7

I'm pretty sure this sci-fi short story was in an anthology of SF by women

A female scientist is in South America(?) conducting research, when she finds out that women are slowly "disappearing" in various parts of the world. When she tries to fly home to U.S., it becomes obvious at the airport that women are being hunted, targeted, and killed by men, in an attempt to annihilate them completely.

At end of story, this woman is hiding in the woods in Michigan(?) -- described as "up North"(?), and is being pursued.

  • 4
    Sounds kind of like The Screwfly Solution. – Adamant Oct 16 '16 at 7:30
  • @Adamant Yeah, that must be it. The only anthology of SF by women it appeared in seems to be Sisters of the Revolution from just last year. – user14111 Oct 16 '16 at 7:38
  • @user14111 - I’m holding off from writing an answer because lot of details don’t seem to match. – Adamant Oct 16 '16 at 7:49
  • @Adamant What lot of details don't match? OK, it's a male scientist doing research in South America and flies home to U.S., and it's his wife who flees her home in Michigan and hides in the woods "up North" in Canada. Anything else? – user14111 Oct 16 '16 at 10:02
  • 1
    @user14111 - Yeah, pretty much. I like to be sure, that is all. – Adamant Oct 16 '16 at 10:08
17

Could this be "The Screwfly Solution" by Raccoona Sheldon? (AKA Alice Sheldon, AKA James Tiptree Jr.)?

Per wikipedia, the main character is a researcher working in South America. At the end she's hiding out in Canada which she describes thusly:

"Up north, Anne was biting her lip in shame and pain."


The story begins with an exchange of letters and news clippings between Alan, a scientist working on parasite eradication in Colombia, and his wife Anne at home in the U.S., concerning an epidemic of organized murder of women by men. Some scientists suspect a biological cause for this sexually selective insanity (selected observations of lab animals indicate that the normal male sexual urges are spiraling out of control, resulting in death), but the murderers feel it is a natural instinct and have constructed elaborate misogynistic rationalizations for it. For example, a new religious movement is spreading along with the murders: the Sons of Adam, who believe that women are evil, that the garden was a paradise before women were introduced, and that God is telling them to get rid of all of the women. When the religion initially arises, prior to the organized murders, little is done to stop the ideology's spread, nor are their actions of evicting women from the areas the men control prevented. Alan realizes that the disease causes male sexual impulses to instead become violent impulses.

Alan, a sensitive, kindly man, realizes that he himself is succumbing and tries to resist the impulses, as well as isolate himself from women. While this occurs, his wife and teenaged daughter have a number of mother-daughter conflicts: the daughter, faithful to her father, refuses to believe her mother's warnings about him. She sneaks off to visit her father, and he murders her, killing himself after the horrific realization of his action. Anne flees north, to Canada, since the disease began in the tropical zones and spread outward. After most of the world's women are dead, adult men start murdering boys.


In the end, Anne, pursued by an entire society bent on femicide, discovers the source and motivation behind the plague: an alien species is intentionally causing the human race to destroy itself so that the aliens can have Earth for themselves.

The sole example I can find of it being collected with other female authors is in the very recent "Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology" from 2015, but this work has been repeatedly collected and is always been lauded as a strong example of female-orientated science fiction since it was first published in the late 1970s.

You can read it online here

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I would say it’s definitely “The Screwfly Solution”. There’s a TV adaptation of it.

I still get chills just thinking of it.

Ok I don’t know what else to add except to say it was originally published in Analog June 1977 and won a Nebula for best novelette.

  • Could you edit to explain why you think this is correct and how it matches the OP's description? – TheLethalCarrot Feb 28 at 10:02
  • 1
    You may also need to provide something that adds to the existing answer of "The Screwfly Solution"... – FuzzyBoots Feb 28 at 19:39
  • This doesn't appear to add anything to the existing answer. – Organic Marble Mar 2 at 22:45

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