RIP, Joanna Russ

Legendary feminist science fiction author Joanna Russ died yesterday after a series of strokes. She was 74. Russ was the author of The Female Man and many other science fiction classics. Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden remember Russ in their own way; Patrick with a long quote from The Female Man; Teresa with this lovely remembrance of the time she spent with her:

We got into the habit of going grocery shopping together because she had two things I didn't: a car, and a back injury that made it impossible for her to lift anything heavier than a medium zucchini. We'd go shopping after work, then go to her house and put her groceries away, then sit down at the kitchen table and talk until Patrick phoned to ask where the hell I was. I'd tell him we were nearly finished putting the groceries away, and Joanna would drive me home.

We got buzzed on conversation.

I was nonplussed when she found out about slash fiction, and borrowed a stack of it from a local fan who shall remain nameless unless she outs herself. One night not long after that we were at the Continental (a Greek restaurant on University Avenue), and she started talking about Kirk and Spock fanfic in terms of images and patterns and literary theory.

You can learn more about Russ and her contribution to the field and to feminist thought in On Joanna Russ, the scholarly volume edited by Farah Mendelsohn.

Joanna Russ, 1937-2011