&F anti-harassment work of any form, along with a recommended book and a reference so we can add them to the conference anti-harassment policy history if appropriate.

And if ending conference harassment is important to you, you can help by donating now to support the Ada Initiative’s work fighting conference harassment. Thank you!

Our science fiction and fantasy recommendations

Name (Twitter) Recommended work How we learned about them
Alex D MacFarlane
“Found” Listed as a “PC Monster of SFWA”
Amal El-Mohtar
“Wing” Listed as a “PC Monster of SFWA”
Genevieve Valentine
Mechanique Publicly reported harassment at Readercon
Jason Sanford
Never Never Stories Listed as a “PC Monster of SFWA”
Jess Haines
Hunted by the Others Listed as a “PC Monster of SFWA”
Jim C. Hines
Libriomancer Created a list of sexual harassment reporting resources for SF&F
John Scalzi
Old Man’s War Created pledge to only attend cons with policies, got 1000 co-signers
Josh Vogt
“Even Song Birds Are Kept in Cages” Listed as a “PC Monster of SFWA”
Karen Healey
When We Wake Co-founder of the Con Anti-harassment Project
K. Tempest Bradford
“Different Day” Founding blogger at Geek Feminism and The Angry Black Woman
Laura Resnick
Polterheist Listed as a “PC Monster of SFWA”
Leonard Richardson
Constellation Games With Sumana Harihareswara, made $10K donation to Ada Initiative to support anti-harassment work, twice
Liz Henry
Unruly Islands Edited the Carnival of Feminist SF anthology
Mary Anne Mohanraj
Bodies in Motion Wrote primer on race in SF&F during RaceFail
Mary Robinette Kowal
Shades of Milk and Honey Named the editor in “Why am I afraid to name the editor?” post
Myke Cole
Control Point Listed as a “PC Monster of SFWA”
N. K. Jemisin
The Killing Moon Fought to expel a creep from SFWA, her Continuum GoH speech, and much more
Saladin Ahmed
Throne of the Crescent Moon Listed as a “PC Monster of SFWA”
Steven Gould
Impulse Listed as a “PC Monster of SFWA”
Veronica Schanoes
“Burning Girls” Wrote about why people don’t report harassment
William Alexander
Goblin Secrets Listed as a “PC Monster of SFWA”

About the Ada Initiative

Mary and Valerie laughing

Mary and Valerie
(CC BY-SA Adam Novak)

As a non-profit supporting women in open technology and culture, the Ada Initiative cares deeply about ending harassment in geek communities. Our co-founders, Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora, co-authored the most widely used example anti-harassment policy, hosted on the Geek Feminism Wiki. The Ada Initiative’s first project was working as full-time advocates for the adoption of policies in the open source community, often working directly with conference organizers and community leaders as advisors and coaches.

We are currently in the last days of our 2013 fundraising drive. Please donate now and help us continue our work for another year!

5 thoughts on “Looking for a good SF&F book to read? Try one from these known feminists

  1. Jaime Lyn Schatz

    :) Cool list! I’d add Marge Piercy’s “Woman on the Edge of Time” and “He, She and It.” No school like the old school ;).

    1. Valerie Aurora

      Thanks for the recommendations! As a reminder, we are looking for authors who have done anti-harassment work.

      1. Jaime Lyn Schatz

        :) Marge Piercy is also the author of “The Grey Flannel Sexual Harassment Suit” (http://cla.calpoly.edu/~bmori/syll/311syll/harassmentsuit.html) which, among much of her other writings, addresses issues of victim-blame and intersectionality. Piercy’s writings and speeches, while not limited to SF-F conference harassment, frequently focused on fighting sexism. Sadly, I don’t have a Twitter handle for her. She’s been fighting the good fight for decades. :)

      2. Valerie Aurora

        I’m sorry, I am still having a hard time finding a reference for conference anti-harassment work for Marge Piercy. Could you help me find one?

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