Ladies who invented your favorite genre

Do you love stories about masked heroes who fight for the poor? Science experiments gone awry? Utopian societies? Rogue space adventurers? 

You have these women to thank.


Margaret Lucas Cavendish – 1660s

Utopian Sci-Fi

The eccentric Duchess of New Castle aka “Mad Madge” published her works under her name at a time where female writers remained anonymous. Her novella “The Blazing World” was the first science fiction novel, and represents a pioneering female scientific Utopia. 

Learn more here.

Mary Shelly 
Sci-Fi Horror 

She published “Frankenstein, or the Post Modern Prometheus” at age 21 in 1818. Her other famous works include “Valperga” and “The Last Man.”

Learn more here.


Emma Orczy 1890s

Costumed Vigilante 

When she was three, her family held a big party where everyone was in costume. Afterwards, she was hurriedly tucked into bed. Outside she could see red; the barn, the stables and the crops were burned in protest.

She considered this her “spiritual birthplace.” She would later use this moment for themes in her work: poor rebelling against​ the rich, and the mystery of the mask.

She wrote “The Scarlett Pimpernel” in five weeks. It was published first as a play, then a novel. It went on to be adapted for movies and Broadway, and even referenced in cartoons.

Learn more here.

Catherine Lucille Moore – 1930s

Space Western

C.L. Moore’s work started showing up in pulp magazines including two significant series in “Weird Tales.” One was about a rogue and adventurer Northwest Smith wandering throughout space, the other was about the warrior Jirel of Joiry, one of the first female protagonists in “sword and sorcery” fiction.

Her work also appeared in “Astounding Science Fiction” magazine. These include: “Judgement Night,” “The Code,”Promised Land,” “Heir Apparent,” and “Paradise Street.” 

In 1981, she received the “World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement” and the”Gandalf Grand Master Award” at the World Science Fiction Convention. 

Learn more here.

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