“I am dressed as the woman of the opposite sex”

The line’s from the BritCom ‘Allo ‘Allo, which was on my mind.  Anyway… wow, I’m way, way behind on these.  Well, two weeks, actually, since ReaderCon.  I’m skipping ahead to Saturday for now.  I’ll come back to Friday night after a few posts.

My first panel that day was “Daughters of the Female Man” with Elizabeth Hand, Chris Moriarty, Barbara Krasnoff, Gwendolyn Clare, and Matt Cheney.

I’d gotten there 15 minutes late because I was in line getting Claude to autograph some books for me.  Again, them’s the breaks of the arrangement of con panels.

Here’s what I took away (directly or indirectly)…

  • Sorry, but I couldn’t help but pat myself on the back when shout-outs were given to Maureen McHugh and L. Timmel Duchamp, and folks in the audience were going, “Who?” and making the panelists repeat the names.
  • Discussed was, to my delight, another instance–a real live instance that didn’t take place back in the “Golden Age of Science Fiction”–where a speculative fiction writer was ahead of the curve.
  • A whole host of books I need to check out, which I tried to note for myself rather than, as one audience member sort of suggested, relying on the panelists to spoon-feed me an annotated bibliography.

And these are my notes…

 I make no guarantees that these will make sense. I make no guarantees against my faulty memory, sketchy hearing, or any kind of telepathic or machine-based manipulation of/interference with my senses. Anything I might’ve gotten wrong is purely unintentional.

Daughters of the Female Man
Hand, Moriarty, Krassnoff, Clare, Cheney

[15 minutes late]

GC: Dearth of female hard SF writers
* Better at: 2nd wave feminism (upper class whites) vs. PoC/lower class women. 3rd wave feminism tries to integrate race/class issues
**UK LeGuin was trying in the ’70s

MC: SHADOW MAN by Melissa Scott

EH: Discussioin @MFA program she saw. Poets, creative nonfic, fic, etc. re: spirituality and writing –> individual voices from other communities (e.g. Islamic, Native American), but not a lot of talk re: crossover to POV different from own. **Spec fic writer in audience raised this issue.** Rxn: different thing for “lit” writers to think about.

Do panelists have “moral responsibility” to tackle feminist issues?
*BK: part of being sf/f writer.
*GC: It’s a matter of realism. Would be uncomfortable to write stories non-relfective of ppl in real world.
** EH: are you appropriating? fear being accused of appropriating?
** Yes, danger of being accused. Should be more concerned about misrepresenting a minority than trying and being accused on the internet
* CM: cf. Virginia Wolfe. She was able to write about the full range of women’s experience.
** cf. Tiptree–reflects real complexity of world re: gender, orientation, etc.
** cf. Kage Baker, Lisa Moore, et al. — does not fit in “boxes.”
*BK: Need to write characters as INDIVIDUALS.
** “classifying is dangerous.” Otherwise, no longer human, let alone representative.
*CM: cf. Joanna Russ: “each generation of women writers has to reinvent the wheel”
** stuff is/was there, but the books went out of print. Hard to find Maureen McHugh’s books. Some stuff from Tiptree you still can’t find.

EH: re: reinventing the wheel–is it possible for woman writer to come up with something new?
* MC:
* GC: “final frontier” = gender neutrality
* EH: Delany’s TROUBLE ON TRITON one of the best depictions of society that’s incorporated gender, etc. in complex way

On CM’s pseudonym…
* CM: feedback from agents, et al.–like work, but urged different name. Big boxes: “cannot figure out how to stock it w/woman’s name on the cover”
* Most fan mail writers believe she’s male–often delighted to find she’s female!

Libraries/Bibliographies: Best way to keep those writers/books in circulation, ‘cos no one else is archiving.
*CM: access to university libraries
*BK: cf. Project Gutenberg

re: new/shocking–what about L. Timmel Duchamp, et al.
*EH: *HUGE* number of writers out there now, of every strip. So, these people need to be WRITTEN ABOUT. Unfortunately, a lot of this stuff is mediated in the Ivory Tower.
*MC: the secret feminist cabal (merrick)
*CM: Aqueduct Press
*EH: blog about it!

*BK: isn’t really “science” fiction, but it is out there. More than just “guys shooting at each other.”