When I was putting together our first collection of classic science fiction, Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958-1963), one name kept popping up. Rosel George Brown exploded onto the SF scene in the late ‘50s, earning a nomination for the Best New Author Hugo in 1959. It was deserved — Brown combined a savviness for the genre with a fresh viewpoint. Her work was thought-provoking and (as importantly!) fun to read. She is the one author who was featured twice in our flagship volume.
So imagine my excitement when, in the course of writing Galactic Journey, I discovered that she had written a novel in 1966! And not just any novel. Sibyl Sue Blue was pretty much the first science fiction novel to star a kick-ass mom: a woman who was intelligent, resourceful, and determined. A marriage of the detective novel and the space opera adventure, Sibyl Sue Blue opened the genre up for the heroines we love today, from Ellen Ripley to Naomi Nagata.
But Sibyl Sue Blue is more than just a fun thriller. Composed at the height of the civil rights and feminist movements, the novel has a lot to say on those subjects. Or as Judith Merril (also in Rediscovery) put it in her 1967 review:
…under all the froth and fun and furious action, there is more acute comment on contemporary society than you are likely to find in any half dozen deadly serious social novels.
Sadly, after this promising debut, Brown succumbed to leukemia the next year at the age of just 41. A sequel to Sibyl Sue Blue, The Waters of Centaurus, was published in 1970, however.
In the process of making Rediscovery, I made contact with Robin Brown, one of Rosel’s two children. When I suggested bringing his mother’s work back into print, he enthusiastically gave the project his blessing. So not only does Sibyl Sue Blue continue the Journey Press tradition of bringing lost classics back into print, it is also a personal project for all involved.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did — as an entertaining read, as a landmark book, and as a glimpse at the potential of what could have been one of the genre’s brightest lights.
Stop a murder, save two planets!
Who she is: Sibyl Blue, single mom, undercover detective, and damn good at her job.
What she wants: to solve the mysterious benzale murders, prevent more teenage deaths, and maybe find her long-lost husband.
How she’ll get it: seduce a millionaire, catch a ride on his spaceship, and crack the case at the edge of the known galaxy.
“Rosel George Brown’s long-overdue first novel, SIBYL SUE BLUE, is something, believe me, else…froth and fun and furious action.”
Categories: All Ages, Science Fiction
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