A very strong anthology with a excellent mission, and some really striking stories with top-notch authors… The Other Half of the Sky is, in the end, an entertaining and strongly written set of stories by authors both new and familiar, writing in universes new and old, with characters that resonate with all readers. It’s hard to ask for more in an anthology.
-Paul Weimer, SF Signal
While some of the stories didn’t stand out to reviewer Paul Weimer as much as others, that’s no overall criticism of the anthology, which he thought “very strong” and also very much needed in the sf field…or, at least, the attention is needed. The stories have been there, as he notes:
“Does the anthology live up to its ideals and theme? Absolutely. The universes in these stories are populated with strong female characters with agency, hopes, fears and goals. It is only when you compare these stories to a significant chunk of the science fiction of the past and present that the contrast is clear. Many of the writers here have been writing strong female characters for years; having them all together here in one volume helps show off their dedication to this worthy and needed goal.”
Read the whole review. It’s worth it!
Another wonderful, thoughtful, and thought-provoking review has come out! This time, it’s from Sabrina Vourvoulias, journalist and author, on her blog, Following the Lede:
But where you really see Andreadis’ mettle isn’t in the fierce introduction but in the even fiercer choice of collecting (or cajoling) short stories in open rebellion with the image-making machinery of Sci Fi. Some of these stories succeed better than others, but all of them have at their heart the radical notion that we’ll define our own roles and map our own trajectories among the stars.
Go read the whole thing. It’s fierce and pointed and challenging…just the kind of thing we want to see in both sci-fi and criticism!
The F Word, a wonderful site devoted to “contemporary UK feminism”, has an excellent and very in-depth review of The Other Half of the Sky. Not only does it discuss the stories, but also their place in the consciousness and in the context of women being women. Definitely give it a read!
Another glowing review has come in!
Writing for Geek Exchange, Andrew Liptak had this to say:
“Far too often, it seems that there’s an attitude that women can’t or simply don’t write the sort of hard SF and space opera that’s traditionally been published. This book utterly crushes that assumption with its incredible range of stories and superior level of writing that’s consistent throughout the entire anthology. The Other Half of the Sky is an anthology that’s long overdue, and I hope that it’ll serve as a good example for future authors and readers in the genre.”
Read the full review here!
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.
The physical proof of The Other Half of the Sky has arrived at Candlemark & Gleam headquarters, and it looks phenomenal. The matte laminate of the cover is perfect, and the interior text and ornaments are crisp and clear.
We think you’re going to be very impressed when copies hit the shelves!
Publishers Weekly has reviewed The Other Half of the Sky!
Despite the efforts of numerous authors, publishers, and readers over the past several decades, SF remains a male-focused genre, with female authors too often overlooked by reviews and awards and female characters relegated to the status of support staff and victims. Rather than choosing between cursing the darkness and lighting a candle, Andreadis and Holt opt to do both…Space opera aficionados of all persuasions will enjoy these [stories].
Click here to read the full review.
Eleni Tsami just sent the final wraparound cover for the anthology. Isn’t it gorgeous?