One of my hobbyhorses is collecting old SF paperbacks. Lately I found and have been reading with delight the three Women of Wonder anthologies, edited by Sargent. They’re a lot of fun, for at least three reasons:
- Very good stories by Anne McCaffrey, Kate Wilhelm, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Vonda N. McIntyre, Leigh Brackett, Joan D. Vinge, and the like. There’s a lot of lovely, old-school, pre-internet storytelling here.
- Sargent’s thoughtful, entertaining introductions to each book.
- The groovin spaced-out 70s cover artwork.
Here’s Sargent, in her introduction to More Women of Wonder:
“I do not believe that science fiction can be considered a truly serious literature unless it deals more thoughtfully with women and the concerns of women. These concerns should of course be of interest to everyone; the division of various pursuits into ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ limits all people. Writers of adventurous science fiction, and those who use science-fictional ideas metaphorically rather than realistically, can improve their work by more thoughtful characterization. As more women writers enter the genre, and as more men deal thoughtfully with their female characters, science fiction will hopefully become a more androgynous and human literature.”– Pamela Sargent, More Women of Wonder, Vintage 1976.
These lovely books are long out of print, but you can find them on AbeBooks, eBay, and so on.