Reading this piece by Jon Del Arroz about alleged anti-male bias in SF&F made me think about two events of my life which bear on this issue. Jon’s point –and the numbers he presents seem to support his claim– is that there is an anti-male bias in some parts of the short story market (and probably also in others.) I think that’s plausible, and there are some obvious examples like Tor.com or Uncanny. However, the problem goes deeper than that, and the alleged anti-maleness may be just an unfortunate consequence of an even more indelible bias than merely avoiding stories by testosterone-poisoned individuals. Let me tell you about two things that happened when I was young, so you get an idea of what I’m talking about.
This is the editorial of the last issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction Adventure Magazine, a short-lived magazine from late 1978 to late 1979. I guess he had no idea the magazine was going to be canceled since the subject of this editorial —even if interesting— is probably not about what one would write for a final issue.
Anyway, I liked his comment on how destroying a spaceship in words is as easy as doing anything else in words. That’s something many people who write as if they were filming a movie (or a video game) usually forget.
This is the third editorial [first and second] of Asimov’s Science Fiction Adventure Magazine, a short-lived magazine with only four issues (from late 1978 to late 1979,) where the famous writer explained his understanding of adventure, science fiction, fantasy, and their place in the current scientific era.
His thesis is that there is an important abyss between the pre and post scientific understanding of the world, especially concerning the problem of how to manipulate the universe or to make it work for us. He isn’t wrong, though, but I’d really like to know what was his opinion about writers like Jack Vance, who were aware of that pre and post scientific chasm but consciously played around it to undermine it and mix the different worldviews. Unfortunately, I have never come across any suggestion that Asimov knew or cared about Vance.
“The City Born Great” is one the finalists for this year (2017) Hugo Awards in the short story category. The Hugo Awards are the highest honor than can be bestowed to a science fiction or fantasy author.
In my previous post, I said I wanted to know more about the Puppies’ origins and claims (sad, rabid, lunatic, or in any other mental state.) Although sometimes it seems more like a controversy about what silly people say on Twitter, it’s essentially a literary one, and the main issue is the belief that the quality of science fiction and fantasy has degraded and the genre has become dominated by a clique of ideologues. Now, that there are a lot of ideologues out there on social media is true, and obvious, but I wanted to read their books. Are they really that bad, or are some people projecting their hopes and Internet drama?
First of all, thanks to Cirsova for a free review copy of its first issue.
The pulps are fantasy’s father, or at least a similarly important family member. Unfortunately, for most people there is a huge cultural gap between the origins of that genre and what they actually consume now. As Jeffro Johnson wrote in his blog:
[…]the general view of science fiction history is that it just somehow jumps from Jules Verne and H. G. Wells straight on to Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein.