Cyberpunk Women, Feminism and Science Fiction by Carlen Lavigne
Today I opened an envelope containing CYBERPUNK WOMEN, FEMINISM AND SCIENCE FICTION, A Critical Study, by Carlen Lavigne. I thought, this looks interesting. I order lots of books–as presents to my near-future self, as a professional necessity, and for love. Books are my joy, my drug, my economic original sin, and I was glad that I had ordered, in some seemingly unremembered past, this intriguing-looking book.
When I opened it, Carlen’s card fell out, and I remembered: a while back, I had answered a lot of her email queries. I never imagined I was contributing to something as ambitious, wide-ranging and necessary as this study.
A few years ago, a Wikipedia editor and close reader of my work said, “Your Wikipedia entry calls you a cyberpunk writer. That’s odd. Do you think of your work as cyberpunk?” I told her that I didn’t, although what an author thinks about her work is generally neither here nor there when it comes to how it is interpreted critically, by the public, or by her most avid fans. However, I’m glad to see my work so strongly included in Lavigne’s book. She views cyberpunk through a new and refreshing lens.
In her Introduction, Lavigne writes, “As this study will show, authors such as Marge Piercy, Melissa Scott and Kathleen Ann Goonan have indeed used the cyberpunk mythos to work against prejudice and limited worldviews; they have expanded the genre far beyond its original tenets (7).”
I’m eager to read this book not only because Lavigne sees my work and the work of Pat Cadigan, Sage Walker, Melissa Scott, Lisa Mason, and many other women who began to publish science fiction in the 1980’s and 90’s as critically important–that’s not new, although SF written by women has indeed not been given as much critical emphasis as that written by men–but because, from my initial brief tour of the book, her work goes a long way towards giving women in science fiction, and the ideas they consider worth writing about, their due. The cover copy says “The study treats feminist cyberpunk as a unique vehicle for examining contemporary women’s issues and analyzes feminist science fiction as a complex source of political ideas.”
CYBERPUNK WOMEN, FEMINISM AND SCIENCE FICTION: A CRITICAL STUDY by Carlen Lavigne is published by McFarland. Lavigne holds a Ph.D. in Communications Studies, and she teaches Red Deer College in Alberta, Canada.