Timmi’s asked me to expand, so I’ll try. You see, I’m what’s known as a “seventies feminist”. (I didn’t have an sf novel published until 1984, but I can’t seem to shake the label). What was different about the genre’s “seventies feminists” was that they didn’t write for feminists. They claimed to address the whole audience. Yes, this story, this novel, is about sexual politics; or has a sexual politics strand. No, it isn’t a form of chick-lit, no, it’s not just for bleeding-heart girlies. It’s the mainstream. Those days are gone, and I don’t regret them. There’s a limit to my desire, as a writer or a reader, to concentrate intensely on any single topic. What I do regret is the polarisation that has replaced our hopeful attempts to reach a new balance, so that (sigh) absolutely anything I write gets read as “feminist”, just because the whole genre has shifted so far over towards the masculine.
But there’s another point, which isn’t about feminism (honest!). As a critic, these days, often I can’t admire the books that are the height of fashion, but I no longer feel I should be the one taking them apart. There’s a younger generation, negotiating different boundaries, or negotiating the same boundaries (eg feminism) in different ways. There comes a point when you realise you could be stomping your horrible old elder statesman (or woman) dinosaur foot on the really interesting, different, and fragile blue-sky research of the genre, the kind of work that will never be mass-market but instead will nourish and inspire the mass-market. . . just because it doesn’t look the way you think it ought to look.
So that’s what I meant by “not even wrong”.
And maybe in 2009 I’ll teach myself how to recalibrate.
I do that trick all the time with music.
It can’t be rocket science.