Smart Women Saying Smart Things

I have been gathering a pile of interesting links for blog posts all week, many of them linking to each other and building upon each other in a fascinating conversation about writing, reviewing and gender.

Reviewing and Writing as Women’s Work

Nicola Griffiths on how the gendered gaze affects our perceptions of how “hard” or “soft” science fiction actually is (and how sexual it is).

Madeleine Robins on the insidious, internalised cultural pressures of “nice girls don’t brag or draw attention to themselves” and how that works against promoting your own books as an author.

Sherwood Smith on the gender imbalance in SF reviewing and how Important Books tend to be those on Manly Subjects of Manliness and yet books about/by women mysteriously turn out to be Not Important, and isn’t that an odd coincidence? Also, how important it is to realise that if your literary tastes differ from the accepted standards of what is Good, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with you. In closing, in response to Madeleine Robins’ post, she also points out that the mythical women who don’t push themselves forward enough (and are therefore responsible for people not realising women can write good books) tend to be highly criticised by society when they actually do push themselves forward. Yes, still.

Owlectomy on how a gendered perspective of a novel’s subject can absolutely mess with your instincts about whether it is worthy of an award, and it can screw with you even if you are a woman and a feminist. Her description of the Joanna Russ Fairy is epic and must become a staple of critical language:

And the Joanna Russ fairy said, “If you think that family and love and grief are not inherently important topics, you might as well put some zombies in your Pride and Prejudice and be done with it.”

Juliet McKenna on how insidious Default/Lazy Sexism can be, and how easily people slip into the idea that fantasy is a genre for and about men.

Timmi Duchamp at Aqueduct on reviewing as a woman, reviewing marginal and mainstream work, and why we need more diverse critical voices.

Miscellaneous but Still Awesome

A powerful essay by Farah Mendlesohn about the work of Diana Wynne Jones, her literary influence, and why she was so terribly important as a writer. (not all that unrelated to the previous section, now I come to think of it)

Nisi Shawl on Race, Still – essential reading for anyone in the genre. And yep, this one’s not all that unrelated either.

Diana Peterfreund announces that Errant, the medieval-awesome-women-with-unicorns novelette that was one of my favourite pieces of short fiction last year, is available as an e-book. If you didn’t get hold of the antho it was originally in (Kiss Me Deadly) then I can recommend this one very highly.

Image found thanks to Ragnell – I have seen this fantastic cosplay group around the web all over the place but this is the first time I saw so many of them in one image. It may well be the awesomest thing I have seen in many months.