Back Kate Wilhelm, “Baby, You Were Great”

Kate Wilhelm (1928–2018)
From The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women

Illustration by American artist Ed Emshwiller (1925–1990) from the cover of the Nov. 1956 Original Science Fiction Stories (“Women’s Work”). (Courtesy sciencefictionruminations.com)

This week sees the publication of The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, a new Library of America collection that upends the common notion that SF was conceived by and for men.

“As it turns out," writes volume editor Lisa Yaszek, “women have been involved in shaping SF all along. Between the mid-1920s and the late 1960s, nearly 300 women published in the principal genre-specialist magazines—about 15 percent of all contributors. . . . While it is true that women in SF occasionally met resistance from male writers, editors, and fans who disliked their presence in the field, most recall such incidents as isolated ones.”

Among the women who wrote for genre magazines is Kate Wilhelm, who is no stranger to SF fans and was a treasured mentor to numerous writers right up until her death earlier this year. The author of more than fifty novels, Wilhelm remains most famous for Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976), which won the Hugo and Locus awards for the year and was a finalist for the Nebula. In 2003 she was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Yaszek includes in the anthology the alarmingly prescient (and deeply disturbing) story “Baby, You Were Great,” and we present it—free—as our Story of the Week selection.

Read “Baby, You Were Great” by Kate Wilhelm

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