The Feminine Future: Early Science Fiction by Women Writers

Edited by Mike Ashley

Synopsis: Featuring hard-to-find short stories published between 1873 and 1930, this original anthology spotlights a variety of important sci-fi pioneers, including Ethel Watts Mumford, Edith Nesbit, and Clare Winger Harris. Imaginative scenarios include a feminist society in another dimension, the east/west division of the United States with men and women on opposite sides, a man who converts himself into a cyborg, a drug that confers superhuman qualities, and many other curious situations.

Editor Mike Ashley provides an informative introduction to the stories. Highlights include “When Time Turned” (1901), which centers on a grieving widower who contrives to relive his life backwards; “The Painter of Dead Women” (1910), the tale of a woman in thrall to a Svengali-like character who promises to preserve her beauty forever; “The Automaton Ear” (1876), in which an inventor struggles to create a machine to detect sounds from the distant past; “Ely’s Automatic Housemaid” (1899), a lighthearted fable concerning a robot housemaid; and ten other captivating tales.

Published: March 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0486790237

Mini-bio: Michael Raymond Donald Ashley is a British bibliographer, author and editor of science fiction, mystery, and fantasy. Wikipedia

Mike Ashley says phooey to the claims that women never contributed to the early years of science fiction and has combed through early publications from the late 19th and early 20th centuries to preserve some of the most important, yet forgotten, tales of scientific awe and weirdness. From misbehaving automatons to Lovecraftian horror to the first of Benjamin Button-style concepts, women have long contributed inventive ideas to this mind-bendy genre. A worthwhile read for the author biographies alone. – From Megan’s 10 Great Books on Science Fiction (2)

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