Feminist Science Fiction – the Space Opera Version


Space opera! The kind of science fiction with space ships and interstellar politics and amazing weaponry! In this case, also the kind of science fiction with radical and feminist themes alongside the weaponry, etc.

I’ll be sending an introductory email and a short introductory essay before the first class, which is February 7.

We will be reading Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, Iain Banks’s Player of Games and Aliette De Bodard’s On A Red Station, Drifting, plus other critical material and possibly some Daniel Pinkwater. We’ll be reading the Leckie while we read the Banks and the De Bodard, so we’ll be talking about the books in comparison to each other.

The Leckie is particularly notable for its use of all female pronouns and concern with gender/genderlessness; Banks’s novel was a significant subversion of space opera tropes on its publication in 1988 and remains an influential novel; De Bodard’s novella is a fascinating investigation of what we expect from space opera and deals with matters of diaspora, Vietnamese history and the Chinese classic novel Dream of the Red Chamber.

Some free copies of the books will be available, so don’t let that stand in your way ; if you can afford it, please plan to buy the books (or get them from the library). We can order as a group or separately. On A Red Station, Drifting is very short, so I will be scanning it unless you particularly want your own copy.

We’ll be reading a lot for this class – please plan to be able to read about 125 pages a week. The material is not difficult. We can adjust the amount of reading to a certain degree based on class needs, but it’s still relatively reading-intensive.

We’ll be meeting for a minimum of six weeks, depending on how fast the class moves. If you need to miss class sessions, that should not be a problem.

Class is discussion-based. Depending on the size of the class, we will either work mostly as one group or in a mixture of large and small groups.

Please contact me at frowner008@gmail.com with any questions.


Minnehaha Free Space
3747 Minnehaha Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55406

It is accessible. Please contact me about mobility concerns, as we need to reserve the key for the first floor bathroom.


Start – February 7. End may vary based on how fast we want to read – at least six sessions, so thru March 14