Life by Gwyneth Jones (2004)

Life cover
Life‘s exploration of the working life of a scientist is one of the best I’ve read; and the thoroughness with which it maps the faultlines between sex and gender makes it, for me, the best thing Jones has written in a strong decade of work, and a deserved winner of the Philip K Dick Award. Paul Kincaid’s review in Foundation 95 finds a few faults to argue with, but sums up the novel’s virtues well:

None of these quibbles is fatal to the book. It remains beautifully written, vividly realised, seriously thought-out. It is rare to come across a novel which is clearly the consequence of such serious thought. The ideas are complex and patiently illuminated; and the story has been carefully constructed to throw those ideas into relief. If we read science fiction for intellectual as well as emotional engagement, then this is what the genre is all about.

Please email me with your top ten science fiction novels by women from the last ten years (2001-2010). All votes must be received by 23.59 on Sunday 5 December. Your own definition of science fiction applies.

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