Last year I dedicated the month of April to highlighting women’s contributions to science fiction and fantasy, both as writers producing work in the genre of speculative fiction and bloggers sharing their love for the SFF books they read. By the end of the month I was floored by the many amazing posts I had gotten from authors and bloggers and the reactions here and on other blogs! At the time I said I wasn’t sure I was going to do it again because a lot of work went in to putting it all together, but a year later I’m happy to say that I’m again turning April into Women in SF&F Month on Fantasy Cafe!
Discussing women’s work in speculative fiction has been important to me ever since I saw the question raised about whether or not women were writing science fiction and fantasy a few years ago. They were, of course, and doing a lot of wonderful work, but they were not in the spotlight and did not spring to mind the same way male authors did. Since then, it’s been important to me to do what I can to talk about their work and try to change that.
Even in just the few short years since I noticed this, I do think women’s names are mentioned far more often than they used to be. Yet I am often reminded of just how far there is to go. This was the case last year when I saw some studies examining the review coverage of women’s books when compared to men’s the previous year. The results were not pretty. Around the same time, there was some discussion of nominating book bloggers for the fan categories in the Hugo Award and none of the bloggers I saw mentioned as potential candidates were women despite the many women who do write about science fiction and fantasy books. (That seems to have changed this year as I’ve seen a few women mentioned for fan writer and fanzine awards.)
It seems as though this issue is getting more attention now than then, but I also still see many things that make me think that the more it’s discussed, the better. The 2012 Count was just released by VIDA again, and it’s still pretty dismal. Then I saw this thread on LibraryThing about “Women and Fantasy” just a couple of days ago. None of the books on this “Can’t Wait Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2013” list with over 200 votes are written by women (a few of these books are unlikely to come in 2013, but that’s beside the point). There are still assumptions made about women as a group, and women’s books still do not seem to be as visible.
Last year I chose not to wade into the debates about the hows and whys (too much), instead just letting the authors and bloggers talk about what they love and highlight their tremendous work. It turned into some great posts to read so I’ll be doing the same again this year. I won’t give them away just yet, but just like last year, there are a whole bunch of guests I am VERY excited about and I can’t wait to share what they have to say!
I’ll have more soon, though possibly not quite as many reviews as I might like because I’m gathering guest posts. Next month will be more than worth it though!