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There have been a number of follow-up posts to the discussion I mentioned last weekend about the under-representation of women writers in the British sf market, and in particular about the dramatic imbalance revealed in the recent Guardian poll of favourite sf. The Guardian's own post on the topic ("Where did SF's Women go?") quickly attracted a critical mass of toxic comments, so instead read:

Cheryl Morgan writing about "Female Invisibility Bingo", with a plan:

The main issue here, however, is that complaining isn’t enough. If we want women writers to get recognition we have to do something about it. We have to talk about them, and we have to get them back into print. Nicola’s post, having noted the problem, was very much all about how we needed to do something, not just sit back and complain. And that’s mostly why I was so sad to see it being dismissed as whiny.

So I’m going to be talking to Nicola, and anyone else who is interested, about getting good SF by women back into print. Suggestions of books/authors you’d like to see available again are welcome.

Nicola Griffith calling for people to take the Russ Pledge:

The single most important thing we (readers, writers, journalists, critics, publishers, editors, etc.) can do is talk about women writers whenever we talk about men. And if we honestly can't think of women 'good enough' to match those men, then we should wonder aloud (or in print) why that is so. If it's appropriate (it might not be, always) we should point to the historical bias that consistently reduces the stature of women's literature; we should point to Joanna Russ's How to Suppress Women's Writing, which is still the best book I've ever read on the subject. We should take the pledge to make a considerable and consistent effort to mention women's work which, consciously or unconsciously, has been suppressed. Call it the Russ Pledge. I like to think she would have approved.

Meanwhile, Ian Sales has started a review blog for SF Misstressworks, and is looking for reviewers; Kari Sperring is soliciting suggestions for a list of Fantasy Misstressworks; and see also posts by L. Timmel Duchamp, Aliette de Bodard, and FJM. Over at Torque Control, Shana Worthen introduces Maul by Tricia Sullivan as this month's book for discussion; and Sullivan asks for issues that should be raised at the BSFA/SFF AGM mini-convention tomorrow.

EDIT: Another good post, by Heather at The Galaxy Express:

In the comment section of Cheryl Morgan’s post, Nicola Giffith made the following proposal: “To that end, I’d like to encourage everyone to use their platform to discuss one book/story by a woman this month: a Classic or an Unknown or a Young Turk, doesn’t matter.”

Upon reading that comment, I realized that the contributions of the science fiction romance community has been immensely significant in this regard. How many women authors do we discuss in one week, let alone a month? Unfortunately, SFR’s niche status seems to have made it all but invisible. Either that, or the bias against romance is once again rearing its ugly head.



Niall Harrison is a reader and fan.
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