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"To Write Like a Woman is a rare example of a feminist tackling science fictuion using postmodern theory, which makes for a much more sophisticated and nuanced appraisal than the usual fare." --Passion "Russ' essays are witty and insightful. An excellent book for any writer or reader." --Feminist Bookstore News "In her new book of essays... Russ continues to debunk and deman "To Write Like a Woman is a rare example of a feminist tackling science fictuion using postmodern theory, which makes for a much more sophisticated and nuanced appraisal than the usual fare." --Passion "Russ' essays are witty and insightful. An excellent book for any writer or reader." --Feminist Bookstore News "In her new book of essays... Russ continues to debunk and demand, edify and entertain.... Appreciative of surface aesthetics, she continually delves deeper than most critics, yet in terms so simple and accessible that her essays read like lively, angry, humorous dialogues conducted face-to-face with the author. Russ is the antithesis of the distant critic in her ivory tower." --Paul Di Filippo, The Washington Post Book World ..". 20 years of the author's feisty reports from the front lines of literature." --The San Francisco Review of Books "This is a book of imaginative and provoking essays, but you should read it for the sheer fun of it." --The Women's Review of Books "Collects more than two decades of criticism by Joanna Russ, one of the most perceptive, forthright and eloquent feminist commentators around." --Feminist Bookstore News ..". a super book....This is a book that, for once, really will appeal to readers of all kinds." --Utopian Studies "If you enjoy science fiction, this is definitely a book that you'll want to talk about. I found myself sneaking a few pages at times when I really didn't have time to read." --Jan Catano, Atlantis Classic essays on science fiction and feminism by Nebula and Hugo award-winning Joanna Russ. Here she ranges from a consideration of the aesthetic of science fiction to a reading of the lesbian identity of Willa Cather. To Write Like a Woman includes essays on horror stories and the supernatural, feminist utopias, popular literature for women (the "modern gothic"), and the feminist education of graduate students in English.


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"To Write Like a Woman is a rare example of a feminist tackling science fictuion using postmodern theory, which makes for a much more sophisticated and nuanced appraisal than the usual fare." --Passion "Russ' essays are witty and insightful. An excellent book for any writer or reader." --Feminist Bookstore News "In her new book of essays... Russ continues to debunk and deman "To Write Like a Woman is a rare example of a feminist tackling science fictuion using postmodern theory, which makes for a much more sophisticated and nuanced appraisal than the usual fare." --Passion "Russ' essays are witty and insightful. An excellent book for any writer or reader." --Feminist Bookstore News "In her new book of essays... Russ continues to debunk and demand, edify and entertain.... Appreciative of surface aesthetics, she continually delves deeper than most critics, yet in terms so simple and accessible that her essays read like lively, angry, humorous dialogues conducted face-to-face with the author. Russ is the antithesis of the distant critic in her ivory tower." --Paul Di Filippo, The Washington Post Book World ..". 20 years of the author's feisty reports from the front lines of literature." --The San Francisco Review of Books "This is a book of imaginative and provoking essays, but you should read it for the sheer fun of it." --The Women's Review of Books "Collects more than two decades of criticism by Joanna Russ, one of the most perceptive, forthright and eloquent feminist commentators around." --Feminist Bookstore News ..". a super book....This is a book that, for once, really will appeal to readers of all kinds." --Utopian Studies "If you enjoy science fiction, this is definitely a book that you'll want to talk about. I found myself sneaking a few pages at times when I really didn't have time to read." --Jan Catano, Atlantis Classic essays on science fiction and feminism by Nebula and Hugo award-winning Joanna Russ. Here she ranges from a consideration of the aesthetic of science fiction to a reading of the lesbian identity of Willa Cather. To Write Like a Woman includes essays on horror stories and the supernatural, feminist utopias, popular literature for women (the "modern gothic"), and the feminist education of graduate students in English.

30 review for To Write Like a Woman: Essays in Feminism and Science Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    The strongest essays are those discussing the battle of the sexes in SF, and the recent feminist utopias. The battle of the sexes essay made me particularly glad I had never read the original stories Russ was discussing. At the same time, the essay which is going to stand out most for me is Russ' discussion of how "Star Wars" is sugary junk food SF which is entirely bad bad bad (and might as well have had only one woman in it), while "Star Trek" is superior in every way (especially with the large The strongest essays are those discussing the battle of the sexes in SF, and the recent feminist utopias. The battle of the sexes essay made me particularly glad I had never read the original stories Russ was discussing. At the same time, the essay which is going to stand out most for me is Russ' discussion of how "Star Wars" is sugary junk food SF which is entirely bad bad bad (and might as well have had only one woman in it), while "Star Trek" is superior in every way (especially with the large number of women). Not only did it amuse me to picture Russ as a Trekkie fangirl annoyed at the rising popularity of "Star Wars" (the essay was written after the release of A New Hope), but it got me thinking about which story (old series Trek or the first Star Wars) displays women to better advantage. Trek has by far the superior _ideals_ with putative equality in gender and race. But the women are generally used by the plots as switchboard operator, nurse, and this episode's sexy alien for Kirk to seduce. "Star Wars" is definitely a more unidealistic and 'blokey' universe, and the story is definitely primarily a zero-to-hero boy's story. Leia could be dismissed as your standard "princess in distress waiting for rescue" if the reason she needed rescue wasn't because she'd just pulled off some major-league espionage and been overtaken by an enormous spaceship - and yet still managed to get the vital data out of the Empire's hands. She survives torture, is not slow to take up a gun and start fighting once the opportunity arises, and after her rescue doesn't merely return to adorn a castle, but continues to contribute to the rebellion - and to be taken seriously as something beyond this week's object of seduction. And then there's the clothes - right up until the sad advent of slave girl Leia in the third movie, Leia is one of the most sensibly dressed female characters I've ever seen in SF. Full coverage and no high heels on those boots! A far cry from Trek's mini-dresses and impractical shoes in military uniform. TOS Trek had high ideals, but I find I prefer "Star Wars"' one woman who does stuff to the vast array of women Kirk got to seduce. [Yes, I'm overstating that, but seriously, Leia's contribution to SW is not one I would dismiss out of hand.]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ed Erwin

    Various essays written at various times for various reasons. In a few cases they don't make much sense taken out of context. But there is some good content here. Thankfully, unlike many writing literary criticism at the time, she does not refer much to Freud or to popular academic theories. Instead she presents her own thoughts clearly and concisely. Towards an Aesthetic of Science Fiction "Can [Science Fiction] be judged by the usual literary criteria? No." Russ posits that all SF is didactic. Fo Various essays written at various times for various reasons. In a few cases they don't make much sense taken out of context. But there is some good content here. Thankfully, unlike many writing literary criticism at the time, she does not refer much to Freud or to popular academic theories. Instead she presents her own thoughts clearly and concisely. Towards an Aesthetic of Science Fiction "Can [Science Fiction] be judged by the usual literary criteria? No." Russ posits that all SF is didactic. For the subset of SF that was published up to that time in pulps, I might agree. But now there are so many types of SF that I can't agree. Speculations: The Subjectivity of Science Fiction Russ considers Delaney's ideas about "tenses" of fiction: Reporting: this happened. Naturalistic fiction: events that could have happened. Fantasy: events that could not have happened. SF: events that have not happened. SF Predictive Tales: events that might happen. SF Science Fantasy: events that will not happen. SF Cautionary Dystopias: events that have not happened yet. SF Parallel worlds: events that have not happened in the past. Her conclusion: SF lives between "Naturalistic" and "Fantasy". SF and Technology as Mystification Russ compares addictive shows like "Star Wars" (or today's blockbusters) to over-processed and over-sweetened food. They are designed to create "sudden intense craving that must be satisfied at once", with lines around the block and multiple viewings. "Star Trek" on the other hand is an example of a more nourishing meal: "... the issue of ego control is central to the series: time and again the crew's fragile but valuable system of command an self-command is undermined by something coming from outside." Amor Vincit Foeminam: The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction Russ considers 10 various SF stories of the battle of the sexes, all but one written by men. Many are from the collection When Women Rule. The ones written by men tend to feature women being "saved" by encountering the glorious magical phallus. The one not by a man is Tiptree's story "Mama Come Home" and is very different. A female-dominated alien species threatens Earth, but is eventually defeated by an Earth woman, who, even though she had been badly treated by the male-dominated society eventually chooses to stick with them. On the Fascination of Horror Stories, Including Lovecraft's "I once drove Damon Knight almost to tears by announcing that I had not only read 'At the Mountains of Madness' straight through but also enjoyed it...." A Boy and His Dog: The Final Solution Russ really hates what happens to the girl at the end of the film. What Can a Heroine Do? or Why Women Can't Write If you take many classic stories and switch the places of men and women the stories don't make sense anymore. So how can you write about women? In another place she wrote "I had turned from writing love stories about women in which women were losers, and adventure stories about men in which the men were winners, to writing adventure stories about a woman in which the woman won. It was one of he hardest things I ever did in my life...." Somebody's Trying to Kill Me and I Think It's My Husband: The Modern Gothic Russ reads a bunch of (mostly) bad gothic stories that were apparently popular for a while in the 1970s as paperbacks sold in grocery stores. There were good ones, like Rebecca, and some Shirley Jackson, but lots of bad imitations. On Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly Is Mary Shelly a bad writer? No, only "half bad", which is more interesting. "Abridged versions of 'The Last Man' have appeared twice, to my knowledge.... Nobody seems able to bear it at full length.": Recent Feminist Utopias Russ discusses Les Guerilleres by Monique Wittig, Motherlines by Suzy McKee Charnas, The Dispossessed by LeGuin, The Female Man by herself, Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia by Samuel Delany, The Shattered Chain by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy, The Wanderground: Stories of the Hill Women by Sally Gearhart, Commodore Bork and the Compost by Catherine Madsden, and 2 by James Tiptree: "Your Faces, O My Sisters!" and "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?". (She notes that "The Dispossessed" is feminist and utopian, rather than a feminist utopia, and "Triton" is not a utopia but is feminist.) To Write "Like a Woman": Transformations of Identity in the Work of Willa Cather Russ sees Willa Cather as a lesbian and suggests we should read some of the heterosexual couples in her stories as lesbians. If she were writing this now, I wonder whether she would suggest Cather was trans. Cather dressed as a man and often preferred to be called William. On "The Yellow Wallpaper". Russ sees this story from Charlote Perkins Gilman as a ghost story with a real ghost and real possession, rather than a story of temporary madness. I disagree. But she does point out many of the ghost story tropes that are used. (In particular she calls out the ghost story tradition of "going on all fours" and suggest we read Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" for another example.) Is "Smashing" Erotic? [Hard to understand outside the original context.] Letter to Susan Koppelman [Hard to understand outside the original context.]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jim Grimsley

    I am picking this book because it shook me up when I read it, and tapped into angers I had myself, and just pounded at the part of my head that preferred not to see the real extent to which women's writing has been shoved into the periphery. Read it at a time when I was hopeful that things were changing. Well, I will let that sentence stand even though it's not strictly true that I have ever hoped that things were changing, not fully. But now and then I see the signs. I have recommended this boo I am picking this book because it shook me up when I read it, and tapped into angers I had myself, and just pounded at the part of my head that preferred not to see the real extent to which women's writing has been shoved into the periphery. Read it at a time when I was hopeful that things were changing. Well, I will let that sentence stand even though it's not strictly true that I have ever hoped that things were changing, not fully. But now and then I see the signs. I have recommended this book to my students, most of whom were women, hoping they would see their own fiction differently - especially the ones who write about male characters because they see males as the true actors in life. Reactions have been all over the place, which is what Russ usually evoked, I think. This is a book that is useful in so many ways; her thinking about science fiction is searing and on point. Her novels are stunning. I've had a couple of wonderful discussions about them with people who really matter to me. I want to say she wrote exactly as she pleased but I think she would spit at me for saying that; she was never allowed the room to do all that she wanted, and died much too soon. Such a force.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This was a very uneven read because it's a disparate collection of Russ's articles, mostly those written in the 70s at an earlier period in her career. That said, Essay #4 "The Battle of the Sexes" and Essay #7 "What Can a Heroine Do?" were worth the price of admission in my opinion. Even though I don't agree with Russ 100% of the time, I appreciate her clarity, honesty, and fire. It's hard to believe some of these passed for academic articles in the 70s, but in between some of the more formless This was a very uneven read because it's a disparate collection of Russ's articles, mostly those written in the 70s at an earlier period in her career. That said, Essay #4 "The Battle of the Sexes" and Essay #7 "What Can a Heroine Do?" were worth the price of admission in my opinion. Even though I don't agree with Russ 100% of the time, I appreciate her clarity, honesty, and fire. It's hard to believe some of these passed for academic articles in the 70s, but in between some of the more formless essays are traces of Russ's razor-sharp analysis and enviable turns of phrase. She is utterly opposed to the academic disease of mystification, which I really appreciate.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nicolas Lontel

    Un recueil d'essais super pertinents de l'autrice de science-fiction féministe Joanna Russ, j'aurais définitivement du lire cet essai avant la rédaction de mon mémoire, mais même aujourd'hui, je n'ai pas pu m'empêcher de prendre plusieurs pages de notes sur ses réflexions sur différents sujets (mais surtout la science-fiction féministe ;) ). Je ne parlerais pas de tous les articles compris dans cette anthologie de textes, certains se concentrent seulement sur une oeuvre ou auteur·e (The Yellow W Un recueil d'essais super pertinents de l'autrice de science-fiction féministe Joanna Russ, j'aurais définitivement du lire cet essai avant la rédaction de mon mémoire, mais même aujourd'hui, je n'ai pas pu m'empêcher de prendre plusieurs pages de notes sur ses réflexions sur différents sujets (mais surtout la science-fiction féministe ;) ). Je ne parlerais pas de tous les articles compris dans cette anthologie de textes, certains se concentrent seulement sur une oeuvre ou auteur·e (The Yellow Wallpaper, Mary Shelley, un hommage à l'horreur et surtout à H.P. Lovecraft que j'ai quand même trouvé un peu faible) et il s'agit souvent d'une appréciation personnelle et critique de l'oeuvre. Je dois toutefois avouer être en désaccord avec plusieurs de ses théories générales sur la science-fiction et la fantasy que je trouve souvent beaucoup trop fermée et limitante pour le genre ou encore le gothique dont elle prend un malin plaisir à critiquer, mais dont la connaissance du genre n'est pas aussi fine (et réduite à une dizaine d'ouvrages) qu'elle pourrait l'être (contrairement à la SFF dont l'érudition est vraiment pertinente). Je ne ferais que référer à l'ouvrage The Gothic Romance Wave: A Critical History of the Mass Market Novels, 1960-1993 pour l'examination critique de son analyse, je pense que l'ouvrage fait un travail magistral de montrer comment ce n'est pas un genre frôlant l'anti-féministe adressé aux femmes qui n'ont rien à faire (grosses vibes de The Feminine Mystique ici qui semblent complètement oublier toutes ces femmes qui travaillent (de la même manière que l'essai de Friedan) et lisent ce genre de livre). J'ai eu d'énormes excitations toutefois en lisant les deux essais "Amor vincit Foeminam: The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction" et "Recent Feminist Utopias". Le premier article était particulièrement remarquable de par la finesse de l'analyse d'une dizaine d'écrit sur la guerre des sexes par des hommes (et une femme sous pseudonyme) et comment ces dynamiques étaient particulièrement misogynes, sexistes, violente, faisant l'apologie du viol et de la domestication des femmes. Je n'avais, de manière surprenante, lu aucun des 10 textes, mais elle en évoque d'autres un peu plus loin dont Amazon Planet dont je partage aussi l'intérêt sur la surprenante évolution du texte (mais je suis tout de même très surpris· de l'absence de critique de Russ sur l'homophobie du texte). Bref, j'ai évidemment pris en note tous ces textes, mais je crois que Russ en fait un très bon survol et arrive à sortir un maximum de lieux communs à ces textes avec brio. Le second article, "Recent Feminist Utopias", touchait à des oeuvres que j'avais déjà lues et analysées (à l'exception de Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia de Samuel Daleny) mon côté. Je semble en partager les conclusions (bien que les siennes soient relativement rapidement survolées et auraient pu être plus détaillées) ce qui est définitivement bien pour ma réflexion et conforte certaines de mes idées sur les textes, j'aurais vraiment juste aimé beaucoup plus d'analyses précises, mais il s'agit d'un survol d'une bonne quantité de texte en tellement peu de pages que je ne peux pas lui reprocher cette brièveté. Certains autres aspects des articles m'ont aussi interpellé. Sa critique du féminisme psychanalytique qui transparaît à travers deux des textes étaient aussi particulièrement pertinente, ainsi que sa mise en garde de l'application de Freud partout comme s'il était détenteur de tout le savoir analytique nécessaire pour penser les oeuvres ou encore sa critique de l'époque en biais de Psych et Po qui ne font qu'appliquer les mêmes critiques sur tous les sujets. À cet égard, son dernier texte peut être intéressant à lire pour de jeunes féministes qui commencent à étudier pour se détourner des pièges de la pensée masculine et d'utiliser les outils développer par les femmes et les féministes plutôt que de se prendre dans le piège de la pensée patriarcale. Joanna Russ elle-même présente bien cette pluralité de pensée en s'inspirant de la pensée féministe et des femmes, en analysant leurs oeuvres, mais en ne négligeant pas des critiques gaies ou queer (comme Delany qu'elle évoque souvent) ou en analysant des corpus définitivement anti-féministe tout en sachant quoi prélever et quoi critiquer. Un ensemble de textes quand même assez divers au final, avec de nombreuses réflexions sur lesquelles se broderont de nombreuses critiques subséquentes et définitivement d'une grande influence sur la pensée de la science-fiction féministe. Bien que certaines théories me paraissent aujourd'hui beaucoup trop limitées pour penser la SFF féministe et que de nombreux nouveaux angles d'approches viennent combler les lacunes de l'anthologie, cet essai reste magistral et un des premiers excessivement pertinent sur le sujet et les approches qu'elle tient. C'est définitivement un essai sur lequel je vais devoir revenir et ma pensée, bien involontairement puisque je n'avais jamais lu les textes avant cette semaine, mais plutôt beaucoup de textes qui s'en inspirent, est vraiment forgée autour de l'imaginaire théorique qu'elle a élaboré dans cette anthologie. J'en ressors aussi avec une liste de lecture grandies ainsi que des réflexions et des pistes sur lesquels me pencher pour l'avenir.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I am pretty sure I enjoyed all of this; part of me wants to go back and re-read several essays, as I read them over lunch at work in an unusually noisy lunchroom. I can't remember for sure what was part of what essay in the early ones, and my library copy is on my desk at work. Alas. It was all fascinating, even without having read all the works referenced. Essays I would recommend in particular: Amor Vincit Foeminam: The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction - Ahh, yes. The careful vivisection I am pretty sure I enjoyed all of this; part of me wants to go back and re-read several essays, as I read them over lunch at work in an unusually noisy lunchroom. I can't remember for sure what was part of what essay in the early ones, and my library copy is on my desk at work. Alas. It was all fascinating, even without having read all the works referenced. Essays I would recommend in particular: Amor Vincit Foeminam: The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction - Ahh, yes. The careful vivisection of several stories by male authors about all-female societies. With a notable exception for Tiptree/Sheldon, also discussed, as a contrast. Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me and I Think It’s My Husband: The Modern Gothic - Maybe I'm swayed by the title. On a certain type of woman-in-peril story, those pale copies of Rebecca. Recent Feminist Utopias - To pair with Amor Vincit Foeminam, as you would wine with cheese. The essay even refers back to the other. This one is about all-female societies, as written by several different women, and they are inspected, compared, and brought into the light of larger society. Russ is very good.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    I am deeply moved by this woman's intellect and deeply saddened that she has left the mortal realm. I am deeply moved by this woman's intellect and deeply saddened that she has left the mortal realm.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Vel Veeter

    This is a mishmash collection of essays from the scholar, critic, and science fiction writer Joanna Russ, most famous for her novels, especially The Female Man. This collection was published in 1995, and mostly essays from professional and academic journals from the 1970s. There’s a more or less common drift to many of these essays usually falling on the lines of considerations on critical readings of science fiction as a subject and the women’s writing (women writers) and the confluence of both This is a mishmash collection of essays from the scholar, critic, and science fiction writer Joanna Russ, most famous for her novels, especially The Female Man. This collection was published in 1995, and mostly essays from professional and academic journals from the 1970s. There’s a more or less common drift to many of these essays usually falling on the lines of considerations on critical readings of science fiction as a subject and the women’s writing (women writers) and the confluence of both of these. Some of the essays stand out in very interesting ways, especially in the early essay proposing various considerations in the reading of science fiction as a critical subject and how it might stand separate from what she calls “realistic fiction”. Another in this direction is an essay about subjunctive narrative theory in science fiction as well. One thing that I found interesting is the categorization of both realistic fiction and science fiction as “what if” narrative, while fantasy is something that never happened and never would happen. There’s some essays that I find to be overly churlish in their tone and approach, such as the critical differences between Star Trek and Star Wars, both of which were in their infancy in the late 1970s/early 1980s and was probably a too early venture into the subject, in addition to the fact that the laudatory nature of the Star Trek sections completely ignores the misogyny of the original Star Trek while also promoting the show where so many friends and colleagues of Russ would have worked. I am more troubled (in a good way) by my aversion to a later of her pieces about women’s writing because it was challenging, and of course means I should go back and reread more carefully when I am more into thinking through how she talks about women’s writing. I was not troubled so much as annoyed by an essay that starts with Ursula Leguin officiously rebutting a critic’s essay on one of her novels. I wish there was more exploration in this essay about the tension between someone who is both a scholar and a fiction writer, but I do not privilege the author as a critical voice nearly as much as author’s tend to privilege their own voice. I find them to be additional and interesting avenues but not necessarily authorities.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    Russ's collection of essays is a wonderful read, and still strongly resonates today. I wish I had this in the 1970s and 80s when I was growing up and an avid consumer of scifi, but then again, maybe I wouldn't have been ready yet to hear some of the truths she was speaking about sexism and racism. I enjoyed her harsh, yet honest, take down of Star Wars in her "SF and Technology as Mystification" essay (1978, pp. 26-40). This essay is followed in the collection by another one that is great but als Russ's collection of essays is a wonderful read, and still strongly resonates today. I wish I had this in the 1970s and 80s when I was growing up and an avid consumer of scifi, but then again, maybe I wouldn't have been ready yet to hear some of the truths she was speaking about sexism and racism. I enjoyed her harsh, yet honest, take down of Star Wars in her "SF and Technology as Mystification" essay (1978, pp. 26-40). This essay is followed in the collection by another one that is great but also so sad: "Amor Vincit Foeminam: The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction" (1980). Russ just kept getting more incisive, skewering sexism in film with her essay "A Boy and His Dog: The Final Solution" (1975, pp. 65-76). I wanted to quote from this essay but I realized I highlighted almost the entire thing. Find it, read it, learn it. This is followed by another essay that was written in 1971, published in '72 and certainly relevant in 2020, especially with the Black Lives Matter, MeToo, and other movements. Russ's essay, "What Can a Heroine Do? or Why Women Can't Write" is so powerful. She looks at what are women and people of color "allowed" to write in a white male-dominated and white male-centered world. I originally found this collection of essays due to her piece on the modern gothic romance. In an essay titled "Somebody's Trying to Kill Me and I Think It's My Husband: The Modern Gothic", Russ delves into the world imagined by these types of novels. Instead of empowering readers, mostly women, it seeks to subvert them and keep them in a idealized (by white males) world where they happily embrace their otherness and second-class status. I really enjoyed this collection and am pleased that it is still relevant and still available. The battles are fought, some are lost, some are won, but the "war" is still not settled.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ana Clara

    Around 3.75 I had read other separate essays by Joanna Russ before, and I read a few pages of How to Suppress Women's Writing a few years back, but never completed a book by her. I love the way she writes about things, how sarcastic she can be, and the great analysis she can make. That being said, my problems with this book are not with the writing itself, or the ideas in it (there are a few things Russ and I disagree on) but rather how disconnected it all feels. The essays don't really follow a log Around 3.75 I had read other separate essays by Joanna Russ before, and I read a few pages of How to Suppress Women's Writing a few years back, but never completed a book by her. I love the way she writes about things, how sarcastic she can be, and the great analysis she can make. That being said, my problems with this book are not with the writing itself, or the ideas in it (there are a few things Russ and I disagree on) but rather how disconnected it all feels. The essays don't really follow a logic that I could notice, and I feel like some of these should be kept for another book. An important essay of hers called The Image Of Women in Science Fiction should've been here, because it really fits the entire idea, but for some reason it isn't. I admit maybe it has to do with who possesses the rights to that particular essay now, but it was a disappointment not to see it, and I had to request the magazine it was first published in on another website to be able to read it. Apart from that, there are some really strong essays and ideas here, and if you're a woman (or are interested in feminism) and into science fiction at all, I would recommend checking it out.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pauline Dolle

    A crucial resource for thinking about the construction of both science fiction and feminist fiction. Russ’s essays are surprisingly readable (indeed, she calls out academia’s tendency towards self-important “mystification” in several essays) and look at several aspects of scifi as a genre, including what really separates science fiction from fantasy and what makes scifi “good” as opposed to “popular”. She also, throughout her essays, celebrates the rich portfolio of feminist literature and femal A crucial resource for thinking about the construction of both science fiction and feminist fiction. Russ’s essays are surprisingly readable (indeed, she calls out academia’s tendency towards self-important “mystification” in several essays) and look at several aspects of scifi as a genre, including what really separates science fiction from fantasy and what makes scifi “good” as opposed to “popular”. She also, throughout her essays, celebrates the rich portfolio of feminist literature and female-created scifi, providing a valuable reference for readers who want to explore more of the genre. The essays in the second half become very specific and having not read the works she is analyzing I didn’t get as much out of them.

  12. 4 out of 5

    arlenne rodriguez

    obviously very outdated, but really liked the way they worked fan fiction into it. also, AI is such a difficult subject to tackle mostly because it's dominated by sf male authors. i think with the emergence of sf women, AI plots have changed to make the "robot" an important part of the story or the main part rather than the usual plot of the AI, who is usually a female, falls in love with the male protagonist and there is no further character development. a good example is becky chambers' A Clos obviously very outdated, but really liked the way they worked fan fiction into it. also, AI is such a difficult subject to tackle mostly because it's dominated by sf male authors. i think with the emergence of sf women, AI plots have changed to make the "robot" an important part of the story or the main part rather than the usual plot of the AI, who is usually a female, falls in love with the male protagonist and there is no further character development. a good example is becky chambers' A Closed and Common Orbit which shows how an AI looks for acceptance and identity instead of being an object of desire.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Velma

    Recommended here: http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post... Russ uses the following books for her analysis: Columbella (1964) by Phyllis A. Whitney Nightingale at Noon (1962) by Margaret Summerton The Least of All Evils (1970) by Helen Arvonen The Dark Shore (1965) by Susan Howatch I Am Gabriella! (1962) by Anne Maybury The Brooding Lake (1953) by Dorothy Eden Recommended here: http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post... Russ uses the following books for her analysis: Columbella (1964) by Phyllis A. Whitney Nightingale at Noon (1962) by Margaret Summerton The Least of All Evils (1970) by Helen Arvonen The Dark Shore (1965) by Susan Howatch I Am Gabriella! (1962) by Anne Maybury The Brooding Lake (1953) by Dorothy Eden

  14. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    To Write Like A Woman is an excellent collection of feminist SF literary criticism essays. The volume spans many topics, including the science fiction aesthetic, female identity in science fiction, and feminist utopian visions. Particularly noteworthy is Russ's feminist deconstruction of "Star Wars". To Write Like A Woman is an excellent collection of feminist SF literary criticism essays. The volume spans many topics, including the science fiction aesthetic, female identity in science fiction, and feminist utopian visions. Particularly noteworthy is Russ's feminist deconstruction of "Star Wars".

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Extremely interesting collection of essays from an extremely interesting scholar. I intrigued by her thoughts and studies. I want more. And I'll search for more thanks to this book, and that's never a bad thing for academic and scholarly essays like these. Extremely interesting collection of essays from an extremely interesting scholar. I intrigued by her thoughts and studies. I want more. And I'll search for more thanks to this book, and that's never a bad thing for academic and scholarly essays like these.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Loli

    Este libro consiste de una serie de artículos que tratan diversos temas relacionados con la ciencia ficción y el feminismo. Los artículos que más han aportado a mi estudio son “The battle of the sexes in science fiction” y “Recent feminist utopias”.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stronglysaltystudent

    These essays were pretty interesting! My favorite is definitely “What Can a Heroine Do? or Why Women Can’t Write.” I can definitely see myself rereading this essay from time to time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenevieve

    Review first published on My Blog. Read for book club, this is a book of essays collected from a few decades by Joanna Russ about her thoughts of women writing sci-fi. She narrows down her selections for most things to less than a dozen authors and stories in most places. The essays themselves are well thought out and articulated and me trying to summarize them in any fashion would be to do them a great disservice so I won't even try but will instead simply stick to my overall thoughts of the boo Review first published on My Blog. Read for book club, this is a book of essays collected from a few decades by Joanna Russ about her thoughts of women writing sci-fi. She narrows down her selections for most things to less than a dozen authors and stories in most places. The essays themselves are well thought out and articulated and me trying to summarize them in any fashion would be to do them a great disservice so I won't even try but will instead simply stick to my overall thoughts of the books. Of the stories that Ms. Russ refers to, I've only read one of them as sci-fi does not tend to be my go to genre of choice and that is Ursula K. LeGuin's The Dispossessed. With regards to the essays themselves, I found it to be a mixed bag. Some of the essays were dealing with the rampant misogyny of the time and themes that play into that with many examples of stories and how they show it off. Mostly these were stories that I have never heard of, likely for the reasons she was citing, and even if I had they were generally not something I would choose to read anyway. There was also an essay on the Gothic romances, those that have basically turned into the bodice rippers of today, and which is generally a genre I run far away from. That essay was the most painful as it went in depth on all the reasons I hate that style of book and gave many, many examples. The essay on Mary Shelley was interesting and I enjoyed the one comparing different women's general Utopian sci-fi worlds to each other and how those differ from the general Utopian worlds of men at that time period.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wolverina

    Utterly amazing. Russ's analytical skills and her straight-forward no-nonsense writing style make this what should be compulsory reading for any study into both SF as a genre or feminism as a critical and theoretical tool. Utterly amazing. Russ's analytical skills and her straight-forward no-nonsense writing style make this what should be compulsory reading for any study into both SF as a genre or feminism as a critical and theoretical tool.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Of particular interest to me because it is relevant to my thesis, but if you're a woman who likes SF and you've ever sighed to yourself about the lack of awesome female characters, it's a great read. Russ is insightful and entertaining. Highly recommended. Of particular interest to me because it is relevant to my thesis, but if you're a woman who likes SF and you've ever sighed to yourself about the lack of awesome female characters, it's a great read. Russ is insightful and entertaining. Highly recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Justin Howe

    Yeah, I'm going to have start buying Russ's books instead of just taking them out of the library. Absolutely insightful, often funny, and if you're a het male occasionally a well-deserved punch upside the head. Yeah, I'm going to have start buying Russ's books instead of just taking them out of the library. Absolutely insightful, often funny, and if you're a het male occasionally a well-deserved punch upside the head.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Just read "What Can A Heroine Do? or Why Women Can't Write" excerpted from Feminist Literary Theory and Criticism (Norton). Joanna Russ rock out! Just read "What Can A Heroine Do? or Why Women Can't Write" excerpted from Feminist Literary Theory and Criticism (Norton). Joanna Russ rock out!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This is the one with the idea of science fiction as written in the subjunctive mood.

  24. 5 out of 5

    nks

    Wonderful book!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alana

    Recommended by Dan - he had 'an epiphany' about my story, "Life, Delimited" while reading it. Recommended by Dan - he had 'an epiphany' about my story, "Life, Delimited" while reading it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    Read on openlibrary.org.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kim Wells

  28. 5 out of 5

    K.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ariadne Oliver

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cait

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