Sf and Gender Module: Essays

Science Fiction Studies MA

Sf & Gender Module: Essays
* Assigned by Mr Andy Sawyer

1. "There are plenty of images of women in science fiction. There are hardly any women." (Joanna Russ) Is this true of 1940s and 1950s science fiction?

2. What opportunities does sf offer to examine our ideas of masculinity and/or femininity?

3. How far was "New Wave" science fiction a movement which took on feminist ideas?

4. Taking any two stories or novels from the Tiptree Award shortlists (http://www.tiptree.org/). How do you consider that they "expand or explore our understanding of gender"?
My own essay:

5. How far did the women's movement of the 1970s affect female writers' response to the writing of sf?

6. If sf, as many commentators suggest, is a masculine genre, how is it so?

7. How far does Ursula K. Le Guin's "Coming of Age in Karhide" succeed as a reaction to the criticism of The Left Hand of Darkness as described in her essay "Is Gender Necessary?"?

8. How far does The Left Hand of Darkness compare as a critique of gender with other sf novels or stories concerned with androgyny?

9. Do those sf based on all-male or all-female worlds succeed in identifying "masculine" or "feminine" characteristics?

10. "Both gender and science fiction can be seen as codes." (Brian Attebery, Decoding Gender in Science Fiction, p. 2) How does this "coding" operate with sf writers who deal with questions of gender?

11. Do John Wyndham's female characters suggest a feminist stance or a deep anxiety about masculinity?

12. Can we find a distinctive "viewpoint" in Tiptree's fiction?

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