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26 November 2012 @ 12:56 pm
that climate change trilogy  
If you've been reading my blog for more than five minutes you've heard me talk about wanting to write a near-future SF trilogy around the subject of climate change. It's a passion of mine, having grown up in Alaska, where the effects of climate change have been brutally visible during my lifetime.

One of the things stopping me--well, there are a few. One is the amount of work I feel I'd need to put in to do it right, and an inability to see how I can keep making a living while putting it together. I am not known for writing SF, and although I'm passionate about the topic and a good writer, I'm not sure a publisher would want to take the risk of handing over enough cash that I *could* work on something that big to the exclusion of other material. They might, if I put together a strong enough proposal, but in this case "a strong enough proposal" would be research, time and work intensive enough that I probably might as well write the first book entirely, which comes right back around to the making a living thing.

Another is that I've got girl cooties, which everybody knows means I can't write SF.

I mean, my writer name is (not deliberately) gender-neutral, but it's also associated with urban fantasy and girly covers. So I'm not strictly certain the gender neutrality would get me past the door, even though the name is neutral. I mean, I don't particularly care if I changed my name to something else (presumably gender neutral) to write SF under, except for the irritating fact that it shouldn't have to be that way.

It's not just SF, a'course; it's epic fantasy, too, in many ways. Not that there aren't women being published in both, but they don't seem to break through to the GRRM/Brooks/Goodkind/Jordan/Rothfuss/etc levels of recognition. I know ... many. Let us say many. Many women fantasy novelists who say if they were starting over, they'd use a gender neutral name or a straight-out male one. I know many women SF novelists whose books have made a splash on entry, then largely have sunk without a trace.

I don't know why it is, except we are told over and over again that Men Don't Read Books By Women, and that Women Don't Read SF (or comics). This is clearly bullshit, given how many people I know who run against that tide, but the rote repetition of lies is a popular way to make them true.

I don't know how to fix it, either, because we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Writing under a male name is perpetuating the problem; writing under a female name apparently dooms women writers to obscurity...which perpetuates the problem.


--but I couldn't tell you what name I would publish that brilliance under. :p
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Kate Kirbykirbyk on November 26th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
I have mixed feelings on the whole thing.

One the one hand, the system will never change unless we fight it! Rarr, women power, rarr! The more actually good SF books written by women, the fewer idiots who will promote the conventional wisdom that women don't write good SF books.

On the other hand, it's your career and that money pays for actual cheerios and coats. And one doesn't jeopardize that lightly on an abstract principle.

But given that it's not /my/ money, I tend to favor the former.
Chrysoulachrysoula on November 26th, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
I have no idea how to fight the idea that some people have that the only difference between Anne and Todd McCaffrey is their gender, so of course any differences in their writing style must be attributed to their gender. And yet it's ideas like that which ultimately must be fought. Otherwise any woman who breaks out of that mold is simply an exception.