Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Nine novels honoring women’s unseen contributions to science

C. E. McGill was born in Scotland and raised in North Carolina. Their short fiction has appeared in Fantasy Magazine and Strange Constellations, and they are a two-time finalist for the Dell Award for Undergraduate Excellence in SF/F Writing. They now live in Scotland with their family, two cats, and a growing number of fake succulents (the real ones keep dying).

Our Hideous Progeny is their first novel and they have begun writing their second.

At Electric Lit McGill tagged nine titles honoring women’s unseen contributions to science, including:
The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung

In this compact but powerful novel, set in the decades after World War II, we meet Katherine, a young Asian American woman determined to make her place in the world of mathematics. From an early age, Katherine’s parents foster in her a love of nature and science—but after her mother abruptly abandons the family one day, Katherine buries her hurt and confusion in her studies, eventually becoming fixated on proving the notorious Riemann Hypothesis. As it turns out, however, the Riemann hypothesis and her own family history are far more entangled than she knows, and Katherine finds herself journeying across Europe in search of the truth. I adored the way that Chung depicted the struggles that women (especially women of color) face in STEM—not just outright prejudice, but also loneliness, insecurity, and a complicated mix of inspiration and envy that comes from seeing someone else like you succeeding in your field. Plus, as a fan of mathematics myself, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a character as driven and interesting as Katherine so passionate about the beauty and grace of a good equation.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Tenth Muse is among Ruth Minah Buchwald's seven novels about Americans of color living abroad and Erica Wright's nine crime novels featuring glamorous women.

My Book, The Movie: The Tenth Muse.

--Marshal Zeringue