Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: Overlord on March 07, 2015, 07:18:18 PM

Title: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Overlord on March 07, 2015, 07:18:18 PM
Hi Guys and Girls,

Great article on the best of today's Women SFF Writers published in British national paper The Independent. What I like most about it is that they haven't gone for the big hitters (Hobb) or those who have been established across generations (Le Guin), etc as so many lists do... Instead they've gone with lots of relatively new authors and lots of British authors, many of whom we've read and reviewed here at F-F, even a member of our team! And, a couple we've missed too.

Here is the list (link to article at the bottom):

'A Darker Shade of Magic' by V E Schwab.
'The Death House' by Sarah Pinborough
'The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August' and 'Touch' by Claire North
'Glorious Angels' by Justina Robson
'Bel Dame Apocrypha' trilogy by Kameron Hurley
'Starborn' by Lucy Hounsom
'The Iron Ghost' by Jen Williams

Linky:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/from-victoria-schwab-to-justina-robson-the-best-female-science-fiction-and-fantasy-writers-you-should-read-now-10092426.html

Any you've read and want to agree/disagree with?
Any you are excited to read (Go! Google!).
Any you think the paper should have included in addition?
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Alex Hormann on March 07, 2015, 07:57:59 PM
Haven't actually read any of those (yet), but I'll probably get The Copper Promise next time I see it.

I think Marie Brennan deserves a place on the list too. Memoirs of Lady Trent is one of the best series going at the moment, as far as I'm concerned.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Elfy on March 07, 2015, 11:48:24 PM
Emma Newman and Rachel Aaron/Bach should also make it.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Arry on March 08, 2015, 02:34:03 AM
I'm excited to read Copper Promise, ADSoM and Death House. I've heard great things about all of them. Star ours sounds promising as well.

I'm one who really enjoyed Mirror Empire, so I'm glad to see Hurley on the list.

I've read both of North's books. I absolutely love Touch. It's quite different, but in a very positive way. Highly recommend it. The First Fifteen Lives was a book club read here. I struggled a bit with the plot, but others loved it. And I enjoyed North's writing style, which is why I read Touch. Very glad I did!

Two women authors I'd include would be Ann Leckie and Lauren Beukes.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Elfy on March 08, 2015, 11:35:33 PM
Let's add some of the better credentialed writers like Jo Walton (the winner of both a Hugo and a World Fantasy Award for best novel) and Connie Willis (one of the most, if not THE MOST, decorated authors in SFF), should also throw Lois McMaster Bujold in there who has won Hugos for best novel with both science fiction and fantasy entries.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Roxxsmom on March 09, 2015, 04:02:12 AM
I agree with Overlord that there's a real issue with the same relatively small list of acknowledged female masters (Le guin, Hobb, Willis, Bujold and so on) getting tossed around over and over, while we seem to see more new male writers getting mentioned alongside the list of masters.

Nothing against masters of either gender, but when I ask for a recommended reading list, I'm always a bit perplexed when people assume I haven't heard of or read Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Le Guin, McCaffrey, Butler and so on.

There is one female master who gets left off a lot of lists, though, and that's CJ Cherryh. She pioneered a lot of narrative techniques and characterization styles that are pretty common today.

As for newer writers who are women.

Kameron Hurley's Mirror Empire is an epic fantasy that's really good and different.

Anne Leckie, of course (last year's Hugo and Nebula winner)
Katherin Addison (Goblin Emperor)
Karen Lord the Best of All Possible Worlds

I really liked Glenda Larke's Stormlords books too. They never seemed to get the attention they deserved.

Also, N.K. Jemisin and Amanda Downum.

Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: ladybritches on March 09, 2015, 04:33:04 AM
It's hard for me to name the "best", as there are so many amazing female writers out there. I'll second  N. K. Jemisin.  Read Hundred Thousand Kingdoms with the FF book club and was blown away by her writing.

I'm also a huge fan of Juliet Marillier. Her book Wolfskin reminds me a lot of some of the books that show up on so many favorites lists, and yet it seems very few of my fantasy reading friends have even heard of it or Marillier.

 

Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Ryan Mueller on March 09, 2015, 04:48:55 AM
I really liked Glenda Larke's Stormlords books too. They never seemed to get the attention they deserved.

Also, N.K. Jemisin and Amanda Downum.

I'm glad to see another Larke fan. I don't understand why the reviews on her books are so mixed. Sure, she uses some common tropes, but it's a good story in a setting that feels fresh and has a great sense of depth. These books were actually the biggest inspiration for one of my own fantasy series. I went to a different extreme in setting, creating a world with a weak sun, where the magic revolves around ways to survive in that world.

I've only read two books by Jemisin, but I've enjoyed both of them. She's also a good one to include because she's a woman and a POC, and both those aspects show up in her books.

I haven't read Downum yet. She's another one whose reviews are not all that good, so I've been wary about reading her books.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Elfy on March 09, 2015, 06:04:14 AM
I agree with Overlord that there's a real issue with the same relatively small list of acknowledged female masters (Le guin, Hobb, Willis, Bujold and so on) getting tossed around over and over, while we seem to see more new male writers getting mentioned alongside the list of masters.

Nothing against masters of either gender, but when I ask for a recommended reading list, I'm always a bit perplexed when people assume I haven't heard of or read Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Le Guin, McCaffrey, Butler and so on.

There is one female master who gets left off a lot of lists, though, and that's CJ Cherryh. She pioneered a lot of narrative techniques and characterization styles that are pretty common today.

As for newer writers who are women.

Kameron Hurley's Mirror Empire is an epic fantasy that's really good and different.

Anne Leckie, of course (last year's Hugo and Nebula winner)
Katherin Addison (Goblin Emperor)
Karen Lord the Best of All Possible Worlds

I really liked Glenda Larke's Stormlords books too. They never seemed to get the attention they deserved.

Also, N.K. Jemisin and Amanda Downum.
Katherine Addison is actually Sarah Monette. She was asked why the name change and her response was 'because publishing is deeply, deeply weird'.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: ScarletBea on March 09, 2015, 07:45:12 AM
I would also add Anne Lyle, I really enjoyed the Night Masque trilogy.

And Judith Tarr too.
I love her Alamut and Hound and the Falcon series.

I don't know/haven't read many of the writers mentioned previously because I don't normally read SF or urban fantasy - is it me, or the majority of those names write in those genres?
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Justan Henner on March 09, 2015, 02:55:06 PM
Nothing against masters of either gender, but when I ask for a recommended reading list, I'm always a bit perplexed when people assume I haven't heard of or read Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Le Guin, McCaffrey, Butler and so on.

I don't think it's that perplexing. I haven't read any of these, and before this forum, Asimov was the only one I had heard of. Of course, I've never claimed to be well read.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Elfy on March 09, 2015, 11:06:13 PM
Mercedes Lackey is also highly prolific and has a huge amount of work across a few areas. Andre Norton and Julian May are two SFF writers who are highly respected, and I'm not sure if because of their androgynous names that many people actually realise they're female. I believe Norton was the first woman to be awarded the Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, the first female author to be an SFWA Grandmaster and the first to be inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. She was also the only woman to be a founding member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers Guild of America. Membership was later extended to C. J Cherryh, Diane Duane, Katherine Kurtz and Tanith Lee. Someone else who hasn't been mentioned here yet, but deserves a shout out is Catherynne M. Valente, who does the most mind bending things with words that you could ever think of.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Roxxsmom on March 13, 2015, 02:35:29 AM
Nothing against masters of either gender, but when I ask for a recommended reading list, I'm always a bit perplexed when people assume I haven't heard of or read Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Le Guin, McCaffrey, Butler and so on.

I don't think it's that perplexing. I haven't read any of these, and before this forum, Asimov was the only one I had heard of. Of course, I've never claimed to be well read.

Well, I don't think there are very many people who grew up voraciously reading SF and F who haven't heard of most of those authors anyway, though not everyone has necessarily chosen to read them. Do we really need to keep putting Tolkien on our favorites list? Yeah, most of us have read him, and a lot of us loved him, while others might feel he's over rated. But most people already have opinions one way or the other.

I saw a refreshing thing recently--a 25 fantasy books you must read list where nearly all were from the past few years, and some were very recent. Sadly, far more of them were men (the only two women on the list were Hobb and LeGuin, neither of whom is exactly a rising new talent in the genre), but someone in the comments complained about the relative lack of old favorites on the list. Excuse me, but I don't need to see yet another list that tells me I *must* read Tolkien, Jordan and so on. If I haven't by now, there's probably a reason.

The issue with nearly all the recent blockbuster bestselling secondary world fantasy debuts being by men in recent years (Rothfuss, Lynch, Abercrombie, Weeks, Brett, Lawrence, Wexler, McClellan and so on) is sad and puzzling, however. Not questioning the success of any of these writers--they've earned it--but why is it so hard for new female writers of adult fantasy to get a big following right off the bat these days?

This seems to be less true, perhaps, for urban fantasy and YA fantasy, where you do see more women doing well, even very well, with sales. Why is that?
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: cupiscent on March 13, 2015, 04:55:46 AM
...but why is it so hard for new female writers of adult fantasy to get a big following right off the bat these days?

This seems to be less true, perhaps, for urban fantasy and YA fantasy, where you do see more women doing well, even very well, with sales. Why is that?

Terrible as it feels to say, the thing that seems to leap up right off the bat on that question is that urban and YA fantasy are generally acknowledged as having a significant percentage of female readership.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Roxxsmom on March 14, 2015, 06:00:29 AM

Terrible as it feels to say, the thing that seems to leap up right off the bat on that question is that urban and YA fantasy are generally acknowledged as having a significant percentage of female readership.

I've heard that, though I've run across many male UF fans and aspiring male UF authors in online writing communities, and Jim Butcher and other male UF writers get mentioned a lot.

I generally prefer secondary world fantasy written for adults myself, and I know so many women who do that it never occurred to me that female readers were much (if any) of a minority than male ones. Women read more than men overall, so anyone who wants to be a bestselling author probably needs to appeal to women as well as men. And I've never had trouble finding women who write secondary world/epic style fantasy. There was a time, in fact, when I had to purposely make myself look for contemporary male EF or HF writers. So it is puzzling how some popular women who have been writing this stuff for years just seem to have fallen off the radar, and how many newer female writers of epic style fantasy aren't getting noticed/mentioned as much as a lot of male writers are these days.


Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: JamesLatimer on March 14, 2015, 05:38:12 PM

The issue with nearly all the recent blockbuster bestselling secondary world fantasy debuts being by men in recent years (Rothfuss, Lynch, Abercrombie, Weeks, Brett, Lawrence, Wexler, McClellan and so on) is sad and puzzling, however. Not questioning the success of any of these writers--they've earned it--but why is it so hard for new female writers of adult fantasy to get a big following right off the bat these days?
A lot of it has to be about visibility, because men get a huge advantage all the time (lists, promotion, bookstores).

Every time I go into Waterstones, for example, the tabled books are overwhelmingly men--yesterday I found one where only 3 out of 35 books labelled as representing the 'very best fantasy' were by women.(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B_-7-o-XEAAdGAZ.jpg)
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Elfy on March 14, 2015, 10:21:31 PM
Jacqueline Carey is one that did get pushed forward a bit with her Kushiel series, but she doesn't get anywhere near as much coverage for the Agent of Hel UF, which is a shame, because it's a really good example of that sort of stuff. Diana Gabaldon is getting a lot more now with the success of Outlander, although she was successful before the TV show. Generally she's not shelved in fantasy, and is more considered a historical fiction author.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: JMack on March 14, 2015, 10:52:58 PM
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B_-7-o-XEAAdGAZ.jpg)
Totally off of the OP, but I'm interested that these covers do not conform to the "single tough-looking figure swinging a weapon at us, and often hooded" that seems to dominate so many books these days. Meanwhile, does someone have to speak with Waterstone's about Terry Goodkind?  :P
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Roxxsmom on March 17, 2015, 09:33:38 PM
Jacqueline Carey is one that did get pushed forward a bit with her Kushiel series, but she doesn't get anywhere near as much coverage for the Agent of Hel UF, which is a shame, because it's a really good example of that sort of stuff. Diana Gabaldon is getting a lot more now with the success of Outlander, although she was successful before the TV show. Generally she's not shelved in fantasy, and is more considered a historical fiction author.

I've noticed that too. It's a real issue when people are asked to list the "best," or their favorite fantasy or SF novels too. Books by women, even ones that were/are bestsellers, or won prestigious awards, are often overlooked. There was that infamous Guardian Survey (http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2011/may/31/women-science-fiction-writers (http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2011/may/31/women-science-fiction-writers)) in the UK where only 4% of the titles on a list of 500 books were by women. A recent npr poll (http://www.listchallenges.com/npr-top-100-science-fiction-and-fantasy-books (http://www.listchallenges.com/npr-top-100-science-fiction-and-fantasy-books)) was better, but even so, only 14% of the 100 titles were by women. A ton of really good and groundbreaking work by women gets left off, and instead the lists are often padded with titles by some of the same male authors over and over again.

There also seems to be a bit of a difference between the UK and US. It looks like female SFF writers fare a bit worse overall in the UK. It appears that nearly 50% of the US SFF books received by locus are by women, but fewer than a third of the UK books are (http://www.strangehorizons.com/2014/20140428/2sfcount-a.shtml (http://www.strangehorizons.com/2014/20140428/2sfcount-a.shtml)) I'm not British, so I can't say why this is, but it sort of surprised me, because I always thought of the UK and US being really similar in terms of gender consciousness and gender issues. In both cases, though, fewer books by women end up being reviewed.

So the question is, why? Why do people tend to forget books by female authors (even award-winning authors) more often than they do books by men? And why are fewer books written by women reviewed? And is the problem getting worse in recent years? If so, what can we do about it. Should we all just slap male pseudonyms on our books? And will that even work in an age when social media and so on makes it pretty hard to hide who we *really* are. James Tiptree Junior managed to hide her gender for years, but that would be much harder to do if she were expected to FB, tweet, blog and appear regularly at cons.

Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Elfy on March 17, 2015, 11:40:05 PM
It's better than it used to be, although it is still an issue. Rowlings was advised to use her initials rather than her name, because there was a fear that boys wouldn't read a book if they knew it was written by a female author. Lester Del Rey was the one who advised the Eddings' (David and Leigh) to only use David's name on the books initially. His reasoning was that he felt people would shy away from co-authored works, although it's odd how David's name was the one they used, when Leigh did as much, if not more, of the heavy lifting in the books. One thing I find really odd here is how they choose to shelve some of the books. We only have one bricks and mortar chain (Dymocks) and they're fairly good for SFF work, however I find that female UF authors tend to find their works in amongst the paranormal fiction, whether that's what they are or not, whereas male UF authors like Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne get shelved amongst the other SFF work. I'm aware of it so I always check both sections, but I wonder how many female UF authors have been missed because of that particular policy?
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Eclipse on May 14, 2015, 08:28:03 PM
Stumbled upon this on Goodreads thought I share it looks very intriguing

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente

The first adult novel in more than three years from the bestselling author of the Fairyland books
Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood—and solar system—very different from our own, from the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.

But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return.

Aesthetically recalling A Trip to the Moon and House of Leaves, and told using techniques from reality TV, classic film, gossip magazines, and meta-fictional narrative, Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 14, 2015, 08:59:11 PM
I clicked through to the article to have a read. And then I looked at the two comments

The first one being this:

Quote
Until female writers reject magical thinking and start writing science-based science fiction, they are just a bunch of would-be princesses to me.

That right there is your reason. I am in awe of the fact this one quote totally dismisses both the women who DO write science based SF (he hasn't heard of any, so there must be none and/or he's not picked up a book with a woman's name on the cover in the erroneous belief they don't write science based SF*) and those who don't (because we should all write what he, personally, likes to read and if we don't we're just the would-be princesses)

It's actually a pretty spectacular example of what we're up against



*Including at least one of the authors in the article!





Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Brother of the Sixth Order on May 14, 2015, 09:52:24 PM
 i have had a look through the article and it shows how backward the publishing industry can be,  i have not seen Kameron Hurley's name appear anywhere here, The Mirror Empire was one the best books i read last year fantastic stuff.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Rukaio_Alter on May 14, 2015, 11:46:56 PM
I clicked through to the article to have a read. And then I looked at the two comments

The first one being this:

Quote
Until female writers reject magical thinking and start writing science-based science fiction, they are just a bunch of would-be princesses to me.

That right there is your reason. I am in awe of the fact this one quote totally dismisses both the women who DO write science based SF (he hasn't heard of any, so there must be none and/or he's not picked up a book with a woman's name on the cover in the erroneous belief they don't write science based SF*) and those who don't (because we should all write what he, personally, likes to read and if we don't we're just the would-be princesses)

It's actually a pretty spectacular example of what we're up against



*Including at least one of the authors in the article!
And that's why I never read internet comments.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: JMack on May 15, 2015, 12:02:31 AM
I clicked through to the article to have a read. And then I looked at the two comments

The first one being this:

Quote
Until female writers reject magical thinking and start writing science-based science fiction, they are just a bunch of would-be princesses to me.

That right there is your reason. I am in awe of the fact this one quote totally dismisses both the women who DO write science based SF (he hasn't heard of any, so there must be none and/or he's not picked up a book with a woman's name on the cover in the erroneous belief they don't write science based SF*) and those who don't (because we should all write what he, personally, likes to read and if we don't we're just the would-be princesses)

It's actually a pretty spectacular example of what we're up against



*Including at least one of the authors in the article!
And that's why I never read internet comments.
Did you say something?  ;) ;)
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 15, 2015, 12:06:00 AM
Unfortunately it is representative of real life and a proportion of real readers (and real things said to me)

This is exactly what female authors are up against


(anecdote: In a Waterstones. Someone asks for some "great UF" has read Butcher etc. Seller reccs Stacia Kane. "Oh, it'll be all romance and knickers"

Very far from the actual books but made the judgement on her name

This right here is what we are up against. Women only write that poncy touchy feely stuff. Even though men do, but that's OK
I write it because human beings have feels, because people do, even the mens. So I should just excise that part if hem?

Some of them also get their face burnt off.

funny how if a bloke writes a sex scene/emotional wassname that's art and delving into the human condition. Woman writes it? Stupid fluff (not you. But in general)


Makes me want to change genre sometimes.


@Jmack (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=37094) You want to go five rounds? Bring it



Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: JMack on May 15, 2015, 12:22:49 AM
I just don't get the prejudice. I know it exists, but it just makes such zero sense to me.

My father-in-law used to carp about how he never read women authors because they just didn't write realistic characters. Just one of the so many ways in which he was wrong about the world.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Elfy on May 15, 2015, 01:20:04 AM
Stumbled upon this on Goodreads thought I share it looks very intriguing

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente

The first adult novel in more than three years from the bestselling author of the Fairyland books
Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood—and solar system—very different from our own, from the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.

But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return.

Aesthetically recalling A Trip to the Moon and House of Leaves, and told using techniques from reality TV, classic film, gossip magazines, and meta-fictional narrative, Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film.
Valente is an extraordinary writer and deserves far more press and recognition than she actually gets. I'm really looking forward to this. I'm also eager to hear what she does with the secret world of the Bronte siblings idea she was researching after Worldcon.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: ScarletBea on May 15, 2015, 03:48:37 AM
 >:(
I understand that you have to pay attention to that, Francis, being a writer and having to do your best to get more readers.

As for me, I prefer to go through life pretending these morons don't exist... ::)
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 15, 2015, 06:48:26 AM
I just don't get the prejudice. I know it exists, but it just makes such zero sense to me.


Well exactly.

@ScarletBea (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32020) I wish I could ignore it. But it's too in my face.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Rostum on May 15, 2015, 03:05:07 PM
Quote
The first one being this:

Quote

Until female writers reject magical thinking and start writing science-based science fiction, they are just a bunch of would-be princesses to me.

That right there is your reason. I am in awe of the fact this one quote totally dismisses both the women who DO write science based SF (he hasn't heard of any, so there must be none and/or he's not picked up a book with a woman's name on the cover in the erroneous belief they don't write science based SF*) and those who don't (because we should all write what he, personally, likes to read and if we don't we're just the would-be princesses)

It's actually a pretty spectacular example of what we're up against

*Including at least one of the authors in the article!

I am curious, the comment was presumably made by a man, but could have come from a friend of mine who is a total SF head, possibly the most obsessive Iain Banks nerd and she's scientist to boot, but let's assume it is from a man for all it matters.

It is a comment to a news article, possibly heartfelt, possibly trolling. Either way you are unlikely to sell the commenter a book. This is not indicative of how every male views female authored fantasy fiction. It is one comment left by one individual. If you feel this comment is a spectacular example of what you are up against. I feel you're reading too much into the comment. The coment doesn't read to me as though the commenter would read male authored fantasy either.

Most of us I suspect (male or female) have a limited finances and are picky in what we read due to cost and time restraints. As a result we buy what catches our interest. In times of no money I read slower and re-read stuff I have previously enjoyed.

The fact that there is an article about female authored fantasy is more of a worry. Why on earth should that be necessary? This is not a sporting event, authors should be on a level playing field regardless of gender. I am pretty sure the independent would not publish an article titled 'The best male science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now'. So why is there the need for this segregation and does it in any way help?

I am also puzzled about the Waterstones best SFF table. Book shops aim to make money, this they do by selling books. Perhaps the choice of what goes on a table is decided by the store more likely by regional/head office and in all likelihood by a computer listing of what they are selling by category week on week. The tables are of course set up by the stores almost entirely female staff. I don't believe there is any gender bias by bookshops. It cannot be in their financial interest.

Personally I have do not know of anyone who determines what they read by the gender of the author. That would be silly. Whether the blurb catches my interest or it has cool cover art or a recommendation is far more likely to sway me than the name on the spine. I believe that I will continue to read what interests me in any category regardless or the authors gender. I do not feel the need to define my reading time or the amount I spend on books by the sex of the author as to do anything else would also be silly.




Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 15, 2015, 07:39:00 PM
It is not indicative of how all males view female authored fiction

But I've seen it enough to know it's a thing. And not a rare thing either. And I don't feel I'm reading into it all. I am reading what is there, and it chimes with what people have said to my face.

Mark Lawrence did a poll on his blog and iirc 25 % of responders admitted they would be less likely to pick up his book if the name on the cover was Mary, not Mark. And that is people making a concious choice (many of our choices are for unconscious reasons, so some might say they'd pick it up, but likely wouldn't irl)
Quote
The fact that there is an article about female authored fantasy is more of a worry. Why on earth should that be necessary? This is not a sporting event, authors should be on a level playing field regardless of gender. I am pretty sure the independent would not publish an article titled 'The best male science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now'. So why is there the need for this segregation and does it in any way help?

Why is it a worry to point out fab authors you might never have heard of?

And it should be a level playing field. You'd think it was. But it isn't. More men get reviewed than women (this is changing, but it was once overwhelmingly so). Men get promoted more at the bookstore end, get more buzz (possibly because there are, as noted above, an not insignificant minority who will not read books by women.) Why does it worry you that someone wants to redress the balance? Especially if at the same time they are touting great books? In other genres, women sell better than men,or they are equal, so there must be something about this genre that is skewing things -- I think the same is true of historical fiction afaia, and also some areas of historical non fic

Quote
I am also puzzled about the Waterstones best SFF table. Book shops aim to make money, this they do by selling books. Perhaps the choice of what goes on a table is decided by the store more likely by regional/head office and in all likelihood by a computer listing of what they are selling by category week on week. The tables are of course set up by the stores almost entirely female staff. I don't believe there is any gender bias by bookshops. It cannot be in their financial interest.

This is part of the vicious circle. Men get more reviews/buzz/have more people willing to at least pick up the book (again in this genre). So they sell better, so Waterstones promotes them even more. If you carry on down taht route, they'll only ever promote five authors and everyone else gets a crap shoot. They are a business. yes, and part of their business is, or should be, helping readers find new books and authors to love. The ladies who do the tables in my local Waterstones don't like putting out the same old books each time, but they do as they are told. And if men sell better then women, for all these reasons and more, the yes, it is in their financial interest to keep promoting them over women.

Quote
Personally I have do not know of anyone who determines what they read by the gender of the author. That would be silly.

Not all biases are concious.

Consider covers. If it has a pink cover, and a stiletto heel and a champagne glass on it. I will probably not pick it up. Biased, don't even think about it.
At some publishing houses (and in some countries) women get different covers, even if their books are very similar to what a man is writing. (ETA example of what I am talking about -- an experiment sure. Based on your actual covers. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/07/coverflip-maureen-johnson_n_3231935.html )  I have been lucky -- Orbit is pretty good at not gendering covers while still trying to show what the books are about, the sort of book, and indicating whether the reader might enjoy it.

I know several authors who have not been so lucky. I know one who writes down and dark, grimdark even, stuff. And she gets Romance covers. Drives her potty.

It might seem a simple thing on the surface, but like a duck, there is furious movement if you look underneath.


Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: JMack on May 15, 2015, 08:36:21 PM
The covers on the link are fascinating, especially for Georgette Martin.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 15, 2015, 10:50:22 PM
Aren't they?

This is one of those things -- unless you run up against it, you'll likely never think about it. No shame in that -- we tend to think about the things that affect us


It's like those cheap t shirts you think are a bargain. And then you find out they are made by people in sweatshops earning £1 a day, for 16 hours work. On our oblivious surface, no problem. Underneath....

I may be overthinking, tis true. But other people* may not be thinking at all.



*This is not aimed at anyone in this thread but the world in general


Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Rostum on May 16, 2015, 01:43:53 AM
Thanks for the forthright reply.
I was unaware of Marks survey and am surprised by the result. I like the Huff post link, The Game of thrones one is lovely, but the same arguement holds Publishers are looking to make money, crippling their product and your hard work with poor cover art makes no sense, do publishers target female authored books at female audiences?

I cannot comment on whether men get reviewed more than women as I really wouldn't have a clue. I am happy to assume that is the case for SFF although why that would be escapes me.

To my mind there are two types of people, those that read and those that don't. About half of readers will read widely and are less likely to stick to a genre and will read anything rather than nothing.
I really cannot comprehend the idea of discounting a book due to the sex of the author. I would have missed out on some utter gems if that was the case. I also have no issue with covers or the type of books I read as I have commented elsewhere I am reading through unicorn mountain by Micheal Bishop at present and read it on the train without noticing any strange looks.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Lady Ty on May 16, 2015, 02:44:31 AM
Aren't they?

This is one of those things -- unless you run up against it, you'll likely never think about it. No shame in that -- we tend to think about the things that affect us

I may be overthinking, tis true. But other people* may not be thinking at all.

*This is not aimed at anyone in this thread but the world in general



Those book covers were eye openers and have made me understand the problem better. I seldom choose books by their covers but through trusted recommendations or favourite author and gender of the author is not a consideration. If confronted by any of the "girly" covers on a recommended book I would have done a double take. Normally I would never even pick up a book looking like some of those.  As for Lord of the Flies - words fail me, but it drove the point home well.

I checked the covers on my recent female FF authors and found Jen Williams, Claire North, Helene Wecker and Susanna Clarke and none of them had suffered.  I did wonder if nowadays some authors can exert, or are insisting on, more control over their covers in contracts?
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Rostum on May 16, 2015, 10:35:10 AM
Just gone through my books (all genres) and the only one that could be considered as having a gender based cover is Marion Bradley's Web of Darkness from 1985. While the Huff post examples are overdone to make a point it may be a case that Europe has less of an issue with this than the States.

Searching on 'Fantasy Fiction by female authors' on Amazon Uk lists the following their wonderful algorithm picks up a fair amout of erotica and the odd male author but of the female written SFF I see no covers that are softened.

Edit link added: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=sr_pg_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Afantasy+fiction+by+female+authors&keywords=fantasy+fiction+by+female+authors&ie=UTF8&qid=1431776500 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=sr_pg_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Afantasy+fiction+by+female+authors&keywords=fantasy+fiction+by+female+authors&ie=UTF8&qid=1431776500)

Erotica should I choose to buy it is one genre where I would actively seek out female authors as they tend to write it better than men do. I suspect It may be the most likely genre where men write with female non de plumes.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Justan Henner on May 16, 2015, 03:41:03 PM
I clicked through to the article to have a read. And then I looked at the two comments

The first one being this:

Quote
Until female writers reject magical thinking and start writing science-based science fiction, they are just a bunch of would-be princesses to me.

That right there is your reason. I am in awe of the fact this one quote totally dismisses both the women who DO write science based SF (he hasn't heard of any, so there must be none and/or he's not picked up a book with a woman's name on the cover in the erroneous belief they don't write science based SF*) and those who don't (because we should all write what he, personally, likes to read and if we don't we're just the would-be princesses)

It's actually a pretty spectacular example of what we're up against



*Including at least one of the authors in the article!
And that's why I never read internet comments.

That's why I can spend hours at a time reading internet comments...
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Ryan Mueller on May 16, 2015, 05:30:09 PM
I've always wondered why so many female authors end up with covers that will limit their readership. This happens for me with a lot of urban fantasy. There are probably a lot of books I'd enjoy from female authors, but the covers turn me away.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 17, 2015, 09:56:45 AM
Thanks for the forthright reply.

Thanks for the diplomatic reply. Forthright is a mild way to describe me.... :)

Quote
Publishers are looking to make money, crippling their product and your hard work with poor cover art makes no sense, do publishers target female authored books at female audiences?


It makes little sense to me, and it depends very much on teh publisher (and I think, as noted upthread, that it's very much more a problem in the US)


If they do target women, well women read more books on average than men. But the downside is, books obviously aimed at women tend not to get picked up by men. It's swings and roundabouts. For instance, I have also written/published 6 romance books. Obviously these are targeted at women. I got quite lucky with 3 of the covers in that they didn't seem overly girly (to me -- my husband rolled his eyes). Thing is, I am a woman, I like romance in a book -- I can't stand most romance covers....

But the marketing department has to think, what section of the market is going to like this best? And then market to them, not to the individual

Gaie Seibold was telling me about a fantastic series of books (I forget the name of the author) who writes really dark, cynic, snarky books. And gets the old pink stiletto heel/champagne glass treatment -- they are trying to appeal to the section of the market that sees a cover like that and auto picks it up. She sells quite well, I think.

Marketing is something of a Dark Art I think. They are trying to sell to as many people as possible, but hey can't please everyone. And sometimes they get it wrong for us as individuals (Luckily failure in this Dark Art will not result in creatures from the Dungeon Dimensions).


The original wassname, women selling less etc -- I think it's a massively complicated issue. There's no one thing you can point at and say "Change this and all will be well" There are instead many interconnected things, and if you pull one thread the whole thing might come unravelled. I have no idea what the answer is.

Which is a bit of a bugger for those of us getting the crappy end of the stick, but there you are.

ETA Ofc this is one reason I went with a male pen name. I'm using my real name for the next series. I wonder what difference it will make?

Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Rostum on May 17, 2015, 01:18:51 PM
Quote
Thanks for the diplomatic reply. Forthright is a mild way to describe me.... :)

I have a firm belief that a forum is a meeting place for ideas and views and your post gave me pause for thought.
So I now understand more of your argument than I did before regardless of how much of it I agree with.
The reason I dislike the idea of a female authors list article is it implies the female authors should be treated differently from male authors either because they are not as good or because they deserve special treatment. I am not in favour of either positive or negative discrimination. Both cause long term issues that eventually have to be addressed.  I understand that the article being of benefit and there are authors I haven't heard in the list, but really don't like the idea of the gender segregation.
You are stating that women writers get reviewed less and are more likely to suffer from softer cover art which will dissuade men from picking up the book in the first place. I think we are both agreed this is a bigger issue in the US than UK. I also believe this is less of an issue than it was in the past in the UK.
I have just checked Marc's list of May releases on this site 13 by male authors 16 by female and one co authored. Maybe two covers are a bit soft but the wouldn't put me off. I seem to be a bad judge though of what I should and should not be picking up.
I have not the experience you have regarding reviews and publicity and will look out to see if there any noticeable disparity by sex in the UK of professional reviews. If nothing else this has to be improving year on year?

Quote
Marketing is something of a Dark Art I think. They are trying to sell to as many people as possible, but hey can't please everyone. And sometimes they get it wrong for us as individuals (Luckily failure in this Dark Art will not result in creatures from the Dungeon Dimensions).

Marketing is largely the ability to destroy someone else’s hard work when done badly. I work in technology and can think of a couple of products that after years of development and millions invested have been destroyed by being pushed at the wrong customer by people with little understanding or apparent interest in making it a success. By the time this is rectified you have lost market share and life expectancy of products is shorter and shorter these days. So you certainly have my sympathies on that factor.

Quote
The original wassname, women selling less etc -- I think it's a massively complicated issue. There's no one thing you can point at and say "Change this and all will be well" There are instead many interconnected things, and if you pull one thread the whole thing might come unravelled. I have no idea what the answer is.

Which is a bit of a bugger for those of us getting the crappy end of the stick, but there you are.

ETA Ofc this is one reason I went with a male pen name. I'm using my real name for the next series. I wonder what difference it will make?

All I can do is wish you well for existing and future sales. May I ask which names you have published under? Or will this shatter the mystery?
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: SJBudd on May 19, 2015, 03:50:59 PM
Hopefully me one day  ;D one always lives in hope!  ;)
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Rostum on May 19, 2015, 11:02:11 PM
Quote
Hopefully me one day  ;D one always lives in hope!  ;)

Don't hope make it happen.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Roxxsmom on May 21, 2015, 06:46:40 AM

I cannot comment on whether men get reviewed more than women as I really wouldn't have a clue. I am happy to assume that is the case for SFF although why that would be escapes me.


It's true. Strange Horizons does a count each year, based on all the SFF titles submitted to Locus for review each year by gender and comparing the number by each gender that actually are reviewed by different publications.

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2015/20150330/sfcount-a.shtml (http://www.strangehorizons.com/2015/20150330/sfcount-a.shtml)

A really common argument some people make when people bring up differential treatment of men and women in speculative fiction is that more men are published in SF and F than women. While this is true, and is considerably more pronounced in the UK than in the US (I honestly have no idea why), even when this difference is accounted for, proportionally fewer SF and F novels by women are reviewed. They also receive proportionally less buzz in blogs.

I don't know why this is true either. I think that there's some sort of cultural programming that makes people of both genders not see books with female names on them. Maybe it's cover design, or the subgenres that are more female heavy currently. Maybe it's related to the thing that makes us not notice that 70% of speaking roles in movies go to men,

https://www.nyfa.edu/film-school-blog/gender-inequality-in-film/ (https://www.nyfa.edu/film-school-blog/gender-inequality-in-film/)

and even crowd scenes in movies are weighted heavily towards men. We've been trained to see a male majority as normal.

But I doubt most people are consciously thinking, "Oh, this book looks cool. I would have reviewed it if it were written by a man."

Sexism doesn't have to be conscious. It's actually the subconscious biases that are hardest to rout, because we don't want to believe we have them.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Nora on May 21, 2015, 07:58:09 AM
i have had a look through the article and it shows how backward the publishing industry can be,  i have not seen Kameron Hurley's name appear anywhere here, The Mirror Empire was one the best books i read last year fantastic stuff.

Ahaha! Brilliant. Just popped on the thread and read your comment, while I've just started an excerpt of The Mirror Empire! I got to it after reading a short story from the same author on tor, check it out it's very good :

http://www.tor.com/2015/05/13/elephants-and-corpses-kameron-hurley/
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 21, 2015, 09:39:21 AM



A really common argument some people make when people bring up differential treatment of men and women in speculative fiction is that more men are published in SF and F than women. While this is true, and is considerably more pronounced in the UK than in the US (I honestly have no idea why),

The skew is far less pronounced in fantasy as opposed to SF, I think -- something like 60/40 or 55/45 for fantasy. But Sf....

There have been many theories put forward as to why -- and it is true many less women submit SF making it hard to achieve a balance in pubbed authors. Is it because SF is seen as a male bastion? There is an essay written, oh quite a while ago now (I'll see if I can dig it up) that when women became more active* in writing genre - early 70s? Women's lib? -  they were pushed towards writing romance (women's work, more suitable for them to write than anything intellectually taxing dontchaknow) while men were pushed towards SF and that the after effects still linger -- while 10-15% of romance writers are men, it is heavily dominated by women, and the figure is roughly the same the other way for SF.

POssibly one reason why romance is so looked down on and SF is seen as some sort of higher calling (among a certain set of people anyway)

*There have always been some women writing genre, but once women were more able to free themselves to do things outside the home, many more saw it as an achievable thing
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: ChrisW on May 21, 2015, 09:53:30 AM
Anyone want to hazard a guess why the Australian Fantasy publishing scene is dominated by female authors?

Aussie's just weird? :o
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 21, 2015, 10:01:58 AM
Aussie's just weird? awesome :o

Fixed that for you :D
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Eclipse on May 21, 2015, 01:55:07 PM
If you look at the stats on this forum it seems that it's ten males for every one female on here

Do you think female fantasy/sci-fi readers read various other genres and male fantasy readers don't branch out as much ?

Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Rostum on May 21, 2015, 05:20:00 PM
Quote
If you look at the stats on this forum it seems that it's ten males for every one female on here
Do you think female fantasy/sci-fi readers read various other genres and male fantasy readers don't branch out as much ?

Or possibly Women are less inclined to join and post on forums compared to men. I think ( in the first world) if you look at those who read for enjoyment there will be more women than men. Less women into SCFI and more into fantasy at a guess but ignoring genre more women read.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 21, 2015, 06:12:26 PM
That could just be a thing on this forum -- I belong to several others (fantasy/writing related) and women outnumber the men, in one case by two to one

At a recent workshop (at Eastercon) we had 11 people putting their work forward to be dissected

Only one was a guy
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: cupiscent on May 22, 2015, 04:08:16 AM
I definitely think gender membership of forum can vary by the forum, by the focus of discussions and also how welcoming - consciously or otherwise - those discussions are. Being a woman online can be a tricky business to start with, of course. And in the past six months I've had or seen at least three discussions on here or in another similarly-themed (more writing-related) discussion forum I participate in, where the discussion had various flavours of "why is there all this girly/romance stuff in my serious fantasy spaces?" Were that my preferred flavour of fantasy, I might look for a forum more welcoming of it to make my virtual home.

As for the dominance of Australian fantasy by women authors, I think Sara Douglass being the flagship author for the Australian Voyager imprint is a large reason. But I think there were also a number of woman editors and publishers in the background through the '90s as well.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: ChrisW on May 22, 2015, 10:27:27 AM

As for the dominance of Australian fantasy by women authors, I think Sara Douglass being the flagship author for the Australian Voyager imprint is a large reason. But I think there were also a number of woman editors and publishers in the background through the '90s as well.

So those horrible women editors discriminated against male writers! I knew it! Bloody misandrist women! :o >:( :'(
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 22, 2015, 06:12:24 PM
Trudi Canavan touched on this in a recent blog post (Tyranny of Distance, here (http://www.orbitbooks.net/2015/05/19/trudi-canavan-the-tyranny-of-distance/))
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Rostum on May 22, 2015, 07:03:41 PM
Quote
    As for the dominance of Australian fantasy by women authors, I think Sara Douglass being the flagship author for the Australian Voyager imprint is a large reason. But I think there were also a number of woman editors and publishers in the background through the '90s as well.


There does seem to be a large number of Established female editors in the UK particularly in SFF.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Rostum on May 23, 2015, 06:10:17 PM
I note a Joe Abercrombie tweet commenting that he was interviewed by seven newspapers in two days in Spain and that he has never been interviewed in an English Paper and has now been published for nine years.

So if you are not getting reviewed or interveiwed you are in good company.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 24, 2015, 12:24:17 AM
Joe has been reviewed in SFF places PLENTY (don't know about tabloids)

Very very few authors get interviewed by papers here, unless they get nommed for the Booker etc. I don't think I've ever seen an interview with an SFF aiuthor in a paper (Banks? Maybe? For one of his non SFF?)Maybe it's different in Spain. I wouldn't take that as anything but a point to add to the (voluminous) other data

If Joe isn't getting interviewed, neither is anyone else
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Rostum on May 24, 2015, 02:02:01 AM
Banks used to get interviewed in the Sunday supplements a fair bit. Both for his books and the socialist utopia politics of the culture. Women’s sections sometimes interview authors but I can't think of a regular slot in any newspaper, but I rarely read them.
Anything outside of literary publications would be good at the moment.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: ChrisW on May 24, 2015, 11:35:02 AM
Quote
    As for the dominance of Australian fantasy by women authors, I think Sara Douglass being the flagship author for the Australian Voyager imprint is a large reason. But I think there were also a number of woman editors and publishers in the background through the '90s as well.


There does seem to be a large number of Established female editors in the UK particularly in SFF.

You know, I've always assumed most editors are female..... That's from just reading the acknowledgements in books.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Francis Knight on May 24, 2015, 02:39:22 PM
Twelve books now, and I have yet to have a male editor. Granted some of those books were romance! But many many editors in SFF are women in the US and UK, so I'm not sure that's the reason behind Oz having more female authors

Ofc an editor cannot publish what is not submitted...
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Roxxsmom on May 26, 2015, 08:53:29 AM
If you look at the stats on this forum it seems that it's ten males for every one female on here

Do you think female fantasy/sci-fi readers read various other genres and male fantasy readers don't branch out as much ?

I hadn't noticed that, but I don't know the genders of many of the folks posting here. I tend to assume a person's gender matches their avatar pict, if relevant, or their name if it's gendered. Sometimes I end up being surprised, of course.

I haven't noticed fewer women participating on other fantasy-oriented sites I follow where I do know all the regular posters well enough to know their genders, and the writer's workshops I've been to three times has, if anything, more female participants (and it's got a heavy SF and F focus). My critique groups there have been biased towards women overall (and they've all been groups of people writing SF and F).

I'm American, for what it's worth, and in the US, fantasy seems to have similar numbers of male and female fans and writers (the SFWA has SF specifically as slightly fewer female readers than male, something like 42% female or something--not sure about percentage of published writers), though there may well be gender differences in focus in subgenre. I remember there being a ton of women who wrote secondary world fantasy I enjoyed back in the 90s and early 2000s (I actually would have had more trouble coming up with a list of male secondary world fantasy writers back then), but most of these women don't seem to get talked about much online anymore. Most of them are still writing, though some have shifted to YA or to UF, which I don't read as much.

Could it be that the subgenres of fantasy that are currently most popular in the UK are more male friendly, either because more males write them, or because women who write them face more obstacles? I've noticed on this site that there's a lot more of a bias (if that's the right word) towards Grimdark writers like Abercrombie and Lawrence and so on. Plenty of us know and like these writers and discuss them on US fantasy related forums and subforums, but there are probably more who are interested in other styles of fantasy, and it's not unusual to run across people who haven't read these authors at all. While I can think of some female writers who write dark, gritty stuff, none of them are (as far as a google search tells me) considered to be writers of Grimdark for whatever reason. Not sure, but could this be a part of the reason why there is a relatively small pool of women currently writing it in the UK compared to the US (and even more notably, Australia).

If UK fantasy fans are mostly more about grimdark right now than are US or Australian fantasy and SF writers, and women either don't write it, or don't get published in it if they try to, or if they write stuff that would be considered grimdark if they were male, but it gets marketed as something else because they're female, then that could explain the discrepancy?
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: ClintACK on May 30, 2015, 02:19:58 PM
Quote
If you look at the stats on this forum it seems that it's ten males for every one female on here
Do you think female fantasy/sci-fi readers read various other genres and male fantasy readers don't branch out as much ?

Or possibly Women are less inclined to join and post on forums compared to men. I think ( in the first world) if you look at those who read for enjoyment there will be more women than men. Less women into SCFI and more into fantasy at a guess but ignoring genre more women read.

Possibly women prefer live writing groups over internet forums?  Or are less likely to notice the tiny little "forum" button on the main web site here?  I'd been reading the occasional article on this site for almost a year before I realized there was a forum -- and I only realized that because of the "Writing Contest" articles on the main site.

Glancing at Amazon's top-selling fantasy authors, six of the top ten are women at the moment.   The top woman is Diana Gabaldon, whose Outlander series is recently out as a TV series.  Two of the others look to be paranormal romance, from the covers.  And women come in at #12, #13, #16, and #18 with hunky shirtless werewolves, werebears, and vampires on the covers...  (And Brandon Sanderson as the only man in the #11-#20 range.)  So... 15 of the top 20 fantasy authors on Amazon right now are women.

Basically, my theory is men are still reading war stories and westerns, women are still reading romance, young adults are still reading coming-of-age and parents-just-don't-understand stories, and everyone still reads mysteries and crime.  Fantasy is largely just how some of the stories are dressed up.

See, for example, how easily the Shades of Grey author turned it from a paranormal romance into a non-magical romance novel when she realized how popular it was going to be.  The Twilight/vampire aspects weren't essential to the book, they were just how it was dressed up.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Eclipse on May 30, 2015, 02:48:13 PM
Thank you ClintACK for your post and everyone else who has replied on this topic it's certainly got me thinking  :)

When I read a book I just normally go by the description on the back.The author's gender doesn't come into it for me but saying that I've looked at all the books I've read on LibraryThing it says I've read 30% female to 70% male

But I would  like to say if it wasn't  for Margaret Weis with her co author Tracy Hickman Deathgate cycle books I wouldn't be reading now and at the time of reading as a teenager boy I thought Tracy Hickman was a woman as well. I know better now hehe so female names didn't put me off.

I would like to see more boys read for entertainment as there so many out there who don't

I'm currently reading Robin Hobb  :) so that bump my percentage up
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Roxxsmom on June 03, 2015, 09:12:52 AM
Possibly women prefer live writing groups over internet forums?  Or are less likely to notice the tiny little "forum" button on the main web site here?  I'd been reading the occasional article on this site for almost a year before I realized there was a forum -- and I only realized that because of the "Writing Contest" articles on the main site.

Not that I've noticed on other writing and fantasy writing sites I belong to. Plenty of women active there. If this particular site indeed only has 1/10 women/men on it (I'll trust that the person who tossed that number out is basing this on an actual nose count and not just a general assumption that most people posting here without strongly gendered names like mine are men), it's probably because women either feel less welcome here (I haven't felt that way myself, however), or because the fantasy books and writers favored by members on this site are more male biased.

It's possible for a group to develop a focus that pushes it more towards one gender than another, and once this happens, it may become self reinforcing. For instance, say a fantasy site got started where many of the authors and fans early on were very fond of urban fantasy, YA fantasy, and more romantic flavors of fantasy (like Mercedes Lackey). Then the membership might weight more towards female readers and writers, and there could be a snowball effect there, with readers of both genders who prefer more male-heavy subgenres of fantasy going elsewhere.

Though I think there have been in the past (and still are) far more female writers and fans of traditional or epic fantasy than many suppose, at least in the US and Australia, than many people suppose.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Eclipse on June 03, 2015, 05:28:59 PM
Hi @Roxxsmom (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32670)

Here are the stat's for Fantasy Faction along with the Male to Female Ratio currently it's 9.7.1 it's changed since I last posted

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/stats/

Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Hedin on June 03, 2015, 06:23:38 PM
Hi @Roxxsmom (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32670)

Here are the stat's for Fantasy Faction along with the Male to Female Ratio currently it's 9.7.1 it's changed since I last posted

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/stats/

Off topic but man thats a lot of page views and registrations per day.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: ScarletBea on June 03, 2015, 06:27:21 PM
Ah but that includes all the spammers... 'Active members' is a whole new kettle of fish, really.
Although I still think there are more men than women here, but not to that harsh ratio.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Eclipse on June 03, 2015, 06:28:35 PM
Ah but that includes all the spammers... 'Active members' is a whole new kettle of fish, really.
Although I still think there are more men than women here, but not to that harsh ratio.

I think the spammers are the middle number as there wouldn't tell their gender would there? and people who want to be private about their gender. I wish there was some-way to clean all the bots off the member list
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: ClintACK on June 04, 2015, 04:39:38 AM
Hi @Roxxsmom (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32670)

Here are the stat's for Fantasy Faction along with the Male to Female Ratio currently it's 9.7.1 it's changed since I last posted

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/stats/

Huh.

Looking at those stats, I realize I have no idea what happens around here.

About half the board's activity takes place in Fantasy Book & Author Discussion, where I've barely dipped a toe.  And the whole Writer's Corner and Monthly Writing Contest sections barely rate.

So disregard all of my thoughts on who's around here and why.   ::)
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: ScarletBea on June 04, 2015, 08:48:00 AM
About half the board's activity takes place in Fantasy Book & Author Discussion, where I've barely dipped a toe.  And the whole Writer's Corner and Monthly Writing Contest sections barely rate.
That's because most of the members are readers and this is where we discuss what we're reading, what we think about books, authors, and other general books ideas.
:)
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Lady Ty on June 04, 2015, 09:30:39 AM
About half the board's activity takes place in Fantasy Book & Author Discussion, where I've barely dipped a toe.  And the whole Writer's Corner and Monthly Writing Contest sections barely rate.
That's because most of the members are readers and this is where we discuss what we're reading, what we think about books, authors, and other general books ideas.
:)

Also that activity is by view and hundreds of people "lurk" and never actually join in. I used to do this here before I joined to check out book reviews and comments. I still do this on other sites. If you look again at Top10 Topics by replies and views you'll see that those associate pretty strongly with the Writer's Corner and General Discussion both of which are very active.
Would be interested to know exactly how stats are used to calculate the male to female ratio ?  Loads of people prefer not to disclose much on profiles esp. gender so it could be very misleading.
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: SpudR on June 05, 2015, 02:09:41 PM
Hi! I'm very new here, it's my first post but I have been reading fantasy and scifi for a long time. The first female fantasy author that comes to mind is Jennifer Fallon. She has published a lot of writing but the Rift Runners series will also be forefront in my mind. It appears to be standard portal fantasy but it really takes you into a completely different world that is exceedingly well written and enjoyable! I hope I'm not the only one who appreciates her writing and world building!
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Roxxsmom on June 08, 2015, 02:17:34 AM
Hi @Roxxsmom (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32670)

Here are the stat's for Fantasy Faction along with the Male to Female Ratio currently it's 9.7.1 it's changed since I last posted

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/stats/

That is pretty steep, and far more so than the percentage of male to female fantasy writers and readers, even in the UK. I have to say that's not the impression I've gotten just from scanning the names and genders (when stated) of posters. But I mostly focus on just a few forums here, so maybe they're ones that attract most of the female members.

I'm guessing there's something about the focus of this fantasy site in particular that makes it so, since it's not nearly so male biased on other fantasy sites or subforums I've been involved in (and moderated). Not anything the members are doing necessarily, but maybe just the writers and style of fantasy that are favored here?
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Eclipse on June 18, 2015, 05:29:38 PM
I thought you might like this article  on Joanne Harris's Blog

https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/8168335-on-quotas-sexism-and-prejudice-in-the-book-business
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: cupiscent on June 18, 2015, 11:26:03 PM
Also of interest for this topic, Tansy Rayner Roberts' guest of honour speech from Melbourne convention Continuum a couple weeks back, wherein she discusses the long but often downplayed or forgotten history of influential women in genre fiction, and some reasons why they're less remembered: Fantasy, Female Writers & The Politics of Influence (http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/06/guest-post-tansy-rayner-roberts-fantasy-female-writers-politics-influence/).
Title: Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now
Post by: Ryan Mueller on June 19, 2015, 01:53:17 AM
I recently finished Jennifer Fallon's Medalon and liked it quite a bit. It doesn't do anything revolutionary as far as fantasy goes, but I found myself rooting for the characters, and I am interested to see where it's going.