Joanna Russ: Novels and Stories by Joanna Russ
Hardcover – Library of America – Oct 2023 – 711 pages
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.