At Issue (Women's Issues (Ready Reference series))
Beginning with the nineteenth century writers of utopian novels, feminists have explored the possibilities of life outside a patriarchy and have considered the worst possible scenarios if certain patriarchal practices were to be magnified into a dystopian world. Ursula K. Le Guin, considered by many as one of the most significant female science- fiction writers in the late twentieth century, offers a broad definition of science fiction: The writer asks “what if” and then explores the imaginary results.
This definition may seem too broad for many. Octavia E. Butler, for example, does not consider her book Kindred (1979) to be science fiction, although its premise is that a twentieth century African American woman is repeatedly transported back into the time of slavery. As a working definition, however, Le Guin’s allows for a variety of novels with the common ground of speculation. In her own work, such as The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), winner of Hugo and Nebula awards from the Science Fiction Writers of America, and Always Coming Home (1985), a collage of different genres, she emphasizes the imaginative in creating societies. For many, the genesis of science-fiction writing was Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland (1915), which was concerned with a society of women who, isolated from men, had evolved their own culture; Inez Haynes Gillmore’s Angel Island (1988) explores similar themes. The earliest...
(The entire section is 1134 words.)
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Bibliography (Women's Issues (Ready Reference series))
Barr, Marleen, and Nicholas Smith, eds. Women and Utopia. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1983.
Le Guin, Ursula K. Introduction to Angel Island, by Inez Haynes Gillmore. New York: New American Library, 1988.
Russ, Joanna. The Female Man. New York: Bantam Books, 1975.
Starhawk. The Fifth Sacred Thing. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.
Webber, Jeannette L., and Joan Grumman, eds. Woman as Writer. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978.
(The entire section is 63 words.)