Community Groups: Feminist Science Fiction Journal Gives a Safe Space

Gay People's Chronicle, June 21, 2002
by Batya Weinbaum

Cleveland--The next issue of Femspec, an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to critical and creative works in the realms of science fiction, myth, folklore, magical realism, surrealism and other supernatural genres, contains at least two items of interest to the gay and lesbian community.

"Love Story with a Living Ghost," by Carol Guess, is written in the first person by a woman to her female lover. Guess's novel, Gaslight, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.

"Monkey Business, The Planet of the Apes and Romantic Excess," by Louise Allen, a British author who has published on lesbian camp, feminism and the new media, analyses how the Planet of the Apes series "queers" heterosexuality by making it look perverse.

The publication is currently published by the Department of English at Cleveland State University with a national and international board including poet and critic Paula Gunn Allen (Spiderwoman), Suzy Charnas (Motherlines, Furies), Octavia Butler (Dawn, Kindred) and Joanna Russ (The Female Man, How to Supress Women's Writing).

While not devoted exclusively to gay and lesbian themes, the journal throughout its development, continues to provide a safe space for gay and lesbian students on campus, by offering an internship in feminist publication as well as employment when possible, and to integrate works on gender-bending themes.

For example, the second issue, Spring 2000, contains an annotated bibliography of separatist fantasies by utopian scholar Lynn Williams and a critical discussion of fictional single-sex utopias by Brian Attebery, who edited the Norton Anthology of Science Fiction with Ursula LeGuin.Femspec also solicits and encourages publication of works by people in the community on and off campus. The next cover will boast the original artwork of Robert Inman from CSU's First College, a returning student who won our student fees-funded student art contest.

The Native American issue contains a book review by former Chevrei Tikva member Kalia Schwartz , who recently moved to California. The journal was also a co-sponsor of the recent Holly Near concert, in an effort to promote harmonious relations and ties with the greater community and to make the journal known so that local writers and artists will submit works.For more information on ways to get involved, please call 216-687-3985, email or visit the website at

If you are interested in keeping this journal in Cleveland, email and suggest he extend a continual contract to the journal's editor, Assistant Professor of English Batya Weinbaum, author of Islands of Women and Amazon's: Representations and Realities.