Amph Question about female sci-fi/fantasy authors

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by Handmaiden Yané, Jun 19, 2006.

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  1. Handmaiden Yané Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2002
    star 6
    I heard someone say once that female authors revolutionized the sci-fi/fantasy genre in that characterization became much more indepth and all that. I think it was Michael A. Stackpole (I heard him speak once) but I'm not sure.

    Is there anywhere I can find information on this? Or does anyone else agree with me or do some people think I am absolutely nuts for holding this opinion?
  2. Excellence Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    That's a rather vague and generalised thing to say. Not you personally, Handmaiden, but just the question. When was sci fi "revolutionised", and how, are two key questions.

    And more importantly, who gives anyone, "industry professionals" no less, the conceited right to make such a claim? No one can. Sci fi hasn't been revolutionised by anyone---my opinion, though people can see new written material and call it wow, dynamic! Might as well say talking bread has revolutionised the lunch experience.

    Moreover, females write what males seldom do, and males present what I've very seldom seen ladies do. Women have the edge in emotional writing, butit comes at the dire expense of excitement and action in many cases.
  3. Golden_Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 10, 2005
    star 4
    And that is a bad thing because...? :p

    Anyway, the greatest praise Ursula K. Leguin (the best female author of Sfi-Fi and fanstasy IMHO) got when she started writing was that she wrote like a man. :D
  4. Cliodna_ben_Lhee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2003
    star 4
    funny, I just attended the locus magazine awards weekend and Science Fiction Hall of Fame weekend in Seattle this past weekend, many authors were giving credit to Anne McCaffery for this at the various panels and events I attended. They said her Dragon Riders of Pern stories revolutionized sci fi. Before she came on the scene with those stories, sci fi was about the machines and the technology, she introduced emotion into the equation with her style of story telling.
  5. Excellence Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    It's criminal by Excellencive standards, Golden Jedi. Triple Zero was essentially 400 pages of conversations. I need excitement; I need action scenes here and there. I'm absolutely befuddled how anyone can write such boredom.

    Carol Berg thus far is the only lady I've read who has great emotion and even great action. Just to annoy me, there's the usual string of thins that I have problems with, but I don't know any other. When I say great action, I mean proper action: not yet another X-wing spacefight, or such.

    Barbara Hambly had three slick action scenes in Children of the Jedi, to be sure. But they were more 2-page moments than full scenes. Pit; the wordplay was quite good. Most women just can't write action.
  6. arwen_sith Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2005
    star 4
    Horses for courses, I guess. Action's fun, but only when I'm involved enough with the characters to care what happens to them.
  7. Excellence Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    About what you said---good point. How does one make you care about characters?

    Utterly fictious characters.

    And yet, even me, I admit, there have been half a dozen times in books I've read, not much, I know, but still a few rare times I will actually grip my book and turn page after page. Anxious to know how the hell someone will get out of a seriously mortal predicament. Or my gosh, they killed someone you feel sorry for . . . oh no they didn't, just tricked you a page later.

    I don't know why. Classic example was Deadhouse Gates. Twice the embattled general was facing overwhelming opposition. Herding 50,000 refugees across a burning desert with just 5,000 fighters. Against a hundred thousand. And there was one chapter when the predators finally attacked, not just snipped at the edges. And a second time later. And by Vader's black tights I was gripped, hooked like a dumb fish. I had to know how Erikson was going to get Coltaine's paltry resistence out of that one. It was heart pounding thrill for a while.

    These moments are rare. I'm largely apathetic to people that don't exist. But sometimes . . . it just sparks. [face_dancing]

    Bringing up Carol Berg and her D'Arnath books, she successfully combines emotion and action. There was a moment when she killed someone, and I thought NO! You were tricked, but I still felt it.
  8. Queen_Pixie Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 1999
    star 4
    Kathy Tyers can, not necessarily in her Star Wars books, but the Firebird trilogy has plenty of action.
  9. Excellence Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    Depends on what I meant my writing action, Pixie. Cute icon, by the way. For eg, the finale space fight of The New Rebellion. Wedge's crew not sure what a TIE fighter looks like? Huge Star Cruisers helpless against smaller Vicstars? That one shot saves the day moment? The realism was an incredulous joke.

    There's writing, and there's writing.
  10. sidious618 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2003
    star 6
    I've never particularly liked women fantasy authors, normally, IMO, the stories come out way too mushy. I hated McCaffrey fro example but perhaps that's also because she's not a very nice person so my views were already colored.

    However, Excellence, I rather liked The New Rebellion. Rusch is a pretty decent author.
  11. NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    There are plenty of good female authors. Sara Douglass, Sharon Shinn, Juliet Marillier . . . you just gotta dig a little :) Don't stop because you didn't like one author's work; your opinion of it probably has nothing to do with the author's gender.
  12. sidious618 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2003
    star 6
    Women overall seem to take a more mushy romancey look towards fantasy which I try to avoid at all costs.
  13. Golden_Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 10, 2005
    star 4
    Well, we probably have very different tastes. I find 2001: A Space Odyssey pretty exciting, same with Rendezvous with Rama, and there are no battles there. I assume you didn't read The Left Hand of Darkness nor The Dispossesed. OK, there books for everyone. I usually scroll down the battle scenes. :D
  14. Excellence Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    I'm due to read Dark Mirror next, so I'll get a taste of Juliet Mariller soon. I need action scenes in my reading, and if not that, then some sort of excitement. Lion of Senet had two brief battle scenes all trilogy; but the first book was building up to an electric tension. Things went down hill from there, but I can say the first book was okay.
  15. barabel_humour Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2005
    star 4
    Can't believe I forgot/no one else mentioned Janny Wurts' Wars of Light and Shadow! :oops:
    I'll admit the first Curse of the Mistwraith is a bit slow but after that it's almost non-stop battle, action and intrigue, and not too romantic or sentimental either. I haven't read them all yet but the first five were excellent. =D=
  16. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    I recommend Octavia E. Butler's books, starting wtih Dawn. They are really great, and totally fascinating.
  17. sidious618 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2003
    star 6
    Is it just me or do fantasy novels written by women always have the same cover? It's always a woman with either long black or silver hair holding a sword/stick/staff with her boobs almost showing in her skimpy dress. Behind her is either a castle or a mountain.

    It's always the same!
  18. barabel_humour Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2005
    star 4
    Generally, I agree and I go out of my way to avoid books with covers like that because if the cover is that uninspired then why would the story be any less generic?

    I believe Janny Wurts did some of the covers for the Wars of Light and Shadow herself.
  19. ShrunkenJedi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2003
    star 5
    To be honest, I won't read most fantasy, because there are too many stereotypes and not enough inspiration. It was wonderful the first time around, when it was called The Hobbit and LOTR ;). Of course, there are exceptions, yes, wonderful exceptions. For instance, Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon.

    As for Sci-fi, I like some action, but that can't come at the cost of characterization, which too many male authors neglect. I love Asimov, but I'll be the first to admit he's one of the culprits, his style coming straight from the male-dominated early pulp mags where he honed his skills. The best writing from both genders, of course, is that which can combine compelling characterization with an interesting plot and enough action to keep you obsessively turning pages. And achieving that sucessfully has to do with how good a writer you are, not your gender. I have favorite books of mine written by both genders which achieve it in admirable fashion.

    I, however, am very picky, which means I'm not going to like anything that's not got a good balance and go to great lengths to find something I'm probably going to like rather than just pick up any old thing, which is likely enough to be something I'd never want to read. If you're not so picky, though, and are looking for something where people just get beat up or something sappy, I'd check the blurb, the section, how it's marketed... that's going to tell you a whole lot more about it than the gender of the author.
  20. Excellence Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    I saw my above post, about reading Marillier next, and I gotta say, she abhors excitement too! :p I've stopped after over 200 pages, won't be returning. She's getting sold in my next bulk firesale.

    Netted some new suggestions there. Perhaps I'll look into them, but I'm really avoiding ladies if I can. The goodie ones are just too rare and too had to research for reasurance.
  21. NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Too bad; I really like her.

    And actually the cover art had nothing to do with the author; most of it is done by the cover artists.
  22. sidious618 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2003
    star 6
    Generally, I agree and I go out of my way to avoid books with covers like that because if the cover is that uninspired then why would the story be any less generic?

    I agree. I'm sure sometimes the trend is bucked but I'm not chancing it when books now cost $8.
  23. Excellence Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7
    I know, Nat. Aussies think scenic landscaping makes for great covers, Americans think swashbuckling heros makes for great covers.
  24. Darth-Kevin-Thomas Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2002
    star 5
    I took a class a few years ago called "Tolkien and Fantasy Literature." one of the big sections of books we read that semester (11 total) was a section specificly to look at the differnce between men and women fantasy writers. The class was cool becuase we made our own judgments on if we thought their was a significant variant between gender authors.

    I forgot what books we read because i was still trying to catch up with American Gods. But i'll try to find a few books and notes and share some more thoughts.

    dkt
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