A Woman's Liberation seems to promise explicitly feminist stories, but with one exception, that is not what you get. In sociopolitical terms, there isn't much in A Woman's Liberation that would discomfort the white, suburban, American middle class, and that's something that will discomfort many feminists.
The collection may be mainstream in its feminism and, usually, its sociocultural assumptions, but that does not mean the stories are comforting--quite the opposite. In "Inertia," Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon Award winner Nancy Kress takes a disturbing look at a concentration camp for disease sufferers in a repressive, decaying America. In the Nebula and Hugo Award winner "Even the Queen," Connie Willis deftly dissects mother-daughter relationships and satirically skewers a naive, doctrinaire feminist; this story represents an impressive but little-noted feminist accomplishment: Mrs. Willis placed a story blatantly about menstruation in Asimov's SF. Multi-award-winner Pat Murphy's "Rachel in Love" is guaranteed to disturb readers: when a young woman, Rachel, dies in an accident, her mind is downloaded into a chimpanzee's body, creating a mixed human-ape consciousness, and Rachel is torn between love for a man and love for a chimpanzee. The title story, Ursula K. Le Guin's impressive novella "A Woman's Liberation," is the book's most overtly feminist work; a multilayered, perceptive examination of politics (of several sorts) and freedom, it follows a woman's journey from slavery to liberty across two planets.
The anthology's subtitle, A Choice of Futures by and About Women, describes the contents perfectly: stories written by women about strong, intelligent female lead characters, set in the present and the future, on Earth and on distant planets. A Woman's Liberation is a superior collection of modern SF stories accompanied by an insightful introduction. --Cynthia Ward [via]