Joanna Russ (February 22, 1937 – April 29, 2011) was an American writer, academic and radical feminist. She is the author of a number of works of science fiction, fantasy and feminist literary criticism such as How to Suppress Women's Writing, as well as a contemporary novel, On Strike Against God, and one children's book, Kittatinny. She is best known for The Female Man, a novel combining utopian fiction and satire, and the story "When It Changed".
|Born||February 22, 1937|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||April 29, 2011 (aged 74)|
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
|Occupation||Academic, radical feminist, fiction writer|
|Education||Cornell University (BA)|
Yale University (MFA)
|Genre||Feminist science fiction, fantasy|
|Subject||Feminist literary criticism|
|Notable works||"When It Changed", The Female Man, How to Suppress Women's Writing, To Write Like a Woman|
|Notable awards||Hugo Award, Nebula Award, two James Tiptree, Jr. Awards, Locus Award, Gaylactic Spectrum Award, Pilgrim Award, Florence Howe award of the women's caucus of the MLA|
Joanna Russ was born in The Bronx, New York City, to Evarett I. and Bertha (née Zinner) Russ, both teachers. She began creating works of fiction at a very early age. Over the following years she filled countless notebooks with stories, poems, comics and illustrations, often hand-binding the material with thread.
As a senior at William Howard Taft High School, Russ was selected as one of the top ten Westinghouse Science Talent Search winners. She graduated from Cornell University, where she studied with Vladimir Nabokov, in 1957, and received her MFA from the Yale Drama School in 1960. After teaching at several universities, including Cornell, she became a full professor at the University of Washington.
Russ came to be noticed in the science fiction world in the late 1960s, in particular for her award-nominated novel Picnic on Paradise. At the time, SF was a field dominated by male authors, writing for a predominantly male audience, but women were starting to enter the field in larger numbers. Russ, an out lesbian, was one of the most outspoken authors to challenge male dominance of the field, and is generally regarded as one of the leading feminist science fiction scholars and writers. She was also one of the first major science fiction writers to take slash fiction and its cultural and literary implications seriously. Over the course of her life, she published over fifty short stories. Russ was associated with the American New Wave of science fiction.
Along with her work as a writer of prose fiction, Russ was also a playwright, essayist, and author of nonfiction works, generally literary criticism and feminist theory, including the essay collection Magic Mommas, Trembling Sisters, Puritans & Perverts; How to Suppress Women's Writing; and the book-length study of modern feminism, What Are We Fighting For?. Her essays and articles have been published in Women's Studies Quarterly, Signs, Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Science Fiction Studies, and College English. Russ was a self-described socialist feminist, expressing particular admiration for the work and theories of Clara Fraser and her Freedom Socialist Party. Both fiction and nonfiction, for Russ, were modes of engaging theory with the real world; in particular, The Female Man can be read as a theoretical or narrative text. The short story, "When It Changed," which became a part of the novel, explores the constraints of gender and asks if gender is necessary in a society.
Russ's writing is characterized by anger interspersed with humor and irony. James Tiptree Jr, in a letter to her, wrote, "Do you imagine that anyone with half a functional neuron can read your work and not have his fingers smoked by the bitter, multi-layered anger in it? It smells and smoulders like a volcano buried so long and deadly it is just beginning to wonder if it can explode." In a letter to Susan Koppelman, Russ asks of a young feminist critic "where is her anger?" and adds "I think from now on, I will not trust anyone who isn't angry."
For nearly 15 years she was an influential (if intermittent) review columnist for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Though by then she was no longer an active member of science fiction fandom, she was interviewed by phone during Wiscon (the feminist science fiction convention in Madison, Wisconsin) in 2006 by her friend and member of the same cohort, Samuel R. Delany.
Her first SF story was "Nor Custom Stale" in F&SF (1959). Notable short works include Hugo winner and Nebula Award finalist "Souls" (1982), Nebula Award and Tiptree Award winner "When It Changed" (1972), Nebula Award finalists "The Second Inquisition" (1970), "Poor Man, Beggar Man" (1971), "The Extraordinary Voyages of Amélie Bertrand" (1979), and "The Mystery of the Young Gentlemen" (1982). Her fiction has been nominated for nine Nebula and three Hugo Awards, and her genre-related scholarly work was recognized with a Pilgrim Award in 1988. Her story "The Autobiography of My Mother" was one of the 1977 O. Henry Prize stories.
She wrote several contributions to feminist thinking about pornography and sexuality including "Pornography by Women, for Women, with Love" (1985), "Pornography and the Doubleness of Sex for Women", and "Being Against Pornography", which can be found in her archival pieces located in the University of Oregon's Special Collections.
These essays include very detailed descriptions of her views on pornography and how influential it was to feminist thought in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically, in "Being Against Pornography", she calls pornography a feminist issue. She sees pornography to be the essence of evil in society, calling it "a monolithic, easily recognizable, uniquely evil essence; and at the same time, commercially available, explicit, sexual fantasy." Her issues with pornography range from feminist issues, to women's sexuality in general and how porn prevents women from freely express their sexual selves, like men can. Russ believed that anti-pornography activists were not addressing how women experienced pornography created by men, a topic that she addressed in "Being Against Pornography", she directly addresses the issue in her multiple published and unpublished essays.
Her work is widely taught in courses on science fiction and feminism throughout the English speaking world. Russ is the subject of Farah Mendlesohn's book On Joanna Russ and Jeanne Cortiel's Demand My Writing: Joanna Russ, Feminism, Science Fiction. Russ and her work are prominently featured in Sarah LeFanu's In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction (1988). She was named to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2013.
Her papers are part of the University of Oregon's Special Collections and University Archives.
The late 1960s and 1970s marked the beginnings of feminist SF scholarship—a field of inquiry that was all but created single-handedly by Russ, who contributed many essays on feminism and science fiction that appeared in journals such as College English and Science Fiction Studies. She also contributed 25 reviews to the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, covering more than 100 books of all genres. In their article "Learning the 'Prophet Business': The Merril-Russ Intersection," Newell and Tallentire described Russ as an "intelligent, tough-minded reviewer who routinely tempered harsh criticism with just the sort of faint praise she handed out to Judith Merril", who in turn was among the foremost editors and critics in American science fiction in the late 1960s. Russ was also described as a fearless, incisive, and radical person, whose writing was often characterized as acerbic and angry.
Russ was acclaimed as one of science fiction's most revolutionary and accomplished writers. Helen Merrick went so far as to claim that Russ was an inescapable figure in science fiction history. James Tiptree, Jr. once commented on how Russ could be an "absolute delight" one minute, but then she "rushes out and bites my ankles with one sentence". For example, Russ criticized Ursula K. Le Guin's 1969 The Left Hand of Darkness, which won both the 1969 Nebula and 1970 Hugo awards for best science fiction novel, arguing that gender discriminations that permeated science fiction by men showed up just as frequently in science fiction by women. According to Russ, Le Guin's novel represented these stereotypes.
However, Russ was well aware of the pressures of writing for a living since she was also an author herself. Russ also felt that science fiction gives something to its readers that cannot be easily acquired anywhere else. She maintained that science should be accurate, and seriousness is a virtue. She insisted on the unique qualities of her chosen genre, maintaining that science fiction shared certain qualities with art and its flexibility compared to other forms writing. Russ was also interested in demonstrating the unique potentials of women science fiction writers. As her career moved into its second decade in the 1980s, she started to worry about reviewing standards. She once said, "The reviewer's hardest task is to define standards."
Russ's reviewing style was characterized by anger. She was attacked by readers because of her harsh reviews of Stephen R. Donaldson's Lord Foul's Bane (1977) and Joy Chant's The Grey Mane of Morning (1977). She organized attacks into these seven categories, taken directly from the cited article:
However, she felt guilty about dire and frank criticism. She apologized for her harsh words on Lloyd Biggle's The Light That Never Was (1972) by saying, "It's narsty to beat up on authors who are probably starving to death on turnip soup (ghoti soup) but critics ought to be honest."
On April 27, 2011, it was reported that Russ had been admitted to a hospice after suffering a series of strokes. Samuel R. Delany was quoted as saying that Russ was "slipping away" and had long had a "do not resuscitate" order on file. She died early in the morning on April 29, 2011.
Again, Dangerous Visions (17 March 1972) is a science fiction short story anthology, edited by Harlan Ellison. It is the follow-up to Dangerous Visions (October 1967), also edited by Ellison. Cover art and interior illustrations are by Ed Emshwiller.
Like its predecessor, Again, Dangerous Visions, and many of the collected stories, have received awards recognition. "The Word for World is Forest", by Ursula K. Le Guin, won the 1973 Hugo for Best Novella. "When It Changed" by Joanna Russ won a 1972 Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Harlan Ellison was recognized with a special Hugo Award for anthologizing, his second special award, in 1972.Again, Dangerous Visions was released as a two-volume paperback edition by Signet in the United States, and by Pan in the United Kingdom. A sequel was planned, The Last Dangerous Visions, but was never published.
The first edition was a hardback limited release of 6,500 numbered and signed copies.And Chaos Died
And Chaos Died (1970) is a science fiction novel by American writer Joanna Russ, perhaps the genre's best-known feminist author. Its setting is a dystopian projection of modern society, in which Earth's population has continued to grow, with the effects somewhat mitigated by advanced technology. The novel was nominated for, but did not win, the 1970 Nebula Award.Extra(ordinary) People
Extra(ordinary) People is a 1984 collection of feminist science fiction stories by Joanna Russ.
The novella "Souls" won the 1983 Hugo Award for the best novella.How to Suppress Women's Writing
How to Suppress Women's Writing is a book by Joanna Russ, published in 1983. Written in the style of a sarcastic and irreverent guidebook, it explains how women are prevented from producing written works, not given credit when such works are produced, or dismissed or belittled for those contributions they are acknowledged to have made. Although primarily focusing on texts written in English, the author also includes examples from non-English works and other media, like paintings. Citing authors and critics like Suzy McKee Charnas, Margaret Cavendish, and Vonda McIntyre, Russ aims to describe the systematic social forces that impede widespread recognition of the work of female authors.
Although Russ was an active feminist and one of the central contributors to the feminist science fiction scene during the late 1960s and 70s, How to Suppress Women's Writing marked a transition towards her focus on literary criticism. In the same decade, she went on to write an essay entitled "Recent Feminist Utopias," which was later published in 1995 as part of her book, To Write Like a Woman: Essays in Feminism and Science Fiction.Jeanne Gomoll
Jeanne Gomoll is an American artist, writer, editor, and science fiction fan, who was recognized as one of the guests of honor at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention (Loncon 3, the 2014 WorldCon), having been a guest of honor at numerous previous science fiction conventions. She has been nominated multiple times for awards in artist and fanzine categories, and for service to the genre of science fiction, particularly feminist science fiction.List of LGBT-themed speculative fiction
Many science fiction and fantasy stories involve queer characters, or otherwise represent themes that are relevant to LGBT issues and the LGBT community. This is a list of notable stories, and/or stories from notable series or anthologies, and/or by notable authors; it is not intended to be all-inclusive.Nobody's Home
Nobody's Home may refer to:
"Nobody's Home" (Avril Lavigne song), a song by Avril Lavigne from her album Under My Skin
"Nobody's Home", a short story from The Zanzibar Cat, a 1983 collection of short stories by Joanna Russ
"Nobody's Home", a song by Deep Purple from their 1984 album Perfect Strangers
"Nobody's Home" (Clint Black song), a song by Clint Black from his 1989 album Killin' Time
"Nobody's Home", a song by Ulrich Schnauss from his 2001 album Far Away Trains Passing By
"Nobody's Home", a song by Kansas from their 1977 album Point of Know ReturnOrbit (anthology series)
Orbit was an American long-running series of anthologies of new fiction edited by Damon Knight, often featuring work by such writers as Gene Wolfe, Joanna Russ, R. A. Lafferty, and Kate Wilhelm, who was married to Knight. The anthologies tended toward the avant-garde edge of science fiction, but by no means exclusively; occasionally the volumes would feature some nonfiction critical writing or humorous anecdotes by Knight. Inspired by Frederik Pohl's Star Science Fiction series, and in its turn an influence on Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions volumes and many others, it ran for over a decade and twenty-one volumes, not including a "Best-of" collection which covered the years 1966-1976.Pilgrim Award
The Pilgrim Award is presented by the Science Fiction Research Association for Lifetime Achievement in the field of science fiction scholarship. It was created in 1970 and was named after J. O. Bailey’s pioneering book Pilgrims Through Space and Time. Fittingly, the first award was presented to Bailey.
1970 – J. O. Bailey (USA)
1971 – Marjorie Hope Nicolson (USA)
1972 – Julius Kagarlitski (USSR)
1973 – Jack Williamson (USA)
1974 – I. F. Clarke (UK)
1975 – Damon Knight (USA)
1976 – James E. Gunn (USA)
1977 – Thomas D. Clareson (USA)
1978 – Brian W. Aldiss (UK)
1979 – Darko Suvin (Canada)
1980 – Peter Nicholls (Australia)
1981 – Sam Moskowitz (USA)
1982 – Neil Barron (USA)
1983 – H. Bruce Franklin (USA)
1984 – Everett F. Bleiler (USA)
1985 – Samuel R. Delany (USA)
1986 – George E. Slusser (USA)
1987 – Gary K. Wolfe (USA)
1988 – Joanna Russ (USA)
1989 – Ursula K. Le Guin (USA)
1990 – Marshall Tymn (USA)
1991 – Pierre Versins (France)
1992 – Mark R. Hillegas (USA)
1993 – Robert Reginald (USA)
1994 – John Clute (UK)
1995 – Vivian Sobchack (USA)
1996 – David Ketterer (Canada)
1997 – Marleen Barr (USA)
1998 – L. Sprague de Camp (USA)
1999 – Brian Stableford (UK)
2000 – Hal W. Hall (USA)
2001 – David N. Samuelson (USA)
2002 – Mike Ashley (UK)
2003 – Gary Westfahl (USA)
2004 - Edward James (UK)
2005 - Gérard Klein (France)
2006 - Fredric Jameson (USA)
2007 - Algis Budrys (USA)
2008 - Gwyneth Jones (UK)
2009 - Brian Attebery (USA)
2010 - Eric Rabkin (USA)
2011 - Donna Haraway (USA)
2012 - Pamela Sargent (USA)
2013 - N. Katherine Hayles (USA)
2014 - Joan Gordon (USA)
2015 – Henry Jenkins (USA)
2016 – Mark Bould (UK)
2017 – Tom Moylan (Ireland)
2018 – Carl Freedman (USA)Souls (story)
Souls is an award-winning 1982 science fiction novella by Joanna Russ. It was first published in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in January 1982, and subsequently republished in Terry Carr's The Best Science Fiction of the Year 12, in Russ's 1984 collection Extra(ordinary) People, as well as in the first volume of the Isaac Asimov/Martin H. Greenberg-edited anthology The New Hugo Winners, and in 1989 as half of a Tor Double Novel (with "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" by James Tiptree, Jr.).The Adventures of Alyx
The Adventures of Alyx is a 1976 collection of feminist science fiction stories by American writer Joanna Russ.
It is composed of five stories:
"Bluestocking" (1967, as "The Adventuress" in Orbit 2) begins in the fantasy city of Ourdh. Alyx is hired by a young noblewoman to help the latter escape from an arranged marriage.
"I Thought She Was Afeard Till She Stroked My Beard" (1967, as "I Gave Her Sack and Sherry" in Orbit 2) describes Alyx's escape from an abusive marriage to become a pirate.
"The Barbarian" (1968 in Orbit 3) takes place again in Ourdh. Alyx, the titular barbarian, is employed by a sorcerer with little regard for human life.
"Picnic on Paradise" (1968) presents Alyx as an agent of the Trans-Temporal Authority. Having been accidentally rescued from drowning in the bay of Tyre by a "time-scoop", she is employed to guide a group of ill-prepared vacationers across the treacherous landscape of an alien world.
"The Second Inquisition" (1970 in Orbit 6) takes place in 1925. In it, a young woman befriends an odd visitor, who is eventually revealed to be a time-traveling granddaughter of Alyx. The Trans-Temporal Authority of "Picnic on Paradise" is explicitly mentioned.These stories display elements of science fiction cloaked in fantasy in a similar way to work by Mary Gentle, who has cited them as an influence.The eponymous heroine, Alyx, is (intentionally) described with different attributes across the different stories, although she remains reasonably constant inasmuch as she is depicted as a realistic human being, not the cliched fantasy woman prevalent across much of the genre.The Female Man
The Female Man is a feminist science fiction novel written by Joanna Russ. It was originally written in 1970 and first published in 1975. Russ was an avid feminist and challenged sexist views during the 1970s with her novels, short stories, and nonfiction works. These works include We Who Are About To..., "When It Changed", and What Are We Fighting For?: Sex, Race, Class, and the Future of Feminism.
The novel follows the lives of four women living in parallel worlds that differ in time and place. When they cross over to each other's worlds, their different views on gender roles startle each other's preexisting notions of womanhood. In the end, their encounters influence them to evaluate their lives and shape their ideas of what it means to be a woman.The Hidden Side of the Moon
The Hidden Side of the Moon is a feminist science fiction collection of short stories by Joanna Russ, first published in 1987 by St. Martin's Press. The collection covers stories published from 1952 ("Nor Custom Stale," Russ' first published story) to 1983.The Strange High House in the Mist
"The Strange High House in the Mist" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft. Written on November 9, 1926, it was first published in the October 1931 issue of Weird Tales. It concerns a character traveling to the titular house which is perched on the top of a cliff which seems inaccessible both by land and sea, yet is apparently inhabited.The Two of Them
The Two of Them is a feminist science fiction novel by Joanna Russ. It was first published in 1978 in the United States by Berkley Books and in Great Britain by The Women's Press in 1986. It was last reissued in 2005 by the Wesleyan University Press with a foreword by Sarah LeFanu.The Zanzibar Cat
The Zanzibar Cat is a science fiction collection of short stories by Joanna Russ, first published in 1983 by Arkham House. It was the author's first collection of short fiction and was published in an edition of 3,526 copies. The story "When It Changed" won a Nebula Award in 1972. "Old Thoughts, Old Balances" won a 1977 O. Henry Prize under the title "The Autobiography of My Mother".
It was reprinted (with revised contents) by Baen in 1984.To Write Like a Woman
To Write Like a Woman: Essays in Feminism and Science Fiction is a collection of essays by Joanna Russ, published in 1995. Many of the essays previously appeared as letters, in anthologies, or in journals like Science Fiction Studies, Extrapolation, and Chrysalis. Topics range from the work of specific authors to major trends in feminism and science fiction. Through all of these different topics, Russ underlines the importance of celebrating the work of female authors and turning a critical eye on the commentaries and work produced by men.
The collection is split up into two sections. Part One focuses on the critique of masculinist writing and male authorship, while Part Two focuses on the work of female authors and their relationship to writing.We Who Are About To...
We Who Are About To... is a feminist science fiction novel by Joanna Russ. It first appeared in magazine form in the January 1976 and February 1976 issues of Galaxy Science Fiction and was first published in book form by Dell Publishing in July 1977.When It Changed
"When It Changed" is a science fiction short story by Joanna Russ. It was first published in the anthology Again, Dangerous Visions.