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Re: Delayed Reading: joys and disappointments I have one memorable one that is pretty embarrasing really.

I was always given loads of books by my family for birthdays and christmas, because I was always reading. There's one particular book, given a book on my birthday by an aunt when I was 9 or 10, which I took one look at and dismissed as crap because the cover was so horrendous. I distinctly remember thinking my aunt was clearly an idiot for thinking I'd be interested in reading it, because I disliked the cover that much. It then sat on my shelf for a long time - at the very least half a year, but I'm pretty sure it was a couple of years. I usually read any new book I was given within a couple of weeks, this was literally the only book I had never bothered to open.

One holiday I was bored as hell. I tried re-reading some of my books but couldn't get interested, and couldn't really be bothered doing anything more active than reading. I sighed and picked up the book I had pointedly ignored for all that time, and started reading.

This was the cover:
Spoiler for Hiden:

Naturally, I was then really pissed off with myself for a long time for judging the book by its cover...  :-[

March 19, 2015, 07:27:26 PM
Re: Women Write Fantasy (The Giant 'Women in Fantasy' Database)
I think it's really interesting. I do wonder how much of it is just feedback loops - even though I couldn't care less about the gender of the author, I think most of the books I've read were written by men (even though my favourite author is Robin Hobb). Therefore, when I recommend books to people I'm stuck with a list that is male-dominated, and the cycle repeats itself.

The question is: where does that bias begin? Publishing houses (either in submission acceptance - which according to statistics isn't true - or in marketing budgets)? Subconscious prejudice? From what discussions I've read, a major part of the problem is that there are fewer women writing fantasy - and that's another thing that reinforces the feedback loop.

You make a really good point. But there's no easy answer, much to my dismay. As you pointed out, we read primarily from our own gender. (Having a hard time finding that list on here but it's recent.) And as you might point to later, there are 10:1 males on this forum. This certain "traditional fantasy" blogosphere we work in is dominated primarily by males. As JL said, if we were to look at Fantasy as a whole, it would be dominated by women. Question is, why don't we show that? (And frankly JL, the second you stuck "My personal experience" in as a help, I tuned the statistics out. Least you didn't use Amazon! :P)

Because we care about either "Epic Male Fantasy" "Pulpy romps such as UF or S&S that don't have PR or YA in them" or "Progressive New Weird that focuses on gender and race, predominately pushed by women." (See big names like Kameron Hurley, Ann Leckie, NK Jemisin, or well, Saladin Ahmed, but when's the last time he put out a book? 3 years.)

Raptori also stated that there wasn't a bias in publishing house submissions, but in actuality, there is. Problem is, it's purported not by the gatekeepers but by the subs themselves. Little over a year old so apologies, but it is done by one of the Big Five. As that shows, there is a big skew in "Historical/Epic/High Fantasy" "Horror" and "Science Fiction" toward male submissions. UF and PR is actually split down the middle, but how many PR by men can we name off the top of our heads? As for YA, surprise surprise, it's dominated by women.

Still, not all fault lies here. As you said, there is a feedback loop bias. I'm not a fan of that blame however. I read what I want and recommend thusly. I happen to enjoy pulpy S&S or Epic Male Fantasy, then that's probably what I'll recommend. Go to a YA forum that's probably dominated by JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Sarah J Maas, Kristin Cashore, Cinda Williams Chima, and Eoin Colfer. Does that make them sexist? I see no outcry there. (Nor with Romance, but that's an entirely different conversation.  ;))

I keep telling people Fantasy as a whole isn't sexist. If you're going to include the Big F, you need to lump in ALL sub-genres. Now, is Epic/High/Pulpy Fantasy (the one that gets the most "recognition" around here) skewed toward males? Absolutely.

I also note this is only a piece to the puzzle of "Is there a Bias in Fantasy?" answer.

March 22, 2015, 05:22:43 PM
Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through


Umm... probably a lot more. But definitely those two.
I almost don't think of Silmarillion as a book. I'm the maybe the forum's biggest Tolkien fan, but I think of the S as more like a... reference book.  ;)

April 15, 2015, 11:13:08 AM
Re: Lord of the Rings... Ealy Grimdark? ;-)
Lord of the Rings is grimdark to me. From the moment they left the Shire it was like being at a funeral. My heart hurt the whole time I was in middle earth. No hope. No hope at all.  :'(
Especially the part where the have to send Bill the pony off into the wilds without any protection. That was just f*ing cruel. Animal cruelty is grimdark.

April 23, 2015, 07:48:33 PM
Re: Book Bargains Prince of Fools  $1.99 on Amazon:


Bargain!  :)

April 23, 2015, 09:49:20 PM
Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now 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 You want to go five rounds? Bring it

May 15, 2015, 12:06:00 AM
Re: The best female science fiction and fantasy writers you should read now 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)
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

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.

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.

May 15, 2015, 07:39:00 PM
Re: Women Write Fantasy (The Giant 'Women in Fantasy' Database)
I grew up in the 70's and 80's, and I don't remember there being a shortage of female fantasy authors at that time. One of the series that hooked me on the genre was The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper.

I had forgotten all about those books, they are likely to be some of the first fantasy I read along with The CS lewis books and listening to  the hobbit on LP narrated byNichol Williamson.

August 02, 2015, 06:10:37 PM
Re: Fantasy-Faction T-Shirts US Friends: Jennie is working on obtaining a US supplier who can match quality & price ^_^
August 16, 2015, 05:06:08 PM
Re: Fantasy-Faction T-Shirts there will be orders from the u.s. :)
August 16, 2015, 05:18:53 PM