Feminist science fiction is interested in world-making and world-exploring. How would alternative socio-technical worlds work and unfold? What can we learn for our own techno-scientific societies?
In 2019 we started a feminist scifi book club and read between 8 to 10 books per year. Here, I summarise some of the books that we/I liked most.
Favourite feminist sci-fi reads
The four books of Becky Chambers’ wayfairer series were our happy sci-fi place during the Corona pandemic. We all fell in love with the first book and decided to read them all. Wonderful world making, interspecies relations and questions about nature-culture | socio-technical agency.
I came across Marge Piercy at @STSeasst 2018 during a panel on feminist techno science. Her novel “Women on the Edge of Time” is captivating & deeply moving. Her vision of a future, more equal society challenges many assumptions the protagonist holds about her place in the world. Another of her novels is “He, she and it” which I would say is a must read for anybody interested in questions around the relation of AI, autonomy and a better future.
Anne Leckie’s Radch trilogy is brilliant storytelling with the protagonist being a spaceship AI. The Radch only know the female pronoun, making it interesting to read & reflect on the ways we imagine.
Children of Time questions narratives about progress, empathy & religion. A (the last remaining?) human spaceship desperately searches for a new home. Yet the only suitable one is already occupied by a matriarchal society of intelligent spiders.
Loved Binti for its world making and its main character: a Himba girl who embarks on a (space) journey to find answers to questions of identity and belonging. Very mystical.
This was the first book we read in our book club. It is a wild and quirky stories that takes place in post-apocalyptic Santo Domingo. “Tentacle is an electric novel with a big appetite and a brave vision, plunging headfirst into questions of climate change, technology, Yoruba ritual, queer politics, poverty, sex, colonialism and contemporary art.”
Not strictly sci-fi, rather speculative fiction. Black Wave by Michelle Tea was so different from all the books we’ve read so far. A quirky, fun, strange, relatable journey to the end of the world.
First and second year book club reads