Femspec is an interdisciplinary journal focused on speculative fiction and its use in exploring gender. The articles included cover multiple genres and media, and each reflects the author’s engagement¬†with gender across time and place.

There are several reasons why this is awesome.

1. Community

Femspec provides multiple opportunities to create community. You can volunteer, write a review, submit an article… and at each point, you’ll be treated as beloved colleague contributing something unique and valued to the conversation. This is, I think, reflected in the naming of their blog: Voices of Femspec.

2. Genre-Branching

The articles are both accessible and genre-branching. In 10.2, for example, there’s work on The Bone Doll’s Twin, Oryx and Crake, The Female Man, Coraline, and Riding Freedom. The articles included consider each work in the context of the larger field of feminist writing… so when you’re talking female masculinity, you’re talking Judith Halberstam, historical fiction, and fantasy. After that? There’s an interview with an feminist Indonesian painter talking through globalization, global capital, women’s rights, and art. After THAT? A daring short story on birth, consent, and rape culture. After THAT? A reflection on the academic industrial complex. This brings me to my next point…

3. Access

The articles featured in Femspec are remarkably accessible. I taught the short story “Khunta” in my SF/F and identity course, and while my students struggled with it (unlearning rape culture is very difficult), it spurred some intense conversations on love, consent, and familial violence. Book reviewers are honest and candid, reflecting on the utility of the text (would they assign this to their students? what challenges would this text present to a room of undergraduates) and critical of the text’s positioning (why privilege theory over fiction, as though they are distinct?). Plus? I love that I can read an academic analysis of gender transgression in Coraline in the same journal featuring an extensive review of The Priestess of Avalon. :lights candle of remembrance to Marion Zimmer Bradley:

4. Remembrance

I am generally a fan of journals that include material on canonical and new texts. By this, I mean I squee for a journal that includes reviews of MZB’s work, writings on Joanna Russ, and writing on newer authors like Gaiman and Flewelling. <3 ¬†One of the really rad things about The Secret Feminist Cabal is that it keeps a feminist SF/F genealogy accessible… Femspec does something similar. Biannually.

Want to subscribe? Student rates are 30, individual/US is 50, and individual/international is 60.


    • Maria says

      It’s a short story in this issue of Femspec. It’s about a planet where heterosexual reproduction involves male worm-things chewing their way into humanoid females while the females sleep. The openings seal up afterwards, so the babies have to claw their way out, which normally kills the mother/host.

      • Shaun says

        My response is somewhere between “What the hell” and “wow.” I’ll check it out, but what’s the context in relation to rape culture (also, I didn’t know you taught a SF/F course).

        • Maria says

          My brilliance knows no bounds.

          Re:rape culture… None of the females of that species are able to truly consent, their partners think of this nonconsual sex as an instance of adultery, it’s impossible to imagine a world without, and it’s explicitly compared to human/earth sexual practices.

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