Thursday, January 29, 2015

Suzette Haden Elgin (1936-2015)

Feminist science fiction author and linguist Suzette Haden Elgin died on Tuesday, January 27. She was the author of numerous science fiction novels, a poet, and a prolific fan writer. In 1978, she founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association; the Elgin Award is named in her honor. She had a PhD from UCSD in linguistics, and in fact began writing science fiction to pay for graduate school. Her science fiction, especially the Native Tongue trilogy (for which she invented a new, feminist language, Láadan) exercised a powerful influence on feminist science fiction. Her 1969 story (and first sale) "For the Sake of Grace" was the inspiration for Joanna Russ's The Two of Them. She also wrote a series of books on "The Gentle Art of Verbal Defense" and other works of popular linguistics.

You'll find a bibliography of her science fiction here:;
John Clute's somewhat critical discussion of her work here:;
and her wikipedia entry (which includes a list of some of her nonfiction writings) here:


Dr. MJ Hardman said...

Thank you for writing this. I have felt the loss of her voice since she became ill three years ago. She was important not only to me but to many of my students. One, from 25 years ago, sent me a message on learning of her death.

Cat Rambo said...

Words are insufficient to convey what a loss to humanity this is.

J. Juday said...

I am so very sorry to hear this. What a loss for us all. Time to re-read her books.