How do women writers use science fiction to challenge assumptions about the genre and its representations of women?
To what extent is the increasing number of women writing science fiction reformulating the expectations of readers and critics?
What has been the effect of this phenomenon upon the academic establishment and the publishing industry?
These are just some of the questions addressed by this collection of original essays by women writers, readers and critics of the genre. But the undoubted existence of a recent surge of women's interest in science fiction is by no means the full story. From Mary Shelley onwards, women writers have played a central role in the shaping and reshaping of this genre, irrespective of its undeniably patriarchal image. Through a combination of essays on the work of writers such as Doris Lessing and Ursula Le Guin, with others on still-neglected writers such as Katherine Burdekin and C. L. Moore and a wealth of contemporaries including Suzette Elgin, Gwyneth Jones, Maureen Duffy and Josephine Saxton, this anthology takes a step towards redressing the balance.
Perhaps, above all, what this collection demonstrates is that science fiction remains as particularly well-suited to the exploration of woman as alien or other in our culture today, as it was with the publication of Frankenstein in 1818.