Why do lady SF writers suck?

Before you seek to lynch me, let me clarify the title slightly. Not all female SF writers are bad and I work with a number of very talented ones. What I am wondering is, why do places like Escape Pod and others think they are so dreadful?

Jon Del Arroz has been doing some interesting investigative journalism and has discovered that the long running Science Fiction podcast Escape Pod has a policy of giving preference to female writers over male ones. There is also the phenomena of regular anthologies and magazine issues that are women authors only (or some other “minority”).

The question I have about all this is, Why? Are female writers of science fiction really so terribly unreadable that they can’t actually get published without needing to rely on someone taking pity on them? The long history of science fiction publishing would suggest otherwise with many female authors writing under male pseudonyms and have successful careers, not to mention the large number of female authors who do just fine without needing one. I’ve bought stories as editor of Sci Phi Journal and as editor of Astounding Frontiers. The last thing I care about when purchasing stories is the sex of the writer, all that matters is that the story is good.

Usually when I say things like this someone will articulate concepts like “structural oppression”, “unconscious misogyny” or some other political buzz phrase to excuse why they need to make excuses for bad female writing but I find this unconvincing. The reality that a woman can submit under an obviously male pseudonym means that the barrier doesn’t really exist, they can always bypass the gate keeper (if he exists) in such a fashion. Is there any research today that shows a large number of stories submitted to different magazines using different names of both sexes, that get accepted at different rates based on the sex of the author? I realise such research would be difficult to conduct because you can’t just submit the same story to the same editor with different pseudonyms and expect a useful result, but the same author (or group of authors) could easily submit under many different names, a large number of different stories, and then get some statistically useful results. At least then there would be evidence of this bias should it exist.

My guess is that they would discover that female writers get bought more often than male authors in certain markets and in other markets there would be no meaningful difference. They did a similar experiment in Australia where they degendered resumes and used voice disguising technology to conduct candidate interviews. In such environments the men did better than the women, and in a sexed environment they actually did worse. They ended up needing to discontinue the practice because it got the “wrong” answer.

So what is the answer? Should places like Escape Pod be giving women a helping hand when buying stories? Such a patronising practice is not going to do the women authors any real favours. A publishing credit with Escape Pod for a woman will now unavoidably seen as some sort of participation prize for a crappy author. Who can have any idea how good an female author is, if when she is published in Escape Pod the bar has been artificially lowered? Maybe she is a good writer but there is no way to tell because it isn’t a level playing field. [easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B01M23YOS4″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51w3Xe9B7kL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”superversivesf-20″ width=”113″] The Product by Marina Fontaine[/easyazon_image]

At Superversive Press, we have published the wonderful Dystopian story,The Product by Marina Fontaine. Why did we publish it? Because it is a great story of the struggle for freedom in a nightmare future. Read it today and see what a good lady SF writer looks like. Marina has no need of an artificial helping hand because she is talented and I would never want to suggest she was a lesser writer that needed such a leg up.

The real solution to the “problem” of “under representation” is not to lower the bar for crappy author but to encourage them to become better writers and to encourage them to persevere in the face of setbacks. Ladies if you want to succeed, then suck less and persevere more. It really is that simple.

First Day at Dragon Con!

So after the long flight from Sydney I can report that the first day at Dragon Con was a blast and I got to meet many of the people i’ve only ever chatted to via email. It was great to L. Jagi Lamplighter, April Freeman, Peirce Okuna, Declan Finn, Dawn Witzke, Ben Zwycky, Marina Fontain and J. Alfred Goodwin in the flesh.

We kicked off the day seeing Marina Fontaine do her first panel appearance on Dystopias and she put on a great show with her co-panelists despite my best efforts to make her nervous beforehand.

After that we wandered around, I got to see Bill, Frank and Trace of Mystery Science Theatere 3000 fame do a panel. I didn’t make it to any other panels that day although I did play Alien Frontiers (This is one of my favourite games, although we call it Space Yahtzee).

I also got to meet Larry Correia which was great when he was doing a book signing. I thought we were going to have to sedate April. After that we went on to dinner and finished at the night with an space improve with Larry Correia, Chuck Gannon and others and it was a blast.

There is also a plan to do a post Dragon Award live stream to discuss the results, more details to follow when we have an exact time sorted out.

Here are some pictures I took today, I promise to take many more tomorrow. Some fun cosplayers, me and Larry and Ben, The Wright Boys and myself playing Astounding Frontiers.

Astounding Frontiers Issue #2 is out now!

Astounding Frontiers is a new pulp magazine from the minds at Superversive Press that will transport you to far off worlds of adventure! In our second issue we have stories and continuing serials from Dragon Award winners and nominees and many other great authors. We have stories from Dragon Award Nominee Brian Niemeier, Scot Washam, Karl Gallagher, and Russel May. We continue on with Serial from John C. Wright, Ben Wheeler and Nick Cole, and we have a new serial starting by Corey McCleery called Daughter of Sol. . Please join us in travelling to Astounding Frontiers!

Amazon, Kindle and Print Kobo Barnes & Noble Inktera Scibd

Superversive SF Roundtable on Pulp stories and the launch of Astounding Frontiers

We will be chatting with some of the Pulp Revolution guys and celebrating the launch of Superversive Presses new magainze Astounding Frontiers 1: Give us 10 minutes and we will give you a world

You can get Astounding frontiers from new magazine Amazon and other good book retailers

An unintentional anthem for the modern Right?

We don’t normally do too much about politics over here, but I thought this was interesting. The punk band Anti-Flag, a collection of lefty anarchist types, penned a song called Turncoat back in 2012 (or there about). It could easily act as an anthem for conservatives, libertarians and the rest of the right today without any difficulty at all. Not sure what Anti Flag would make of that.

TURNCOAT! KILLER! LIAR! THIEF!
Criminal with protection of the law!

Go!

States lies dressed up as evening news
We’re tired of lies we want the truth
Brodcast by corpses courting you
We’re tired of lies we want the truth
Most people they will never know
We’re tired of lies we want the truth
With your or against you?
Then I am against you because you’re a…

TURNCOAT! KILLER! LIAR! THIEF!
Criminal with protection of the law

TURNCOAT! KILLER! LIAR! THIEF!
Criminal with protection of the law

In your corner
Makes me wanna
Douse myself in gasoline!
Civil servants fall in line for you
Too brainwashed to see the truth
You use anyone you can!

TURNCOAT! KILLER! LIAR! THIEF!
Criminal with protection of the law

TURNCOAT! KILLER! LIAR! THIEF!
Criminal with protection of the

KILLER!

LIAR!

A TURNCOAT! and a THIEF!

Criminal with protection of the law! The law!
Criminal with protection of the law!