Nevermind the Gap: Judith Merril Challenges the Status Quo

  • Ritch Calvin
Part of the Studies in Global Science Fiction book series (SGSF)


Judith Merril was a writer committed to breaking down norms, barriers, and boundaries. This chapter examines four ways in which Merril challenges the boundaries or barriers between ideas. First, Merril bridges the gaps between science and pseudoscience. Second, Merril breaks down the notion of nation or nationality, especially in her treatment of human/alien encounters. Third, Merril challenges gender divisions, often featuring female characters at a time when they tended to be secondary at best; she also includes conventional “feminine” concerns such as love, maternity, and domestic work. Finally, she challenges the division between mainstream and genre literature, seeing the gap between “science fiction” and “literature” as artificial.


Judith Merril Nationalism Gender New Wave SF 


  1. Advertisement. Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. 1968 (March): 45.Google Scholar
  2. Cummins, Elizabeth. 1992. “Short Fiction by Judith Merril.” Extrapolation 33 (3) (October): 202–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. ———. 1995. “Judith Merril: A Link with the New Wave—Then and Now.” Extrapolation 36 (3) (October): 198–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hagood, Charlotte Amanda. 2011. “Rethinking the Nuclear Family: Judith Merril’s Shadow on the Hearth and Domestic Science Fiction.” Women’s Studies 40: 1006–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kidd, Virginia. 1974. “Introduction.” In Survival Ship and Other Stories, edited by Judith Merril, 7–14. Toronto: Kakabeka.Google Scholar
  6. Klodawsky, Hélène. 2001. What If: A Film About Judith Merril. Montréal: Imageries P. B.Google Scholar
  7. Knight, Damon. 1977. The Futurians: The Story of the Science Fiction “Family” of the 30’s That Produced Today’s Top SF Writers and Editors. New York: John Day.Google Scholar
  8. Malzberg, Barry. 2016. “There Is No Defense.” Galaxy’s Edge. Accessed January 6, 2017. Scholar
  9. Markham, Edwin. 1916. The Shoes of Happiness and Other Poems. Garden City: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  10. Merril, Judith. 1951. “Where Will Our First Spaceship Go: Mars: New World Waiting.” Marvel Science Fiction (August): 107.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 1958. “How Near Is the Moon?” In The Year’s Greatest Science-Fiction and Fantasy: Third Annual Volume, edited by Judith Merril, 221–26. New York: Dell.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 1959. “Rockets to Where?” In The Year’s Greatest Science-Fiction and Fantasy: Fourth Annual Volume, edited by Judith Merril, 234–38. New York: Dell.Google Scholar
  13. ———, ed. 1968. England Swings SF. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 1976. “Interview.” The Best of Judith Merril. Notes by Virginia Kidd. New York: Warner Books.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2005. Homecalling and Other Stories: The Complete Solo Short SF of Judith Merril. Edited by Elisabeth Carey. Framingham: NEFSA Press.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2016.“The Judith Merril Theory of Lit’ry Criticism”: Judith Merril’s Nonfiction. Edited by Ritch Calvin. Seattle: Aqueduct Press.Google Scholar
  17. Merril, Judith, and Emily Pohl-Weary. 2002. Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril. Toronto: Between the Lines.Google Scholar
  18. Newell, Dianne, and Victoria Lamont. 2009. “Daughter of Earth: Judith Merril and the Intersections of Gender, Science Fiction, and Frontier Mythology.” Science Fiction Studies 36 (1) (March): 48–66.Google Scholar
  19. Pohl-Weary, Emily. 2002. “Writing My Grandmother’s Autobiography.” In Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril, edited by Judith Merril and Emily Pohl-Weary, 1–7. Toronto: Between the Lines.Google Scholar
  20. Sabella, Robert. 2000. Who Shaped Science Fiction? Commack: Kroshka.Google Scholar
  21. Yaszek, Lisa. 2004. “Stories ‘That Only a Mother’ Could Write: Midcentury Peace Activism, Maternalist Politics, and Judith Merril’s Early Fiction.” NWSA Journal 16 (2) (Summer): 70–97.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 2008. “Not Lost in Space: Revising the Politics of Cold War Womanhood in Judith Merril’s Science Fiction.” In New Boundaries in Political Science Fiction, edited by Donald M. Hassler and Clyde Wilcox, 78–92. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ritch Calvin
    • 1
  1. 1.SUNY at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA

Personalised recommendations