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bear by san

March 2017



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spies mfu scotland before you

link salad, narcissistic edition....

SF Mind Meld joins the gender equity in short fiction slapfight, including some comments from me.

Mr. Brust is watching reruns of Shadow Unit.

And Penguin's SFF website features The Iron Hunt, Saturn's Children, Lord of Bones, and Ink & Steel this week. And also hosts my essay on the writing of the book and its sequel.


I like the sink or swim notion. And for you to see The Stratford Man in print after so much blood, sweat and (probably) tears deserves a nod.

The cover is so much better in reality than in pixels. Trade format suits it quite well. :-)
I thought that was pretty good satire, until I realized it wasn't, and then I realized it was evidence of amazing levels of personal privilege.

It must be really nice to have the luxury of not thinking about stuff like whether one's going to be taken seriously because of one's gender--unless one chooses to.
OK ... now I'm going to have to sit down for a marathon reading session because I don't follow your reply. I can intuit there are more levels to it than just author Elizabeth Bear, person Elizabeth Bear (real name you or pseudonym you), the real Queen Elizabeth and the fictionalized Queen Elizabeth of Ink and Steel and other venues of popular culture.

And I think my confusion is actually good. Layers should suit a work that took years to write. :-)
Oh, sorry. I thought you were commenting on the guy in the mind meld who was taking a very sink-or-swim attitude towards female writers.
My bad. I was referencing your essay about writing the book.

I've had enough of the gender equity debate for this month ... though it is the beginning of July, isn't it, so I guess I'll need to go see what was posted. :-)
An interesting mind meld.
It must be nice to be able to be that naive and privileged.
And those bootstraps are much easier to pull yourselves up on when you (a) have bootstraps and (b) there's somebody anchoring the other end and giving you the occasional boost.
Oh my forking goulash! I actually went back to find the humility and gratitude reference. Must. Scrub. Icky. Scum. Off. Brain.

"Thank you for giving a humble door such pleasure as to be able to serve you."
I stopped reading Wright's answer because it was excessively long and full of stupidity. Heck, after the third screen of it, I stopped skimming.

There is now a comment on the Mind Meld post whose full text is "John C Wright wins."

I despair, I really do.
Someday, they will all be dead.
But new ones keep coming.
I'd never read Wright at all, but after reading this, I checked out his LJ, which featured two follow-ups.

The first is this one, which of course praises KKR's post, and more significantly, offers us the word "masculinist." That term alone is priceless (as is his definition).

But that's nothing compared to the second one, which is not only full of heaping bowlfuls of stupid, but also professes complete ignorance of who Cat Rambo is.
Well, I don't know who Wright is, so I guess we're even. (I do know who Cat Rambo is.)
It's like he's performing a public service: making it inescapably obvious what his thinking is on this matter, so I can check him off my list of people I want to pay attention to from now until the end of time.

Kind of him, when you get down to it.
EEE! Oh, that is so great!!
The whole gender thing is a minefield over here in the UK right now, too. There are certainly some publisher-related issues (I am personally unhappy that one major player has launched a sub-line aimed at female readers but is not applying their usual critical facilities to what is put out in that sub-line -- the standard is not good and I find this patronising). There has been some debate over a recent 'Classics of sf' list which was all male. The shortlist for the last set of British SF Association awards was all male and when questions were raised the response was not hugely satisfactory (and again, patronising). There are any number of excellent women sff writers published in the US who have not been picked up here (this includes you alongside Maureen F McHugh, Sarah Monette, Karen Travis -- who *is* British -- and a whole lot more): I don't have stats on this, or on what becomes of the men, but my perception based on book shop shelves is that more of the latter are probably picked up.
One of the more prominent small presses put out an all-women sff anthology at Easter: there was no grumbling, but I'll be watching with interest to see what happens come award short-list season.
There was a bit of discussion of that all-women anthology on the BSFA forums earlier this year.
Thanks for the link salad! I really enjoyed your essay on writing the Stratford man; I'm also looking forward to reading the books.

SF Mind Meld: interesting essays. Some induced head-banging. Nodding my head along to coffeeem up there. Ditto re: bootstraps. :)

Shadow Unit: a rerun season I actually look forward to.
Shadow Unit: a rerun season I actually look forward to.

Um, because I've been really looking forward to re-reading them. That looked a little weird.
Something I think has been under explored, although you got at a little bit with your statistic about first-novel versus subsequent book rates, is that it's entirely possible that discrimination is taking place at the reader level, leading to a perfectly rational choice by publishers not to publish as many women. I find this plausible because, at least until very recently, a book by a woman needed a slightly better review or blurb to get on my list, despite the fact that I've dreamed of being a sci-fi writer since I was a girl (dreamed is a pretty accurate description, given how actively I've pursued it since college).

The bias was probably caused by some critically acclaimed books by women just didn't click with me, and the absence of any woman I could point to and say "she's awesome". There were lots of mediocre books by men, of course, and lots of popular male authors that did nothing for me, but I still had that bias*. It didn't go away (assuming it has) until this year when I dramatically upped my reading rate, read a number of books that were big disappointments, because less enamored of my current favorite authors as their styles changed, and fell in love with Companion to Wolves and Dust, at which point Octavia Butler (the only woman who was really part of my pantheon at the time) moved from fluke to start of trend. It probably helps that I read enough women to balance out the stochastic effects, and the hit and miss ratio started to look more like the ratio for male authors.

*There's a name for "overweighing acts committed by minorities even though the proportions are the same" but damned if I can remember it.
I teach sf and fantasy (and horror), and find it interesting that so many of my students haveonly read the 'classic' male writers, especially in sf. They may be voracious readers but have never, literally, heard of LeGuin, Butler, or Tiptree. This I find disturbing, and would love to some day check with them how they choose what books to read.