Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Another Year Of Reading Women

with 6 comments

Last year I set myself the challenge of reading and writing about one science fiction novel written by a woman each month.

The eagle-eyed will notice that that isn’t twelve novels. I ran out of steam and vowed to continue this year instead with another batch. Here is what I assembled over Christmas:

Some of those were languishing on my shelves, some were kindly donated by Ian Sales of SF Mistressworks and were picked up from Amazon (and only available secondhand or imported, obviously). Since the Clarke Award shortlist has now been decided (and will be announced at the end of the month), I’ve got the time to think about other fiction so here is the schedule for the year:

  • March: Spirit by Gwyneth Jones
  • April The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K LeGuin
  • May: A Plague of Angels by Sheri S Tepper
  • June: Hav by Jan Morris
  • July: Cyteen by CJ Cherryh
  • August: Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen
  • September: The Female Man by Joanna Russ
  • October: A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski
  • November: Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin
  • December: Shikasta by Doris Lessing

If any one would like to join me in reading any of those books in those particular months, I would welcome the conversation. And I think we are still due a discussion of Spirit over at Torque Control, aren’t we? In addition, I will be trying to read and review more books by women in general and my review of Blood Red Road by Moira Young is forthcoming at Strange Horizons.

But it isn’t just about what I review. As reviews editor for the BSFA, I also have a big say in what other people review and the books that are covered in Vector. Niall Harrison will be repeating the SF count again this year and, as part of this, I’ve tallied up the coverage of books by men and women in Vector. The ratio is very poor. So it is all very well talking the talk but I’ve clearly taken my eye off the ball and I need to be much more proactive in 2012 in ensuring speculative fiction by women is visible in Vector.

Written by Martin

26 February 2012 at 12:38

Posted in books, sf

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6 Responses

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  1. I’ll be interested to see what you make of Native Tongue. It’s proving a difficult to write about, perhaps because its message is stronger than its story.

    Of your list, there are only two I’ve not read – the Slonczewski and the Galchen.


    26 February 2012 at 12:44

  2. We are still due a discussion of Spirit. Would you like to do it, since you’re reading it anyways, or shall I use your reminder to deal with it myself. (I drifted to a stop on it months ago since I knew there was a rape scene coming up, but still intend to finish eventually.)

    Native Tongue was a hugely influential book on me personally when I was a teenager, but I haven’t tried reading it since.


    26 February 2012 at 17:11

  3. I don’t think I want to write anything more detailed than a review here (certainly not a multi-part analysis). However, if you wanted to finish the book and anchor the discussion onto my review that might work?


    26 February 2012 at 17:29

  4. Will do. It’s a good incentive to push through and read it properly. March it will be, then.


    26 February 2012 at 17:34

  5. […] included it would put me up to 26.8% overall and 70% for 2011. This is mostly due to starting the year of reading women last year which shows that even a modest effort like this can have a substantial […]

  6. […] the same resolution I made in 2011 when I achieved ten out of twelve. This year I read four from my list and only managed to write about one: Gwyneth Jones’s excellent Spirit. This is in the context […]

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