RIP Joanna Russ

One of the lesser-known greats of the New Wave of science fiction has passed on. Matthew Cheney has an excellent obit and overview. I reviewed my favorite work of hers, We Who Are About To…, some years back. As a supplementary epitaph, I’d like to quote part of Thomas M. Disch’s encomium to her, from The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of:

Little wonder that Heinlein, in Friday‘s alphabetized dedication and tribute to twenty-nine members of the fair sex, pays his devoirs to a Jeanne, a Joan, and a Judy-Lynn, but omits the name of Joanna. Now that, truly, is a compliment.

…C.J. Cherryh and Lois McMaster Bujold have taken their cue from Russ, writing gung-ho Realpolitik space operas that make the author of Gor look like the wimp he was.

And also quote Ray Davis quoting a great bit from the end of Russ’s classic The Female Man, spoken by the character “Joanna”:

“I am the gateway to another world,” (said I, looking in the mirror) “I am the earth-mother; I am the eternal siren; I am purity,” (Jeez, new pimples)