So … apparently there’s this thing about women writing science fiction. I think I’ve read five or six articles about a couple of male science fiction authors (I really don’t know how many there are or even who they are) who are displeased by women writing science fiction.
The general arguments I have encountered in these articles are that women are somehow incapable of writing “real” science fiction. That women tend to muddy the waters of what should be science fiction with romance instead. That somehow this romantic tendency was damaging “real” science fiction.
(Please tell me I’m not the only one who sees the oxymoron in that sentence. I mean … “fiction” … “real” … C’mon, people.)
Well, in August of this year my first science fiction — Deviation — will be released by Double Dragon Publishing.
I am also a woman.
So I imagine that gives me reason enough to make a response to these naysayers.
Here it goes …
When I was in the Army I was trained to roll my socks a particular way. They had to be little balls of white and black (only white and black socks; white for physical training and black for the uniform) and they had to sit side-by-side in perfect arrangement so that when the drill sergeant did a locker check he or she would be pleased.
Granted, I did this because I wanted to avoid doing push-ups, but the habit eventually became so ingrained in my person that when I got out of training I still folded my socks that way.
And then one day my (ex)husband folded the socks. It drove me nuts.
He did it completely the wrong way. There was no tight little ball of black or white. There was no dress-right-dress in the top drawer. There was chaos; little flappy tongues of white and black that only proved what a civilian he was.
It was offensive, I tell you.
If I heard the dryer go off I would dash for it, praying I got there before he did so that I could fold those socks the right way. The Army way. Because God help me if my First Sergeant decided to come visit my home and check my sock drawer.
And then I realized … they were socks.
It didn’t matter how they were folded or who folded them. Unless, of course, I was about to go out on assignment, in which case the socks really did need to be folded into those little balls to save space in my duffle bag. But that’s besides the point.
The point is … you’re looking at socks. If you don’t like the way a woman folds them, don’t pick them up. They probably won’t fit you anyway.
But you know what? They’ll fit somebody. And that’s who they’re for.
My science fiction is not a romance. It does, however, feature women. A lot of women. This does not make it less science fiction. It just makes it mine.
Respect the craft regardless of its form. And respect the authors around you.
Because really, this argument is about as pointless as fighting over socks.
7 thoughts on “Women and Science Fiction”
I liked how you stumbled upon enlightenment through curled balls of sock.
I have read Margaret Atwood. Now even though she herself resists being labeled a science fiction writer, some of her books are as good as they come in the genre.
It’s amazing where we can find enlightenment sometimes.
I haven’t read any Margaret Atwood but I’ll add her to my list. I think I’ve got an Audible credit coming up.
50s and 60s reality is no longer REAL.
Ha! Too right.
I wonder how many of those authors complaining about women writing SF grew up on the works of Andre Norton or James Tiptree Jr.?
It’s horrible but I have no idea who those two authors are. But from what I gather they’re sort of in the older crowd.
There I go, showing my age again. 😉 They were two very well known authors who used pseudonyms to hide the fact they were women.