Library Journal has reviewed The Other Half of the Sky! The review isn’t available online, but we’ve transcribed the print review here:
Challenging the predominance of male protagonists in sf, each of the 16 stories in this collection features strong, independent female characters and attempts a reconstruction of the genre itself. Freed from many of the male-oriented clichés, the selections present vividly depicted male and female, human and alien characters as fully fleshed individuals coping with a wide variety of issues. Contributors include Alexander Jablokov, Joan Slonczewski, Vandana Singh, Martha Wells, and Jack McDevitt. VERDICT: Fearless writing and a broad selection of topics makes this a good choice for fans of woman-centered sf and excellent storytelling.
Vicky Hooper follows up her thoughtful review of THE OTHER HALF OF THE SKY with a fantastic interview with editor Athena Andreadis. This is seriously worth a read, folks – if you’ve got any interest in gender in sf/f, ideas of the other, or women in genre fiction, do yourself a favour and check out the interview!
A few highlights:
In The Other Half of the Sky I particularly liked how not all the female characters were necessarily heroes or good people, or powerful in a traditional sense, but always felt like real people. Were you very conscious of trying to include a range of different kinds of characters?
I trusted the authors I invited to give me wide ranges in all dimensions without prompting. They certainly didn’t disappoint me. As they say, the way to get things done is to choose your partners with care, then let them do what they’re best at. An editor, like a lab head, needs to know not only what to say but also when and how to say it.
I love how the title The Other Half of the Sky can refer to both women and other underrepresented groups in science fiction. The characters and societies of these stories are very diverse. Was this a deliberate aim when putting the anthology together?
It was my desire and hope that we’d end up with all kinds of diversity without me forcing the issue. Yet again, my collaborators amply fulfilled my expectations. What pleased me the most was the fact that most of the stories depict non-Anglo worlds.
Victoria Hooper has reviewed the anthology, and gives a very thoughtful, detailed account of both the stories and her reading experience. It’s well worth clicking over to read the full review, but we’ve put some highlights here!
The Other Half of the Sky is an anthology that gathers great female characters of all varieties, from all kinds of writers (and male authors as well as women). The table of contents reveals a fantastic line up of authors, and the stories really don’t disappoint. This is the strongest collection of short stories that I’ve read yet, and not just as feminist tales or science fiction focussing on women, but as stories full-stop. The range of ideas and different tones and styles is astonishing, some of it familiar but told engagingly, much that is new and original, some with the exciting feel of an adventure story, some powerful and moving, some enchanting, and some that I found very challenging. There really is something here for everyone.
One of the biggest strengths of the collection is that it doesn’t just show us ‘the other half of the sky’ as far as women are concerned, but in other ways too. Many of the stories gathered here offer glimpses of a future in which the dominant culture is not Western, in which sexuality and gender identity are varied and accepted, and in which the language and tropes of alien contact stories do not have to reflect the colonialism of the past. Every single story, even those that play with familiar territory and ideas, offers something a little new. Many of the stories manage to be a lot of fun while also leaving the reader with plenty to think about.