I was just reading over at Skepchick about the “Most significant SciFi/Fantasy books of the last 50 years” and bug_girl rightfully asks “Where Are The Women?”
She asks readers to point out women who have been influential in the genre of Science Fiction, and lots of good names come up.
But what surprises me – no, it shocks me – is that no one mentioned Andre Norton. Andre Norton is the Grand Dame of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. She was writing in an exclusively male genre back when nobody even considered that a woman might know the first thing about it. In fact, the only way she could be taken seriously was to change her name from Alice to Andre. Yet she was one of the most prolific authors and one of the most read authors of Science Fiction and Fantasy to date – over 300 published titles, according to Wikipedia.
Andre Norton paved the way for all the other women Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers. Without her contributions, there would be no Ursula Le Guin, no Anne McCaffrey, no Marion Zimmer Bradley, no Mercedes Lackey, no Earthsea, no Pern, no Darkover, no Valdemar on library and bookstore shelves.
St. Patrick’s Day marks two years since her passing, and I hope that such oversights of her influence are not the beginning of a trend. She was the trailblazer, and should not be forgotten.
(The most beautiful portrait of Andre Norton ever, by Jean Rabe.)