In-Between Subjects: C. L. Moore’s ‘No Woman Born’

  • Raffaella Baccolini


C. L. Moore’s classic story ‘No Woman Born’, published in the December 1944 issue of the pulp magazine Astounding Science Fiction, represents one of the earliest treatments of that hybrid which will be later called the cyborg, the cybernetic organism that is partly human and partly machine.2 Written when science fiction was still male territory, before women’s successful appropriation of the genre beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s,3 Moore’s short novella is extremely innovative as it anticipates some of the debates that characterise second-wave feminist theory: ‘the investigation of gender and sexuality as social constructs, thus posing a challenge to notions of a natural law regulating feminine behaviour and an innate femaleness that describes and circumscribes “woman”’ (Lefanu, 1988, p. 4). Moore’s story is also particularly innovative as it is one of the first texts to deal with what is still to this date a predominantly masculine genre, that branch of science fiction that deals with cyborgs and is best exemplified by writers like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.


Gender Identity Science Fiction Metal Body Woman Writer Male Scientist 
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© Rafaella Baccolini 2000

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  • Raffaella Baccolini

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