March Community List: Science Fiction by Women
Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.
Anyhow before I let myself out, I do think this is a nice list. I've recently realized my reading habits heavily favour male authors (and it's probably worse in sf), so I can do with a few pointers.
First Contact Stories
SF translated to English
Sword and Planet
(AsyouknowBo, gender isn't really just M/F.)
Comparing the list with the "science fiction"+"woman authors" tagmash - the highest book in the tagmash that isn't on the list is Grass.
There are other Tepper books on the list (and since most people have only put 2-3 books by any author on the list), so the highest book where the author has no other books on the list is The Giver.
Hmm who has been removed / down voted?
Yeah I only tend to add one or two works by a particular author.
I certainly hope that this endeavour is made the most of with a prominent post / blog post highlighting the number of different authors etc. and I hope it becomes a regular thing.
I've added more works and will keep going through the month. Does the group have a general preference regarding book series: first book vs. collection?
>17 aspirit: I've been adding only first book in a series, because it's my preference to read series in order starting with the first book and I feel like that's what serves most people best, too. I have no objection to people listing other books in the same series, but it is making the list a bit unwieldy.
Just 20? You do not like the Alliance-Union novels and the standalones or something? :)
I feel like changing the list to Women and NB might be more useful than removing.
I'd rather see a separate list for NB authors. Several NB people have mentioned that "women and non-binary" groups and lists can make it seem like NB people are considered "women lite". The intention from the binary people creating these lists is usually good - it's basically a way of saying "not men" - but that particular phrasing, at least, rankles some.
>26 lorax: I agree that the purpose of lists like this is to highlight that it's not just men that write science fiction (a belief that lingers despite the last 5 Hugos for best novel being won by women writing science fiction) but I can also understand that it makes people feel like an afterthought addition to a category they don't belong in.
>17 aspirit: I feel like for series that the first book (or the most prominent - especially for series like Alliance-Union, the Hainish Cycle or even Vorkosigans) works better than adding a collection, but I've used Lord of the Rings instead of Fellowship of the Ring for lists in the past even though most of us own it in separate volumes, because it's just more elegant.
I hate the gappyness of my library not listing things I read in the past but don't own at times like these. Who else have I forgotten?
I agree that new readers might be confused where to start with many books in a series added , but it depends on why the list is being complied, and who is likely to use it. I will use it to pick up on new (to me) authors, but also don't mind being completist for prolific authors like Bujold and Cherryh in case there's something that I've missed.
But how completist should you be, I see you've added a short story Articulated Restraint even though Mary Robinette Kowal is well represented?
I think a number of us could add individual short stories (and by women who are not otherwise represented on the list) but I am uneasy about doing so. It would make the list totally unwieldy IMO.
In some ways, the concept of a list of SF written by women comes across as somewhat patronising and ghettoising; is there a similar list of SF written by men? Rather than lists based on protected characteristics (gender etc), I would be more comfortable for lists based on sub-genre, e.g. a List of SF featuring Alternate Universes or a List of Cyberpunk novels or SFF novels made into films.
Another idea would be written by authors of a particular nationality; similar to the Locus country round-ups they used to do (I haven't looked a Locus for a while). The gender of the author should be immaterial to the list.
That would certainly make it easier :)
>31 andyl: But how completist should you be
As shown upthread there are lots of sites where info about women SF authors/works are catalogued, so it comes back to my question of why the list is being compiled and who will use it?
To be perfectly honest, the list is being compiled because Meg is LibraryThing's social media specialist and her job is to create activity and discussions on the site.
But I don't mind, compiling lists is always fun.
I was thinking about book lists. They are common in libraries, of course, but also on book-related sites. The power of LibraryThing, I think, is the knowledge of our members. A list curated by LibraryThing readers is going to be a very good list indeed. So, last month I tried my first community list: Must-Read books by Black Authors for Black History Month. When I promoted the list on Facebook, a suggestion was made that such a list was too broad and should be broken down by sub-genres. I liked that idea, so I put polls out on Twitter and Facebook to see what the sub-genre should be for March. I focused on women creators because it's Women's History Month in the U.S. and International Women's Month. Science Fiction was the clear winner.
My hope with any booklist is that both the creation of the list and the books themselves will spark discussion--as they have done here. It is indeed my job to do this, but I chose this job because I believe in building community around and through books.
To be clear, the site-wide list for this month is "Favorite Science Fiction By Women" as per the first post here by megbmore.
Lots of works are listed there that one would not consider science fiction. The push back that I got was mostly about The Handmaid's Tale being not science fiction. Of course, Margaret Atwood herself has always been a little squirrelly about her work being categorized as genre.
Please don't. Seeing dozens of works by a few very popular authors everyone has heard of doesn't help, IMO. Let's list works by authors who aren't household names.
If you do not consider a book on the list to be SF then please down-vote it and leave an explanation
Right. But a list of sci-fi works by women would be ENORMOUS, and also, if we really wanted to do just that, we could mash up tags (sci-fi) and gender.
By the way, I hope members contributing to the Favorite Science Fiction by Women Authors list are considering or have already added the books to Best Science Fiction Novels.
Spaceships and/or aliens = science fiction
In any event, I was surprised at the pushback that I got about The Handmaid's Tale since I thought that dystopian fiction (ala 1984 and Brave New World) was pretty much classic science fiction. People just like to argue I guess.
The "cursory online search" isn't a good standard. The Pern books are definitely SF, set on an exoplanet with a SFnal rationale for the dragons. It's been a long while since I read them too, but that much was quite clear.
But then if you want to use it as a reading list, you have no option for checking off books. I've long wanted a feature added to LT lists that is a box for "want to read" separate from the current add to my list/thumbs down binary. So you could truly use these lists as reading lists, checking off when you have read a book. Ideally, of course, there would also be some sort of "don't want to read" option that doesn't seem as harsh as thumbing down.
I also wanted to point out this list: Best Feminist Science Fiction, which is a bit more focused on SF, mostly by women writers, with specifically feminist themes, although that list has gotten cluttered with some fantasy and non-feminist SF. But it may be of interest, and additions would be welcome.
Perhaps the reason for the push-back is (a) the author does not consider it SF and (b) (AIUI) there's no real technological reason for it to be SF; just an unpleasant extrapolation of some current sociological trends.
Reasonable minds may differ. For some people only technological or "hard science fiction" is science fiction. For those folks, The Handmaid's Tale certainly would not be classified as such.
I don't think there's much to be done about this.
Too true. And yet in the case of Pern, there are spaceships (at least in the backstory) and menacing alien life-forms, but they get drowned out by the trope-engine of !!dragons!!, because genre's not about writing or reading--it's about selling books.
The Pern books, though, are dragons and space ships. And time travel. Later books get much more explicit about the science fiction aspect, but the very first novella ("Weyr Search") was published in Analog.
That said, though, I think arguments about where the line is between science fiction and fantasy are tremendously boring, and I also think there's little value in listing fifty-year-old works that anyone who has read SF has heard of and either read or chosen not to on a list like this. Add one to acknowledge the historical importance and move on.
Edit it yourself if you think it matters. I wouldn't touch editing Wikipedia for a million bucks.
If it is dystopian, it is SF. Regardless of the author's ideas that they are not a SF writer (yes, they are in this book) :) What is pure SF? SF has spawned a lot of subgenres but a story in the future is definitely a SF story (edited to add: unless they are obviously fantasy (I thought it was implied but apparently it was just in my head so making sure it is clear what I mean)).
The whole "but this is not SF, this is Literature" nonsense is the long held position of people who think that all SF is pulp and that it is underneath them to read or like such a low-brow literature - ergo "it cannot be SF" :)
It it quacks as a duck and moves as a duck, it is a duck. Even if you don't believe that you like ducks usually. ;)
The trouble is that SF covers such a range of fiction types. I tend not to classify dystopias as SF unless there's a strong element of science to the story. Speculative fiction, yes, but not necessarily science fiction - unless it's something like cyberpunk.
To me there's got to be a reason for the story to count as SF, and a drift into totalitarianism (or any other political 'ism) doesn't qualify (for me) a story as SF even if we're looking at the consequences years in the future. Basically, there's got to be something new or disruptive to the existing order - whether it's WWIII, space travel, aliens, parallel universes or technology.
If anything, On the Beach comes across more as anti-science fiction, as it's part of the anti-nuclear movement of the 1950s & 60s. (Similar to the films that we were shown at school detailing the awful consequences of nuclear war.)
>76 AnnieMod: My rule of thumb is that if the handwavium is magic, it's fantasy, if it's psionics, it's SF!
>73 lorax:, >74 AnnieMod: I agree that classification arguments are silly and boring. My only reason for raising it was the vehement argument that I got about The Handmaid's Tale being on this list of science fiction.
To me On The Beach, which I really enjoyed, is just speculative fiction.
>23 Maddz: I'm pretty sure C.J. Cherryh's SF titles outnumber her fantasy titles by 3 to 1 if not more. Especially if the Morgaine novels are counted as SF (I don't, but see above)
>77 Maddz: Nope, psionics is only SF if it's solidly in the future. In the past F, in the present urban fantasy.
Speaking of Fantasy, NK Jemisin has put out some amazing new work the last several years.
The first is absolutely hilarious and reminiscent of Catherynne Valente and Douglas Adams books. The second is space opera, written by a Christian but not overtly religious. The Firebird books (and HHGG) got me into sci-fi when I was in high school. :)
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