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4 Responses to “Science fiction and women's history month”

  1. aperturehead says:

    Though probably nowhere near a classic Science Fiction writer, JK Rowling is one of (if not THE) most popular woman writers of Fantastical literature. I’ve always wondered what serious Sci Fi literature devotees think of her work – and whether other women who write Fantastical tales consider her too “inside” and much too popular to be worthy of criticism. The idea that there could possibly be derision within such an open-ended genre as Science Fiction and Fantasy is amusing to me. Is a Harry Potter any less or more of a valid character as a Luke Skywalker or a HAL (from “2001”) – nope.

  2. Tyson Kingsbury says:

    my guess is that folks like Ursula K Leguin and Sherri S Tepper are probably happy about the whole Potter phenom…it got a LOT of kids into reading….aside from that, I’d be surprised if they think about it all that much….

  3. One thing I find is important as a female science fiction writer (Peers of Beinan series) is that we keep our work truly grounded in science.  I spent an entire month doing the math, the physics, the astronomy before I was ready to start writing the first chapter of my first book.  I am so glad that I did that.  I think we would have more women writing science fiction if we could make it more socially acceptable for women to pursue their interests in science.  I was horribly labelled in school for winning at my school’s science fair and for playing with physics and optics in school.  Boys who did the same things were not chastised as I was.  Once we give women permission to enjoy science though — without bullying them for it or socially isolating them, I think we will have more women writing science fiction.  Too many women are scared off from science fiction by the stigmas we create.  Liking science doesn’t make you a freak or someone who cannot have a happy social or romantic life.  Once we get beyond that long held view, I think we will reap enormous rewards.

    • Sekino says:

      I believe that achieving this also involves changing the very definition of ‘happy social life’. People, girls especially, are led to think that a fulfilling social life is one filled with a huge gaggle of friends, parties and as much social interaction as can possibly be crammed in. This is neither realistic nor a guaranteed path to happiness for many people.

      There is a huge pressure to heavily ‘socialize’ youth (again, especially females). While it’s great and necessary to teach about bonds and friendship, it shouldn’t be at the detriment of teaching the importance- and usefulness- of solitude. When a child/teen experiences moments of boredom and loneliness, it is often treated as a disease that must be eradicated. More activities are piled on. They are advised to be less shy, to meet more people, etc, instead of being taught that this is a normal, common and totally okay human state, that these are moments when to explore what they like to do and think about on their own without exterior influence, that it often takes time to find true friends and the right partner. A lot of the distress experienced by people when they’re quiet, thoughtful or ‘shy’ types is caused by the fact that they’re told left and right that they WILL be miserable, sad and unloved if they’re not fluttery social butterflies, that it is a loss and something to mourn.

      I was lucky to be born in a family filled with introverts; nearly all of them are artists and scientists. Sure, I was the class weirdo and had the nickname ‘the dictionary’. I typically only had one or two friends through my entire school years. I did suffer through long periods of being totally isolated and ostracized, which wasn’t fun. But at least my family didn’t try to ‘cure’ me. They kept reinforcing that it was normal, that people who are openly smart and unusual naturally take longer to find their tribe, that it was actually normal to feel unhappy and lonely at times BUT that my time to shine would come later in life. They also ensured that I had access to everything I loved; the natural science museum, books piled high, my uncle’s awesome music and comics collections and a never ending supply of drawing paper.

      We need to nurture all kinds of personalities, not solely celebrities and party animals. They’re not actually happier than more ‘nerdy’ people.

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