New Women SF/F Authors
February 26, 2015 2:01 PM   Subscribe

Reading this thread made me realize that I am completely unaware of the current state of SF/F. Who are some female SF/F authors from the last 15 years that you would recommend?

I LOVE Melissa Scott and Sheri Tepper- I have both their entire works on my shelf, mostly in battered paperbacks.

I have Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie but haven't read it, although I'm excited to.

Favorite authors are JG Ballard, Samuel Delany, Moorcock, Iain M Banks, Melissa Scott and Sheri Tepper. Aone of them are really current, although Delany and Banks and Tepper have released some of my favorite books of the past decade.

posted by kittensofthenight to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 92 users marked this as a favorite
Off the top of my head, over the past couple of years I've really enjoyed A Stranger in Olandria by Sofia Samatar, the Eternal Sky trilogy by Elizabeth Bear, Hild by Nicola Griffith and The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.
posted by hobgadling at 2:08 PM on February 26, 2015 [4 favorites]

Have you read Connie Willis? She was definitely writing 15 years ago, but she's been putting out amazing work the whole time. To Say Nothing of the Dog is my personal favorite--a light-hearted sci-fi/time travel/Victorian genre bender. Doomsday Book is also great, if you don't mind doing an ugly cry while you read.

I'd also recommend Vicious by V.E. Schwab and The Golem & the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Both veer closer to that vague genre of "literary fantasy" rather than commercial fiction, but they're still great books.

Also, you might want to try the Saga graphic novels. They're written by a man (Brian K. Vaughan) but Fiona Staples is the artist, and it's amazing what a difference it makes to have the characters drawn through the female gaze rather than a male one.

If you're interested in urban fantasy rather than high/epic fantasy, Seanan McGuire's Rosemary & Rue series (fairies in San Francisco) is quite popular.

And if you don't mind a bit of romance, which seems to be par for the course, there are lots of great YA fantasy series written by women. My current favorite is the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor.

Most of these lean more toward the fantasy side, though Saga & Willis would be considered sci-fi.
posted by mjm101 at 2:16 PM on February 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Desirina Boskovich, Amal El-Mohtar, Theodora Goss, Margo Lanagan, Helen Oyeyemi, M. Rickert, Ekaterina Sedia, Rachel Swirsky, and Catherynne M. Valente. As far as I've read of them, they typically write fantasy, with occasional forays into science fiction.
posted by xenization at 2:33 PM on February 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm better-read in fantasy than SF, but women novelists I've read recently that I personally recommend:

N. K. Jemisin (epic fantasy with characters of color, brilliant world-building)
Kameron Hurley (wicked awesome challenging & brutal, also epic)
Ann Leckie (space opera and politics and gender and identity)
Kate Elliott (epicest of the epic, world-building and politics and power)
Sherwood Smith (classic high fantasy with unexpected treatment of gender & sexuality)
Becky Chambers (fun episodic space-opera, reads a bit like Firefly)
Katherine Addison (heart-warming fantasy about a goblin who inherits the elves' throne)
Lois McMaster Bujold (won every award, deserved most of them)
Lauren Beukes (brilliant, smart, twisty)
Marie Brennan (Jane Austen as Darwin with dragons)
Lindsay Buroker (self-published steampunk fantasy, lightweight but very fun)
Susanna Clarke (the BBC is airing an adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell this year)
Deborah Coates (Dakota-based paranormal mysteries with great characters & sense of place)
Molly Gloss (unpredictable, beautiful prose, great characters)
P.C. Hodgell (epic inimitable fantasy with unexpected narrative twists)
Rosemary Kirstein (looks like fantasy, but ... brilliant worldbuilding & characters)
Mary Robinette Kowal (Jane Austen with magic)
Violette Malan (classic sword-and-sorcery but with a male-female pair of mercenaries)
Naomi Novik (Patrick O'Brien with dragons)
Nnedi Okorafor (African SF/fantasy, vivid sense of place & unexpected storytelling)
Rainbow Rowell (lightweight and yet very moving contemporary)
Courtney Schafer (magic with mountaineering, secondary-world fantasy)
Maggie Stiefvater (contemporary YA fantasy, great characters & magic)
Megan Whalen Turner (secondary-world fantasy based on ancient Greece, sneaky plotting)
Jo Walton (undescribable, everything is different, everything is very well done)
Ankaret Wells (self-published lost-colony steampunky space operas of manners)
Martha Wells (epic fantasies with fantastic characters & brilliant world-building, smooth propulsive plots)

That'll do for starters. Also, Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven is getting a lot of mainstream attention for a genre novel (it's a post-apocalypse story). I haven't read it yet.

A good place to get recs is Liz Burke's blog on, Sleeps with Monsters. I found Deborah Coates and a couple of other writers there.
posted by suelac at 2:33 PM on February 26, 2015 [23 favorites]

If you're interested in comics, I would consider the webcomics O Human Star and Unsounded (both in progress), How to be Happy by Eleanor Davis, House of Women by Sophie Goldstein, and the Finder series by Carla Speed McNeil.

Just to start!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:38 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, also: while it's primarily set in the real world, I enjoyed the bits and pieces of the nonexistent "Simon Snow" YA wizard novel series Rainbow Rowell's "Fangirl" more than I enjoyed the latter HP books, so...maybe worth checking out if a New Adult book about a fanfic writing college lady is appealing to you!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:43 PM on February 26, 2015

Mary Doria Russell
posted by crocomancer at 2:51 PM on February 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Claire North (The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Touch)
posted by books for weapons at 3:07 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Victoria (V.E.) Schwab
Seanan McGuire (aka Mira Grant, though I think her ongoing series starting with Parasite is not very good)
Mary Robinette Kowal
T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon's pseudonym)
Erin Bow (kidlit)
Ekaterina Sedia
Kristin Cashore (YA)
Kathleen Cheney
Rosamund Hodge
Genevieve Valentine
Kate Atkinson (Life After Life)
Helene Wecker
Rachel Hartman
Andrea Host (YA)
Karen Maitland (weird)
posted by jeather at 3:07 PM on February 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Jo Walton writes a sort of fantasy magical realism that I love love love. Among Others was my entry point, My Real Children is one of my favorite audiobooks of last year (tied with Kate Atkinson's Life After Life). I haven't read Tooth and Claw or her new Just City yet but am looking forward to that new series.

Cherie Priest has series in several sub-genres that may or may not tickle your fancy; I'd recommend Maplecroft as a starter, which is a sort of Lizzie Borden-meets-Lovecraft science horror kind of thing.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:33 PM on February 26, 2015

CJ Cherryh, the Chanur series and Cyteen (not actually my fave but lots of other people seem to love it)
posted by Sebmojo at 3:47 PM on February 26, 2015

I haven't read any Claire North (yet) but the same author wrote the Matthew Swift novels (urban magic is what I guess I'd call them) under the name Kate Griffin, and they are my jam.
posted by immlass at 3:57 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

She's not new, but based on your likes, do look for Maureen McHugh. She doesn't have a huge catalogue, but what she does have is magnificent. China Mountain Zhang is where to start.
posted by bonehead at 5:54 PM on February 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Laura Anne Gilman
posted by Sophont at 8:54 PM on February 26, 2015

Yoon Ha Lee is phenomenal
posted by raw sugar at 9:47 PM on February 26, 2015

Wow, what amazing answers. I literally don't know where to begin but this is an awesome askme.

Fuck Yeah!
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:39 AM on February 27, 2015

I want to add Octavia Butler just in case anyone else is reading. Especially the Xenogenesis Trilogy.
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:46 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ursula K. Le Guin is usually associated with 1960s/70s sci-fi, but she has published a number of short story collections in recent years.
posted by neushoorn at 1:19 AM on February 27, 2015

Mur Lafferty
posted by hz37 at 4:08 AM on February 27, 2015

The first two that come to mind and that I have read recently (I've been on a several-years-long non-fiction and historical fiction kick for the most part) are Jacqueline Carey and Marie Brennan. I've read six of Carey's books (the six-book series starting with Kushiel's Dart) and two of Brennan's (Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie). All were truly excellent. Rarely have I gotten so attached to characters as I have to those in Carey's world.
posted by Urban Winter at 7:44 AM on February 27, 2015

Thirding Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant - her zombie trilogy is the first one I've read, and amazing. I also love her fantasy stuff. Her Incryptid series is urban fantasy, and really good - new book on Tuesday! She has some free stories on her website, if you want to get a feel for her writing. She also has some really amazing/creepy short stories out there.
Anne Bishop
Patricia Briggs
posted by needlegrrl at 8:32 AM on February 27, 2015

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