There are two main stereotypes of the Western scientist: the mad scientist and the coldly logical Vulcan. One type is distanced from emotion entirely, while the other is literally deranged, with an emotional spectrum restricted to the dark pleasures of world domination. Both are usually male. In the Western perspective, science itself is emotionless, as is the universe at large, a view well expressed in the classic SF story, "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin. Reading Justine Larbelestier's excellent book, The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction, I was struck by how overt early American science fiction is with regard to both women and emotion. In one early SF story it is only after women are eliminated that humanity (i.e. men) can found a truly scientific culture. Other stories and letters from readers of the era reveal an attitude that conflates the existence of women with emotion, and science and real science fiction with things that are emotion-free.Check it out.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Reading for a Monday
Vandana Singh's column is up at Strange Horizons today: Diffractions: On Science, Emotions, and Culture, Pt. 1. She takes up an issue that has long been of interest to feminist science fiction: