First off, I have to share my exciting news – Booklist Online (American Library Association) has included Midsummer Night in its TOP TEN SF & FANTASY NOVELS for 2011. Here’s the link: http://www.booklistonline.com/Top-10-SF/Fantasy-2011/pid=4825017
This has made my editor at Tor very happy, as he has two authors in the Top Ten!
Secondly, a quick heads-up that this Saturday, 28th May, The Write Fantastic are hosting a literary event at the Jacqueline du Pré Building, St Hilda’s College, Oxford… Lots of fabulous authors are guesting so do get there if you can. More info here… http://www.thewritefantastic.com/event2011.html
Lastly and briefly, the rest of my thoughts on Eastercon…
The main theme of the con was military SF. As a counter-point to this, there was a sub-theme in the form of a series of panels about women in SF – and the imbalance of attention given to male and female SF writers. Ian Sales had produced an impressive list of 150 well-known, highly-regarded female SF authors (or slightly fewer, as he’d accidentally put at least one name twice) – a handy reminder that there are many of them out there, and every bit as worthy of critical attention as the boys. Taking part in one of these panels, I’d unearthed some disturbing statistics compiled from several sources on the web. These apply pretty equally to literature in general as well as SF/ fantasy in particular. Boiling it down to basics, books are published more or less half and half by men and women – just over 50% for men, just under for women. And yet, when it comes to book reviews, male writers get (roughly) two thirds of all reviews, women only one third or less. Yes, male writers are getting twice the attention given to females. (In some SF magazines the figures were particularly biased – as few as one in ten books reviewed were written by women!).
While I don’t want to get bogged down in statistical detail, to me this shows that the battle for genuine, taken-for-granted equality is never completely won. It has to be fought and refought constantly. Seems that the ingrained mindset that men’s work is more important than women’s work, merely because they are male, will be with us for a depressingly long time yet.
I suppose it could be worse. If only one in ten books published was by a woman, and only one in a hundred getting reviewed, that really would be rubbish. We’ll no doubt be talking about this some more in Oxford on Saturday – and covering ageism too!