Random (but not really)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Women and Fantasy

I was surprised by the Bookslut interview with Lois McMaster Bujold:

For quite a few years now I’ve been trying to figure out why speculative fiction still is one of the industry’s most gendered genres. Romance may still take the number one spot, in terms of which sex is most likely to be seen buying and writing the books, but spec fiction runs a close second. While it may be a stereotype, it still contains a nugget of truth: males tend to be overrepresented when it comes to science fiction and fantasy.

I readily admit that I don’t read Science Fiction–it’s just not my thing. But I read a lot of Fantasy, and I’ve never had a hard time finding good fantasy written by women.

I mean, scrolling through the past six months of posts in my book blog I find plenty of women:
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Charlaine Harris
Ellen Kushner
Jennifer Roberson
Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Pat O’Shea
Jo Walton
Robin Hobb
Lynn Abbey
Diana L. Paxson

And those are just from the books I’ve written since the beginning of the year. Looking through my list of Fantasy authors there are even more women. I fact, I sometimes wonder if women are over-represented on my bookshelves. (Not that it bothers me, but it might be unfair to Michael.)

Now I would not necessarily be surprised to find women underrepresented in Science Fiction, after all women have been traditionally underrepresented in the hard sciences. But I can think of two authors off the top of my head: Marion Zimmer Bradley and C.J. Cherryh.

And as more women study and are involved in the sciences, I would bet that the number of women writing science fiction would also increase.

Next time I go to the book store, I’ll take a harder look at the shelves, to check out the imbalance for myself.

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