Women of Futures Past

Women of Futures Past Cover. Art by Christine Mitzuk

Women of Futures Past Cover. Art by Christine Mitzuk

The first anthology in what I hope will become a series of anthologies has just become available for preorder. Women of Futures Past contains some (not even close to all!) of the stories I would love to teach in my science fiction writing classes.

Women of Futures Past now has a publication date—September of 2016. You can preorder through these links on Baen’s website. I’ve included the wonderful cover by Christine Mitzuk here. (Yes, there will be an ebook. I just don’t have the links for that yet.)

I wrote a blog post last May about the reasons behind this site. Here’s the link to that post, but I’ll excerpt parts of it here:

I’m Kristine Kathryn Rusch, USA bestselling and Hugo-award winning writer. I’m the former editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. The first and only female editor of that magazine, by the way. I’ve worked as an editor off and on for years on other projects as well. In addition to this editing project, which I’ll explain below, I’m also editing a best-of mystery volume, Fiction River (both as occasional volume editor and series editor with Dean Wesley Smith), and several reprint anthologies coming up in late 2016. More on those later. I’ve won a Hugo award for my editing, been nominated for many other awards, and won a special World Fantasy award as well. I’ve also done a lot of ghost editing for others behind the scenes.

Why am I giving you my editing credentials? Because this website was born from an editing project I’m doing for Baen Books…

My goals with the anthology are complex. In short, I want to compile a volume of excellent science fiction stories by women, including some classics, that could have been published today. I don’t want this volume to look like something you have to read in a college literature class. I want it to be something you’ll grab off the shelf immediately, thinking you’re in for some marvelous reading—and I want that impression to be right. I want stories impossible to put down, stories with heart. They don’t have to be “by women about women” the way that the Women of Wonder volumes were. I want these stories to be by women, yes, but about anything. And I want them to be riproaring good reads.

The project came about because of a science fiction class I taught in 2013. I wanted my students to read some classic stories in sf before the class. I had no trouble finding endless reprints of favorite stories by men. But when it came to classic stories by women, most weren’t in major collections. Even the retrospectives of the best stories of the 20th Century only mentioned these stories; they weren’t reprinted in the volumes.

When I was a young writer, I read all of the Hugo-award nominated stories in collections compiled by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg. Those volumes ceased with Isaac’s death in 1992. (The remaining volume in the contract was co-edited by Connie Willis. There were no more after that.)

The end of those volumes created a huge vacuum: So many of the classic stories that I loved from sf were published in the 1990s and never collected. Ever. The older Hugo volumes also went out of print, and that led to something I never thought I’d encounter—the perception that women had had no success in the science fiction field until the 21st Century.

In fact, when I went to Wikipedia as I was writing the proposal for this anthology I’m editing for Baen, I discovered the Women in Speculative Fiction listing only had a few female writers listed from the 20th Century, but several new writers from the late 2000s were prominently listed.

I mentioned the Wikipedia problem on this site in May, and by September, Wikipedia had been updated. Thank you all!

Why do I care? Two reasons, I guess. I want these stories to live and continue to be read. I don’t want them to be lost. I’m focusing on women in this first volume, but I’ll also be editing reprints of award-nominated stories starting in 2016, emulating the volumes that Isaac published over 20 years ago.

Classic (and future classic) stories by women and men shouldn’t get lost in dusty old magazines and broken web links. We need an easy way to find these stories. Anthologies will do that.

But I wanted to start with the anthology and this website, since I’ve been told repeatedly by young female writers in the sf genre that women never did anything in sf until the year 2000 or so. Our history is being lost and, as someone with a B.A. in History, I find that offensive in the extreme….

I’ve modified the website since I started it, and for a variety of reasons, I’ve had trouble keeping up the index. Now I use a lot of guest blogs, and I’ll continue to do that, since this can’t be all about my voice. If you poke around, you’ll find essays from Pamela Sargent and Toni Weisskopf, and a whole bunch of other women who write sf and fantasy.

The site is growing, and there’s been some lovely interaction. I’m making this post the first thing you see when you come to this page. The newer posts are listed to your left. Please don’t comment on this post. You may comment on all the others. Please feel free to recommend stories or discuss what’s there. (Politely. Please.) I welcome the interaction.

Thanks for visiting.

2 comments for “Women of Futures Past

  1. S
    February 9, 2016 at 8:20 am

            Concerning the e-book, pre-order may not occur till May.  The credit card companies are weird about how long in advance they let things be ordered.

            But I will be ordering it, when I’m allowed to.

  2. Stephen M. Saintonge
    February 9, 2016 at 8:22 am

            Somehow, my comment above has my name chopped off.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *