The Best Contemporary Science Fiction Female Authors

This article looks at what women are the best novelists in the science fiction field.

When science fiction first started out, it was of course dominated by male authors.  It took a few decades before female authors started to appear on the book shelves.  Fortunately today you can find a good number of female writers in the field and would not have a problem finding one in your local bookstore.  Many of these writers have been either nominated or won Nebula Awards and various other awards for their work in science fiction.  So who are these contemporary female writers who are the best in the field of science fiction?  Of course this is open for debate but there are some that have won numerous awards and their books have become classics in the field already.  Keeping this in mind, I created a list of the best contemporary science fiction female writers and used the criteria of awards along with popularity of their books in creating this list.  Here are my nominations for the best female writers in the science fiction field (also listed is some of their better known books):  (list is in no particular order)

Lois Bujold– Entire Vorkogisan Saga.   Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Komarr, and Borders of Infinity. 

Connie Willis — Doomsday Book, Passage and To Say Nothing of the Dog.

Anne McCaffrey– The Skies of Pern, Dragonsdawn, and Dragon’s Fire

Elizabeth Moon — The Speed of Dark, Rules of Engagement, and Marque and Reprisal

Vonda McIntyre– Dreamsnake, Starfarers, and The Moon and the Sun.

Sherri Tepper — Grass, The Fresco, and Shadow’s End.

CJ Cherryh– Heavy Time, Chernevog, and Rusalka.

Joan Vinge– The Summer Queen, Dreamfall, and The Snow Queen.

Ursula Le Guin — Earthsea Series, The Left Hand of Darkness, and A Fisherman of the Inland Sea

Pamela Sargent – Venus of Dreams, Child of Venus, Thumbprints

HONORABLE MENTION AUTHORS:

Sarah Zettel — The Quiet Invasion, Kingdom of Cages and Reclamation

Jeanne Robinson – Co-authored three books with husband Spider:  Stardance, Starseed and Starmind.

Karen Traviss – City of Pearl and Matriarch

Catherine Asaro — The Quantum Rose, Alpha and Schism.

Well that is my list for the best female authors in science fiction.  I know there will be authors that I missed but any list you create will have to set limits on who you put on it.  In my opinion, these authors are the best in the field. 

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4 Comments
  1. Theo
    Posted September 22, 2009 at 2:30 am

    I’m glad to see you have Ms. Cherryh, Ms. McCaffrey, Ms. Moon, and Ms. Vinge on your list, but how in the world could you leave out Joanna Russ and Tanith Lee? Both are prolific writers, especially Ms. Lee, and I have to admit that Joanna Russ is better known in feminist circles but she has put out some very fine books (The Female Man, And Chaos Died, The Adventures of Alyx, The Two Of Them, and Picnic on Paradise, to name a few). Doris Piserchia, C.L. Moore, Andre Norton, and James Tiptree Jr. should also be on the list as the pioneers who opened the way for the veritable flood of women authors we have today.

  2. Posted September 24, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Have not read any of these authors yet. But would like to check them out, thanks.

  3. Posted September 27, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    I’ve only read Anne McCaffery and love her work. Will have to check the others out

  4. andersg
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 8:22 am

    How could you omit Margaret Atwood from an article like this?

    She won the Arthur C. Clarke award!

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