Joanna Russ: Novels & Stories (LOA #373)

The Female Man / We Who Are About To . . . / On Strike Against God / The Complet e Alyx Stories / Other Stories

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Pub Date Oct 03 2023 | Archive Date Feb 01 2024

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Rediscover one of America’s best SF writers in a definitive hardcover edition gathering all her finest work together for the first time

A LGBTQIA+ pioneer joins the Library of America series

An incandescent stylist with a dark sense of humor and a provocative feminist edge, Joanna Russ upended every genre in which she worked. The essential novels and stories gathered in this definitive Library of America edition make a case for Russ not only as an astonishing writer of speculative fiction, but, in the words of Samuel Delany, “one of the finest––and most necessary––writers of American fiction” period. 

Here is her now-classic novel The Female Man (1975), in which four remarkable women––Jeannine, Janet, Joanna, and Jael––traverse alternate histories and parallel worlds (including the brilliantly imagined all-female utopia, Whileaway) in a multi-voiced, multidimensional voyage that continues to alter readers’ sense of gender and reality.

We Who Are About To … (1977), recounting the fate of a misfit band of space-tourists stranded on an alien world, challenges “golden age” expectations about civilization, in what becomes an allegorical thriller.

In On Strike Against God (1980), her incisive, darkly comic, and ultimately joyous final novel, Russ returns to Earth to explore LGBTQIA+ and feminist themes and the unfamiliar territory of “coming out” and lesbian romance. 

Russ’s “Complete Alyx Stories”––which feature her inimitably sly, resilient, and stone-cold heroine Alyx, who is plucked from a life of petty crime in ancient Phoenicia to serve as adventurer-for-hire for the Trans-Temporal Authority, and which reinvent the sword and sorcery genre for a postmodern era––are presented in their entirety here for the first time, and newly restored to print.

Also included are her unforgettable tales “When It Changed” and “Souls,” the former a 1973 Nebula Award winner and the latter the recipient of the 1983 Hugo and Locus Awards.
Rediscover one of America’s best SF writers in a definitive hardcover edition gathering all her finest work together for the first time

A LGBTQIA+ pioneer joins the Library of America series


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ISBN 9781598537536
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Average rating from 15 members

Featured Reviews

A fantastic collection of the best work from a foundational female sci-fi writer and feminist fiction critic, this is an outstanding jumping-off place for anyone unfamiliar with Joanna Russ, or anyone who's read her work but wants to gobble up more. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this wonderful collection.

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Worthwhile and important collection.
I confess that I had hoped this might be a "complete works of Joanna Russ," though on reflection the idea probably wasn't all that realistic. As it is, LOA has put together a collection that gathers Russ' most influential work in one place: The Female Man, We Who Are About To, On Strike Against God, The Complete Alyx Stories (Bluestocking, I Thought She Was Afeard Till She Stroked My Beard, The Barbarian, Picnic on Paradise, The Second Inquisition, A Game of Vlet), and the stories "When it Changed" and "Souls." Before encountering this collection I had read all except On Strike Against God, and that one didn't disappoint. I'm a fan of Joanna Russ, so while I'm not, strictly speaking, an unbiased reviewer, I am delighted with the collection LOA has pulled together into one volume. Thanks to Library of America and Netgalley for sharing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Wow. It was such a treat to encounter Joanna Russ's work. I'm ashamed to admit I've never heard of or encountered her texts before. That's why the Library of America's edition of her work is so important. The texts were written at a time when the Women's Liberation Movement was in full force, and Russ's writing was a response and continuation of that movement.

Throughout Russ's writing, gender is an important part of her focus. Russ sees childbirth and reproduction as harming women and creative a negative world. Read within the context of the women's movement, these texts feel rightfully angry at a world that privileges white men over everyone else. Russ's work would be revolutionary even today because she makes readers examine what it means to be a woman in a society that doesn't appear to like them very much. I'm thrilled I got to read this collection of her work.

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NetGalley ARC Educator 550974

I was not familiar with Ms. Russ' work but am glad for the introduction. You can finish the book in one sitting by binge reading. The stories range in depth and emotive bearing. Some are light while others provoke deep thought. This book would be a welcome edition to feminist or LGBT college course syllabi.

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This book was my introduction to Joanna Russ, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended to feminists who like sci-fi.

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Joanna Russ is a 1975 Hugo award nominee and this is a staggering collection of one of Science Fictions most prominent feminist authors. Joanna Russ threw her hat into a very big world of science fiction and succeeded in catching the attention of fans and readers across the world. A tale which can't be digested in a few minutes, it's a mind bending, thought provoking piece of work with profound messages throughout. Along with the novel, there are several other collections and the book does a stellar job in showcasing her work. A great science fiction book, welcome on any fans shelf and a great buy.

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