science fiction and fantasy for and about women
This blog was inspired by a moment of surprise. For years I’d been a member of the women’s fraternity Alpha Omicron Pi without realizing that one of its four Founders, the writer Stella George Stern Perry, was a contributor to the pulp Weird Tales. While involved in research on C. L. Moore a few years ago, I came across Perry’s name on a roster of Weird Tales authors in Eric Leif Davin’s Partners in Wonder. A bit of digging revealed that Perry’s ghost story, “Old Roses,” was published in the August 1931 issue. Interestingly, Perry’s name was featured on the cover, just a few lines below that of H. P. Lovecraft.
Mention of Perry on the cover was noteworthy, as it served as further support for Davin’s argument that women published in the pulps under identifiably-female bylines; it also supported his claim that established female writers also found those bylines being used as promotional devices. Even more exciting was the possibility that Perry’s name had some name recognition with the Weird Tales readership. I eagerly made arrangements to procure a copy of the text.
While I waited for the text to arrive, I was troubled. I should have been aware of Perry’s connection to the pulps already, I thought. I worried that if I’d turned left instead of right, so to speak, I could have easily remained ignorant of the connection. It also struck me as odd that I was aware of Perry because I belonged to an all-female, somewhat utopian organization founded at the onset of First Wave feminism by four early and excellent examples of the New Woman. As with the other three Founders, Perry–a Suffragist, businesswoman, art critic, and author, among other things–was a career woman who flourished in newly opened areas of the public sphere. Why wouldn’t such an intrepid woman stake a claim in yet another presumably all-male territory, i.e., the seedy underground of the pulps, a place where (as I knew from my research on Moore) no “good girl” dared to tread? And how could I not know that she had? I saluted her excursion into this purported no-woman’s land and resolved to do what I could to publicize it to fraternity members.
But why stop there? I thought. Isn’t this part of a larger desire to share the entire genre with sisters of all stripes, inside and outside the organization?
Well, of course it was, and hence the blog was born.
I invite you to ask questions, suggest texts, contest, correct, and leave comments on the Messageboard. If you’re a new reader, I hope you make a few discoveries of your own. If you do, please share your thoughts with some aspect of the SF&F community, if not here. Most of all, I hope your reading in these genres reminds you of the power of women’s writing. I know my my own reading serves as a constant reminder of this fact. It also sustains a deep sense of connection to the women of the past and their plentiful wisdom, not the least of which is the observation that sisterhood is powerful.