The Paris Review

Finding Science Fiction and Fantasy for Female Readers

“Why don’t you write anything fun? You know, like about an alternate universe or time travel or something?”

That’s my twelve-year-old daughter, an obsessive reader who plows through four or five books a week, disappointed that her novelist mom hasn’t invented a tweenage dystopia like the ones she devours daily. For her, like for so many readers her age, reading means plunging into the supernatural, fantasy, science fiction, some wild imagined world where new rules apply. I watched endless alternate universes with daring heroines pile up on my daughter’s nightstand, baffled by how different her tastes were from mine at her age—until I finally understood one very obvious answer to her question. My daughter’s fascination with nonrealistic literature began a few years ago with one of my own childhood favorites: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, first published in 1962. And that was where the wrinkle between my daughter’s time and mine began.

is about a, she saves her little brother from terminal illness by traveling into his cells, likely making this to be the world’s only novel set primarily inside a mitochondrion. It’s awesome, if you’re ten years old and into that kind of thing.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review2 min read
Redux: The Rapturous Monotony of Metal, Water, Stone
Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Re
The Paris Review8 min read
Object Worlds and Inner States
Mughal dynasty, Jahangir and Prince Khurram Entertained by Nur Jahan, ca. 1645, opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper. Via Wikimedia Commons. “Look! Look! If you look really hard at things, you’ll forget you’re going to die,” an American actor is
The Paris Review9 min readFood & Wine
Cooking with Bruno Schulz
In Valerie Stivers’s Eat Your Words series, she cooks up recipes drawn from the works of various writers. I have unusually clear memories of early childhood, including one about the bright-white lines of a tennis court when I could only just crawl a