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Satirica: An Anthology of Satirical Speculative Fiction

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message 1: by Dudgeon (last edited May 11, 2009 01:56PM) (new)

Dudgeon (dudgeon369) | 5 comments You guys really should read this, it is a spec fic collection I put together in the tradition of Orwell, Huxley, or Heinlein, and I would love to hear your thoughts;

Dudgeon (editor) Satirica: An Anthology of Satirical Speculative Fiction, Cowboy Logic Press.

ISBN: 978-0-9816853-0-4


Wealhtheow | 36 comments Out of 20 contributing authors, 19 are male. Did this give you pause at all?


Catherine (CatherineLundoff) | 1 comments Yes, if by "pause" you mean I won't bother reading it. :-(

Wealhtheow wrote: "Out of 20 contributing authors, 19 are male. Did this give you pause at all? "




Dudgeon (dudgeon369) | 5 comments Catherine wrote: "Yes, if by "pause" you mean I won't bother reading it. :-(

Wealhtheow wrote: "Out of 20 contributing authors, 19 are male. Did this give you pause at all? "

"


I asked a half a dozen other women to contribute stories, but they declined.




message 5: by Wealhtheow (last edited Oct 14, 2009 01:26PM) (new)

Wealhtheow | 36 comments "I asked a half a dozen other women to contribute stories, but they declined."
Well, you clearly asked more than 6 men to contribute!

I'm not bringing this up to hurt anyone--but it's something to think about, the next time you put one of these together. This is not the first time an anthology has been predominately one gender or sexuality or race or class, and I'm sure it won't be the last. I think it's important to ask yourself whether your submission/acceptance criteria is biased (unconsciously or not) toward an already privileged group?

Submissions from a diversity of genders/races/classes/cultures can only make your anthology better. (Personally, I know I am far more likely to check out a collection if it looks a little less homogenous.) I know it can be hard to tap writers you're not already aware of, but the the Angry Black Woman is really helpful on this subject.


message 6: by Dudgeon (last edited Oct 15, 2009 12:28AM) (new)

Dudgeon (dudgeon369) | 5 comments Wealhtheow wrote: ""I asked a half a dozen other women to contribute stories, but they declined."
Well, you clearly asked more than 6 men to contribute!

I'm not bringing this up to hurt anyone--but it's somethi..."


Well it was my first anthology, and I did try to include women. I am not sure how many editors of professional magazines you can find who take any of that into account. Acceptance is based on quality and appropriateness to the theme, not what color or gender you are. I think that is pretty much standard across the industry, and the vast majority of my authors ended up being male, but it was just coincidence.

If you won't read anything with authors perfectly balanced between the genders and "races", since there are none in my mind, you will read nothing. It is not a relevant criteria for selection at the editorial level, only quality and relevance to theme.

--Dudgeon.


message 7: by Wealhtheow (last edited Oct 15, 2009 08:11AM) (new)

Wealhtheow | 36 comments You asked 6 women to contribute. You obviously asked at least 19 men to contribute. So how is the gender imbalance of the contributing authors "just coincidence"?

Apparently you're not aware, but imbalanced anthologies like yours have been the subject of much debate this year, in the sf/fantasy community. Here are some links:
On the all-male, all-white "mind-blowing sf" anthology: here, here, here, here and at Tor. Like I've said, yours is not the first instance of a collection that "just happened" to be made up almost entirely authors from majority and privileged groups. It is a pattern, and it needs to end. K Tempest Bradford has some great posts about how to break the cycle here and here.
I hope you'll be on the forefront of the people striving for a richly diverse genre.


Dudgeon (dudgeon369) | 5 comments Wealhtheow wrote: "You asked 6 women to contribute. You obviously asked at least 19 men to contribute. So how is the gender imbalance of the contributing authors "just coincidence"?

Apparently you're not aware..."


I am. But in my experience, the majority of spec fic authors which I know are white males. Nor will I include substandard stories just to achieve some kind of parity. And if the women I contact do not choose to participate, I have no control over that.

My goal was to create an INTERNATIONAL collection, and I included stories from Canadian, American, Australian, New Zealander, British, Scottish and South African authors. On that front, I think I did rather well.

Gender and race are irrelevant to me as criteria for selection, only the quality of the story, and it's suitability to my theme. They should be irrelevant to anyone.

What this means is that you will not find anthologies which are perfectly balanced in their contributors between genders and races, because their editors ignore these criteria when selecting stories. And if white males are the primary authors of spec fic, they will be the majority in any anthology, magazine, etc.

And in my experience, they are.

Cheers--
--Dudgeon.




Wealhtheow | 36 comments If you'd read any of the links I posted above, you'd see that every one of your objections has been said before and dismantled quite neatly.

Why are 95% of the spec fic writers you chose male?
Why are "the majority of spec fic authors which [you know:] white males"?
Why do you assume that including a woman's work in your collection would force you into accepting "substandard" work? Do you seriously think that women do not write spec fic as well as men, or that there aren't just as many women writing excellent work as men? SERIOUSLY?


Dudgeon (dudgeon369) | 5 comments Wealhtheow wrote: "If you'd read any of the links I posted above, you'd see that every one of your objections has been said before and dismantled quite neatly.

Why are 95% of the spec fic writers you chose male?..."


In my experience, yes. What is your experience in editing spec fic anthologies or magazines? Zero?

As I thought...





message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Phew Wealhtheow - those are some really great links, especially the Angry Black Woman one - she's hysterical, plus I've always thought footnotes were intrinsically funny.

As a pretty serious sf reader, I too am troubled by the Grandfather Clause of Guyness that seems to hover around the genre. I would really prefer to see a vibrant and inclusive sf community, partially because male readership has long been on the decline (to be fair, so has readership in general, but women have always read more than men) and a genre that caters to a decreasing population cannot be healthy. If science fiction publishers refuse to take a hard look at who their readers (and customers) actually are, which is predominantly and increasingly female, they risk having no readers at all. Of course I don't want to go the other way and read no male authors at all, of course. That would be lame, as lame as reading only male authors is.

Also, I'm bummed about Paul DiFillipo being a jackass. I read and enjoy writing by jackasses all the time, as being a great writer and a nice person don't always go skipping through the fields hand in hand, but I do like to pretend.


Wealhtheow | 36 comments Ceridwen, agreed on footnotes. They give everything just that tinge of absurdity that I adore. I know you loved Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel--have you had a chance to check out Jonathon Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy yet? Gritty neo-Victorian fantasy as told by a snarky demon, complete with footnoted footnotes. So much love!

Dudgeon, I don't need experience *editing* to know that white males are not a majority in the spec fic (or even just sf) world. I read.
I did not point out the problematic imbalance in your anthology as an attack. I pointed it out because I hope you'll be willing to look beyond your comfort zone the next time you edit.


message 13: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 15, 2009 01:42PM) (new)

have you had a chance to check out Jonathon Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy yet?

No I haven't. Not even heard of it! I will definitely add to my insanely long to-read list. (Edit: holy cow, did you say footnoted footnotes!? That's the best thing I've heard all day!)

I pointed it out because I hope you'll be willing to look beyond your comfort zone the next time you edit.

I second this. I would like to propose a thought experiment. Let's say someone decides to put together an sf anthology, and it just so happens that all of the authors chosen to be included were women. Would you suspect the editor of having an agenda? Would you believe him or her when s/he denied it? I wouldn't.


Shinynickel | 2 comments Dudgeon wrote: Wealhtheow wrote: "Why are 95% of the spec fic writers you chose male?..."

In my experience, yes. What is your experience in editing spec fic anthologies or magazines? Zero?


Dudgeon, I'd just like to point out that your answer makes no sense here. She asked you *why* something was, not *whether* something was.

I'd be interested in hearing your answers to these questions:

Why are 95% of the spec fic writers you chose male?
Why are "the majority of spec fic authors which [you know:] white males"?
Why do you assume that including a woman's work in your collection would force you into accepting "substandard" work? Do you seriously think that women do not write spec fic as well as men, or that there aren't just as many women writing excellent work as men?


Unless that "yes" was you stating, "Yes, I think women do not write spec fic as well as men."


Mat | 4 comments I agree with wealthrow and shinynickel, they are good questions and anyone would do themselves a favor to take some time to answer them.

It's not that i would necessarily write off a 95% white male anthology in all cases, but the questions posed above are questions i will always ask in those cases, and the editors' ability to address them respectfully is key. As far as i'm concerned, people have a lot of space to do things badly because we are all starting at a shitty playing field and not a single one of us is likely to produce something which doesn't overlook something important. But the key is, how does a writer, artist, editor, creator, etc. respond when folks ask some of these hard questions.

I can imagine a couple reasons why the tendency in dudgeon's anthology exists; there's agenda, and there's laziness, and also simple lack of awareness or information. I'm sure some folks feels safer knowing that their demographic has a privileged place at the table so they're pretty happy to maintain it, so they tell themselves convenient stories about that demographic having earned a right to that spot, either through effort or lack of anyone else's worthwhile efforts. Those same stories can be told by people who ideally would like to see more 'diversity', but who are overwhelmed by how to make that happen in a good way (eg. not just printing uninteresting stories for the sake of parity, as suggested). Sure, it's a lot more work and it's a lot harder to put together a good project (anthology or anything else) if we hold ourselves to those standards. But creating a community that fosters the best work requires that effort. How am i supposed to believe that the sf community has not overlooked some really awesome potential talent if the majority of cross sections of experience aren't even represented in the majority of sf anthologies? It just doesn't add up, conspicuously so.

None of us are saying that we expect an anthology to be exactly perfectly balanced for us to even touch it, which i think was kind of implied by dudgeon. My point, as stated above, is that if there is a little effort put forth and a willingness to say "ok, it's true, i'm not sure how to change that but i will follow your links and then i'd like to have further conversations about this because i'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this huge and overwhelming prospect which kind of puts a kink in how i'm used to doing things", i'm going to be a lot more receptive to the stuff that person puts out, even if it does fall short of ideal parity, or whatever. Answering questions with things like, "What is your experience in editing spec fic anthologies or magazines? Zero? . . . .As I thought..." (eg. not-very-respectful dismissal) sends me a little red flag which i will likely take in to consideration when looking through the anthology shelf for something to read.


Wealhtheow | 36 comments Mat, very well said.
"Sure, it's a lot more work and it's a lot harder to put together a good project (anthology or anything else) if we hold ourselves to those standards. But creating a community that fosters the best work requires that effort. How am i supposed to believe that the sf community has not overlooked some really awesome potential talent if the majority of cross sections of experience aren't even represented in the majority of sf anthologies? It just doesn't add up, conspicuously so." is precisely what I was thinking, but much more eloquently stated.


Mat | 4 comments wealhtheow (goddamned, why do you have such a difficult to spell moniker?? curses, you!!), thanks, i wanted to say SOMETHING so you weren't holding it up by your lonesome, not because i didn't think you had it covered, but damned, if we have to keep saying this crap over and over, it's at least nice to have others to chime in, no?


Wealhtheow | 36 comments Heh, if we averaged your exquisitely spare nickname and my own excessively complicated username, we'd have a nice, normal name. (ps: thanks for the reminder of "moniker"--totes gonna use that word as often as possible!)

And thank you for chiming in--you expanded and explained a great deal that I only referred/alluded to.




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