It’s not that feminist analysis in an sf format is out of date. The story is as relevant as ever it was, and the books are still being written. Timmi Duchamp’s Alanya series is a case in point, Janine Cross’s Touched By Venom also comes to mind: I haven’t read it, but the harsh sexual tone sounds rather like Tiptree (people forget just how brutal some of Tiptree’s sexual stories were). But it’s a niche market, a minority interest: whereas the kind of fem-sf reading that the popular audience will read and buy has become practically indistinguishable from mainstream feminine sf. Stories where “girls get to be guys”, either on Space Patrol on with a swashbuckly sword and a feathery hat, will always be popular. Stories celebrating feminine culture, even when men are blame for everything evil, and women have been innocent bystanders for all the millennia, are also comfort fare. They’re womanly. They offer no challenge to conventional, or hyper-conventional “separate development” views on gender role. In short, we’re not in the seventies any more. Feminists who write genre have to address the realities of a changed world. I’d been thinking that since long before 2001. Actually, once you’ve done your “sexual politics” novel or two, you should want to move on. You want to take what you’ve learned about the human condition, and use it in fiction that has no visible connection with women’s lib —except that it’s the work of someone who never forgets that dimension.
(Go read the whole thing, because it comes with an interesting assessment of Kathleen Ann Goonan’s In War Times, among other things.)
One thought on “Quote of the Day”
I’m afraid I still regard novels that try to espouse a particular political or cultural view or ideology fail because of their over-earnestness. The correct way of approaching such tales is wicked satire…but, of course, that requires a sense of humour, something that many of these folks lack. I’m glad that Ms. Jones makes the point to get one or two of these types of books off your chest and MOVE ON. Books that are written to appeal to a certain demographic or strata of society ultimately fail because of their solipsism and silly cant. Or they are relegated to sub-genres and, often, oblivion. A great tale is universal; good writers achieve that end, the rest fight over the scraps. Thanks for the post.