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Diversity in Australian Speculative Fiction : A Bibliographical Exhibition
Researched and compiled by Dr Catriona Mills
(Status : Public)
Coordinated by AustLit UQ Team
  • Sexuality and Gender in Speculative Fiction

    2015 has been a year in which the speculative-fiction world has been rather vocal on the topic of gender in speculative fiction. In September 2015, for example, speculative-fiction Internet circles picked up on a review of a space-opera anthology written entirely by women writers, a review that suggested:

    'I’m sorry to offend fifty percent of the population but it has to be said that when it comes to writing Science Fiction, it still remains a purely male domain.'

    'I applaud the ladies for giving it a try,' the reviewer concluded, 'but I would suggest they forget going any further.' It seems women can write fantasy, but science fiction is a trickier proposition.

    Or so some would have you believe.

    Of course, this is nothing new–only look at the example of James Tiptree Jnr (Alice Sheldon) to see that. But it is, in the age in which a single post can go viral in minutes, a still urgent and still active debate.

    That said, this section aims to explore something simultaneously narrower and broader than 'women writing science fiction': narrower because we're not looking at that wide 50% of the world's population that is 'women', but broader because these lists do not position either gender or sexuality as binary constructs.

    Like the lists on physical diversity, this section draws from the works' characters, not the authors. The works here have been chosen because, among many other examples of placing gender and sexuality at the forefront of their work, they

    • use speculative fiction to explore or to tweak gender roles
    • include non-heterosexual characters and relationships
    • create alien cultures that lack a sexual or gender binary
    • explore cross-dressing (especially by women) and gender performance as an act of economic or social mobility

    This list began as a blog post, still available to view here, but has subsequently been expanded and refined.

    The works listed on this page are speculative fiction only, thereby excluding such significant works as Alyssa Brugman's Alex As Well or Hazel Edwards's f2m. We encourage you to search the database for other works on the topics of gender and sexuality.

    While AustLit doesn't record authors' sexual orientation, we do record authors' gender. See 'Women Writing Speculative Fiction' below to explore Australian women's writing.

  • Explore the Works

    The works are divided into general sections, to make the lists easier to navigate. Click on a tile to open up the list. For the purposes of this list, a series is three works or more, so works that include a book and its sequel will appear under other categories.

    Note: The links take you to the AustLit record for the works.

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      Short Stories and Novellas

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      Children's and YA Fiction

  • Women Writing Speculative Fiction

    While AustLit doesn't record authors' sexual orientation, we do record authors' gender. So in addition to the works individually listed in this section, here are some gender-specific lists you might like to explore at your leisure. The searches will run anew each time you click the link, so they will always provide you with the most up-to-date listing that AustLit has.

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