A writing pal of mine recently wrote that he figured he ought to read more books/short fiction by men, because he realized his shelves were mostly full of books by women. Cool, whatever.
My shelves are mostly full of books by women. They’re mostly full of books by two authors: Lois McMaster Bujold’s entire bibliography (including The Spirit Ring) and a sizable fraction of CJ Cherryh’s bibliography. My shelves are a good 4′ wide, and her books take up two of them. The only other author whose books come close to the same amount of space? Terry Pratchett. Lynn Flewelling comes in fourth place, with seven books.
That doesn’t count the random selection of Literatyoor from high school or college and assorted non-fiction, nor the extensive manga collection (mostly by women, except the large Naoki Urasawa section).
Apparently, it’s brave for people to say they like male authors, or that they plan to read more male authors. I disagree with another writing pal that the drive to promote women in fiction has evolved into open season on men, as if a predominately male field of writers in the past means that men writing now must all be assholes.
I didn’t talk up male writer TC McCarthy’s debut novel Germline, because I hate male writers and think no one should talk about them. Oh wait, I blogged about it and wrote a really positive review of it for a magazine, and I’ve talked it up to everybody I know who enjoys military SF.
I didn’t review books by Mark Van Name, David Drake, Eric Flint, Tom Standage, or Patrick O’Brian in the last three months, either. The feminist anti-male-writer conspiracy has me silenced!
This is what we’ve done, readers. We’ve allowed ourselves – as a community of writers and readers – to think that talking about women (in a positive way, of course) is right and good, but liking men leads to shady behavior.
As they say on wikipedia, .
It is good to expand one’s reading horizons. It is good to find books written by people who come from different backgrounds than you, because they often have different perspectives than you do. If you are reading books by only one type of person, you are limiting yourself. If you say that only men can write SF, and women don’t belong in the SF clubhouse, you may be sexist.
No one is saying that reading books by male writers makes you a bad person prone to “shady behavior.” What people are saying, and this comes up more often than it should, frankly, is that readers should expand their horizons.
Isn’t expanding horizons and exploring different perspectives what science fiction’s supposed to be about? Why’s there such a push-back, then?