Joanna Russ

  Joanna Russ

I was personally saddened to learn that Joanna Russ had died after a number of severe strokes, saddened especially because I had seen so little of her for the last couple of decades.

It is evident, not only from her work but from everything she ever said on the subject, that Joanna had no use for men in general. She was willing, though, to make allowances for a few males, and it is a source of pride for me that I was one of those admitted to her class of friends.

Most of my memories of Joanna are the simple, remember-when kind that friends share, though they might not have been all that amusing when they happened — for example, the time when I was caught between Joanna and Sam Moskowitz as she was setting his scholarship straight at a Modern Language Association meeting, or the time when she and I got almost terminally lost driving around Philadelphia, trying to find our way to the site of some other meeting.

I was pleased, when, a few years later, I took over the science-fiction post at Bantam Books and thus was able to give her novel The Female Man the showing it so thoroughly deserved, and sorrowful when, not too much after that, her long-time struggle with excruciating spinal disorders made her unable to type out her thoughts at all, anymore, except from a standing position.

Joanna did not have an easy life, but I wish she hadn’t left it.