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Joan Slonczewski

Joan Slonczewski

Joan Slonczewski was the first woman to win a Campbell Award (A Door into Ocean, 1986), and the only author since Fred Pohl to win a second Campbell (The Highest Frontier, 2011). A microbiologist, she writes hard science fiction about women of color as scientists, and explores diverse sexualities. The Highest Frontier depicts a Cuban-American woman going to college in a space habitat. Frontera College is run by a male couple, while on Earth a lesbian is running for president. Slonczewski's award-winning classic, A Door into Ocean creates a world covered entirely by ocean, inhabited by an all-female race of purple people who use genetic engineering and nonviolent resistance to defend their unique ecosystem. Brain Plague (2000) depicts intelligent alien microbes that invade our brains. The secret of these unique addictive microbes is discovered by a human-gorilla woman scientist in The Children Star (1998). Slonczewski’s books show a pansexual perspective, including human-ape hybrids and humans married to intelligent machines. Her early work was inspired by the works of Ursula Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Anne McCaffrey, and Tanith Lee. Slonczewski teaches biology at Kenyon College, including the notorious course “Biology in Science Fiction.”

The Helix and the Hard Road