I’m setting up this page as a space for you to suggest stories I should read for the Baen anthology. Remember, I’m looking for your favorite science fiction stories by women. Add your ideas in the comment section below.

To clarify, since there’s been some confusion in the early comments, Tough Mothers (or whatever we’ll call it) will be a collection of short fiction. I can’t use novels, although the recommendations for novels should continue, just for other readers’ enjoyment. But if you’re trying to help me, please, shorter works would be best.

Thanks to great and immediate reader response, I can share a link to an old web index of women sf/f writers. Click here.

64 comments for “Suggestions

  1. Colleen
    May 26, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Andre Norton’s Witch World was one of my favorite reads, as was Kate Wilhelm’s Juniper Time. I’ve re-read both of those many times. I also enjoyed Joan Vinge’s Cat series, and Connie Willis & Cynthia Felice’s Water Witch caught my fancy. I must admit that back in the dark ages when I was reading them, they were just SFF; I didn’t care whether SF or F, but they may not fit your requirements. There are so many, it’s hard to pinpoint the best and/or the ones that made a lasting impression. And GOOD FOR YOU for doing this!

  2. Lee Dennis
    May 27, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Suzette Haden Elgin (Google says she died in January); Barbara Hambly; Sherri Tepper, C.J. Cherryh, so many more, but first I have to refinish my basement floor, so I can put up bookshelves, so I can empty the 20-year-old boxes, so I can take Dean’s advice to re-read and send you more nominees. Luckily it’s hot and muggy here in Detroit and the basement beckons!

    There was a time years ago when I bought nothing but “science fiction by women writers.” Then it got to be all magic and dragons, and you lose me at horses. What a great project, Kris, thanks!

    • May 31, 2015 at 7:19 am

      I second Sheri Tepper! I think I’ve read every book she’s written.

      • TheSFReader
        June 12, 2015 at 8:02 am

        And I second C.J.Cherryh (although I read more of her novels than her short stories)

  3. May 27, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Hello Kristine,

    You are wonderful for working on curating some of the great SF women writers. I can’t wait to check in and find more new favorites!

    I hope that Ursula K. LeGuin is on your list. Wonderful sci-fi back to the 1960s, including The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Word for World is Forest. My favorite short of hers changed my life: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas turned me into a public servant.

    Also, Octavia Butler, specifically her story Bloodchild, and her Patternist series.

    Thank you again for your work!

    J.R. Pearse Nelson

  4. Stephen Gradijan
    May 27, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Joan D Vinge’s Nebula winning “The Snow Queen”. It seems to be out of print

  5. Carbonel
    May 27, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I second Collen and Lee Dennis’ suggestions

    Janet Kagan’s Mirable (a collection of linked short stories) would make a fine addition, although she is better known for her novel Hellspark.
    Kagan is one of those beloved authors who is not terribly well-known, but is passionately admired by all who have read her.

    May I take it as a given that content from the books that appear on the title art of this blog will appear in the collection? And that the giants (Tiptree, Bujold, LeGuin, etc.) will be represented? Unless you want specific suggestions of their work?

    In addition, do consider a selection from Debra Doyle’s (with James McDonald) The Price of the Stars (My Name is Bekka Metadi! You killed my mother: prepare to die!)

    Diane Duane’s Star Trek fiction: canon for many trekkies: The Rhihansu books

    Doris Egans The Gate of Ivory a novel blend (for the time) of Arabian Nights SF

    Doris Piserchia’s Spaceling is a favorite.

    Carol Carr (with Terry) “Some are Born Cats” (and some achieve catness)

    Rosemary Edghil aka eluki bes sharar’s Hellflower about an outlaw sentient library

    Aaaaaaand that’s probably enough to be going on with for now.

  6. Rose-Marie Lillian
    May 28, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Great project! I searched the site for note of C.L. Moore, but found none. Wikipedia has a nice entry on her, noting her Northwest Smith (particularly “Shambleau”) and Jirel of Joiry stories. I’m looking forward to the first anthology.

    • wyldkat
      May 29, 2015 at 11:40 am

      Second this recommendation. Jirel of Jory is one of the most Iconic of the Warrior Women.

  7. Henry Code
    May 28, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    I remember stumbling across Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon riders of Pern series through a short story, which, at the moment I can’t remember the title. I think it was in Analog, Asimov’s, or F&SF. It left a lasting impression.

  8. James May
    May 29, 2015 at 11:16 am

    “Odds Against the Gods” is an obscure but wonderful short by Tanith Lee from the 1977 Swords Against Darkness II anthology. It’s a wry Vancian fantasy work about a woman who escapes from a strict nun-like cult of women. I don’t think it’s seen the light of day in English since Dreams of Dark and Light: The Great Short Fiction of Tanith Lee in 1986. Deserves a better fate. One of her earliest and best. Good enough I’ve never forgotten it.

  9. wyldkat
    May 29, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Anne McCaffrey’s “Get Off the Unicorn” collection has several stories that could fit your requirements.

  10. May 29, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Seconding Janet Kagen, and in particular “The Nutcracker Coup” (Analog, December 1992; Hugo award winner). Or any of the short stories I haven’t seen, listed at .

    She was a very good writer and her stuff isn’t getting reprinted, which is a crying shame. (Also, the Star Trek book she wrote has a rumored unpublished sequel that focuses too much on an original character and darnit, I WOULD BUY THAT BOOK IN A HEARTBEAT. …rest of rant deleted.) Ahem. Anyway. Kagen’s work, aside from Uhura’s Song, seems to be sinking into obscurity, and it shouldn’t.

    • Wyldkat
      May 29, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Uhura’s Song is one of my top 5 fav Trek Novels. 🙂

  11. June 2, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I’m very fond of Katherine MacLean’s “Unhuman Sacrifice,” which appeared in the November 1958 Astounding.

  12. Santa
    June 4, 2015 at 9:55 am

    “From an Unseen Censor” by Rosel George Brown

  13. Santa
    June 6, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Mildred Clingerman

  14. June 8, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Pretty much anything by Francis Stevens (Gertrude Mabel Barrows).

  15. Comptess
    June 11, 2015 at 1:04 am

    I’m looking forward to seeing this project unfold. I’ve just recently finished Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. I can’t say it’s my favourite speculative fiction but there are themes and moments in the story that will stay with me. I enjoyed her Oryx and Crake more as a story.

  16. June 11, 2015 at 9:28 am

    A very early favorite of mine was Eleanor Cameron’s “The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet”. I learned about sulfur and chicken eggs from that book 🙂

    Also Sylvia Engdahl and “Enchantress from the Stars”

  17. RoseBear
    June 11, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Almost anything by Zenna Henderson, whose short story collection _Holding Wonder_ appears in the photo above. In particular, any of her stories about teachers. “The Closest School,” “The last Step,” or “You Know What, Teacher?”

  18. RoseBear
    June 11, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    The late Anne McCaffrey, who is celebrated for her novels, also wrote short stories about women in her Interstellar Telepath and Telekinetic series; in particular, “A Womanly Talent,” which was in the collection _To Ride Pegasus_.

  19. June 11, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Lee Killough was one of my favorites in the late ’70’s/early ’80’s.

  20. June 11, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Kris,

    You might want to take a look at “The Moonstone Mass” by Harriet Prescott Spofford. The short story was originally published in October 1868. I discovered her in the Library of America’s American Fantastic Tales Volume 1.

  21. Felix Torres
    June 11, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Piserchia, Moore, Elgin, Judith Merril should all be known to students of the genre.
    Less known, I fear; Mildred Clingerman LETTERS FROM LAURA and Joan Hunter Holly THE PROPER STUDY. Both bring back fond memories.

  22. June 11, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Jessica Amanda Salmonsen. I quite enjoyed her novel “The Swordswoman.” (Granted she’s more fantasy than SF, but the lines between the two categories are often mutable…)

  23. June 12, 2015 at 10:54 am

    “Survival Ship” by Judith Merrill. Read it when I was a kid and it made me see the world differently ever after.

  24. June 12, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Alexis Glynn Latner has written over 100 SF shorts for SF magazines. You should definitely talk to her. She’s a wonderful writer. She’s been releasing some of her shorts on Amazon.

  25. Lauretta
    June 12, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I’m not sure if you’re going by Science Fiction only (as opposed to Fantasy) by I always admired C.L. Moore’s short stories.

    Also Catherine Asaro has some spectacular short stories – “A Roll of the Dice” was pretty compelling.

  26. Lauretta
    June 12, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    One more…from the short stories Baen puts up on their website periodically.
    “The Gift of Music,” Sharon Lee

    • Maeve
      August 17, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      Seconded — I’ve gone back to the Baen website several times just to re-read this.

  27. Susan
    June 12, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Anne McCaffrey has been mentioned, but not her “Ship who Sang” which I believe is her best.
    Bujold’s “Mountains of Mourning”

  28. Elina
    June 12, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Ursula LeGuin, JK Rowling

  29. Georges Dodds
    June 12, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    [1] The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish

    [2] NEQUA or The Problem of the Ages, by Alcanoan O. Grigsby and Mary P. Lowe [female co-author] (co-written by a woman)

    [3] Dieudonné, Florence Carpenter. 1887. Rondah; or, Thirty-Three Years in a Star. Philadelphia, PA: T.B. Peterson.
    discussed here:
    text available here:

    • Mark esping
      June 18, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      I reprinted NEQUA in Jan. 2015, because I felt that Mary P. Lowe was probably the major voice heard in the book. She was a suffrage newspaper editor in Kansas of all places. Now available from Amazon
      Mark Esping

  30. Evan Guilford-Blake
    June 12, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Anything by Zenna Henderson, the most-overlooked master of her generation.

  31. Cathy
    June 12, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    The lightness of the movement. Pat McEwen. Published in Fantasy and science fiction March / April 2014.

  32. June 12, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Andre Norton, CJ Cherryh, Anne McCaffrey, Marian Zimmer Bradley, Vonna McIntyre, Virginia Hamilton, Octavia Butler, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu. I’m sure there’s more, this is just off the top of my head…

    There’s also less well-known writers. Elizabeth Camali, L.M. Davis, Zetta Elliott, Alicia McCalla, Patricia McKillip.

  33. Hoatzin
    June 12, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Mary Rickert, “Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment.”
    Yoon Ha Lee, “Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain” and “The Battle of Candle Arc” (and everything else).
    Nike Sulway, “Rupetta.”
    Aliette de Bodard, “Scattered Along the River of Heaven.”
    Charlie Jane Anders, “Love Might Be Too Strong a Word.”
    Genevieve Valentine, “Seeing.”
    Nina Kiriki Hoffman, “Futures in the Memories Market.”
    Nnedi Okorafor, “Spider the Artist.”

  34. Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey
    June 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Suzette Haden Elgin’s “For the Sake of Grace”
    Ursula K. LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”
    Joanna Russ’ “When It Changed”

  35. June 12, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    “Captivity” by Zenna Henderson. It appears in Ingathering but it’s rare I meet anyone who knows the People exist. She wrote beautiful rich characters, whether earthling or gifted member of the People. All her stories are good, but Captivity has music and disability and just so much in the character dynamics and relationships.

  36. June 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    I forgot “Darkness Box” by LeGuin.

    I assumed this was older, more classic SF, not modern. If modern, I’d point to MCA Hogarth.

  37. June 12, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    – Leigh Bracket
    – Katherine MacLean – still alive at 90!
    – Pat Cadigan
    – Kage Baker – deceased, some short fiction, primarily a novelist
    – Leigh Kennedy
    – Lisa Tuttle
    – Judith Merrill
    – C L Moore
    – James Tiptree
    – Joanna Russ
    – Connie Willis

  38. June 12, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    “The Women That Men Don’t See” by James Tiptee, Jr.

    And ditto to “When it Changed”

  39. June 12, 2015 at 11:34 pm
  40. Dorothy
    June 15, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Miriam Allen deFord:
    a prolific short story author published in many, many magazines over the years (1950s-1970s).

    She published two anthologies of her SF short stories:
    – Xenogenesis (1969)
    – Elsewhere, Elsewhen, Elsehow (1971)

  41. Dorothy
    June 15, 2015 at 6:37 am

    Mary Robinette Kowal – I read a short story by her and was blown away by the strength of the writing, so I sought out her novels.

  42. Gary Mugford
    June 28, 2015 at 5:39 am

    If you’d asked me when I was at the age of wonder who had invented SF, I would have said Andre Norton. Her Time Traders books made me look upwards and wonder, “What if …” Up til then, it had been The Hardy Boys, Chip Hilton and Tarzan, and more Nancy Drew than I will ever admit to in public. Ooops. But Norton started it all off for SF when I read Ross Murdock’s first adventure at age eight. Later on, I hoovered up the usual stuff, finally graduating to the harder SF stuff in high school. But it all started in a dingy basement of the local activities centre which was called the local town library, but was just a 20×20 room with shelves and a disinterested lady playing caretaker at the time. From that came wonder. What a wonderful gift Andre Norton gave me and so many others. An imagination, once started, fills a lifetime.

    Switching tracks, I heartily recommend a Ladies of the Ace Doubles Books follow-up volume. You’ll get Brackett, Moore, Anna Hunger who wrote The Man Who Lived Forever, Bradley, St. Clair, Leigh Richmond, Juanita Colson who wrote Crisis on Cheiron and was later a featured Laser Books writer (I’m Canadian and fondly remember them, despite them being … let’s call them ‘some minor works’ under great covers by Freas), Susan Putney and others. Those books weren’t all classics, but they were mostly all page-turners that you could read on a warm summer day and not have to hold the flashlight under the covers for too long before having to call it a night. As you went to sleep, that’s when the IDEAS you had just read about started to percolate.

    Thanks for letting me remember yesteryear. GM

  43. Ash
    June 29, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I would strongly reccomend The Sundered by Ruthanne Reid. A great fantasy read that throws a whole new spin on the genre – or does it? That’s actually a question that is – kinda – answered at the end of the novel, so no spoilers 😉

    Honestly though, it’s a great read. one of the best novels i’ve read in a while (much easier for me to enjoy and get into than LotR has been.)

  44. Ash
    June 29, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I would strongly reccomend The Sundered by Ruthanne Reid. A great story that starts out as fantasy, but then turns out to be science fiction all along. A wonderful enterance to a niche genre

  45. Tyler Richter
    June 29, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Ruthanne Reid has some really good stories. I’d recommend her novel “The Sundred” but as far as the anthology goes, she has some good short stories as well, including “The Christmas Dragon” and “grey”. Her website is

    • James Lee Schmidt
      June 29, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      I also would like to suggest Ruthanne Reid’s “The Sundered” – as a recommended read. I actually met Ruthanne through Story Cartel and read “The Sundered” back in the Fall of 2014. Working as a Indie-Sci-Fi writer myself – I was interested in reading someone who was enjoying a successful Indie career, but I found myself reading “The Sundered” for as much for the enjoyment as for the research.
      Ruthanne’s Short stories (which are on her website) are also engaging and I look forward to reading her “Notte” story very soon.

  46. Karen Mahoney
    July 23, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Arthur C. Clarke award-winner (and multiple nominee of that and other awards) Tricia Sullivan writes incredible SF novels. In terms of her short fiction, there is sadly not as much to read, but I particularly like ‘The Question Eaters’ and ‘Post-Ironic Stress Syndrome.’

  47. OldMiser
    August 17, 2015 at 10:41 am

    The short (and punch-in-the-gut) story “That Only a Mother” by Judith Merril. It is included in Merril’s seven-story collection “Out of Bounds,” which can be found on Amazon Marketplace.

  48. August 17, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    re Merrill …. Why not get that story, along with ALL of her solo fiction in a book using acid free paper and sewn signatures … It’ll last longer than you!

    Here you go:

  49. August 28, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    What a wonderful project! I just saw this in connection with your post that was excerpted at The Passive Voice.

    Eleven women SF authors have just released an anthology of space opera shorts. You might find some interesting voices in here. (I’m the Series Editor; we plan to publish the next one in November.)

  50. keranih
    September 28, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Some suggestions, a bit of trivia, and a quibble…


    July Ward by SN Dyer
    Scapegoat (or “Pots”) by CJ Cherryh
    Rude Mechanicals by Kage Baker
    The Curse of Kings (or Fire Watch, or Samaritan, or Jack) by Connie Willis
    The Evening the Morning and the Night by Octavia Butler (please, this one.)
    Bones for Dulath by Megan Lindholm


    It was not possible for me to find the Amazons! anthologies (edited by Jessica Amanda Salmonson) on (Google came through, though.)

    A quibble:

    It is a shame that the story “Amanda Morgan” is not eligible for this collection, through no fault of the story – or the author. (I am sure that most of us could name a favorite work that would be an excellent addition, if it were not for troublesome things like the gender of the author. I recognize the intent of this collection is what it is, but man, I would like a collection that was more focused on the characters (and stories) and not limited by the authors’ attributes.)

  51. mary w
    October 26, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    American Book of the Dead, Shirley Is No Longer With Us, Mushroom Roulette, or anything else by Jody Scott. She is quite unique!

  52. December 26, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    I just found out today that D.E. Stevenson (some kind of second cousin to the author of Treasure Island, and best known for writing gentle comfort reads and romances, as well as the semi-autobiographical Mrs. Tim of the Regiment) also wrote an sf disaster novel called The Empty World: A Romance of the Future (1936), which was published in the US as A World in Spell. Apparently, everybody on Earth gets zotted except some people who were up in airplanes at the time, and the survivors have to go from there. She also does a lot of machinepunkish speculation about the future of airports.

    Of course, Elizabeth Goudge wrote fantasy as well as gentle comfort reads and romances, so obviously the subgenre had such stretch in it.

    I should also point out that Margery Allingham, the great Golden Age mystery writer, did an sf mystery book late in her Campion series, in the 1960’s:The Mind Readers, in which some kids invent a telepathy version of the transistor radio. International skulduggery ensues. It’s very well done and assumes that the reader will pick up sf goings-on without excessive explanations. (Unlike most sf books by non-genre writers, who usually had a habit of reinventing the wheel at tedious length.)

  53. December 26, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    I did previously mention Hallie Erminie Rives and her near-future sf book set in Japan, The Kingdom of Slender Swords (1910)? There’s an atom ray designed by a Russian mad scientist, and an evil plot to destroy the Japanese Imperial Navy.

  54. January 14, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    I’ve published a list, “J.J.’s favorites,” on my blog, jennre, that might be of some use to you. Sounds as if you have quite a few them already, however.

  55. Melisa Todd
    February 15, 2016 at 11:21 am

    I’m coming upon this late, and while today she would probably be considered a YA author, Ziplha Keatley Synder. I don’t know that she wrote any short fiction, but her novels gave me hours of escapism.

    Also Susan Cooper – for her Dark is Rising trilogy.

    Though to be honest as a child I never cared who the author was until after I fell in love with them. Male/Female/Cat/Dog, all I cared about was the story and as an adult I’m sometimes surprised that I remember the stories, with no clue who the author was.

Leave a Reply

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