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Its the conversation we keep having to have

So, I'm not that much interested in the Mind Melds over at SF Signal. You can probably guess why but jonathanstrahan pointed it out to me yesterday and I meant to post this yesterday but ran out of time.

So this one is on the Single Author Collections everybody needs to have aka the ones most worthy of us discussing. And in summary:

Elizabeth Anne Hull puts forward just 3 titles, all men.
Jeff Vandermeer gives us 10 female titles and a bunch more in his "what else I could have said"
Mike Resnick gives us 9 men and one 1 woman
Catherynne Valente gives us two women
John Ottinger III gives a bunch of men and Elizabeth Moon
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro gives us 9 men and one 1 woman writing as a man
Dave Truesdale gives us a complete list of men.

Of the 7 people asked in this first part, 2 were women.

Much of what I would have to say about this, I've already said before. In brief, to male commentators, women writers in the field are invisible.

What I do have to say is thanks Jeff Vandermeer - by making his own statement loud and clear he has acted as a true critic for me, and given me a huge bunch of books to add to my own reading list, something you don't nornally get with these because people list the obvious and known. He has told ME what should be on MY reading list and in MY library. *APPLAUDS*


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2010 03:55 am (UTC)
Do you know what pleases me? I ran my eye over those lists, and I did notice that Jeff had recommended a lot of women, but I didn't stop to actually realise he had nominated all female authors.

I actually came away from it with a general idea that he had possibly nominated more women than men, but that was all! hehehe. Jeff is awesome.

He does a good job of pointing out that these lists are never about a mythical 'best' (aka the first 10 I can remember) but about choosing which of the many awesome things you have read that you want to recommend to a given audience.
Jun. 17th, 2010 04:00 am (UTC)
Which is why, I suspect, many people don't notice the reverse. If your default expectation is male heavy, you don't notice or question when it is.
Jun. 17th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)
I know! I've been trained since I was about 5 years old to recognise, respect and appreciate women's art and to notice when others don't. That is my default, but a hard-won one. The large majority are trained - and not nearly as deliberately - towards the opposite default.
Jun. 17th, 2010 04:07 am (UTC)
I think in some ways you've influenced me for that to be my default too but the truth is, when I see male heavy, I get kinda bored and uninterested and it's only been since hanging out with men who do not respond that way to certain books, that I've looked and deconstructed why I don't share their view.
Jun. 17th, 2010 06:05 am (UTC)
Mind Meld
I took the exercise to mean "name 10 seminal collections." Most of those I named, for that reason, are collections of the stories that shaped modern science fiction. And the unhappy fact is that prior to 40 or 45 years ago, when most of these stories were written, this was a male-dominated field. Heinlein, Bradbury, Bester, Kornbluth, most of the others I named, did their major writing back then. There -was- one major female writer, who may well have been the best of them all -- C. L. Moore, and I hope you noticed that I did list her collection.

-- Mike Resnick
Jun. 17th, 2010 06:15 am (UTC)
Re: Mind Meld
Uh yes that's the one that I list here with your 9 male suggestions?

I think that's really sad that you don't think there was more than one woman writer in the last 40 to 45 years deserving of the label of "shaping modern science fiction".

The thing about my criticism of these Mind Melds is that when you sum up all the men's answers when asked "name 10 of anything" in these Mind Melds they mostly all only include one woman and usually it's Le Guin.

This is a follow up to my criticism here: http://girliejones.livejournal.com/1588706.html (Sorry I thought I blogged it but I discussed it on the podcast and over at Twitter)

Men seem to consistently ignore the contributions of women to this field and by continuing to do this, they ensure this invisibility of women continues.

Edited at 2010-06-17 06:16 am (UTC)
Jun. 17th, 2010 06:17 am (UTC)
Re: Mind Meld
Jun. 17th, 2010 06:22 am (UTC)
Bit disingenuous not bothering to wait 24 hours and see what part two of the article delivered, isn't it?

You can make any number of observations/arguments about the list. Yes - they had more male respondents than female - 60/40. And yes the overall breakdown of works chosen was weighted in favour of male authors.

But you chose to argue that: "In brief, to male commentators, women writers in the field are invisible."

How does that stand up given the fact that more than half of the works by female authors chosen for the complete list were chosen by the male respondents?
Jun. 17th, 2010 06:29 am (UTC)
Yeah apologies for tossing it off - frankly I used shorthand cause the discussion is getting boring to me that it never changes. My full explanation and what I was referring to here was my article here: http://hoydenabouttown.com/20100610.7608/guest-post-by-alisa-krasnostein-the-invisibility-of-women-in-science-fiction/

I do get tired having to constantly begin from the beginning on this and having to reexplain upwards, every time.

Firstly, the Mind Melds are published in two parts, presumably then each part is open to its own criticism otherwise publish them merged as one.

Secondly the second part reveals that more men in total were asked overall.

Thirdly, Jeff Vandermeer has listed all female authors to make a statement but perhaps that is for him to defend my read on that.

Fourthly because more men were asked than women, you could argue that they contribute more names overall.

Fifthly, the study of feminism is broad and deep and there are many many works out there discussing the conditioning to default to male and so just because one woman might not list a female heavy list, I don't think that disproves my point. Which is that by and large on these lists at this site, the men asked tend to be biased in their answers towards men.
Jun. 17th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
How many ways and how many times does this conversation need to be had? I mean, really? You are awesome, and I'm sorry stuff like this and people ignoring it or going 'what's the problem' isn't helping.

Like you, I'd like to move on now. There are different conversations to be had - this one's done. Overcooked even.
Jun. 20th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
I guess sometimes we need to take a break, and I'm gonna do that for a bit on this subject.
Jun. 20th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
I'm not ready for a break, but I've just had a whole new set of realisations around this area and they're peculating. The circumstances in which said realisations occurred weren't exactly pleasant so I'm still processing that.

I was interested in discussing it with you at some stage but given you're taking a break, am happy to hold off :) If at some later point you're interested feel free to prod me.
Jun. 20th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
Always interested in discussing it with you - just not interested in banging by head against the wall trying to get people who don't see it cause they don't want/need to see to, you know, GET it.
Jun. 20th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC)
Agreed :) I think I might have just said that with more swearing in another space :)

I also know you're flat out - but if you have time for skype or such sometime soon we can chat and that way it may take less time out of your already full schedule. Also, if it needs to wait, it'll wait. :)
Aug. 13th, 2010 09:13 am (UTC)
Since charity begins at home and all that; have you considered bringing to the attention of the local and involved in fandom Fantastic Planet that their recommendations page:


Makes a total of 72 recommendations only 11 of which are female authors and 2 of those a repeats.

Also worthy of note is that 7 of those 11 recommendations are concentrated in only 3 of a total 15 categories.
Aug. 17th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks - I'll try and mention it some time.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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