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May 5, 2011

Alternate Diversity!
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 04:34 PM * 86 comments

In a mailing list that most of y’all probably don’t read, the question has arisen (much like the question of stealing the golden box arose in all its magnitude when the nomads came to El Lola with no more songs), “Why are so few women published in the major SF mags and anthologies?”

This led to someone linking to this article from Tor.com, from a couple of years ago: Oh No, The Mammoth Books of X, No, which links to many other things all pertinent.

Which led me to ask: “If I were putting together an SF anthology, thirty stories, half original, half reprint, where the authors were only female and/or persons of color, who would I invite, and which stories would I want to reprint?”

So, I have my opinions.

And I wonder, could I actually do this?

Comments on Alternate Diversity!:
#1 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 04:36 PM:

The companion fantasy volume would be Diversity Fantastic!.

It strikes me that no, I couldn't, since I myself, being neither female nor of color, would be right to edit it.

#2 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 04:38 PM:

(stands slack-jawed, scratching his head)

Honestly, I'm not sure I've ever seen an SF/fantasy anthology before, published in my lifetime, without a single female contributor. I am utterly boggled.

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 04:39 PM:

You could do it, but probably you'd have to use a pseudonym.

Seriously, there's a lot of good stuff out there from good writers. The Dark Matter anthologies are a good place to start for people of color, and there are plenty of women in the standard awards each year (Hugo, Nebula, WFA, and more).

#4 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 04:42 PM:

You would certainly have at least one Tiptree piece (maybe "Love is the Plan the Plan is Death", though there are quite a few choices).

For bonus points, include it there as your token piece by a male writer, on the authority of Robert Silverberg. :)

#5 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 04:47 PM:

Jim, I think if you can't edit it, by the same token I can't read it. Also it seems to me that there's a difference between an anthology of diverse authors and an anthology selected by someone atypical1.

1The phrase "a diverse editor" somehow just doesn't work.

#6 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 04:53 PM:

May I add that this book looks more "mastodon" than "mammoth"?

#7 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 05:12 PM:

I'm torn between thinking it really should be edited by a WOC and thinking that having a white male edit it would really show that Paul Di Filippo and his ilk really just are racist, sexist jerks.

#8 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 05:17 PM:

I'm with Xopher, with a small lean toward "proving those other white guys are just idiots."

#9 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 05:22 PM:

I wouldn't announce in advance that that was what I was doing. It's just that when the table of contents was announced, well, that's who I reprinted or invited. Y'know, could have just been random, or something.

And the title would be something like "Super Science Fiction!"

#10 ::: Matthew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 05:28 PM:

I think there's a difference between "I probably wouldn't be the best editor for this, because ..." and "I shouldn't be the editor of this, because ..."

The best person for anything is the one that can make it happen. This may not be the theoretical best person, but that's reality.

I also extremely dislike the notion that if someone isn't a member of a group, they can't (talk about / write about / compile an anthology featuring) people of that group.

What's undeniably the case, of course, is if you're not in the group, you damn well need to educate yourself so you don't trip and fall on your face in front of a crowd.

#11 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 05:30 PM:

Xopher @7: In addition, and perhaps worse, they are -- quite possibly because they're racist, sexist jerks -- unutterably BORING.

SF is the literature of ideas, and they haven't had a new one since John W. Campbell roamed the earth. Make room! Make room!

#12 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 05:37 PM:

Kevin, did you watch a Masterpiece Theatre miniseries about George Sand and Frederic Chopin about 30 years ago? (Or the same thing on repeat more recently?)

#13 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 05:38 PM:

And I hereby declare that the first reprint I'm going to buy is Jen Pelland's vomit story. ("Dazz," if you're looking for it.)

#14 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 05:42 PM:

It would look like The Norton Book of Science Fiction. (d, rlh)

Slightly more seriously, horror published several no-Y-chromosome-allowed anthologies in the mid-to-late 1990s. Can't imagine that f/sf examples would be limited only to the Women of Wonder books.

#15 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 05:45 PM:

Sorry, Kevin: Yes, you're right. That too.

(Just blinded for a moment by curiosity about whether I'm the only one to get a certain phrase from that source, never having heard it anywhere else.)

Being boring, even unutterably so, does not make it even slightly difficult to function in fandom, as I have reason to know! Being racist and sexist probably doesn't, much; but I feel better castigating someone for those failings.

James 9: I wouldn't announce in advance that that was what I was doing.

Ah, now I get it! "This will be an anthology of the very. best. science fiction, including only the highest quality of writing." Then have only women of color show up in it, and watch Paul Di Filippout.

#16 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 06:08 PM:

Xopher #15: Exactamente.

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 06:25 PM:

A few years ago, when New Space Opera was the thing, Locus published an issue on the subject, with interviews an comments by the proponents of those stories. As I read thru, I kept wondering when someone would point out that CJ Cherryh was writing New Space Opera long before everybody else was. One person finally did - and it was a woman.

#18 ::: Matthew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 06:33 PM:

Serge @ 17: Telling, isn't it?

#19 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 06:39 PM:

Not only could you, you should.

#20 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 06:43 PM:

C. Wingate, #5: Why do you think you wouldn't be able/entitled to read it? I would certainly not be barred from reading the Anthology Of Fail on the basis of my gender. In fact, by the standards of Back In The Day, I would be expected to read it -- there were few female SF authors then, and even fewer authors who wrote female protagonists, and female fans were told to suck it up and deal... when people could be bothered to admit we existed at all.

Ken, #14: There were also the paired anthologies Men Writing Science Fiction as Women and Women Writing Science Fiction as Men, which were theme anthologies based on the requirement "write a story featuring a protagonist of the gender you aren't".

#21 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 06:44 PM:

Xopher @12, 15: I certainly missed its original airing, and I seem to have missed it on repeat too. Though now I'm curious -- what was the phrase?

I don't mind castigating someone for being boring and not-novel if their promotional material suggests they mean not to be, in superlative and hyperbolic terms.

#22 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 06:44 PM:

An aid in assembling your anthology might be Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965, by Eric Leif Davin of the University of Pittsburgh.

In addition to compiling bibliographical and biographical information about female SF writers, Dr. Davin has an axe to grind. He cites frequent, often casual, assertions that there were scarcely any women writing SF in its early decades, that editors were prejudiced against publishing work by women, and that female authors hid behind male pseudonyms or initials.

He sets out to debunk these ideas.

Sample:

In the twenty-three years between 1926-1949, for example, there were sixty-five authors identifiable as women who produced a total of 288 stories. Further, female contributions were widely distributed among the magazines, rather than concentrated in any one or type of them. This alone suggests that the long- accepted claim that either science fiction publishers or their editors were blatantly prejudiced against women writers must be questioned. Instead, it is clear that early science fiction editors were much more welcoming to female participation than routinely described.

Prof. Davin's lists of women and their stories in the SF and fantastic magazines of the era might be handy in turning up lesser-known stories worthy of anthologization. (I think that's a word.*)


*"By means of my invention, the Anthologization Ray," said the Professor, "collections of stories can be extracted effortlessly from the stacks of a library, and packaged into an automatically-bound volume which emerges from this slot. Stand back while I throw the switch. And please, everyone, put on your goggles!"

#23 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 06:49 PM:

Bill, #22: Did he also count how many male writers there were, and how many stories they had published? Hard numbers are good, but percentages matter too.

#24 ::: Michael Baum ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 06:50 PM:

Well, now, I'm sure this is tres de classe, but I'd ask Kate Orman, the Aussie that used to write stories ("The Left-Handed Hummingbird" eg.) for the late lamented Doctor Who novelette series at Virgin publishing. I say this because I believe Orman is the only s-f author to whom I've actually written a fan letter. (I guess I would have written to Harlan Ellison, but it would have annoyed him.)

#25 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 06:52 PM:

I think you've shown you have exactly the right attitude and sense of style to be the editor of such an anthology, Jim, and I say, go for it.

And you could always start a rumor that "Jim Macdonald" was actually a pseudonym for a multi-racial women who works for the CIA.

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 07:23 PM:

Kevin, the phrase was 'unutterably boring'.

#27 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 07:28 PM:

Maya Kathryn Bonhoff needs to be in there, with one of her Business Anthropologists! stories.

And Amy? Sheldon, who wrote about the vet who raised orphaned aliens.

I do not know enough authors who I would be able to identify as non-white for sure. And definitely not enough writing for Analog which has been my main SF short story source for pretty much my whole life. (and well, the fact that I can only pick out two female authors off the top of my head is kind of telling... the other female author from Analog who springs to mind is Lois McMaster Bujold. My parents' Analog collection is a damn near complete run from about 1972 on. Most of the missing volumes are ones that certain guilty typists rereread so much that they got permanently lost)

I also get rather irritated with the idea that an anthology of black (but not African) men, Asian-American men, and white women counts as "diverse". And I'm depressingly certain that most of the stuff where I've read non-white authors, the author is male.

I'm not ruling out that some authors are using pen names to appear whiter or more male, but...

#28 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 07:49 PM:

C. Wingate @ #6, I'm not sure even "mastodon" works. How far back in the history of SF would you have to go to have NO major female authors? Even if you go back before Jules Verne, there's Mary Shelley.

Jim: I *heart* Jen Pelland, and not just because she and I were fanfic buddies back before she got serious about writing for publication. (I, OTOH, am no longer even writing fanfic--but I went back to school to become a PT assistant, so that's okay.)

#29 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 07:51 PM:

In #23, Lee asks:

Bill, #22: Did he also count how many male writers there were, and how many stories they had published?

I don't recall, and I do not have a copy of the book, but I think the answer is "yes." You might be able to learn more from Google Books, which is fairly generous with its preview pages for this particular book. See the link I gave above.

#30 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 07:53 PM:

Also: I nominate Shweta Narayan to do your cover illustration (and poems for the interior too!). If I had wealth beyond the dreams of avarice, I would commission her to do a Mughal-style illustration of Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer and Bela Fleck playing a concert while being showered with rose petals by steampunk apsaras.

#31 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 08:13 PM:

Nisi Shawl, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson; and that's without trying to think at all. There are also Asian women, I'm sure.

#32 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 08:28 PM:

It now occurs to me that Jim was proposing to buy stories from today's authors. Somehow I got the idea that he was going to reach into the past for some of his reprinted stories. I see now that this idea is not supported by the text (though it's not ruled out, either).

As for what Matthew Brown wrote in #10, I concur.

#33 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 09:10 PM:

Macdonald@9: I wouldn't announce in advance that that was what I was doing. It's just that when the table of contents was announced, well, that's who I reprinted or invited. Y'know, could have just been random, or something.

And the title would be something like "Super Science Fiction!"

Thus fulfilling the added function of dispelling the "You should read this book because it will be Good For You" cloud that would otherwise hang over the anthology.

#34 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 09:29 PM:

Lila, 30: HEARTILY SECONDED.

Tom, 31: Yoon Ha Lee and Michelle Sagara.

#35 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 09:31 PM:

Thinking about science fiction in the magazines of the twenties through the sixties: It would be interesting to compare the female/male author ratio in the sf mags with that of other genre magazines in the same time period. Outside of the literary magazines, the short-fiction market in general appears to have been markedly gender-segregated, with men's magazines and women's magazines and never the twain shall meet, except maybe in high end slicks like Harpers and The Atlantic and the Saturday Evening Post.

(One dissertation idea, free to good home....)

#36 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 09:54 PM:

Xopher @26: Ah! That phrase I believe I picked up here, possibly from you, so it may well have come from that Masterpiece Theater episode, but not by quite the route you expected. ;-)

Tom @31: Aliette de Bodard (who's up for a Hugo for a story in Asimov's, I'll note). Alice Sola Kim (another Asimov's discovery).

Debra Doyle @35: Even the detective fiction magazines like Ellery Queen? At least by '55 that estimable magazine was publishing Agatha Christie.

#37 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 09:55 PM:

If folks want to study author gender patterns, the FictionMags index is a good place to start. They have tables of contents, with titles and authors, of all kinds of magazines both in SF and in other genres.

You can't always tell from the name if the author is a man or a woman; in many cases there are just initials and a last name, and pseudonyms (including cross-gender pseudonyms) were common in many magazines. But counting recognizably male and recognizable female names would still tell you something.

I see some familiar names on the FictionMags contributors list, as well.

#38 ::: anthony ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Could we add queer voices to women and people of colour, because i am finding a dearth of good queer sf, and it isnt really that anthologised

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 10:24 PM:

TexAnne @ 34... MK Hobson... Lisa Goldstein... Marie Brennan...

#40 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 10:35 PM:

Kage Baker (specifically Empress of Mars because it deals so well with gender and religious politics and economics in such a completely particularist, non-preachy way that the politics are seamless) and Janet Kagan (one of the Mirabile stories, for the same reason, except women in science rather than econ) would be on my re-print list.

#41 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 10:45 PM:

Since we're mentioning dead people, I'm really surprised nobody's mentioned Octavia Butler and Joanna Russ. And I'm sure you could find a story of Chip's that would fit nicely, even if his current fiction is less accessible than I like.

#42 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 11:22 PM:

For authors writing now, invite Catherynne M. Valente (who has astonishing range in the short story form, and does most certainly cross into SF from fantasy), N. K. Jemisin, and Connie Willis if she does short stories. I can think of dozens of qualified primarily fantasy authors to add here, too.

For either reprints or original stories, I suggest Nancy Kress. When I was in high school, my school library always bought the Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies. I read them all through. Most of the stories I enjoyed and forgot. But every time I found a story by Nancy Kress, I fell in love with it. The one about bioengineered ballet dancers stuck in my head for years. I misread "Beggars in Spain" badly the first several times, but eventually I learned to understand it.

That leads me to "The Price of Oranges," a simple story about an old Jewish man in the late 1980s who, discovering time travel, goes back to the 1930s to find an innocent young man to marry off to his granddaughter. The story doesn't examine the posthuman and it doesn't talk about nanotechnology. But when I read it, at sixteen, in 1997, the story broke my heart open. The right story, at the right time, is a powerful, powerful force. If you're seriously planning this anthology, consider "The Price of Oranges."

#43 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 12:10 AM:

Tanya Huff has at least one space marine series. Does she do many short stories? Wilhelmina Baird doesn't seem to have an internet presence or any new books, but Melissa Scott is still writing. Cherie Priest- or are we considering that fantasy?

... Rosemary Kirstein is still writing, something, she says.

Nearly ALL my new books are fantasy or steampunk these days, it turns out.

#44 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 12:39 AM:

Lyda Morehouse.

#45 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 12:50 AM:

I like the idea of the reprints; I don't know how many stories by women of color you could find before 1970, but there were many women publishing SF and fantasy before that. Off the top of my head (with a little googling to make sure I spell the names right):

Margaret St. Clair
Andre Norton
Evelyn E. Smith
Zenna Henderson
Pauline Whitby (as Paul Ash)
Catherine Moore
Leigh Brackett
Katherine MacLean
Shirley Jackson
Hope Mirrlees
Winona McClintic
Miriam Allen deFord
Kate Wilhelm

#46 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:28 AM:

Lee: But then the question comes up, I'd also like to know What percentage of submissions were from women. Of those how many were accepted. Then one starts to wonder how far the turtles go down.

#47 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 03:33 AM:

anthony @38: Elizabeth Bear is writing the best queer characters in fiction that I'm reading. (And my does she cover the whole spectrum of LGBTQAwhateverelsewe'veadded without seeming to succumb to tokenism.) Her Jacob's Ladder books are excellent in part for that reason. For my part, her New Amsterdam was the first time I'd read a book with someone like me as a main character, and my love for her Kit Marlowe (in her Promethean Age books, especially the duology Ink and Steel/Hell and Earth) is great and boundless. And J.A. Pitts's Black Blade Blues hit... uncomfortably close to home in a lot of ways I'm still mulling over.

I hear good things about Hal Duncan in this regard as well -- eventually I'll read him, but his books keep getting pushed down my stack. Also Richard K. Morgan's The Steel Remains and Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint. And the classics, the aforementioned Samuel R. Delany, Joanna Russ, Ursula K. Leguin, ...

There must be others, but I don't know them.

#48 ::: Alex Beecroft ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 04:28 AM:

Can it be possible that no one's mentioned Ursula LeGuin yet?

#49 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 06:52 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 22, re: *"By means of my invention, the Anthologization Ray," said the Professor, "collections of stories can be extracted effortlessly from the stacks of a library, and packaged into an automatically-bound volume which emerges from this slot. Stand back while I throw the switch. And please, everyone, put on your goggles!"

It exists. It's called Anthology Builder. ;)

#50 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 06:53 AM:

Anybody know if there are any good collections out there by disabled authors?

#51 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 07:39 AM:

Just as a data point, it seems worth noting that whereas just four years ago the finalists in the four Hugo Award fiction categories consisted, infamously, of nineteen men and one woman, this year the finalists consist of ten women and nine men. Meanwhile, the finalists on this year's Nebula ballot are fifteen women and eleven men.

I'm not pointing this out in order to argue that sexism in the SF world is all over now. But it does seem that SF fans and SF writers are beginning to consistently note good work by more than just the usual white guys.

#52 ::: Dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 07:46 AM:

I'm not clear on what your question is - is it "could *I* do this, or "could it be done"? If the latter, I'm then kind of amazed you'd even have to ask, since I can probably name ten good current female SF short-story writers off the top of my head, several of whom are also PoC, and I don't even really read short stories unless they more or less fall into my lap.

If your question is the former, then I'm with Matthew Brown in #10: "The best person for anything is the one that can make it happen. This may not be the theoretical best person, but that's reality," though I'll also note that the producer and the editor of an anthology don't have to be the same person. There are a lot of good female editors out there too, with all shades of skin tone.

#53 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 07:47 AM:

Rymenhild says "if Connie Willis writes short stories". Connie Willis has won thirteen major awards for short fiction and if you haven't read her short work then you're fortunate, because that means you can have the pleasure of reading it now for the first time. She has collections. And I think some of her best work is in short form.

#54 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 07:59 AM:

#52 Dichroic:

"And I wonder, could I actually do this? "

Given that anthologies are hard to sell, and that I don't have what I figure will have to be between $4.5 and $6K to pay advances right now, nor the backing of a major publisher who does have that kind of money.

#55 ::: Daphne B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 08:17 AM:

Re: Connie Willis short stories -- oh hell yes. I am procrastinating on rereading Hana Moon (or however it's spelled) just so I can enjoy it all over again. And that Elizabeth Barrett Browning one, I am procrastinating for different reasons (afraid of the pain).

(Since I'm procrastinating, I haven't looked up the actual titles and figured out what book(s) they are in. Mea culpa!)

#56 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 08:31 AM:

"Even the Queen" is possibly the best way of explaining a few things to a sympathetic man ever penned. (I don't know how it'd work on an unsympathetic man, since I don't tend to recommend stories to them, or indeed spend time with them.)

#57 ::: lee Thomson ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 08:31 AM:

RE Connie Willis: just before my elder daughter reached menarche we did all the usual talking (complete with squirming and blushing and requisite mumbles of "gross") and then I handed her Willis' Even The Queen, which made us both much happier about the whole process.

#58 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 09:17 AM:

Terry Karney: But then the question comes up, I'd also like to know What percentage of submissions were from women. Of those how many were accepted. Then one starts to wonder how far the turtles go down.

My wife, who is an illustrator, spent some fair time (the raw data for publications isn't easily available online) on breakdowns of nominees by men and women for SF/F art awards, then in art in SF/F publications in general. It breaks down to between embarrassing and enraging--embarrassing if you count edge cases, enraging if you don't.

#59 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 09:20 AM:

The very first science fiction novel, Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus, was by a woman.

#60 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 09:55 AM:

Digressing slightly ... I don't remember whether it was noted here that a recent London comics convention attracted some comment for its announcement of 40 guests, all by some strange coincidence men. Apparently the organizers took note, because the final line-up of 52 guests included two women.

#61 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 10:02 AM:

Doyle @ 35 - Thankfully, not my field, much too modern. Otherwise, thank you for the idea. ;)

I'll third/fourth the rec for Elizabeth Bear on queer/non-white fiction.

One of the things I like about Gail Carriger's Tarabotti series is that she goes into what it's like to not be white enough for regency England, even if you're western european. Our prejudices will find something to make an us and a them...

#62 ::: Dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 10:14 AM:

Jim @ 54: So you're asking "Can *I* (er, that is, you) do this?" - which makes a lot more sense to me as a question. No question it could be done; the hard part would be choosing what not to include.

I wonder if a crowdfunded anthology would be possible, especially given the reaction to Jim Hines' proposal of a more-or-less online version of one, a month or so ago. I'd pitch in for that!

#63 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 10:23 AM:

What amazes me has been the blatant assumption that women will simply accept inferior status because men are just naturally better. I can't see why.

#64 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 10:40 AM:

Fragano: Because cultures all over the world have been teaching everyone that it's so for thousands of years?

#65 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 10:55 AM:

Theophylact @#59

Margaret Cavendish's novel "The Blazing World," about a woman who travels to a different world, was published in 1666.

#66 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 11:04 AM:

Margaret Mahy? I don't know if she writes short fic, though.

#67 ::: docbrite ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 11:53 AM:

Caitlín R. Kiernan is best known as a horror/dark fantasy author, but she's written some pretty awesome science fiction too.

#68 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:07 PM:

Sarah S. @ 65: How did I never hear about this??!!!

#69 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:15 PM:

Sarah S. @ #65: Well, one can go as far back as Lucian's Icaromenippus for tales of travel to other worlds; but that's why I specified science fiction rather than fantasy. Mary Shelley was playing off recent work in the sciences, and she was taking a hard "what-if" look.

#70 ::: ed g. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:15 PM:

#54: "...I don't have what I figure will have to be between $4.5 and $6K to pay advances right now..."

Kickstarter worth considering?

#71 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:47 PM:

"could you" as in "is it possible"? sure! Off the top of my head, I'd guess that women would outnumber non-Europeans, even counting overlaps, but there've been GoHs at 30-whatever Wiscons, and the Tiptree Award is now 20. I'm not going to Google for the lists right now, but there must be close to 30 good candidates right there.

#72 ::: Russell Letson ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:50 PM:

Don't know whether this is right on the money for this discussion, but I've noticed that the winners and runners-up in the Dell Award for undergrad writers generally include plenty of young women.

I started reading the magazines around 1961, at which point I encountered maybe half the names on Bruce's list @45. (In F&SF in particular, I recall.) Another four or five I had already met in the library via their own books or in the big old anthologies or in Judy Merril's annuals. It didn't occur to me back then to think much about the gender of the writers I enjoyed, and when the topic came up later on, it still didn't, nor has it in the thirty years I've been reviewing, though I do note that my list of writers-to-be-kept-up-with includes a dozen or more women, starting with Arnason, Bear, Cherryh, Goonan, and Kress among the currently-producing; and I would love to see new work from Susan R. Matthews, Linda Nagata, Melissa Scott, and Karen Traviss, among others. (I just did a rough count and found about twice as many men on the watch list.) But I'm just following my nose--I don't sort my to-read pile by gender or color or anything other than pub date (and size, to prevent bookslides).

#73 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:59 PM:

^5's Theophylact.

I wish there were a nice bottle of wine and a pair of armchairs nearby so we could debate all that for a few hours. In the absence of those amenities, though, please take the ^5 as a salute from one fellow traveler to another.

#74 ::: Dr. Psycho ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 02:23 PM:

James D. MacDonald @9, BULLSEYE!

Best of all: waiting to see who notices first.

#75 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 02:24 PM:

Bruce E Durocher II: I'm not talking about the problem of secondary filtering, much less accolades. What I am curious about (and it's hard, slush being what it is) the relative rate of women trying to "break into" not how well they are seen as being, "above the run of the ordinary."

The secondary question (which ties to the issue of slush) is how many works of relatively equal merit were accepted, by male/female ratio.

#76 ::: Joris M ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Some authors that could fit, trawling through my regular sources (and not mentioned before)

An Owomoyela
Nnedi Okarafor
Kij Johnson (you'd simply have to include Spar)
Julie Czerneda
Tanith Lee
Vylar Kaftan
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Ellen Klages

#77 ::: stlpunster ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 04:24 PM:

There is an excellent list of women writers at Index to Female Writers
In Science Fiction, Fantasy & Utopia

There is also a link for a listing of women writers of color at that site.

#78 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Russell Letson @ 72:

BRAAACKKKKKK!!! I get a really loud Bronx Cheer for not thinking of Judy Merrill. Shame on me.

I started reading the magazines around 1961, at which point I encountered maybe half the names on Bruce's list @45. (In F&SF in particular, I recall.)

I think I first read, IIRC Evelyn Smith and Margaret St. Clair in Galaxy.

♀ I still remember one of St. Clair's stories, Horror Howce, in detail 55 years later. It's the story of a man who built an amusement ride with some, um, other-worldly help, and what he did when he came to regret it. It was reprinted in The Fourth Galaxy Reader if you want to hunt down a copy. I recommend it.

#79 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 07:19 PM:

Since everyone seems to have mentioned most of the names I'd have considered (Most of my short fiction reading, like most of my reading, is fantasy, so for an SF project, I'm much less useful, so i can cheer choices like Bear or Willis, but not contribute), I just want to bring up a nitpick.

Isn't the original usage just "OH John Ringo NO", Not "Oh no John Ringo No"? the first flows so much better, i don't know why it seems ML and Tor.com have adopted the latter.

#80 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 07:58 PM:

If not just living (or recent) authors, Mildred Clingerman whom I recall fondly from F&SF in the 1950s. If living, Liz Williams (but I'm not sure she does shorts) and Kit Whitfield and Elizabeth Lynn (a twofer!)

#81 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 10:34 PM:

Pat Cadigan seems to have been fairly quiet of late but, as a card-carrying cyberpunk, she could kick the ass of cccp Di Filippo any day of the week and three time on weekends.

As for persons of colour, if I was editing an anthology of SF the first person I would beg (not just invite, but get down on my knees and beg) for an original story would be Ted Chiang.

Sheri Tepper should probably be mentioned somewhere in here too.

#82 ::: sdn ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 10:44 AM:

I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned Nnedi Okorafor.

#83 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 11:09 AM:

Terry Karney: I'm not talking about the problem of secondary filtering, much less accolades. What I am curious about (and it's hard, slush being what it is) the relative rate of women trying to "break into" not how well they are seen as being, "above the run of the ordinary."

The secondary question (which ties to the issue of slush) is how many works of relatively equal merit were accepted, by male/female ratio.

The only person I know that I could ask about this would be Rachel Holmen, who was the editor at MZB's for years and who was constantly on the lookout for new artists. I'll try to remember to do so the next time I see her.

#84 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 11:09 AM:

By coincidence, my wife got a postcard yesterday offering for sale the Great Books Foundation Science Fiction Omnibus. She then strongly hinted something about her birthday.

I note that the ToC includes Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Zenna Henderson, James Tiptree Jr., Octavia Butler, and Connie Willis.

#85 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 02:30 AM:

Willis's Fire Watch, 1982 and 1983 Nebula and Hugo award winner respectively for best novelette, is online here.

(It's officially sanctioned: I got to it from the Oxford Time Travel Guide page linked from the Connie Willis.net blog).

#86 ::: Nightsky ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 06:14 PM:

One of the most interesting aspects of Blazing World, to me, is its introduction, which seems to imply that Cavendish saw science fiction as written by and for women.

Seconding Ted Chiang so hard.

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