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This post is for the fifth of SFF.SE's new series of topic challenges, encouraging the site's community to take part together in asking and answering questions on a particular topic each month. According to community votes on the topic challenge proposals thread, the May 2021 topic challenge is going to be devoted to an American female writer of fantasy and sci-fi:

Margaret St. Clair (a.k.a. Idris Seabright or Wilton Hazzard)



What's a topic challenge and how do I take part?

See Announcing a Topic Challenge program for SFF.SE, and also this main meta post. In short, during May 2021 we should all try to: either read some Margaret St. Clair stories and ask interesting questions about them, or ask questions about some of those stories we've read before, or help out by answering other people's questions about them.

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, but those who participate will be forever remembered in the annals of our history. We'll keep a list of all Margaret St. Clair questions asked during May 2021 in an answer to this meta post. At the end of the month, I'll collate some data like highest-scoring question, most-viewed question, highest-scoring answer, etc. There won't be any real-world rewards like in the old days when Stack Exchange was smaller and more generous, but I'll be awarding at least one bounty after the end of the month (assuming there's at least one good answer posted).

Here is Clara Diaz Sanchez's original presentation of this proposal (slightly truncated):

Margaret St. Clair (17 February 1911 – 22 November 1995) was an American fantasy and science fiction writer, who also wrote under the pseudonyms Idris Seabright and Wilton Hazzard. She is one of several women science fiction writers from the Golden and Silver Age who have sadly fallen between the cracks of history. From that time, the only women authors who are still widely remembered and reprinted today are Leigh Brackett, C.L. Moore and Andre Norton – almost everybody else is more or less obscure.

St. Clair wrote many short stories and eight novels, including Sign of the Labrys featuring an early use of Wicca elements in fiction, and more traditional sci-fi stories like Message from the Eocene which has been described as "at times a Hal Clement style truly alien aliens in an alien environment story, a Victorian ghost story, a galactic suburbia style science fiction tale, and a mid 1960s space exploration story".

Her short stories available to read online include:

(these links found thanks to Wikipedia and Google; if anyone knows of more, please feel free to edit them in!)


What's next?

Future topic challenges will be chosen by community votes, so come over and propose or vote on suggestions at:

Propose future topics for SFF topic challenges!

(The Margaret St. Clair answer will be deleted from that thread at the start of May, since already chosen topics shouldn't stick at the top of the thread and distract people from those still to be voted on.)

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List of all questions posted as part of this topic challenge


The highest-voted and most viewed of these is What does PE&G stand for, and does it connect with Mazda's name?, with a score of 7 at the end of May and approximately 145 views during May.

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