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Women Sci-Fi Authors

April 25, 2013

Alex Heimbach over at Slate asks why there aren’t more women sci-fi authors. Good question!

It’s been well established that publishing is not a great place to be if you’re a woman. VIDA’s 2012 report on the proportion of men and women reviewed and reviewing at major magazines was just as bleak as usual. Geek culture can be equally unwelcoming to women, as recent events have shown. But what about the intersection of the two—science fiction and fantasy publishing?

The online magazine Strange Horizons has just published a study that applies VIDA’s methodology to sci-fi and fantasy publications, and it shows pretty much what you’d expect. Of 14 publications surveyed, only one reviewed books by women more than 50 percent of the time. (That was Cascadia Subduction Zone, which has the specific goal of “[treating] work by women as vital and central rather than marginal.”) Five of the publications devoted less than 25 percent of their coverage to books by women. The ratio of men to women among reviewers was similarly discouraging: Although three of the magazines employed more woman reviewers than men, seven had less than half as many women as men, and two publications had no female reviewers at all. (Admittedly, those last two publications had only four reviewers between them.)

Read the rest here. Among the great women sci-fi writers are, certainly, Margaret Atwood, P.D. James, and Mary Shelley. Other suggestions?

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