Anyone following me on FB and Twitter will have seen my links to Nicola Griffith’s blog discussion about Women Authors in SF, which was a response to an article in The Guardian online. I was delighted to see that this was followed up on by The Guardian again and garnered a wide and varied response. Though, I admit to be depressed by some of the comments, it was great to bring this into an open debate.
I’ve had acerbic comments cast at me for posting these links, which I found rather insulting. Have published eight SF novels now (and written nine, plus numerous published short fiction SF stories), I feel I have a reasonable grasp of my reading audience. I don’t purport to being an exceptional writer but I am readable, entertaining and coherent and have been nominated for and won awards.
I know from personal experience that there is an antipathy and sometimes animosity to women writing SF by SOME readers. It’s there, it’s real. Many won’t even try reading work by a woman, or do so with such ingrained bias that it’s hardly worth their while. I’m still being regularly asked by emerging female SF writers (most often people I don’t know) if they should write under a masculine pseudonym so that they will be read and accepted. The day I don’t get that question anymore, will be a day for celebration.
None of this is news to female writers in genre but in the ebb and flow of change, there are moments when things need to be reiterated. I sense this is one such moment. I’m staggered that we (the reading community at large) STILL harbour such bigotry that women are STILL frightened to write under their own names. It makes me think that we are closer to Mira Fedor’s (reference: Sentients of Orion) world than we care to acknowledge.
Thankfully, I have many readers of both genders who are intelligent and open-minded and to them I nod. You, and your children are the hope for our future evolution as a species.