Well, of course, the title makes sense, right? I mean, why shouldn’t women write sci-fi too? But the jarring truth is that men are still being spotlighted much more often than women for their science fiction stories, even though both genders are writing it.
Men Getting the Sci-Fi Spotlight
The focus on men in the science fiction genre has been going on far too long. This point applies to both the authors and the characters in the books. Yet you only have to look back to Mary Shelley to see that women have been writing sci-fi for a long time! But time and again women struggle to get the attention of men writing in the genre.
For example, last week when I was on Google.ca (I’m in Canada) I searched the term “sci fi writers.” Up came photos of 10 well-known authors in the Science Fiction genre and (wait for it) they’re all men. Here’s what I saw:
There’s Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Charles Stross, and more. Please understand I’m not saying these aren’t talented writers. The point, though: Where are the women? Because there certainly ARE women who in the sci-fi world.
It’s like we’re just replaying the all-male shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award again and again. And it’s frustrating that sometimes people aren’t willing to look around for a more diverse pool of authors for awards.
YES, women writers in Science Fiction do exist, and they are awesome. You only have to look so far as Natacha Guyot to prove it.
Science fiction writers, including Natacha Guyot
I recently purchased Natacha Guyot’s sci-fi tale Dream Crusher. She has visited my former blog Poetic Parfait a few times, where she blew me away with her analyses of sci-fi works and her love of spaceships. If you missed Natacha’s series at her site on #SciFi Women Interviews, I highly recommend it too. You’ll read about female writers who adore writing in this genre and the compelling story-lines they’re creating for readers.
Of course, there are many, many women writing about science fiction. It’s just that men seem to be receiving a lot more attention than the women. To find the top women in the field, for example, I had to Google “sci fi writers women.”
Yet, if you’re looking for the leading men, you wouldn’t have to include the word men in that search. Sad? Yup. In my Google search results, I read headlines like “The 23 Best Science Fiction Books by Female Authors” and “100 Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Female Authors.” Seriously, can’t we do away with the gender notation and have combined lists from here on out? Wouldn’t that be a step toward inclusion?
There are women out there writing wonderful tales, and I want them all to get credit and not be blocked from getting the spotlight because of their gender!
Taking steps, but still a ways to go for gender equality
There is some good news, though. At the 2016 Nebula Awards, women took home the prizes in all five categories for Science Fiction and Fantasy. Woohoo! Nnedi Okorafor and Naomi Novik are just two of the women we celebrate!
But… that positive news was around the same time that the annual Strange Horizons SF Count came out, which showed how poorly women authors are being represented in Science-Fiction/Fantasy media. Of the 18 magazines analyzed, only five of the book reviewers reviewed as many books by women as men, even though the number of books received by each gender was almost equal. Talk about a gender imbalance.
Still, we cannot give up hope. Change is slow but it IS happening, as shown by the Nebula Awards results.
The reality is that science fiction books, short stories, TV shows, and movies are, for the most part, very clever in their plot lines. They are complex and intriguing. I am a woman and I look for smart writing; I bet a lot of other women out there are doing the same. Science fiction meets that need for a challenge and I’m up for it! SO let’s start putting more women into the role of the main characters in sci-fi books AND keep encouraging females to write in this genre. Are you with me?