cover image The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women

The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women

Edited by Alex Dally MacFarlane. Running, $14.95 trade paper (512p) ISBN 978-0-7624-5470-9

Written in the form of letters, travelogues, encyclopedia entries, and galactic gazetteers as well as conventional narratives, and embracing approaches that include folktales (Nalo Hopkinson’s “Tan-Tan and Dry Bone”), Lovecraftian horror (Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette’s “Boojum”), steampunk (Tori Truslow’s “Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine’s Day”), and hard SF (Nisi Shawl’s “Good Boy”), the 33 stories that MacFarlane (Aliens: Recent Encounters) has gathered for this volume dazzle with the virtuosity of their contributors’ talents. Particularly outstanding are Carrie Vaughn’s “Astrophilia,” a gripping postapocalyptic scenario, and Nnedi Okorafor’s “Spider the Artist,” a searing indictment of capitalist exploitation of poor countries. A clutch of selections feature characters embarked on quests for identity: ethnic, in Zen Cho’s “The Four Generations of Chang E,” about an Asian family’s assimilation into lunar society; sexual, in Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Mountain Ways,” about a culture whose sexual politics complicates freedom of choice; and gender, in Karen Joy Fowler’s “The Science of Herself,” in which 19th-century paleontologist Mary Anning makes discoveries that revolutionize a scientific discipline from which women are excluded. Representing nearly a dozen countries and twice as many ethnicities, this book’s contents offer something for every fan of well-written SF.[em] (Dec.) [/em]