The state of SF (and me!)

So … background. Last year was a rough year for women working in the science fiction and fantasy genres. The first half of the year, the publication of genre’s primary professional organization–the SFWA Bulletin–had a number of issues that were offensive due of their sexist artwork or articles. Here’s a great summary. Blogs discussed the depressing facts that women’s fiction doesn’t get as many reviews as men’s, and best-of lists included hardly any women’s work (this post by Ian Sales summarizes this stuff nicely). Then the relaunched Amazing Stories published a personal essay called “When is Science Fiction Not Science Fiction“–where the author, Paul Cook, complained that Lois McMaster Bujold’s work (which is crammed full of space travel and other elements we’d usually see in a science fiction adventure) wasn’t actually science fiction. Cook said he could tell it wasn’t really SF,  because “Bujold tips her hand in the eloquence of her language (normally a good thing) and the attention to detail that only women would find attractive:  balls, courts, military dress, palace intrigues, gossiping, and whispering in the corridors.”

People got mad, and for good reason. (After all, everyone loves Dune, and it’s full of gossip and intrigue. Nobody says it’s not science fiction!)  And somebody decided to do something about it: Christie Yant.

Christie’s working to put together a special double issue of Lightspeed Magazine that will be entirely written, edited, and produced by women. That’s right: all the money and all the time (and the reviews! Don’t forget the reviews!) that would normally be equally divided between men and women (Lightspeed does a great job of publishing balanced genders), will be showered, instead, on women. Actually, TWICE as much time and money will go to them. And why? Because women could use a little more attention in science fiction, and this might help make up for it. Plus, it’s also a cool celebration of women in the industry that will hopefully get them fired up to go write even more awesome fiction. I wouldn’t mind seeing women win every award in the business this year, just to give 2013 a big kick in the ass.WomenDestroy-Final2

Interested in the project? Go check out Lightspeed’s Kickstarter campaign! It takes a little extra money to publish all that extra fiction, so give them a hand. All donors get an ebook copy of the special issue, which you don’t want to miss out on.

And why am I so interested in all of this, besides the fact that I’m a woman? Well, these days I’m Lightspeed’s Managing/Associate Editor, and I’ve been reading slush and collecting personal essays for this project–so I actually know how cool it’s going to be.