In The Golden Notebook, The Four-Gated City, Briefing for a Descent into Hell, and The Summer Before the Dark, just to name my favorites of her work, Lessing wrote books of real impact and enduring power. I'm not going to point to her influence as a proto-feminist writer, and her repudiation or anyway qualification of the feminist label, but at least she's one mainstream writer who never disparaged science fiction. When she tried to do it, in the Canopus books, I think she failed, and failed badly though interestingly. But many of her works had elements that would be quite at home in the New Wave, which is the time period in which Four-Gated City, Briefing, and Summer were written, along with Memoirs of a Survivor.
Here's an interesting interview, conducted by Joyce Carol Oates, from 1973, when Lessing was at the height of her powers.
Cheers, Ms. Lessing!
posted by paulw