Kathryn Wilhelm BFA Communication Design Thesis Fall 2014

World Builders: Science Fiction's Invisible Women

This work draws from my artistic practice in which I created a book of illustrated science fiction concerning interpersonal relationships through time and space. The stories were selected from a vast collection of previously published SF material that has entered the public domain.

As I sorted through each story, it became abundantly clear that men or individuals with masculine names wrote the majority of the pieces available and I initially found myself with a shortlist of exclusively male authors. As my frustration at finding so few female voices grew, so did my list of questions: Why am I having to actively search to include women writers? I’m pulling from the public domain, is this simply a numbers game? Were women just not producing much Science Fiction before the 1960s? If they were, why were they not commercially published as much as their male counterparts? How does this translate to what’s going on in the science fiction community today?

I ended up with a laundry list of questions and began my decent into uncovering everything and anything I could about the culture surrounding women writers in Science Fiction. This paper is a culmination the truths I’ve discovered regarding the continued marginalization of women within the Science Fiction community as well as how feminism has shaped the genre.

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Fall 2014