Random (but not really)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Broad-Swords

I don’t go to cons—I have anxiety and issues with crowds—but as a fan of genre books, I keep aware of cons, and the groups that recognize genre books, etc.

As such, there has been a shit-storm for the past several months that just won’t stop, over the way women are viewed within and treated by the SFF community.

It isn’t good.

In fact, it’s so bad that some of my favorite fantasy authors refuse to join the SFWA. (Jeaniene Frost, Faith Hunter, Ilona Andrews to name three authors I adore.)

The SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) has been full of controversy this year, most of those controversies involving the way women are treated and/or depicted. You can peruse that link for what’s happened, I have no stomach for it here.

So what’s happened now? World Fantasy Con (WFC) had planned a panel called "The Next Generation: Broads with Swords"

The Next Generation: Broads with Swords. Once upon a time the heroic fantasy genre was—with a few notable exceptions such as C.L. Moore and Leigh Brackett—the sole domain of male writers like Robert E. Howard, John Jakes and Michael Moorcock. Those days are long gone, and it seems that more & more women writers are having their heroines suit up in chain-mail and wield a broadsword. Who are these new writers embracing a once male-dominated field & how are their books any different from their literary predecessors?

This came to my attention via the always excellent Jim Hines who has been politely and hilariously mocking gender stereotypes for a while now.

My first reaction was that it would have been amusing if they’d called the panel Broad-Swords, because I’m immature and find puns hilarious.

My second reaction was, "wait, what? ‘the sole domain of male writers’? What the hell have I been reading for the past twenty some years then?"

That led to a perusal of my book database for books published between 1980 and 1990, with female fighters / women who are willing to fight if needed.

Emma Bull War for the Oaks  published in 1987
Robin McKinley The Hero and the Crown  published in 1984
Charles De Lint Jack, the Giant Killer published in 1987
Mercedes Lackey  Diana Tregarde  series, first book published in 1989
Mercedes Lackey  Vows and Honor series, first book published in 1988
Jennifer Roberson Tiger and Del series, first book published in 1986
Steven Brust  Vlad Taltos  series, first book published in 1983

Robert Lynn Asprin & Lynn Abbey Thieves’ World series, published  1979-1989 
Marion Zimmer Bradley Sword & Sorceress series, first book published in 1984
Terri Windling  Borderland series, first book published in 1986

And although they aren’t fighters per se, I wanted to also point out these strong female characters:

Marion Zimmer Bradley The Mists of Avalon published in 1982
Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts Empire series, first book published in 1987
Terry Pratchett Discworld series, first book published in 1985
David Eddings The Belgariad  series, first book published in 1982

And these are just books I have read. There were plenty of other books published during that time, with female fighters or strong female characters, that I never read or even knew about.

So, if you’re looking for something to read, I recommend any of the above books, even though they may possibly have existed only in my imagination.

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