Skip to comments.Joanna Russ (1937-2011) (SF writer, critic)
Posted on 04/29/2011 4:36:55 PM PDT by EveningStar
We have confirmation that Joanna Russ, 74, died this morning peacefully around 7:15 a.m. in hospice care in Tucson AZ. She has been ill since suffering a stroke in February 2011.
Russ was a critic and SF writer, best known for The Female Man (1975).
(Excerpt) Read more at locusmag.com ...
I only read the excerpt. I better not read any more. Might make a comment that might get deleted.
Moving on to next thread....
As I recall, she was a talented writer. I read her first book, “Picnic on Paradise,” when it came out, and I think several others. Then she seemed to go more into the feminist non-fiction shtick, and I didn’t read too much more.
On the other hand, I have read very extensively in the SF field ever since the days of Heinlein and Asimov, so it’s not surprising I read Russ. But I haven’t reread any of her books for a long time. I think they’re in our summer house, so I’m unable to refresh my memory.
I haven’t heard of Turtledove before. What is his best Science Fiction book?
To give you an idea of what he's like, here's a bit from his Wikipedia entry:
Turtledove has been dubbed "The Master of Alternate History". Within that genre he is known both for creating original alternate history scenarios such as survival of the Byzantine Empire or an alien invasion in the middle of the Second World War and for giving a fresh and original treatment to themes previously dealt with by many others, such as the victory of the South in the American Civil War and of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. His novels have been credited with bringing alternate history into the mainstream. His style of alternate history has a strong military theme with scenes of combat happening throughout many of his works.
If you want to try him out, I'd recommend his stand-alone novel "The Guns of the South" in which the Confederate Army is supplied with AK-47's by time traveling members of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging from the early 21st century.
Well, as I say, my memory is weak on her books, because I haven’t reread them since they came out. She struck me as a talented writer, but I think she probably went over the feminist cliff.
I’m unsure of the exact number, but I’ve probably read several thousand SF novels over the course of the years, actually beginning with Asimov and Heinlein but going back to the pulps as well. For instance, I was an E. E. “Doc” Smith fan.
I wish I had the novels by me to refresh my mind, but I think Joanna Russ had a lot of natural talent, but eventually proceeded to abuse and lose it in the end.
I don’t always agree with writers that I like. For instance, Asimov was a convinced atheist, who simply couldn’t understand the real nature of religion, but I read and enjoyed all his SF books, and just took that part with a grain of salt.
And as another example, Chip Delaney turned toward gay themes in a later SF novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed all his earlier books, up to that point. (He was married to a nice young poet but later divorced, and once spoke to an SF class I taught with a baby strapped in a carrier on his back, so I guess his life as well as his books underwent a change.)
I read that part of the Wiki file. Did he write anything Sci Fi that wasn’t alternate history?
I’m reading the Hyperion series and am looking for the next book.
I do have trouble enjoying a novel when the author is simply using it as a screed for his pet political subject, be it on the left (Kim Stanley Robinson comes to mind) or the right (L. Neil Smith, though more Libertarian than right-wing).
Hey...I just found a cool chart! Check this out:
While my preference is certainly in the upper right-hand corner, I would note that I have very much enjoyed reading Farmer, Tolkein, Silverberg, and Zelazny. On the other hand, I can't abide Ellison, Delany, and Leguin or Herbert. One of my favorite modern authors, Stephen Baxter, would be higher than Asimov as regards his pro-hard science score, but definitely left of center politically.
There again, of the novels you don’t like, I haven’t read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars trilogy for a long time, but I recall enjoying it when I read it. I just looked him up on Amazon, and find that I didn’t keep up with all his later books.
He seems to have grown a hippy beard, judging by the picture.
I read one of her books long ago and didn’t care for it - new wave feminist stuff that I just didn’t enjoy. Talented writer, but I read for enjoyment, not to admire the writer’s chops.
Hm...that does narrow it down quite a bit. I liked "Household Gods" in which a modern lawyer finds herself in the Roman Empire of Marcus Aurelius. Turtledove has a PhD in Byzantine history, and it shows.
While "A World of Difference" is technically alternate history, it doesn't feel like it. In this story, the 4th planet of our solar system is larger and named Minerva instead of Mars. Earth history is otherwise identical until 1976, when the Viking space probe sends back one picture that of an alien creature swinging a stick before losing contact. A USA mission and a USSR mission are sent to explore the planet; these two missions start separately but later have to cooperate. I've also read this one, and can recommend it.
Beyond that, all I can think of is his Hellenic Traders series, historical fiction about two cousins who are traveling merchants in the 4th century BC Mediterranean. Please note that this series was written under the pen name H.N. Turteltaub. I haven't read this one, but I might just do that after I finish the series I'm currently reading (The Belgariad & The Mallorean by Eddings).
I started that once and got distracted & didn't finish. Might have to go back to it. So many books, too little time...
I alternate: Books I like to read and books I should read. Usually I find that the books I should read are better than the books I like to read.