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Science Fiction > Women Who Pretended to Be Men to Publish Scifi Books

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message 1: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments Women Who Pretended to Be Men to Publish Scifi Books: http://io9.com/5077952/women-who-pret...

Tiptree Jr. Given Name: Alice “Alli” Sheldon

CJ Cherryh Given Name: Carolyn Janice Cherry

Vernon Lee Given Name: Violet Paget

Paul Ash(well) Given Name: Pauline Ashwell

CL Moore Given Name: Catherine Lucille Moore

L. Taylor Hansen Given Name: Lucile Taylor Hansen

Tarpé Mills Given Name: June Mills

Andre Norton Given Name: Alice Norton

Murray Constantine Given Name: Katharine Burdekin

JK Rowling Given Name: Joanne Rowling

Any others?


message 2: by Lara Amber (new)

Lara Amber (laraamber) | 25 comments Does using initials automatically land an author into "pretending to be men" or were other actions taken to hid the author's gender?


message 3: by Laz (new)

Laz the Sailor (laz7) Did anyone mistake JK Rowling for a guy? Or even Andre Norton for that matter?

Tiptree fooled me for a long time.


message 4: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments I'm not sure if initials meant they were taken as a guy in the original study because I didn't have a copy to read. The article is vague about that, but usually journalists reporting on any kind of studies are. That is a good point... although I think that initials tend to be neutral, a sort of a default, and many times neutral and default is male in our society.

I didn't think about JK Rowling as male but was surprised initially when I found out she was a woman.


message 5: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1470 comments Laz wrote: "Did anyone mistake JK Rowling for a guy? Or even Andre Norton for that matter?

Tiptree fooled me for a long time."


I do remember hearing a lot of talk about Rowling using her initials rather than her first name because of the long-standing assumption in publishing that boys won't read books written by women. I don't think her identity was kept very quiet, though, so that was out of the bag quite quickly.


message 6: by Text (new)

Text Addict (textaddict) | 60 comments I've read a bit of writers' chatter on this subject, and my take-away from that (view spoiler) was that nowadays, using initials is not so much to pretend the writers are male, as it is to short-circuit any "Ick! Girl/boy cooties!" reactions on the part of potential readers.

Of course, the validity of that approach depends (a) on whether readers automatically assume "I.M. Jones" is female and (b) how widespread the "Ick!" reactions really are. About which I don't believe there's any evidence beyond anecdata.


message 7: by Marina (new)

Marina Finlayson | 62 comments I don't think the "ick" factor is only confined to readers, either. I know an author who had a science fiction novel knocked back by a publisher specifically because "we don't publish science fiction by women".


message 8: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments Marina wrote: "I don't think the "ick" factor is only confined to readers, either. I know an author who had a science fiction novel knocked back by a publisher specifically because "we don't publish science ficti..."

Ouch! That is awful! Interesting that they were so forthright about it though...


message 9: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1470 comments Marina wrote: "I don't think the "ick" factor is only confined to readers, either. I know an author who had a science fiction novel knocked back by a publisher specifically because "we don't publish science fiction by women."

I hope they publish stories about time machines, because good luck getting back to the 1950's....


message 10: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Joyce | 77 comments Marina wrote: "I don't think the "ick" factor is only confined to readers, either. I know an author who had a science fiction novel knocked back by a publisher specifically because "we don't publish science ficti..."

Words to incite a class action suit.


message 11: by Deborah (last edited Jun 22, 2014 03:01PM) (new)

Deborah (goodreadscomdeborah_jay) | 15 comments It's very noticeable that when the lists for the biggest literary awards are published in both SF and F, that they predominantly feature male writers, especially in SF. However far we seem to have come in terms of equality, there still seems to be a gender bias against female authors amongst the publishing fraternity. The publishers publicly refute that, but their lists display it, year in year out.


message 12: by Marina (new)

Marina Finlayson | 62 comments Cynthia wrote: "Words to incite a class action suit."

I don't think they put it in writing. The editor spoke informally to the author, if I recall correctly. But yes, ouch. Hard to believe that such attitudes still exist. It would be interesting to know if they had actual verifiable evidence that sci fi by women didn't sell as well. Hard to imagine they could have, given the popularity of authors like Lois McMaster Bujold. Her publishers don't seem to have any trouble selling science fiction written by women.


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