I thought I better put this down here so I can link to it, rather than just to Rendevous with Rama all the time.
I thought I 'd make it harder than the Bechdel test because...well...books are different than films and you can explain harder concepts...well...maybe.
1: does it have at least 2 female characters
2: is one of them a main character
3: do they have an interesting profession/level of skill with male characters
I would give bonus points if:
4: they talk about gender equality (eg, The Dispossessed)
5: the ratio of female to male characters is 50/50
Old sci-fi is so far doing badly. I don't even want to get started on fantasy. Gah.