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About the Author

Joanna Russ (1937-2011) was a radical feminist writer and academic who became one of the seminal figures of science fiction during the 1960s and '70s, when women began to make major inroads into what had long been a bastion of male authorship. Her best-known novel, The Female Man, is a powerful mix of humor and anger told from the alternating points of view of four women--genetically identical, but coming from different worlds and vastly different societies. Russ wrote five other novels--including the children's book Kittatinny--and is renowned for her literary criticism and essays. Her short stories appeared in leading science fiction and fantasy magazines and have been widely anthologized as well as collected into four volumes. She received the Nebula Award for her short story "When It Changed" and a Hugo Award for the novella "Souls."
Russ received a master of fine arts degree from the Yale School of Drama and was a 1974 National Endowment for the Humanities fellow. She was a lecturer at Cornell and other universities and a professor of English at the University of Washington, where she taught from 1984 to 1994. Her scholarly work includes How to Suppress Women's Writing and To Write Like a Woman, among others. Her papers are collected at the University of Oregon.


"Elegant and electric, this tour-de-force has got to be the finest SF novel I have read in a handful of years." --Samuel R. Delany

"An important science fiction novel." --The New York Times Book Review

"This is an important book. Read it afresh and let it speak to you." --TheNew York Review of Science Fiction

"Perhaps the most subtle, complex, and exciting science fiction novel ever written about the attempt to survive a hostile alien environment. It is characteristic of Russ's genius that her most sheerly readable novel is also one of her most intellectually intricate." --Carl Freedman, author of Critical Theory and Science Fiction

"A seminal work that punctures many science fiction myths; it is about the hubris of humanity and the imperialist mission. It reminds us that maybe we aren't necessary, that the imperative to keep reproducing is irrational." --Farah Mendlesohn, editor of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction

Praise for Joanna Russ
"Joanna Russ offers a gallery of some of the most interesting female protagonists in current fiction, women who are rarely victims and sometimes even victors, but always engaged sharply and perceptively with their fate." --Marge Piercy

"As hard and mean and fine as Flannery O'Connor . . . I wish that everyone would read Joanna Russ's books." --Dorothy Allison

"Beyond questions of genre or gender, Joanna Russ is one of the best prose writers working in the English language." --Marilyn Hacker

"One of the pioneers and luminaries of women's science fiction!" --Ms. Magazine

"Joanna Russ . . . four decades ago helped deliver science fiction into the hands of the most alien creatures the genre had yet seen--women. . . . She helped inaugurate the now flourishing tradition of feminist science fiction." --The New York Times

"Joanna Russ at her merciless, irreverent, hilarious, cold-hearted best is one of the most serious and satisfying writers of science fiction and fantasy. . . . One of this country's most important writers." --The Washington Post Book World

"A most entertaining and challenging science fiction novelist . . . Provocative, uncompromising brave . . . Her fiction was stylistically diverse, and much of her work showed genuine good humour and a sense of the absurd." --The Guardian

"[Russ] actively pushed the boundaries. . . . She looked under the hood of what made science fiction tick, and began to question the underlying social structure which informed its creation . . . advancing science fiction into bold new worlds." --Kirkus Reviews

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