Women of SF/Fantasy

March is Women’s History Month and I’d like to highlight some of my favorite women sci-fi and fantasy authors: Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Mercedes Lackey.

In 1934, Andre Norton had her first novel, The Prince Commands published by Appleton–Century. One of her more well-known series is her Witch World saga. One of my favorite Andre Norton series is The Beast Master series, focused on a telepathic beast master who worked with a variety of creatures including a Dune Cat, Meercats, and an African Eagle. There was also a television series, loosely based on the Beast Master Series that ran for three seasons. I watched a couple of episodes, but of course, they weren’t nearly as good as the book series! Another favorite is the Elvenbane series, written with Mercedes Lackey, is about elvenlords, humans, and dragons. Norton was a very prolific author, and if you haven’t read any of Andre Norton’s novels, have a look at the official Andre Norton website for a long list of her works. Andre Norton passed away on March 17, 2005.

Anne McCaffrey had her first novel, Restoree published in 1967 by Ballentine Books. This was followed by Dragonflight, part of her Pern series, in 1968 and The Ship who Sang, part of her Brainships series in 1969. Here is a bibliography of all her published works. Her Brainships series was an interesting series of books about sentient spaceships. Acorna is a young adult series about a girl that is a unicorn. Her most well-known series is Pern, about dragons and dragonriders. I loved reading her Pern series as I was growing up and to this day think of McCaffrey’s dragons as the “best” dragons out there in science fiction and fantasy. Anne McCaffrey passed away on November 11, 2011.

Marion Zimmer Bradley first published The Planet Savers in 1958 in the Amazing Stories magazine. In 1972, she had Darkover Landfall published by DAW Books, one of the first in her well-known Darkover series. She created and edited Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine from 1988-2000 as well as editing the Sword and Sorceress anthologies. See the Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust for more details about her works. She also wrote the Avalon series, including The Mists of Avalon, one of my favorites. Marion Zimmer Bradley passed away on September 25, 1999.

I include Mercedes Lackey with these three amazing women authors not only because she is my favorite author, but also because she has worked on books with each of these ladies. In 1987, DAW Books published the beginning of her Heralds of Valdemar series: Arrows of the Queen and Arrow’s Flight. More fun facts about Mercedes Lackey include that she was born in Chicago, worked with computer programming, American Airlines, and has written and recorded lyrics for nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & Music, which specializes in science fiction folk music. She has an extensive bibliography. Mercedes Lackey wrote The Ship Who Searched with Anne McCaffrey, Rediscovery with Marion Zimmer Bradley, the Halfblood Chronicles with Andre Norton, and Tiger Burning Bright with both Marion Zimmer Bradley and Andre Norton. One of her most well-known series includes her Valdemar Universe. My favorite series by Lackey is the Elemental Masters series, followed closely by the Mage Wars (part of the Valdemar Universe), written with her husband, Larry Dixon.

These are just four women of science fiction and fantasy that have helped make the genre what it is today. In the comments, please feel free to share your favorite women authors of science fiction and fantasy!

1 Comment

  1. kgailm says:

    Andre Norton’s Time Trader series is awesome as well: The Time Traders, Galactic Derelict, the Key out of Time and others. Also amazing–and from a time period when few women wrote rousing scifi/fantasy–are Leigh Brackett, creator of Eric John Stark,and C.L. Moore, creator of Northwest Smith; both these women wrote wonderful ‘planetary romance’, and I’m not talking romance romance either.

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