thinking abour speculative fiction and women…

There’s been some talk in the wires about the gender gap in Speculative Fiction. Since I actually think Paranormal Romance totally counts as Science-Fiction and Fantasy, I don’t really know what those guys are talking about.

However, in HardSF/MilitarySF, I can honestly say there seems to be a gender gap. And, the women who are writing Hard SF/MilitarySF, the women we have kick ass.

I just finished “Marquee and Reprisal” by Elizabeth Moon, and I thought it was a great time. Exciting space battles, excellent world-building, and excellent plotting heavily rooted in believable characters. If more people of either gender wrote stuff this much fun, TV would go out of business.

The gap that worries me is not the gender gap. The quality gap worries me. At the highest levels of quality, I’ve noticed parity between the number of men and women.

Perhaps this percieved gender gap is just that men, for some unknown reason, are better at limping through some average-to-bad paint-by-numbers Heinlein rip-off. Once you get out of the sticks and into the upper echelons, I don’t see any gender gap at all. In fact, Nancy Kress and Elizabeth Moon and a few notable others are totally kicking ass.


5 thoughts on “thinking abour speculative fiction and women…

  1. I don’t want to generalize but I feel like women aren’t satisfied with the status quo. If we’re going to undertake something it’s going to be kick ass or nothing. Maybe men are more willing to settle. Either that or publishers are more willing to take on sub-par men and women have to be stellar to get looked at. Ohhh this reminds me of an argument I heard for why there’s a lack of fairy tales/folktales with strong female characters. I’ll write a blog about it! But that’s my thoughts. However I could never write Hard SF, kudos to the women who can.

  2. There aren’t as many women writing military sf to begin with–not as much crosses the transom in terms of submission.That said–these are some I think do a fabulous job.Elizabeth Bear’s Jenny Casey booksC. J. Cherryh–scads of them, but Hellburner and Tripoint in particularLois McMaster Bujold

  3. Hello Lisa, and Ekaterina!FishMonkey, I still wonder at that generalization. Again, at the highest levels of quality, I’m not convinced there’s a gender gap.the 2008 Hugo nominations for “Novella” have more women (3 versus 2) than men. That’s a form of short fiction that’s incredibly difficult to sell. It has to be scads good just to get in print.Thinking back on issues of Realms of Fantasy, and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, the stories that stand out the most in my memory were written by women. (Delia Sherman’s story about the fairy spring and the fairy retired ballet dancer, as well as “Lazaro y Antonio” which I thought was just awesomely cool).I also wonder at the number of Paranormal Romance authors that are being ignored by the mainstream because of the picture on the cover and the imprint. P N Elrod, Rachel Caine, Jackie Kessler, CT Adams and Cathy Clamp have all written straight-up speculative fiction… Heck Jackie’s had good stuff in Realms of Fantasy recently, and Rachel Caine and P N Elrod both were involved with NYTimes Bestselling Anthologies. (My Big, Fat Supernatural Wedding, and My Big, Fat Supernatural Honeymoon). “Interfictions” was a wonderful anthology, but a NYTimes Bestseller, it was not.In the discussion of short fiction and anthologies, are we including the paranormal romance genre?My ten cents.

  4. Oh, and by “Ignored by the Mainstream” in the prior comment, I am referring to mainstream fantasy and sf fans. Mainstream book buyers (aka the New York Times Bestseller List) have no problem finding those authors at all.

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