ccfinlay

Gender Redux

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Jun. 13th, 2006 | 06:33 pm

A few posts back, I made a comment about F&SF that led to renewed skirmishing along the gender front. The debate made me question my own perception. On the one hand, when I see that six of fourteen slush pile survivors are women, I feel like it's a fair chance. But when so many women I respect tell me they feel unwelcome, I pay attention.

I emailed F&SF editorial assistant John Joseph Adams to make sure he saw the debate. While I was at it, I pointed out that the F&SF page on Myspace has all men in its Top 8. The wonderful and talented megmccarron said somewhere once that it didn't exactly make women readers feel welcome there, and I mentioned to JJA that, in light of the current discussion, maybe she had a point.

John came back with: "I know, I know! I'd be happy to mix some women writers in our top eight, but I was trying to keep recognizable professionals in there. What I'd *rather* do is have the top eight be all F&SF contributors, but I haven't found enough of them that are F&SF's friend. I think you're the only one!"

So this is a call out to F&SF contributors, especially the women. Jaye Lawrence? Yoon Ha Lee? Marjorie Liu? Don't tell me none of you are on Myspace. Go friend F&SF and send John a note so he can bump you up front. I hope there are so many of you, you knock me out of the Top 8 cause I'm not a big enough name.

My next plan is to test the women-can't-sell-to-F&SF idea. You know how a certain group of folks bombard Strange Horizons with subs on April 1st? Let's shoot for 100 subs by women writers to F&SF in a single day. Sarah Prineas should send in two. (And if they're in "The Red Cross Knight" vein, maybe three.) Bear? Chance? Sandra? Karin? Any of you in? The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 18th. That could be the mail-in date. If all of you are selling to other magazines or selling novels and none of you sell there, you'll have convinced me.

This idea is absolutely no-win for me and I'm going to regret suggesting it as soon as I hit post. None of you sell a story to F&SF and you all hate me. Gordon gets drowned in subs and hates me too. But let's find out.

ETA: All right, then. I'm still not regretting it yet. I'll post a reminder a couple times in advance, and one on August 17th. And thanks so far everybody!

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Comments {252}

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shhhh it's a secrit

(no subject)

from: secritcrush
date: Jun. 13th, 2006 11:35 pm (UTC)
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I am totally in! I will send six stories!

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 13th, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC)
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No. 1! Yeah!

Now who's next?

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Leah Bobet

(no subject)

from: leahbobet
date: Jun. 13th, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC)
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Don't worry -- us bombing F&SF with girlcooties is actually a fine old pasttime. *g*

I'm in.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 13th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
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Sweet! That's no. 2.

Thanks, Leah -- I knew you'd be right there. :-)

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sandramcdonald

(no subject)

from: sandramcdonald
date: Jun. 13th, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC)
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I decided, that after all the debate, that my official stance is this: it's hard for any new writer to break into F & SF, and especially hard if you're a woman :-)

I'm in!

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 13th, 2006 11:47 pm (UTC)
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You've never shied away from anything tough.

3!

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Amanda Downum

(no subject)

from: stillsostrange
date: Jun. 13th, 2006 11:48 pm (UTC)
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I'm in.

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Amanda Downum

(no subject)

from: stillsostrange
date: Jun. 13th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
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Mind if I quote from this to spread the word?

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Jenn Reese

(no subject)

from: jennreese
date: Jun. 13th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
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I'll have to write a new story since F&SF has already dinged all my current ones, but I'll play.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 13th, 2006 11:56 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, Jenn. An August 18th submit date means there's some time to write.

That's 6!

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(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand

(no subject)

from: ellameena
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:01 am (UTC)
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I can send one on August 18. I hope I remember. Can you post a reminder a few weeks ahead?

Just a thought, here. I don't know if it's relevant. I publish in another tough market for women, which is Analog. I would never say I feel "unwelcome" at either Analog or F&SF just because I don't see very many women writers in the table of contents, and I don't believe for a minute that there is any conscious or unconscious bias among the editors. But there is something that I've heard Gordon van Gelder say a couple of times, which is that he wants more hard sf. Analog takes *only* hard SF. My analysis is that plenty of women are writing *speculative* fiction, but not enough of them are writing hard sf. My completely uninformed speculation is that F&SF receives more hard sf submissions from men, and most submissions from women are of the soft sf or fantasy persuasion. It may not be even remotely true. But we do have a "math is hard" mentality in this country, and I can't tell you how many female writers I know who don't "do" science.

Just a suggestions, from someone who has never been published in F&SF, that if you want to break in and you're a woman, you might take Gordon's advice and try hard sf. It's not as "hard" as it looks. I almost never use my calculator, even. (And it's not because I'm using a slide rule instead. :-)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:09 am (UTC)
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That's a good point, Catherine. (The same advice applies to men writers: Gordon says he never gets enough SF or humor, no matter who writes it.)

And thanks for joining in -- that's 7!

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stillnotbored

(no subject)

from: stillnotbored
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:01 am (UTC)
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I was going to bomb them tomorrow, but I can come up with another new story by August. I'm in, unpublished as I am.

That could be the real test, if someone, a female someone, with zero credits manages to sell them something.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:09 am (UTC)
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Awesome, Jaime -- bring it to the Million Monkeys in July and we'll crit it. :-)

8!

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Erica L. Satifka

(no subject)

from: themachinestops
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:06 am (UTC)
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I just sent one out a couple minutes ago, but I'm sure I can come up with something new by August. Just don't forget to remind us, you know how flighty women's brains can be. :)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
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If you sell before August, you get a bye. ;-)

And thanks, Erica... for ribbing me about flighty women. I'm sure I won't hear the end of that for a while.

9!

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Pam McNew

(no subject)

from: pnew8
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:12 am (UTC)
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Me, I'll send a story in. And, I'm already a friend of F&SF at myspace, not that I'm going to bump anyone, but I'm there.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:14 am (UTC)
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Heck, Pam, sell 'em a story and bump somebody. Why not?

You make 10, so we're already 10% of the way there. Thanks!

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(no subject)

from: iagor
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
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:Prepares to watch with great amusement, pops popcorn:

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shhhh it's a secrit

(no subject)

from: secritcrush
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
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you send the smut story, missy.

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Melissa Marr

(no subject)

from: melissa_writing
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
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I don't do anything adult or short enough to join party (alas, I'm all YA), but I wanted to just mention that you're pretty fab to even suggest such a thing, Charlie. Very cool to speak on it & to suggest a plan of action . . .

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, Melissa. I'm troubled by the gap between my perceptions and the perceptions of people I trust, so I had to try to do something.

I don't know what I'll find out. But I already feel like I'm learning something. The passion people have for this issue is profound.

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Novelist, lawyer, adventurer...

(no subject)

from: webpetals
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:34 am (UTC)
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Actually, I'm not on myspace. :-) But maybe I could remedy that for the cause. And I'll submit a story if I can.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC)
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You rock, Marjorie. I'd love to see some of your short fiction.

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Michael Merriam

(no subject)

from: mmerriam
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:37 am (UTC)
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I'll pass this along to Jaye Lawrence (wordswoman ) since she's sold to F&SF and Hilary Moon Murphy ([Bad username: hilarymoonmurph"] who has sold pro to RoF and a Mike Resnick antho. I'm in a writers group with them and would love to see them take part in this.

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Michael Merriam

(no subject)

from: mmerriam
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
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hilarymoonmurph is Hilary Moon Murphy. Bad LJ for not letting me edit my comments. No biscuit for LJ.

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Jodi Meadows

(no subject)

from: jmeadows
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
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I want to play!

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Kathryn  - Kat - Allen

(no subject)

from: katallen
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 01:14 am (UTC)
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We even have practice from the SH bombings... :)

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Mer, rhymes with bear

(no subject)

from: merriehaskell
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:44 am (UTC)
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I'm totally in for submitting, but I don't see the logic in sending more than one story... Isn't it better if we get 100 women to send one story so that each story counts equally, since F&SF doesn't really like multiple submissions? You know... make it a valid study by not throwing a potentially negative factor in. Or am I overthinking it?

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:48 am (UTC)
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I think the multiple stories are a bit of hyperbole... yes, the idea is one hundred women, one hundred stories.

I've got to go back to all the other replies to see where we are number-wise, and I won't do that until after I'm done writing now, but I'm counting you in -- thanks, Mer!

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(no subject)

from: magicnoire
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)
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I think I might want to play, but I'd actually have to write a short story to submit. Thoughts to ponder.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC)
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You've got two months to do it, if having a deadline helps you write.

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(no subject)

from: ex_filmmaker362
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:52 am (UTC)
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I wonder if JJA considers somebody like (and who has even appeared on the pages of F&SF) Carol Emshwiller a "recognized professional." Gotta wonder why she was left off the top eight.

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John Joseph Adams

(no subject)

from: johnjosephadams
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
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Carol Emshwiller has a MySpace page? Where's it at?

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beth_bernobich

(no subject)

from: beth_bernobich
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:57 am (UTC)
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Oh sure, you make this cool suggestion *after* I quit subbing to F&SF. :)

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Leah Bobet

(no subject)

from: leahbobet
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
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You can unquit and quit again immediately after? :)

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Rae Carson

(no subject)

from: raecarson
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 01:04 am (UTC)
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"I'd be happy to mix some women writers in our top eight, but I was trying to keep recognizable professionals in there."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Cuz, yanno, there aren't any recognizable women professionals.

But I'm in. I'll come up with something.

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John Joseph Adams

(no subject)

from: johnjosephadams
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 03:01 am (UTC)
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Come on now, that's just a case of bad phrasing. Looking through the F&SF friends-list, I didn't find any recognizable professional female writers. There were some who had a few sales, but I was trying to keep the bigger names up front.

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Deborah

(no subject)

from: mme_publisher
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 01:05 am (UTC)
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Hey, I've got girl cooties that I'm not using...I'm in, too.

I'm not a good test case since I'm not exactly selling anywhere, but still...I do have an Alas-O-File.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
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*g* Nice. Thanks, Deb.

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Kelly

(no subject)

from: retrobabble
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 01:08 am (UTC)
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Ok, I'll play.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC)
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Cool.

Cabana boys for you!

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kimberly gonzalez

(no subject)

from: kimberlycreates
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 01:12 am (UTC)
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Can those of us who have never been published before play too? If so, I'm in. If not, I might just do it anyway. So there. :P

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
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Sure you can play -- take fate in your own hands! You don't need anyone's permission. But you already knew that. ;-)

F&SF has published 6 people this year who've never been published before. You know they're going to publish more.

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(Deleted comment)

shhhh it's a secrit

Re: The Gender Bias Myth

from: secritcrush
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC)
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Except, you know, your data is not particularly good. Sumissions in that survey aren't controlled for quality.

Try again.

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Ann Leckie

(no subject)

from: ann_leckie
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 01:31 am (UTC)
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Oooh, Charlie, count me in! I nearly always put F&SF at the top of my list anyway, because hey, what can I lose? And it always comes back fast. And I'm one of those who's ambivalent about the issue--on the one hand, I'd love to see more women in the F&SF TOC, on the other, it does look as though the ratio of women in the slush is the same as women selling...and it's often a matter of editorial taste, which is something GVG is very honest about, publicly, and I really respect that, but on the other hand...

Anyway. Rather than go back and forth all night, I'll just say that I love the idea of increasing the number of women writers in F&SF slush. So I wanna play, too.

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Ann Leckie

(no subject)

from: ann_leckie
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 01:33 am (UTC)
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I want to add--I can't be one of the women who sells other places, I've only sold three SF pieces in my life. So my not selling wouldn't be evidence of anything. But I definitely would like to be part of the project.

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Eric Marin

(no subject)

from: ericmarin
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 01:31 am (UTC)
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Excellent idea, Charlie! I hope it results in many more women appearing in F&SF ToCs.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 14th, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, Eric. If it means more good stories in my favorite magazine that wouldn't have been subbed there otherwise, I win.

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