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Thread: Women and SF

  1. #31
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    I havent read as much sci-fi as I should have in the past few years. I am living primarily on my pleasant memories of girl hood in the early 80s to get me through. I have noticed though that sci-fi has remained sort of relentlessly macho. With its plethora of spy-prostitute-assassins who are just waiting for a nice guy to settle down with; or lesbian priestess-goddess types it hard for an average girl to find a role model. Although I am excited to check out many of the authors already listed in this discussion; I want to add Pamela Sargent's Shore of Women; James TipTree Jr (yes, she's a chick) The Girl Who was Plugged In. Both these texts along with Butler's and LeGuin's ask profound questions about the relationship between gender and civilization. Is the current model we have the only viable one; should we even try to change; are men right to be afraid of an advent of a matriarchial culture? I enjoyed Mr. Reiser's article because I think there is something to be said about giving a woman a thong and a gun; and teaching young women by example that, "Hey this is how its done." When really its done by average looking men and women trying to make it from one day to the next sans thong.

    I am tired of the model of the tiny-girl child prodigy who manages to whoop arse and be the best at whatever she's doing, and being pretty enough to get the guy. What about the plain janes; the overweight chicas; the ordinary ones who, precisely because they aren't pretty, do extraordinary things? Happens with male chars all the time. I have so much to say about this I know I need to wrap it up; but I am very interested in the thoughtful discussions about sci-fi and fantasy that seem to be ongoing here. :-)

  2. #32
    The Rhiminee Cat
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    ANother Recommendation

    Anyone ever read or hear about the

    StarDoc series by S.L. Viehl

    it's about a woman doctor and her adventures in space

    just bought the latest in the series and am devouring it quickly like the other books in the series.

    if you want to talk about it, feel free to pm me

    thanks

  3. #33
    Was Here Kilroy's Avatar
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    More Recomendations:

    WEN SPENCER, The Ukiah Oregon series is amazing, its a must read. it took me a while to figure out that Wen is a woman, i read it not know and it was great.

  4. #34
    Wow, am I out of the loop. I haven't read much science fiction lately. I was afraid I would either get discouraged because, after all, it's all been said before but that doesn't mean I can't say it differently, or I would be more likely to accidently follow someone else's story. But I could sure use some more strong female leads. I, too, read mostly during the male 70's, and real female role models would have been great. I found them more rapidly in fantasy and so have been hanging out there for a while. I also had some trouble with the trend in sf to have a great deal of fantasy mixed in, and I tend to like my sf on the harder side. I use to gobble up Anne McCaffrey, but quickly found myself tired of her female characterizations, of which she seemed only to have three, and then varied their skins. I adore C. J. Cherryh and find her works unusual and thoughtfully done, like Serpent's Reach. I think I will need to take another look at some of the names on the list.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Pirate Jenn's Avatar
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    More Recomendations
    Melissa Michaels (Skirmish, Far Harbor, and others)
    Sherwood Smith (Exordium series)
    Mary Doria Russell (The Sparrow, Children of God)
    Susan Engdahl (Children of the Stars)

    And more...
    LeGuin is great. I cut my teeth on McCaffrey (don't care much for her recent stuff) and Andre Norton.

    Michaels and Smith aren't very well known. Exordium is co-written with David Trowbridge...it blends technology and human interaction extremely well. Well-written space opera (almost hate to use the term 'space opera'). Michaels' books...I think she wrote them in the '80s (my memory is vague). She has extremely dry humor.

    I haven't read Russell yet, but I hear that they're excellent. So excellent, in fact, that those naughties in the general fiction stole her from the SF/F racks (I hate when they do that--start calling it "literary" just because they like it )

    Anyhow...women have impacted the genre. I think that female fans impacted the genre more than female writers (chicken and egg, I know)--but just remember that there weren't many of us until Star Trek aired in the 60's. (If you dislike Star Trek, at least give it that much credit ) Then we get LeGuin and Norton, et al.

    Anyhoo...like others, I don't like having ideologies crammed down my throat. I think it's wonderful when authors can work such large thought systems as religion, femenism, scientism, what-have you....so long as the story isn't crippled. Ideas have always been an integral part of SF.

    BTW: I've read all of the Bujold books...and I can't think of anything remotely feminist within them. Can anyone conjure up an example?

  6. #36
    Originally posted by Pirate Jenn
    BTW: I've read all of the Bujold books...and I can't think of anything remotely feminist within them. Can anyone conjure up an example? [/B]
    I've forgotten who it was, but someone at a convention once characterized Bujold's books a stealth feminism. They aren't as in your face as Tepper or Le Guin, but there are feminist aspects to them. The character Cordelia is a good example of the stealthiness. She leaves her planet for the man she loves, but she doesn't just sit behind her man and let him make all of the decisions. Barrayar is profoundly affected by Cordelia, both because she is the regent's wife, and she is the adoptive parent of Gregor. Also, she goes off with only Bothari to rescue Miles when his fetus is taken hostage in the coup. And the uterine replicator is definitely a feminist idea which, again, causes major change for Barrayar.

    I guess it depends on how you define feminism though.

  7. #37
    Originally posted by ariadne
    I use to gobble up Anne McCaffrey, but quickly found myself tired of her female characterizations, of which she seemed only to have three, and then varied their skins.
    That's a great way of putting it! I've also tired of McCaffrey, especially because of her female characters. I was surprised that I liked her most recent Pern book as much as I did though. That's the only series of hers that I continue to read. A few of her books are favorites, but most of them have been tossed into a wall at least once each.

  8. #38
    Senior Member Pirate Jenn's Avatar
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    Yeah, it would depend on your def. of feminism. There are some things that Cordelia is against that are a bit more feminist (ie: abortion, for one)--although, perhaps the uterine replicators take care of that issue. I'm used to thinking of feminism more along the lines of tough women, women power: leadership, money, etc.

    But, thinking about it...Cordelia was a captain and Bujold talks about the sacrifices she made to gain that position. I'm beginning to see how an argument could be made for a femenist slant. Thanks for putting my mind on the right track.

    ::thinking:: I suppose I would define a book as feminist when said book's focus was feminism. (ie: Racoona Sheldon's "The Screwfly Solution" or something like it)

  9. #39
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Quaisior


    I've also tired of McCaffrey, especially because of her female characters.
    Curiosity gets me. Does that include The Ship Who Sang? which when I read it felt right to me.
    Also like to bolster Tepper (I think I've read everything she's written). Particularly liked Gibbon's Decline and Fall.
    But then I'm male so what do I know?

  10. #40
    Originally posted by Hereford Eye
    Curiosity gets me. Does that include The Ship Who Sang? which when I read it felt right to me.
    Also like to bolster Tepper (I think I've read everything she's written). Particularly liked Gibbon's Decline and Fall.
    But then I'm male so what do I know?
    The Ship Who Sang is one of the McCaffrey books I still love. The ones that really angered me were a few of the later Pern books, some from the Rowan series, and Nimisha's Ship.

    I've only had two or three Tepper books that I didn't absolutely love. I like everything I've read by her, but some more than others. My favorites are The Family Tree and Sideshow.

  11. #41
    Pirate Jenn, I guess I have two classifications for feminist SF books:
    a) ones that are feminist, meaning that the whole point of the book is the feminist aspect
    b) those that contain feminist aspects, but the overall theme is something else

    I'd put Bujold into category b, for the most part.

  12. #42
    Senior Member Pirate Jenn's Avatar
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    With those definitions, I can see "b," then.

    I agree with y'all about McCaffrey, btw. I tore through the early Pern books, loved Crystal Singer and the Ship who Sang, and then started throwing books against the wall. I wasn't really sure if that was because the books got worse over time or because I was older--and I've not desire enough to re-read them and discover which.

  13. #43
    I think my problem with McCaffrey was both that the later books got worse and I was growing up and growing past them. I had to re-read some of the earlier ones because I had forgotten so much that had happened, so the newer books weren't making much sense. When I re-read, I realized how many things had gone completely over my head as a 13 year old. Maybe I shouldn't have re-read them, then I'd have the fond memories of reading them the first time. I also think I "ODed" on her books because I read so many in such a short span that the flaws were magnified.

  14. #44
    Who me? SusF's Avatar
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    Though I am a huge MaCaffery fan, I will admit that some books are better than others. To me, the quality of her books are a bit inconsistent. I still love the Pern series, especially the first one, Dragonflight. That one never gets old to me.

    Susan

  15. #45
    Senior Member Pirate Jenn's Avatar
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    I still re-read the first two harper hall books.

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