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26 April 2013 @ 01:28 pm
overwhelmed by sarcasm  

I was just briefly overwhelmed by sarcasm over on Twitter. Alastair Reynolds (whom I like very, very much) was commenting on stories he’s reading for (I think) a ‘zine, the first 3 of which he’s read have all been grim, dystopic, pessimistic near-future SF, and said, “Hey kids: you can do more than one thing with science fiction, you know?”

But by that time the sarcasm had already seized me. I said, “So does this mean the hopeful aspect of my planned climate change trilogy is Right Out?” and it all went downhill from there, with my nod to the fact that as things stand, as a woman writing near-future SF, I’m doomed to obscurity anyway, and that being hopeful about it will obviously only consign me to the gutter that much more quickly. I mean, it’s one thing for Kim Stanley Robinson, who is Big and Important and Respected, to be hopeful about the future, but me? Pshaw.

My friend Alan/bellinghman said I’d just have to redo it as “fang fucker” urban fantasy (causing me to throw tomatoes at him *laughs*), and, “Hey girlie, lay off them there Big Themes!”

The terrible, terrible thing is that there really does seem to be a great deal of that kind of real attitude out there. And of course I *don’t* believe that the barriers can’t be broken and that the marks can’t be made, whether it’s in gaining respect as a woman writer of science fiction or any writer at all offering a glimpse of a hopeful future, even if wracked by climate change. There’s virtually nothing that gets my back up like being told I can’t do something (even if it’s a generic “I” that encompasses women SF writers in general), and so I by God want to try.

And Al, bless him, said, “Good luck with it in any case.”

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
 
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on April 29th, 2013 11:03 am (UTC)
I'm grateful I know you well enough that you recognise my snark for what it is. I'd be mortified if anyone thought I was really like that.

More to the point, who's doing those Big Themes on the female side? Sherri Tepper was doing it, but though early Tepper is in my top 10 list of favourite writers, I got very tired of being hit over the head by her later works. Right now I can't think of anyone else, but maybe my toothache has driven everything else out.

(Carolyn Cherryh could certainly do it, but she's been focusing for a while on the human/alien understandability issues with her Foreigner series.)
kitmizkit on April 29th, 2013 11:45 am (UTC)
If I'd thought for an instant you were serious, I'm afraid I'd have asked Colette to give you a Stern Talking To. Possibly with a baseball bat. :)

...that's a bloody fantastic question, actually. I'll put it to the hive mind. *In* SF, I presume we're talking, not in fantasy, because I'd say at the very least kateelliott and jemck are doing fantastic stuff with social structure and expectations of gender in fantasy, which are certainly themes worth visiting.
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on April 29th, 2013 03:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, in SF. Fantasy does do big themes, but there's this odd thing that SF's greater ... realism? ... seems to mean that if you want to do it properly, you have to abandon Fantasy™. Fantasy seems to be one step further removed from the real. All of which is terribly unfair on Fantasy.

You might get away with it in that subset of Fantasy that calls itself Magic Realism. But then it's the realism in its name that's the point, I think, and while there is a lot of SF that is unrealistic fluff (basically Fantasy with light sabres instead of swords), at the core is that set of three questions: What If, If Only and If This Goes On.

(Oh, and I'm going to assume that 'Al' refers to Mr Reynolds and not to me, even though I'm the most recent plausible referent at that point.)