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Fifty Shades of…

Spotlight on gold number 50

. . . Fantasy, of course. What did you think I was going to say?

There has been much talk of late on teh intertubes concerning the fact that so many “Best of . . .” and “Top 100” lists of fantasy and SF writers are male author-heavy, with many people feeling that female spec fic authors are under-represented, marginalised or downright ignored.

In reaction to this, Amanda Rutter started Fantasy Mistressworks (as a sister to the SF Mistressworks site) and put together the following list of 50 Fantasy Mistressworks, based on suggestions from readers.

Curious, I checked out the list and marked in bold the ones I’d read (italics mean I own the book). Drumroll, please . . .

1. Songspinners – Sarah Ash
2. The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter
3. Rats and Gargoyles – Mary Gentle
4. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon (this was published as Cross Stitch in the UK)
5. The Riddle-Master of Hed – Patricia McKillip
6. The Blue Sword – Robin McKinley
7. Lud-in-the-Mist – Hope Mirrlees
8. The Curse of the Mistwraith – Janny Wurts
9. Shadow Magic – Patricia C Wrede
10. Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
11. A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula K Le Guin
12. Familiar Spirit – Lisa Tuttle
13. Beauty – Sheri S Tepper
14. Diadem from the Stars – Jo Clayton
15. The Crystal Cave – Mary Stewart
16. Black Horses for the King – Anne McCaffrey
17. The Clan of the Cave Bear – Jean M Auel
18. Fortress in the Eye of Time – C J Cherryh
19. Red Moon and Black Mountain – Joy Chant
20. The Birthgrave – Tanith Lee
21. Briefing for a Descent into Hell – Doris Lessing
22. Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice
23. The Wood Wife – Terri Windling
24. Briar Rose – Jane Yolen
25. The Porcelain Dove – Delia Sherman
26. The Winter Prince – Elizabeth Wein
27. The Time of the Dark – Barbara Hambly
28. Sword of Rhiannon – Leigh Brackett
29. Tam Lin – Pamela Dean
30. Fire in the Mist – Holly Lisle
31. The Sacrifice – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
32. The Beleagured City – Margaret Oliphant
33. The Soul of Lilith – Marie Corelli
34. The Citadel of Fear – Francis Stevens
35. Jirel of Joiry – C L Moore
36. Sheepfarmer’s Daughter – Elizabeth Moon
37. Dragon Prince – Melanie Rawn
38. Black Trillium – Julian May
39. The Thief’s Gamble – Juliet E McKenna
40. Daggerspell – Katharine Kerr
41. The Blue Manor – Jenny Jones
42. The Barbed Coil – J V Jones
43. In the Red Lord’s Reach – Phyllis Eisenstein
44. The Spirit Ring – Lois McMaster Bujold
45. The Last of the Renshai – Mickey Zucher Reichert
46. Archangel – Sharon Shinn
47. The Hall of the Mountain King – Judith Tarr
48. A Blackbird in Silver – Freda Warrington
49. Kindred – Octavia Butler
50. The Red Magician – Lisa Goldstein

Wow. To my horror, there are authors here I hadn’t heard of. Only slightly less embarrassingly, I’ve only read nine – although maybe that should be eight and a half, because I can’t remember actually finishing Black Trillium despite loving and re-reading Julian May’s entire Saga of the Exiles *blush*

I’ve read other books by some of the authors listed, though, or have them on my to-be-read pile. Grunts by Mary Gentle, for instance, is one of my favourites. I’ve also read C J Cherryh’s The Paladin and Angel With a Sword, Jenny Jones’s Fly By Night, and I have Sheri Tepper’s The Gate to Women’s Country on the TBR pile. But as for the rest . . . um . . . guess I’d better hunt out my library card, eh?

So, now that I’ve exposed my reading deficiencies, why don’t you tell me yours?

Image courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net



  1. Mieneke van der Salm

    I had to smile at how similar our lists are. As I said on my own blog I did read Mary Gentle’s Ash and I’ve read works by McKillip, Wurts, Bujold, Lee and Moon, just not the ones listed here. I’ve also got a Shin on my TBR-pile that isn’t listed here. So I figure that at least we were both looking in the right direction 😉

    • Ellie

      A few folk have commented in various places that this book or that book is missing from the list, or that other books aren’t really of Mistresswork quality. Maybe my post gives the wrong impression: I didn’t generate this list (it was crowdsourced) and I’m not saying that I agree with the book choices – how could I, when I haven’t read enough fantasy to even come close to offering informed commentary, despite enjoying the genre for over 30 years. It’s simply a starting point for discussion.

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