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Re: Adventures in Writing Has anybody thought of submitting something to the Writers of the Future competition? It would seem like a good opportunity for newer writers, but some see it as problematic due to the association with L Ron Hubbard.

Also, just had a short story accepted by Sword & Sorcery magazine, pleased it has found a good home but now I need to get working on writing more as the cupboard is now bare.

March 24, 2015, 08:22:29 AM
Re: This website is being ruined. The politics is a bit of a bugger true

It's even more of a bugger for those of us it directly affects

But where you get people. you get politics. (politics comes from the Greek, meaning , relating to or for the people)

Fiction has politics, fantasy has politics in it, so does SF (arguably more) James Bond books are escapist fun..and involve politics.

There IS no escape

While I get that you do not necessarily want it when you are reading, it is unavoidable when numbers of people get together.

Get five people to talk about Game of Thrones, politics.

So, yeah I know what you mean. But this is a site relatively free of them, though as said, no one can totally avoid hem. Easily sorted if you can't stomach any more by not reading threads you don't want to?. So, I dunnow, do that? Read the threads/articles that interest you instead?

Because it wasn't diplomatic upthread, but this place is for everyone. To discuss what they want to. Not just for you

June 21, 2015, 06:56:16 PM
Re: Adventures in Writing So, the first agent I sent my novel off to got back to me about my novel. It's not a no (not exactly), but not a yes either. They suggested a number of changes to make it a stronger novel and then said they would be happy to take another look at it...
July 16, 2015, 10:55:30 AM
British Fantasy Awards 2015 Nominees These are the shortlists for the British Fantasy Awards 2015. I'm really pleased to see a lot of my personal choices made this list. *cough* Jen Williams @sennydreadful *cough*

Four nominees in each category were decided by the votes of BFS members and the attendees of FantasyCon 2014 and FantasyCon 2015. The exceptions are the collection and non-fiction categories, in which two items drawing for fourth place could not be separated and both were put through to the shortlist.

Up to two further nominees in each category were added by the juries as “egregious omissions” under the rules.

Best anthology
The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic 2, ed. Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber (The Alchemy Press)
Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease, ed. by Joel Lane and Tom Johnstone (Gray Friar Press)
Lightspeed: Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue, ed. Christie Yant (Lightspeed Magazine)
The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, ed. Mark Morris (Spectral Press)
Terror Tales of Wales, ed. Paul Finch (Gray Friar Press)

Best artist
Ben Baldwin
Vincent Chong
Les Edwards
Sarah Anne Langton
Karla Ortiz
Daniele Serra

Best collection
Black Gods Kiss, Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)
The Bright Day Is Done, Carole Johnstone (Gray Friar Press)
Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Helen Marshall (ChiZine Publications)
Nick Nightmare Investigates, Adrian Cole (The Alchemy Press and Airgedlámh Publications)
Scruffians! Stories of Better Sodomites, Hal Duncan (Lethe Press)

Best comic/graphic novel
Cemetery Girl, Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden and Don Kramer (Jo Fletcher Books)
Grandville Noël, Bryan Talbot (Jonathan Cape)
Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Seconds, Bryan Lee O’Malley (SelfMadeHero)
Through the Woods, Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Image Comics)

Best fantasy novel (the Robert Holdstock Award)
Breed, KT Davies (Fox Spirit Books)
City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)
A Man Lies Dreaming, Lavie Tidhar (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Moon King, Neil Williamson (NewCon Press)
The Relic Guild, Edward Cox (Gollancz)

Best film/television episode
Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Black Mirror: White Christmas, Charlie Brooker (Channel 4)
Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (Marvel Studios)
Interstellar, Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan (Paramount Pictures)
Under the Skin, Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer (Film4 et al)

Best horror novel (the August Derleth Award)
The End, Gary McMahon (NewCon Press)
The Girl With All the Gifts, M.R. Carey (Orbit)
The Last Plague, Rich Hawkins (Crowded Quarantine Publications)
No One Gets Out Alive, Adam Nevill (Macmillan)
Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel (Knopf)
The Unquiet House, Alison Littlewood (Jo Fletcher Books)

Best independent press
The Alchemy Press (Peter Coleborn)
Fox Spirit Books (Adele Wearing)
NewCon Press (Ian Whates)
Spectral Press (Simon Marshall-Jones)

Best magazine/periodical
Black Static, ed. Andy Cox (TTA Press)
Holdfast Magazine, ed. Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee (Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee)
Interzone, ed. by Andy Cox (TTA Press)
Lightspeed, ed. John Joseph Adams (Lightspeed Magazine)
Sein und Werden, ed. Rachel Kendall (ISMs Press)

Best newcomer (the Sydney J. Bounds Award)
Edward Cox, for The Relic Guild (Gollancz)
Sarah Lotz, for The Three (Hodder & Stoughton)
Laura Mauro, for Ptichka (Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease)
Den Patrick, for The Boy with the Porcelain Blade (Gollancz)
Jen Williams, for The Copper Promise (Headline)

Best non-fiction
D.F. Lewis Dreamcatcher Real-Time Reviews, D.F. Lewis (D.F. Lewis)
Ginger Nuts of Horror, ed. Jim McLeod (Jim McLeod)
Letters to Arkham: The Letters of Ramsey Campbell and August Derleth, 1961–1971, ed. S.T. Joshi (PS Publishing)
Rhapsody: Notes on Strange Fictions, Hal Duncan (Lethe Press)
Sibilant Fricative: Essays & Reviews, Adam Roberts (Steel Quill Books )
Touchstones: Essays on the Fantastic, John Howard (The Alchemy Press)
You Are the Hero: A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, Jonathan Green (Snowbooks)

Best novella
Cold Turkey, Carole Johnstone (TTA Press)
Drive, Mark West (Pendragon Press)
Newspaper Heart, Stephen Volk (The Spectral Book of Horror Stories)
Water For Drowning, Ray Cluley (This Is Horror)

Best short story
A Change of Heart, Gaie Sebold (Wicked Women)
The Girl on the Suicide Bridge, J.A. Mains (Beside the Seaside)
Ptichka, Laura Mauro (Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease)
A Woman’s Place, Emma Newman (Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets)

The winners of these awards will now be decided by the previously announced juries, while the British Fantasy Society committee has the task of deciding the winner of the special award (the Karl Edward Wagner Award). The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday, 25 October 2015, at FantasyCon 2015 in Nottingham

July 21, 2015, 09:34:06 AM
Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations Some thoughts in this area:

Male authors tend to have more "stickiness" - we continue to recommend Eddings and Feist and Jordan, but where are the female authors who were writing at that time and were, honestly, just as good as their male counterparts? (We're not all as assiduous as Nora in remembering the Sheri Teppers.)
 - Tansy Rayner Roberts spoke very eloquently about this in her guest of honour speech at Melbourne's Continuum a couple of years ago. Her speech is available online. In this speech she also noted the tendency for "recommendation lists" to include a token woman - usually Ursula le Guin (or Robin Hobb). Smurfette syndrome in real life.

There's an argument to be about whether fewer female writers write fantasy of the same quality, or whether male authors are more likely to be published at a lower quality. I remember reading some of Lindsay Buroker's work, and finding it at absolutely the same level (for me) as, say, Brent Weeks. (That is, imho, engagingly readable, pacey, but ultimately kinda meh.) Weeks is a bestselling trad-published author whose name gets bandied about a lot. Buroker is successful, but indie, and way fewer people know her name.

It's all very well to have personal disinterest in matters of author gender (or race, or sexuality, or...), but if all the market ever gives you is white males, your reading is necessarily going to be skewed towards white males.

I recall hearing that Mark Lawrence ran a poll on his blog asking whether people would have read his books if they were by Mary Lawrence instead. A significant number of people answered that they probably wouldn't have.

So it's not that people actively undermine female authors. It's (perhaps) just that they have to be twice as good to get half as much attention in the first place. People don't denigrate them for gender, they just leave them off recommendation lists. So there's no big stand to be taken, just that we need to keep asking "Where are the women? What are they writing? Who can you recommend?" because very often the default position is what we're fed, and what we're fed is 75% male (at least).

Some women writing really interesting high fantasy and arguably underrepresented on recommendation lists: Amanda Downum, Rachel Hartman, Lois McMaster Bujold, Kate Elliott, Patrician McKillop, Megan Whalen Turner, Juliet Marillier, Ellen Kushner, Jennifer Fallon... and these are just the ones who appear on my GR shelves. :)

We here at FF have a whole pinned thread about female authors, so clearly we're aware of the issue already. But I think it's good for us to also remind ourselves now and then, because it can be easy to slip back into not thinking about it, and the problem waxes and wanes, but hasn't gone away.

November 26, 2016, 01:01:59 AM
Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
...we do tend to forget them, possibly because many of those names went out of print at times and are still hard to get new or as complete sets in a series.   The men writers like Feist, Eddings, Jordan have always been available so those other ladies slipped away for long stretches of time unnoticed.

So very much so! When I think of how much I adored Katherine Kurtz (not to mention how clearly the work she did paved the way for later historical fantasy, like Game of Thrones), but the vast majority of her back catalogue is only available electronically, and that's a recent development. Has Eddings ever been out of print? (Don't get me wrong, I adored Eddings too, but he's charming froth.)

I find this sort of discussion particularly interesting because of just how female-heavy the Australian fantasy boom of the late-nineties/early-noughties was. Sara Douglass, Jenny Fallon, Trudi Canavan, Fiona McDonald, Traci Harding, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Kate Forsyth, Glenda Larke, Jane Routley. At the time, I didn't even notice. It's only looking back that I go, oh, hey, I don't see that gender balance on the mainstream shelves anymore.

Anyway, read whatever you like. No one's saying otherwise. The original post that prompted this discussion noted that he'd had a discussion specifically asking for female authors and got recommended Mark Lawrence. Peat's noted his observations in asking for general recommendations. It's not necessarily something we do, but it's something worth bearing in mind - if for no other reason than it does us no harm and may prompt a recommendation that helps the career of a female writer whose work we admire.

November 26, 2016, 09:52:39 AM
Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations If people recommend few female authors, then fewer female authors have big hits, so publishers get a little warier on female authors because they don't sell fantastically, so fewer female authors are published, so fewer up-and-coming female authors see themselves represented in the genre, so fewer women submit their novels (or they go off to write romance), so fewer are published, so there are fewer to recommend, so...

What I find particularly interesting about this:

...is the almost exact same numbers reversed for SFF and YA. And I wonder if that's because fantasy featuring a female coming-of-age is likely to be sold as YA, whereas a similar male coming-of-age is likely to be straight SFF. For instance, Blake Charlton's Spellwright and Paul Hoffman's The Left Hand of God were both basically YA, but not published as such. Whereas, say, Miriam Forster's City of a Thousand Dolls was published as YA, but has precisely the same crossover audience big fantasy appeal. Never mind the Belgariad, or Magician, or all the other classics. A young man's journey to manhood is traditional fantasy territory. A young woman's is YA. (And I wonder if that, in turn, might be because women of all ages will read YA, but men mostly won't. I don't know, I'm just speculating.)

First, a Reddit list of favorite books/series written by female authors. It doesn't say the sub-genres, but probably more complete or better recommended. Since a lot of people directly search for this, here it goes:
Fantasy Reddit Top Female Authored Series Books - Results

That's a fantastic list. Regarding sub-genres, 50% of the top twenty are epic fantasy, and at first glance I'd say the rest of list is at least the same percentage, and a substantial portion of the rest of it is historical fantasy, urban fantasy mostly of the no-sex-please-we're-british variety (surprised to see Anne Rice on there, I would've called her horror), and other speculative miscellany.

Should we make efforts in recommending more men in the fields that see few of them?

Yes. If you read romance and make romance recommendations, it would be absolutely fantastic to see more attention being paid to male authors in the genre. Maybe if we can get a little gender parity in that genre, the severity and frequency of people talking down to it and its readers will reduce.

But the question here is: do we consider female authors enough when making recommendations in spec fic?

And yes, I care. Then again, I'm biased: I'm a female wannabe author. I hope that if I write a good book, I will have an equal chance of getting word-of-mouth sales traffic, and not just from the forums where I'm a member.

I still honestly don't see what's so onerous about taking a moment, when making recommendations, to consider whether there are also/more ladies whose works might be appropriate for the list. If that leads to you considering or even reading more female-written fantasy, that's a bonus! But seriously, read whatever you like. No one's saying otherwise.

Though if people do want to extend their reading, we could offer recommendations for female authors based on other favourites?

November 27, 2016, 10:39:07 AM
Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations This is why I shouldn't post at 2 in the morning! I never even realised TGC was talking about his list rather than in general...

Missing from the TGC's list:

There's three fairly ubiquitous female recommendations that aren't mentioned at all in that list Lady Ty posted - Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik and Rachel Aaron. All of them have books that would have fitted the nomination rules and barring TGC having read them before, I can't see any particular reason that they wouldn't fit (although I've not read the latter two so who knows?)

Looking down a bit more - Kate Elliott has a solid Epic Fantasy reputation, she wouldn't have been out of place there in terms of some of the male names I see at the bottom going from general recommendations. Problem is, I'm not great on modern authors of either sex myself!

*looks at his own list*

My other female noms not mentioned:

Nnedi Okorafor, Kirsty Logan, Kameron Hurley, Sarah Pinborough, Julia Knight, Emma Knight, NK Jemisin, Jo Walton, Stella Gemmell, Laura Resnick, Ilona Andrews, Barbara Webb

Obviously I've not read any of them so couldn't say although Julia Knight's book for the book club here looked pretty straight up fun fantasy. People have really sold me on the idea of trying Jemisin and Walton one of these days but, in fairness, if you've only got two nominations each, stuff's gonna get missed. More on that point later.

Nora - Martin's not the greatest example, but he could have still ended up following a path in which he's never recommended here because he was just Urban(ish) Fantasy and a screenwriter. And I believe that if Martin hadn't been hitting a dry patch in screenwriting, he'd have never tried SoIaF as he did it because he figured that if he kept getting rejected, he might as well do something that broke the rules. Or at least that's how I've heard it.

Now, I don't know how many people are so passionate for Fantasy that only that will do. I expect there's some. But there's definitely published authors who had a passion for multiple genres and/or recognition and getting paid.

As such, I don't think the possibility of potential Fantasy authors being lost to Romance - or PR, or YA, or UF, or Historical, or whatever - is completely far fetched. We know there's Fantasy authors that are here because of circumstance rather than a deep fervent passion for the genre and the genre alone. How many? No idea. None of us do. I've no idea how you'd even try researching that.

Speaking of research...

TGC, you raise some interesting questions and I wish that I had the time to research them and others properly. But I can't help but think that you're overthinking this. To go back to your list, its pretty broad. The majority is fairly standard long series of Wizards/Kings/Wars and so on but there's some recommendations that are barely fantasy, some standalones, some steampunk, some gaslight, some UF... GGK, Pratchett, Morgenstern, Mieville, LaValle, Clark, there's a few weird ones alright. You could probably get some commonalities but there's enough that break them.

That said... pretty much none of the women on there wrote the standard long series of Wizards/Kings/Wars. So maybe there is something to what you're saying.

Edit: A coda

Being sufficiently bored to look into it but not quite right for real work, I've started delving into other forums and am reminded that not all recommendations are good ones in the first case. I've seen someone ask for something like the Night Angel trilogy but not as slow paced as the Farseer trilogy and get recommended the Farseer trilogy. Also, the first name on the Romantic Fantasy user voter lists on BFB is The Name of the Wind. You can view that as men getting pushed more than women, or you can view it as people clamouring for the famous thing regardless of fit. It may be the former, its definitely the latter.

Even when not that rabidly dumb, there's no shortage of people recommending their favourite 5-6 authors over and over if they sorta match. All it takes is a few people with all male favourite lists and whoosh, you'll start to see things skew.

And so on.

If I were to urge people to change their recommending habits based on everything I'm seeing, it would be to actually read what the person asked for and think for a bit first...

November 29, 2016, 04:28:09 AM
Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
I completely disagree. We should judge people based on skill, not on gender and I find this a non-discussion because of it. If we have to seperate authors based on gender, you are actually saying that one, or the other is mentally more challenged than the other. Which is ofcourse not true. It's not a physical skill that is influenced by our different bodies. The skill is the same, the mind of both genders equally capable (assuming same intelligence etc) to produce likewise results.

I totally understand this thinking, and while I agree with your thoughts on equality, unfortunately, we're not yet at a point where it's realistic ... because, as with many other cases of discrimination, resetting the bar to "equal" still leaves the previously discriminated party in an unequal place.

Here's a metaphor. Imagine you have a male author and a female author running a 100 meter dash. Now imagine people have spent 50 years pushing the female author meter after meter back from the starting line. Now imagine that's changed, and most everyone has said "We should stop pushing female authors back from the starting line. Everyone is equal now!" Great! But because of all the time we spent pushing them backward, the female author is still sitting 82 meters behind the starting line.

So now, the male author and female author are allowed to run at equal speed, and considered equal in all respects. But the female author is still starting 82 meters back from the male.

*That's* why we still need to be conscious of if we are promoting female authors, and in some cases, even promote them more .... even if we strongly believe male and female authors are equal. This is a case of correcting for past discrimination. You can't make people unequal for a long time, then make them equal, without first reversing all the unequalness you heaped on them before.

November 30, 2016, 03:34:08 PM
Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
I see this argument everywhere, where cause of perceived (I don't say that for this case, but in some cases just saying a female is at a disadvantage is enough to take matters) unequality in history, we should now bear inequality for the sake of equality. That's absolutely insane.  I know this is hot in the US right now, but it's absolutely insane. If you want equality, make it equal.

I think you're still interpreting this differently that I (and many others intend). You may be seeing it as a request for permanent inequality in favor of female authors - basically, a call to say "We should, forever more, promote female authors ahead of male authors, in perpetuity, because we once discriminated against them." And I agree, that's a very easy argument to strongly argue against! But that's not what's being said.

What I'm saying is, there needs to be a correction period, and we need to recognize that we are still in that correction period. And all that correction period consists of is being mindful. I'm not saying "You should discriminate against male authors because we used to discriminate against female authors" which, again, is an easy argument to rail against (but is not the argument I'm making). I'm saying "We should keep in mind that female authors were discriminated against for a long time, and so take a little extra time to check our own biases and make sure we aren't being influenced by that past discrimination".

For instance, you mention Tolkein, Jordan, and all of those as "classic" authors. How many of those classic authors are male? If you look back, I bet you'd find the majority are, even though there were plenty of females writing at the same time that have now been effectively forgotten.

So again, this isn't (as many mistakenly believe) a call to discriminate against men. It's a call to consciously take a look at your own biases, and make a little extra effort to make sure you *are* treating female authors equally, because we haven't historically done so in the past.

You have to understand the argument you are arguing against before arguing against it. :)

November 30, 2016, 04:13:34 PM