Saturday, November 17, 2012

Science Fiction, Action Scenes, & The Gender Divide

I followed a link from Twitter to an interview with author Donna McDonald (via author Ryan Schneider’s site). It was great to see her share that

My “indie urges” have led me in science fiction and fantasy romances to read Melisse Aires (cyborg books), Linnea Sinclair (space opera), and the spicy Sylvia Day (specializes in alien sex).

But then this passage stopped me in my tracks:

And now, as you know, I am looking for interesting male voices in science fiction and fantasy. Male authors tend to write exceptional fight scenes, action, and more fact-based novels.

That observation rankles me to no end. My feelings have nothing to do with Donna McDonald and everything to do with the fact that the bias she tapped into is nothing new and also so very entrenched in Western culture. Her observation spoke to the fact that women have been discouraged again and again and again from both enjoying and writing action-adventure stories, not to mention science fiction. 

So when readers express the idea that male authors are the default source for “…exceptional fight scenes, action, and more fact-based novels…” in science fiction I just want to go ARRRRRGGGHHHHH! My frustration stems from the implication that there's little chance women could accomplish that kind of entertainment as well.

It doesn't have to be that way. We’re far, far past the time for an artificial gender divide in this area.

Looking for an author of science fiction romance who writes exceptional action scenes? Check out the work of Nathalie Gray, the queen of high octane sci-fi romance. Like SFR with hard SF elements? You’ll find it in the work of authors like Catherine Asaro, KS Augustin, Wen Spencer, Linnea Sinclair, and Lisa Paitz Spindler.

Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on action-adventure in science fiction romance. In the meantime, hit me up with recommendations for female authors of SF/SFR who you feel write “…exceptional fight scenes, action, and more fact-based novels." Clearly, this is a conversation that needs to keep going for a while longer.

Joyfully yours,