Wed
Jul 17 2013 6:30am

Gender Representation and A Very Rowling Reveal

JK Rowling

Welcome once again to the British Genre Fiction Focus, Tor.com’s regular round-up of book news from the United Kingdom’s thriving speculative fiction industry.

After last week’s summer book announcement blowout, a more serious matter rules the day today: that of the representation of women in genre fiction. To illustrate this, Editorial Director Julie Crisp reported on a survey of submissions to Tor UK, categorising said according to genre and gender. The results were worrying: a fundamental imbalance exists.

Now how do we go about fixing it?

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling admitted to being behind The Cuckoo’s Calling, a crime novel—purportedly by ex-military man Robert Galbraith—published just three months ago, and critically acclaimed, if not a great sales success. I don my tinfoil hat to wonder how and why the big secret was revealed.

The Curious Case of J. K. Galbraith

Hot on the heels of the publication and subsequent slating of The Casual Vacancy, The Sunday Times just outed J. K. Rowling as the author of another crime novel. This one, however, was published under a pseudonym: namely Robert Galbraith, a supposed civilian security operative.

This, I think, casts a slightly different light on her self-congratulatory closing comments to The Guardian last September. During an interview with Decca Aitkenhead, Rowling confessed to have considered publishing her first non-Harry Potter novel under a nom de plume, before deciding it was “braver to do it like this.”

Or to have it both ways, eh?

In any case, The Cuckoo’s Calling seems to have been reasonably well received since its release in mid-April. According to the originating article, one critic called it “a scintillating debut,” whilst another praised the author for “his” extensive knowledge of women’s wear. Quite the acclaim.

But being a typically cynical Briton, it behooves me to moot that reviewers make certain allowances for first-time writers. One can only wonder how The Cuckoo’s Calling would have been be received had it had the Harry Potter’s author real name emblazoned on the front cover and such.

The Cuckoo's Calling Robert Galbraith JK Rowling

Tellingly, given her rise to prominence since the success of The Philosopher’s Stone so long ago, and the attendant problems regarding privacy in the public eye, The Cuckoo’s Calling is a crime novel very much concerned with celebrity:

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I can’t help wondering how word of Rowling’s involvement got out.

I sincerely doubt the author herself played any part in the breaking of this fascinating fakery. Firstly, there’s the fact that she’s already rolling in it—in no need another round of royalties, really—but I’m mostly convinced by Rowling’s reaction:

“I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

That said, the news has undoubtedly done wonders for sales of The Cuckoo’s Calling, which had heretofore sold a grand total of approximately 1500 copies. As of now, however—or rather the time of this writing—it’s Amazon’s bestselling book in the UK and the United States.

More fuel for the fire: the paperback of The Casual Vacancy is published tomorrow, and this reveal is sure to reinvigorate sales of said. Plus the two books share a publisher in Britain, in the shape of Sphere.

Coincidence? We’ll probably never know. But it’s fun to speculate, isn’t it?

 

Cover Art Corner: The Happier Dead

The Happier Dead Ivo Stourton

We spent a lot of last week’s column talking about the books we’ll be reading a year or two or three from now, which was all very well—it’s interesting to see where the genre is headed—albeit pretty pointless, practically. So it’s with pleasure that I introduce you to The Happier Dead, which Solaris plan to publish in February 2014. That’s only seven scant months from today, by the way.

Set in a London of the future, The Happier Dead sees a corrupted city dominated by a rejuvenating spa, the control over which gives Britain unparalleled global power. But the spa’s treatments, available only to those who can afford them, hide dark secrets that are set to unravel.

The author, Ivo Stourton, has published two mainstream novels in recent years—namely The Night Climbers and The Book-Lover’s Tale, both of which sound interesting in synopsis—however The Happier Dead is his first (sort of) genre novel.

Of the text itself, Solaris’ Editor in Chief Jonathan Oliver said:

“Ivo Stourton’s near future crime novel is an intelligent, moving and incredibly entertaining thriller. There are shades of Philip K. Dick and even The Prisoner here, but it’s Ivo’s distinctive voice that makes this such a compelling read.”

Stourton himself is an erstwhile solicitor and occasional playwright. A graduate from Eton, indeed, and the older brother of one half of Totally Tom, a stand-up double act I recall rather enjoying at the Fringe in 2012.

But back to the book! By way of the blurb:

The Great Spa sits on the edge of London, a structure so huge as to be visible from space. The power of Britain on the world stage rests in its monopoly on “The Treatment”, a medical procedure which can transform those rich and powerful enough to obtain a license into a state of permanent physical youth.

The Great Spa is the place where the newly young immortals go to revitalise their aged souls. In this most important and secure of facilities, a murder of one of the guests threatens to destabilise the new order, and DCI Oates of the Metrolpolitan police is called in to investigate.

In a single day Oates must unravel the secrets behind the Treatment, passing through a London riven with riots, disorder and corruption, moving towards a final climax which could lead to the destruction of the Great Spa, his own ruin, and the loss of everything he holds most dear.

Look for The Happier Dead to be released physically and digitally in February 2014.

I have a particular interest in new genre voices, so I don’t doubt I’ll be read Stourton’s book. You?

 

Sexism in Submission

Sexism Publishing

Make no mistake: the representation of gender in genre fiction is a very real issue in the industry.

We’ve talked about this in the British Genre Fiction Focus before, of course, and it comes up with reassuring regularity in the comments. Still, some dismiss it, arguing that a proliferation of anecdotal evidence doesn’t prove out the problem.

Fact: these people should be slapped.

This week, though, thanks to Julie Crisp, Editorial Director of Tor UK, we’ve got some hard facts to work with. Crisp prefaced them with this personal preamble:

In the last few years I have seen numerous articles deploring the lack of female SFF writers, in science fiction in particular. And usually, the blame always comes back to the publisher’s doorstep. Every time I’ve seen one of these articles I get a little hot under the collar because, guess what? I work in publishing. I work in genre. And here’s the kicker—I’m a woman. Yes, a female editor commissioning and actively looking for good genre—male AND female.

[...]

The sad fact is, we can’t publish what we’re not submitted. Tor UK has an open submission policy—as a matter of curiosity we went through it recently to see what the ratio of male to female writers was and what areas they were writing in. The percentages supplied are from the five hundred submissions that we’ve been submitted since the end of January. It makes for some interesting reading. The facts are, out of 503 submissions—only 32% have been from female writers.

Here’s a screengrab of the table Tor UK put together to exhibit the specifics:

Tor UK Submissions

Our conclusion is, I’m afraid, inescapable: the perceived problem—that female writers are inadequately represented in the genre—is a real problem. Please tell me no-one reading this is even slightly surprised about that.

But plainly, the blame can’t be laid at the doorsteps of publishers—or at the very least, not at the doorstep of this particular publisher. We must reach deeper for a reason. Presumptions, possibly?

Discuss.

Additionally, the results of this small survey illuminated an interesting wrinkle. Evidently, women are immensely underrepresented in science fiction and horror, and outnumbered 2:1 in fantasy, yet they handily overwhelm men in terms of submissions of YA and paranormal romance.

Why?

A quick caveat before I let you all loose on this topic in the comments: this data, invaluable as it indubitably is, describes submissions received as opposed to published pieces, so there’s still room for shenanigans. Indeed, I’d be interested to see Crisp revisit these statistics in a year or three, once those books that Tor UK bought from the 503 manuscripts aforementioned have been released.

Will the 32% balance bear out then as well? Or would this starter sample size be too tiny to demonstrate anything?

Credit to Julie Crisp for releasing these numbers in any event. A little transparency goes a long way, wouldn’t you say?

And that’s it for this week’s British Genre Fiction Focus. I’ll be back on Sunday with the latest edition of the Hitlist, and as ever, next Wednesday is bound to result in another round-up of book news from blistering Blighty. In the interim, I cordially invite you to have your say about the subjects touched on today in the comments section.


Niall Alexander is an erstwhile English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com, where he contributes a weekly column concerned with news and new releases in the UK called the British Genre Fiction Focus, and co-curates the Short Fiction Spotlight. On occasion he’s been seen to tweet, twoo.

34 comments
a1ay
1. a1ay
Really interesting to see how submissions break down - thanks for that. And it's probably safe to assume that Tor sees the same thing as other genre publishers.
Two questions: I wonder how the figures look for non-genre publishing?
And I wonder how the figures look for genre authors who actually get published? Are 32% of them women as well - or more - or less? (She mentions that Tor has taken on four authors, two men and two women, this year - but that's probably too small a sample to be significant...)
Gerd K
2. Kah-thurak
Puzzling. How are these numbers problematic? How many professions are there with exactly the same number of male/female employed persons? Would a gaussian distribution of everything and everyone in every part of live make the world a better place?
a1ay
3. FLWarren
I think this reflects at least in part a predisposition of writers to work in genres they enjoy reading. A breakdown of that rather broad YA category might be helpful...browsing my local bookstore, speculative YA seems to be heavy on urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
James Nicoll
4. James Davis Nicoll
How are these numbers problematic?

Women read more than men do*. Genres that appeal to women do much, much better than sausage-fest genres. SF has maybe 2% of the market. Mystery has about 25% (and romance, of course, has about half). From the point of view of authors and publishers, having a customer base that skews male is bad news for the bottom line. In fact, a diversified publisher could drop SF entirely without affecting their bottom line significantly.


* It stands to reason the US could save a lot of money by not teaching boys to read, since it's not a core skill for them. Similarly, Benford's Law suggests children are informed about the number nine far in excess of the actual use they will get out it; I would leave it out of math classes entirely.
James Nicoll
5. James Davis Nicoll
In the case of British SF, there are fewer women being published now than 10 years ago and one has to wonder why that would be.

I've seen blog posts from female SF authors who have been flat out told SF by women will not be acquirred. In such a case, is it in anyway surprising women turn to other genres?
Gerd K
6. Kah-thurak
@4 James Davis Nicoll
How does this correlate with the gender distribution of authors? You are discussing the readers ;-)

That SFF is, economically speaking, not the most relevant genre in the book market is not shocking news. It exists though. And people read it. If more men than women do read and/or write it, what of it?
a1ay
7. a1ay
Women read more than men do*. Genres that appeal to women do much, much better than sausage-fest genres. SF has maybe 2% of the market.

Not because of a lack of women readers, though. IIRC SF readers split about 50-50; mil-SF is (surprise!) mostly male, fantasy is slighty more female than male. SF isn't tiny because no women read it; it's tiny because (almost) no people read it. Double the female fan base of SF and it would be - ta-da! - 3% of the market.
James Nicoll
8. James Davis Nicoll
Point. But 3% is still 50% bigger. If SF had a market 50% bigger SF authors could stop living in beer fridge shipping crates and move into full size fridge crates. Some of them might even be able to buy shoes.

Interestingly, a lot of the titles I see in the YA section are clearly material that 20 years ago would have been stuck in with the SF. The big box store I visit most often not only doesn't encourage cross-browsing, they have the SF about as far as they can get it from the young adult section without building a new annex for it.
James Nicoll
9. James Davis Nicoll
I did a count of SFWA members and they seemed to have a pretty even split between men and women (but of course SFWA allows both SF and fantasy authors to join). The Mystery Writers of America is, iirc, about 40% women. That said, Mystery has a historical tendency for books by women being passed over for awards and reviews. And for inclusion in collections, if the Otto Penzler's Best American Mystery Stories series between 1999 and 2011 is any guide (oddly, the one woman who occupied the editor's seat in that span, Joyce Carol Oates, had the lowest fraction of stories by women of all the editors, tied at 10% with Nelson Demille).

This is one reasoon why Sisters in Crime exists:

http://www.sistersincrime.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=5

The other reason being a rise of the use of theatrically brutal violence against women as a hook for mystery readers, which I can assure you is just as common now as it was a generation ago, if not more so.
a1ay
10. WSaffron
How many women are passing themselves off as male to get their submission looked at? Tor is kind of a unique place. A female author shopping multiple publishers may not be using a female name, not even for Tor.

And while the Harry Potter series may never have identified the writer as a man, Joanne still isn't the name emblazoned on the cover. The series may never have taken off if it were.
Traci Loudin
11. TraciLoudin
How do you know the gender of those submitting works for consideration? If it’s just based on name, then maybe women have learned over time that to get their work considered (by other publishers), they need to use a male pseudonym. Does Tor require a real name be revealed during submissions? I asked this question over there as well.
James Nicoll
12. James Davis Nicoll
Tor is kind of a unique place. A female author shopping multiple publishers may not be using a female name, not even for Tor.

Yeah, about "even for Tor":

Tor:
james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/2889922.html

Baen:
http://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/2889481.html

Baen outdoing Tor in this matter isn't just a matter of 2011 being a fluke year:

james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/2891158.html

I think it may be a side effect of founder-effect. I recall reading in, I think, a review of Five Twelfths of Heaven that Jim Baen made a particular effort to seek out and acquire works by women. If Tor has made such an effort I have tragically neglected to hear about it.
James Nicoll
13. James Davis Nicoll
By the way, what's the all time record for discussions like this for the number of comments before the first one denouncing the subject itself as beneath discussion? Is it as high as five comments?
Niall Alexander
14. niallalot
@James David Nicoll: Oh, no. There was one time I saw 15! We're going to have to work a little bit harder before the record's really under threat.
Bruce Arthurs
15. Bruce-Arthurs
Why is "urban fantasy/paranormal romance" one category instead of two?

Perhaps the dichotomy is related to the amount of emotional content in various genres? Both romance (paranormal or otherwise) and YA stories tend to have protagonists more involved with feelings and relationships than traditonal SF or epic (Quest/War) fantasies do.

I've noticed in my own writing that male characters tend to react to plot twists with action and movement, whereas female characters tend to just plain think more before they act.

(Mileage may vary.)
Beccy Higman
16. Jazzlet
Why is the guy on the cover of 'The Happier Dead' in a cooling tower? I didn't think there were any cooling towers in London.

Not denouncing gender balance or ignoring it, but I don't have anything sparkling or otherwise to add to the previous comments. And the cooling tower is bugging me.
James Nicoll
17. James Davis Nicoll
I've noticed in my own writing that male characters tend to react to plot twists with action and movement, whereas female characters tend to just plain think more before they act.

Does anyone have a link to that fan-made video where Holmes and Watson are women?

One could construct a model where the men get to be two-fisted PIs who solve crimes by getting the bad guys to try to kill them whereas women stick to cool reason but in fact I see lots of female sleuths using human target methods (at least one of whom is generally not even trying to solve the case because she isn't a detective and does not want to be one; I think she owns a bakery or a yarn store or something) and of course there is the odd example here and there of male thinking detectives.
James Nicoll
18. James Davis Nicoll
And men are allowed to have emotions, just a more limited range. Anger, rage, irritation, apoplexy, all these are open to male characters without undermining their masculity. Of course the fruity stuff like falling in love with women is off the boards (unless they meet while kidney-stabbing a Columbian drug-lord; that's OK).
Gerd K
19. Kah-thurak
@18 James Davis Nicoll
Maybe you try reading different books. Sounds dreadfull.

Nevertheless it is still not clear why an even distribution of male and female authors and/or readers in any or all genre(s) is important.
a1ay
20. ASG
@13 I don't think I've seen one yet in this thread. As I read it, #2 wasn't saying it's a topic that is beneath discussion, it was pointing out that we should not jump to the conclusion that a differing number of submissions from male and female writers automatically means there is sexism involved. The article made that leap. Comment 2, imo, rightly asks the question -- is it a problem that less female writers submit works of genre fiction to Tor UK? Isn't it possible that women, for completely benign reasons, have less interest than men in publishing genre fiction? Personally, I have no idea. I have very little knowledge of the publishing industry.

If it is a problem, if women are genuinely being supressed from writing SFF fiction, then we need to start the next discussion. But let's have the first discussion first.
Brian R
21. Mayhem
@19, 20
I think the article is pointing out that there is a severe imbalance in gender in authors across almost every genre, and there are likely hidden reasons for them.

This *may* include discouraging certain gendered authors for particular genres - I notice men are heavily outnumbered in the YA fiction section, which ties in with the generally poor representation of men in most childrens activities today (teachers, careworkers etc).

A 60/40 split seems about right, that's probably as close to balanced as life tends to make things. 70/30 or 80/20 though ... that means there are other factors at work other than simply chance, and it is worth trying to shed some light on that.

This also ties in with the lack of female protagonists in much of literature - if the classic first novel adage is "write what you know", then naturally most authors will pick a protagonist of their own sex. The gender imbalance means that the idea of a male protagonist becomes the norm across the media, instead of simply an option, with the exception of UF, where there are different factors at play, significantly that sex sells.
Brian R
22. Mayhem
I also see it as curious that there would be so significant an imbalance, given that writing is a gender neutral task - no innate strength advantages etc - and that the female population in the developed countries is slightly higher than that of the male.
This means by simple statistics you would expect to see a slightly higher number of female writers submitting work, when distributed across the spectrum. We don't see the raw number breakdown above, but we do get a statement that the total figure is 70/30 biased to men, so something is actively preventing 50% of females from even submitting in the first place ... for any genre.
a1ay
23. Andrea K
The most telling comment I saw related to Tor UK's submission figure breakdown was the question of how many books Tor UK buys cold from submissions as opposed to directly commissioning/taking a contract option on?

Even presuming this is combined slush pile and agented submissions (which is another factor as agents may also be choosing not to represented female SF writers), submission figures don't really tell us _that_ much about publishing percentages. If a publisher has ten book slots this month, and eight of them are going to commissioned/optioned books from their already-existing stable of authors (most of whom happen to be male), then the submissions only impact on the two remaining slots.

It's all likely to be a little more complex than "gender breakdown of what arrived in the mail".
a1ay
24. AndrewV
I've always assumed that each genre was its own little world. If men read Sci-Fi more then women, and these men have the technical skills necessary to create hard Sci-Fi (along with the desire and storytelling chops, of course) , it would stand to reason we'd see more male submissions. That really doesn't bother me.

When I pick out a book at the store I do four things: Check the cover illustration, check the name for recognition, read the back, and read the first page. Always in that order. I don't care what gender the author is. I care that they wrote a book I will enjoy. If the author did not do this then it doesn't matter if they are male, female, or space alien-- I won't buy it.

If publishers are turning down high quality fiction due to someone's gender, I'd have an issue with it. The information provided in this article is barely circumstantial evidence of industry wide malpractice, but Niall already labeled it sexism when, in reality, we don't really know that it is or that a giant sexist conspiracy exists within large publishing houses.

"The representation of gender in genre fiction is a very real issue in the industry." This is not a fact, it is an opinion based on the Niall's personal preferences. I don't want to see high quality fiction unpublished because of the gender of the author, but my personal preference has always been: I don't care about the percentage breakdown in genders or 'what is fair'. I just want good stories.
a1ay
25. Farah311
Reputations shape submissions and are hard to break: Interzone discovered that employing Geoff Ryman as a guest editor created a sharp up turn in submissions from women; putting a half naked woman with a gun in a tits and ass shot on the cover, created a sharp down turn.

Editors are not the only influence: editor who shall go unanamed told me that she couldn't get a woman on to a particular list because marketing told her women don't sell.

Women get told by agents: the market doesn't take X by women, but if you write Y we can sell it, so they do. The agents are only doing their job on the basis of their experience but it compounds the problem.

A well known phenomenon is the Higher Standards for Women/Minorities: I know a female writer who has sold big in the US and had many award nominations, but all her books were turned down in the UK as being mediocre; the men taken on at the same time have flopped. In the UK, it is not the absence of the really fine female writers which rings alarm bells: it's the absence of the mid list. Where is the long tale of mediocre female sf writers? Almost every woman in the UK who gets sf into print ends up award lists on both sides of the Atlantic.

Unablanced submissions lists are not a defense, they indicate a problem to be untangled.
a1ay
26. Juan Pazos
@24 Dear Andrew: you don't care about gender, you just want good stories. As do we all. But, as you acknowledge, you take from what's published. So what if the publishers are putting out books based on gendered assumptions and therefore depriving you (us) of great writing because it comes from women? And you are not making the point that this is not so. Since 2/3 of genre is written by males it's all the more likely that you will pick a book written by a man, therefore reinforcing the perceived tendency that men sell more in genre.... and we go back to the beginning, ad eternam.
a1ay
27. a1ay
If SF had a market 50% bigger SF authors could stop living in beer
fridge shipping crates and move into full size fridge crates. Some of
them might even be able to buy shoes.

Nah, keep 'em hungry I say, I like the way the desperation comes across in the text. It's like the difference between wild game and farm-raised. The stress makes the meat sweeter.

But you see my point, right? Whatever's causing the skew in SF writers, it's not a lack of female SF readers, because they're out there in roughly the same numbers as the men. Similarly, SF isn't tiny because women don't read SF. If you want a bigger SF market, asking "why don't women read SF" is the wrong question. (Or at least it's exactly as much the right question as "why don't men read SF").

I did a count of SFWA members and they seemed to have a pretty even split between men and women (but of course SFWA allows both SF and fantasy authors to join)

Interesting. And gut instinct guess would be that there's more female fantasy authors than female SF authors... So women read fantasy (and mysteries, and romance, and so forth) and like it and write their own, and men read SF (and other genres) and like it and write their own, but women read SF and like it but... don't.

. In the UK, it is not the absence of the really fine female writers
which rings alarm bells: it's the absence of the mid list. Where is the
long tale of mediocre female sf writers?

Gentlemen Ladies, we cannot afford a Mediocrity Gap! Remember you're British, dammit! Amateurish efforts and a generally half-arsed attitude are what made your country great! Now get out there with your ill-constructed plots, your irritating, two-dimensional characters and your implausible technologies, and get published! Come on, it never stopped Peter F. Hamilton...
James Nicoll
28. James Davis Nicoll
27: More to the point, it's hard to believe all but, what, three female SF writers in the UK are worse writers than Andy Remic.

24: these men have the technical skills necessary to create hard Sci-Fi

As far as I can tell, in American SF "hard SF" means the author is part of a specific social network centered in Southern California rather than saying anything about the constraints placed on the SF. The technical skills needed are knowing how to glad-hand Pournelle, Niven and their pals, not a keen grasp of, oh, the dramatic potential of the phase diagrams of eutectic mixes of water and ammonia.
James Nicoll
29. James Davis Nicoll
Larry Niven, for example, got a reputation for writing hard SF with stories featuring FTL, psi-powers, egregiously horrid biology and worlds made of super-rigid rock, worlds with histories longer than the age of the stars they orbit.
Gerd K
30. Kah-thurak
@James Davis Nicoll
What exactly is your point here? That published SF authors are largely idiots? I'll tell you a secret: Most people are :P

@Mayham
If you take a look at different professions you will see that there are vast differences in the distribution of men and women. 68:32 is hardly an uncommon ratio.

I think that there is a tendency, that some people forget that equal rights and equal opportunites do not necessarily lead to equal distributions, but mistake the latter for the former...
James Nicoll
31. James Davis Nicoll
30: If you stick a number at the front of your reply to make it clear which comment you are referring to, that would be swell.

If it's the hard SF thing, I wouldn't call people who think the Niven stuff is plausible idiots unless they do something doubling down and insist psi-powers and humans being recent immigrants to Earth are totes realistic. Ignorant is a better description and ignorance can be cured with the grim meathook of education.

If it's the British SF thing, what I see when I look at the lower half of British SF isn't a genre men are peculiarly suited to writing; Judith Merril's helicopters on the Moon are no less plausible than Eric Brown's thesis in Helix that ~1 = 1/2. What I see is something that looks a lot like the half-good and completely awful are finding shelf space because a large segment of the population are being excluded to make room for them.
Pamela Adams
32. Pam Adams
@31 James Davis Nicoll,

I think Niven's reputation for hard SF was helped by his contrast with the New Wave.......
Ursula L
33. Ursula
Could women writing in genre be doing so disproportionalty in forms marketed to children and young adults?

Rowling is an obvious example - Harry Potter is clearly fantasy, but my public library splits the series between children's and young adult's fiction. Similarly The Hunger Games would fit quite comfortably in the science fiction shelves, but it has found its home in the young adult section as well.

On the other hand, The Warrior's Apprentice might have worked as YA, given how young Miles is when he is first introduced.

Who decides whether a genre work will be marketed within the genre or as YA? Which is financially better for a writer?
James Nicoll
34. James Davis Nicoll
Or the old pulps. I have some 1960 Ace reprints of terrible Edmond Hamilton books in which editor Donald A. Wollheim (later of DAW Books) issues a tirade against something DAW the man called "slide-rule SF". It's too early for DAW to be referring to Niven but late enough people contrasting Niven to something else could have been thinking of the older material.

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