May 25, 2019, 08:16:03 AM

Author Topic: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now  (Read 19161 times)

Offline Roxxsmom

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?
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 09:16:01 AM by Roxxsmom »

Offline ClintACK

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.

Offline Eclipse

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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
« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 03:03:11 PM by Eclipse »
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

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Offline Roxxsmom

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.

Offline Eclipse

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Hi @Roxxsmom

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/

« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 05:31:45 PM by Eclipse »
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline Hedin

Hi @Roxxsmom

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.

Online ScarletBea

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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.
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

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Offline Eclipse

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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
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 06:30:54 PM by Eclipse »
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline ClintACK

Hi @Roxxsmom

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.   ::)

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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.
:)
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

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Offline Lady Ty

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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.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 09:35:54 AM by Lady_Ty »
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Offline SpudR

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!

Offline Roxxsmom

Hi @Roxxsmom

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?

Offline Eclipse

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According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline cupiscent

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.