Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Feminist SF Luvin'

I have taken a couple days almost completely off the internet! One thing this means is that I did not keep up with my livjeournal friends list.

Sometimes, not keeping up with my livejournal friends list (which is mostly composed of SF writers) means that I miss a few witty anecdotes and announcements of great sales. Sometimes it means that I miss horrible, horrible explosions of sexism in science fiction.

Alas, the last few days have been filled with detonation. The stupid: it hurts, it burns, it is all over me, it is all over everything, possibly we'll have to scrap this internet and buy a new one.

I have given all this some thought, and after much deliberation, I have this to say:

GOD FUCKING DAMN IT.

Now, that's out of the way.

Rather than link to the debates, or discuss their validity, what I would like to do is this. I would like to create a short-list of allies that people -- say, feminists and anti-racists -- might like to support with subscriptions, submissions, and positive word of mouth. I want to feel positive about the SF world. There's a lot there to love. I want to create and form community networks of support. I think there's power in that, as well as fulfillment.

I'll start out with a few -- not meant to be representative or comprehensive, just the first few to get things started. Please add more in comments.


  • Matthew Kressel of Sybil's Garage has impressed me greatly with recent comments.

  • Sean Wallace of Fantasy Magazine is really thinking about issues of diversity. At Wiscon, he told me (paraphrased) that he's interested in finding stories with voices we don't often hear.

  • Nick Mamatas of Clarkesworld is right about 99% of everything, and he's right about issues of representation in SF short fiction, too.

  • Sheila Williams publishes stories that center on communities; recent issues have featured astonishing work by feminists like Nancy Kress and L. Timmel Duchamp. She's mentioned that she doesn't always get kudos for her work toward representation. Here, I'd like to give her some kudos. Kudos!

  • Kelly Link and Gavin Grant of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet are publishing work that interacts seriously with race, such as the recent story about the passive complicity of all first worlders in the death and pain of people from the global south.


So far, folks on my LJ have already added:
  • Paul Jessup at Grendel Song

  • Endicott Studio and the Journal of Mythic Arts

  • John Klima at Electric Velocipede


No knocking any market or editor on this thread, please. This is for positive endorsements only.

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UPDATE: The list so far

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List so far:

Clarkesworld (first suggested by: me)
Asimovs (first suggested by: me)
Lady Churchills Rosebud Wristlet (first suggested by: me)
Fantasy (first suggested by: me)
Sybil's Garage (first suggested by: me)
Grendel Song (first suggested by: squirrel_monkey
Endicott Studio and the Journal of Mythic Arts (first suggested by: Gwenda Bond)
John Klima at Electric Velocipede (first suggested by: Gwenda Bond)
Strange Horizons (first suggested by: M. K. Hobson)
Fantasy & Science Fiction (first suggested by: Kate Schaeffer)

4 comments:

Sean Melican said...

One of the comments pointed to was mine. It was racist, and wrong, and I apologize. (My intent was to list the difference in experiences, education, attitudes, and privileges that signify a character is white, but I unfortunately picked negative stereotypes.) Again, my apologies.

Eleanor said...

Please keep building this list of friendly SF markets. I am finding it really useful, though most of my
stories are too long for most markets. I am going to have to work on shortness.

Anonymous said...

Rachel:

Any publication or anthology that Ann and I edit is always feminist-friendly. We find that the natural distribution of submissions tends to range from 60-40 in favor of men to 70-30 in favor of men, which means we sometimes publish more men than women, but we are unabashedly and completely feminist friendly.

Leviathan 2 has only one contribution from a woman, but it is a story by Timmi Duchamp. Leviathan 3 had about 70% men but the 30% of female contributors included Rikki Ducornet, Timmi Duchamp, and Carol Emshwiller, who all, I think, exist within the feminist sphere of writers (in addition to all of the other things they are).

I think the problem with this list is that the unspoken assumption is that anything not on the list is not feminist friendly, though. I understand the point behind it, but something in me also worries about it in this sense: if you're not on this list, are you likely to get fewer submissions from women writers and feminists specifically?

The problem already for some publications is that women are not as willing to submit to them. Sometimes rightly so, sometimes not so rightly so.

Anyway, I am glad you've raised the issue because it seems like "feminism" in general is a dirty word these days and I would like to see it reclaimed for moderates and the mainstream.

JeffV

Rachel Swirsky said...

Hi Sean,

Racist stuff happens. The important bit (IMO) is figuring out when it's happened, and apologizing (and not getting mad when people point it out). Thanks for stopping by; I appreciate your words.

Hi Jeff,

Pleased to see you stop by, too.

I hear what you're saying about the list. I stress that it is incomplete.

I would also stress that I'm looking to list markets that are actively pro-feminist. Other markets may be neutral. It's not binary; something need not be either pro-feminist or anti-feminist.

Perhaps the term "feminist friendly" should be changed to "pro-feminist?"

(Finally, I'm not sure the project has legs, at least as currently constructed. Perhaps a committee would do better with this than a couple individual posts, not very many markets have been suggested.)

All best,
Rachel