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Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Boreas, May 20, 2015.

  1. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I don't think so. He usually writes stand-alone novels, so you should be able to start with this one, too. Keep in mind that Priest makes heavy use of unreliable narrators in many of his works. Definitely read him, though. He's a master novelist. His most overtly science fictional novel is Inverted World. Most of them blur the boundary between SF, fantasy and magic realism, particularly with regards to experiencing alternate realities.
     
  2. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you @Boreas . I’m very familiar with magic realism and I have read many authors of this genre, mostly iberoamerican ones (García Marquez, Borges, Cortázar etc) This, specifically, shouldn’t be a problem.
     
  3. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

  4. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

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    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

  8. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    One more and you would have reached perfection in your posting skills ;):)
     
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    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

  10. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

  11. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

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    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

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    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

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    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

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  18. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

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  19. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Very interesting post, Jo! I was reflecting upon it and it is indeed a very tricky question.
    In your post you mentioned “They read the genre, we know that – accepted figures are that 60% of the genre are male readers, but when we allow for women being bigger readers overall, the algorithms come up with a 50/50 readership figure.”
    50%!? I do not doubt this figure is correct, but I was very surprised about it. Do female readers share with others the fact they read SF? I was thinking of all the female readers I know, which is a very hight number, none of them (admittedly) read SF. I personally can't talk about it with any of them because they don’t share my interest in this genre.
    Is this percentage of female readers high because they actually enjoy reading male SF authors or because it is simply what it is available?
    I’m curious Jo, have you received much feedback about your books from male readers? If they didn’t know you were a female author, would they guess it by reading your books?

    This post reminded me of the old myth “girls are worse at maths than boys” and I was thinking whether Missing Voices in SF could be related to this.
    I said it is a myth because there is no scientific proof it should be this way. However, boys perform systematically better than girls at maths, whereas girls tend to dominate in the humanities related subjets. This is something that at work we have been looking into in order to change this tendency. And it has been complex working out the antecedent, the function of this behaviour. It seems that they are primarily two reasons:
    • There is a natural preference for girls towards humanities than maths and this is not talent related but a simple question of choice. It is believed that children as young as 6/7 years old already begin to give up maths. Traditionally, Maths has been taught in primary schools using a passive method, that is demonstration on the board, followed by drilling practice, instead of learning to inquiry by asking questions. Talking is crucial in the learning process and often, the perception regarding maths, is either you get it or you don’t, and by getting it, I mean you get it fast. There is not much room for discussion.
    • Another reason is the social bias. Admitting, as an adult, that you are innumerate is socially acceptable, it can be a badge of honour for some students and parents. Admitting you are illiterate is something all together different, it carries a stigma.
    So, coming back to SF, I was thinking, could there be a natural avoidance from females authors towards SF genre, simply because of the social perception of being a male genre intended for males or for tomboyish women? How many females author write Hard SF? Jo, as a female SF author, are you socially “worse off” amongst your non SF peers author?
     
  20. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Elvira. Be warned. I'm going to try to make multi-quote work.... :D

    This is so hard to answer. There has never been a definitive answer to audience breakdown. It also depends how far you stretch the genre - if sf romance is included (and it probably should be) then your female readership goes up a lot. What I do know, from when I was a bookstore manager, is that the sff section is frequented by men as much as women but as those shelves tend to put s and fantasy together, it was hard to know whether they were browsing both or only fantasy. (I do have a number of female friends who do read sf, though, and quite a number of female readers.)

    As to the other - I have no doubt that there is a much bigger availability of sf written by males than women. Much.


    I have had a few reviews where the prevailing belief seems to be that the books feel like they were written by a woman and not a man. This is for two main reasons as far as I can tell - the level of focus on character emotions and the lack of focus on epic scale battles. Whether that's just my writing or a female thing, I'm not sure, but I do think women focus more on emotions. (Inish Carraig is a good case in point - Abendau is Dynasty in Space, so simpler to see the character interaction level. In pretty much every other alien invasion novel I've read it's about the invasion, the zippy tech, the fighting for your life, the aliens themselves. In Inish the invasion isn't shown - it's all about the aftermath, the characters, what it has done to people's lifes. When people tell me it's not like other alien invasion books I have no doubt it's because of the approach I took - but what I don't know is if I took that approach because I'm a woman, or if it's just how my brain works....)

    That resonates a lot of bells, actually. And is very sad. :(
    I grew up with 3 older brothers, the only girl. I am used to being surrounded by blokes. I have never, ever felt as immersed in a totally blokeish environment before. So, yes, the perception must be that the genre is predominantly male - and, in terms of what I see, pretty immersed in the genre, it is.

    Very, very few. Pat Cadigan springs to mind, but that's about it.

    Yes. Most reviewers are men. Most of the sf sites are ran by men. Most of the sf interviewers are men. The same men promote each other time and again, in interviews, blogs and books, in collections and networking. Having said that, many are kind enough to promote me, too - and this is not sour grapes, at all - but I'm not part of the clique, partly because the stories I write don't conform to many of the expectations of the norms of military/hard sf/Space Opera grand battles and what not.

    You see the stats about reviews in the article above - women are less likely to get reviews. We know, traditionally, they were less likely to get a publishing deal in sf (because books by women were seen as less likely to sell.)

    I'm also a fantasy author although people don't really know it yet (first fantasy is due out 2017 - it's always odd when I've been immersed in writing fantasy for months, and yet am releasing sf and talking it all over the place!). The reception I'm getting to the fantasy novel is much warmer, with more people willing to pick it up and try it, and interested in the themes. After sf, it feels a very, very easy sell. (But I have some more sf projects in the time-loop of craziness that is my current life, and suspect I'll always write both)
     
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