Snark? Crank? Maybe just a few thoughts on a minor phenomenon

You folks all know I write Sleeps With Monsters over at right now. I don’t spend a lot of time in the comments, mostly because my life lately is OH GOD SO MUCH WORK, and when I do, I try to to restrain the occasional urge to snark and crank.

With only moderate success, it must be noted.

Anyway, at the end of June I wrote a post rounding up books by women forthcoming in the second half of 2014. It’s not a comprehensive list, because there’s only one of me and there isn’t one central database for forthcoming information, but I did my best.

Now, maybe it’s not obvious that Sleeps With Monsters is a column dedicated to talking about books that aren’t by men. Maybe it’s not obvious at all. But, you know, it stirs all my snarky impulses when three out of the sixteen comments that followed the post? They want to talk about books by men. (Rothfuss, Weeks, Khanna, and Erikson.)

This happens regularly. On book recommendation posts and forthcoming book posts, often, someone just has to bring up some book by a bloke.

Books by men are reviewed and discussed disproportionately often, as Strange Horizons’ yearly ongoing SF Count demonstrates. And apparently it’s not possible to discuss books by women without someone bringing up “What about the men?”

Snark. Crank. *points to phenomenon*

There’s no fix for the reviews issue except trying to push back on discrimination and be inclusive with as much intersectionality as one can manage to be mindful of. (And to shut up and listen when other people who experience discrimination along other axes are talking.)

I have to say, though, the “What about the men?” phenomenon is a thing that irks.

5 thoughts on “Snark? Crank? Maybe just a few thoughts on a minor phenomenon

  1. Pingback: Links: 07/04/14 — The Radish.

  2. Snark and crank away…

    As you know, Liz, my first book came out about nine months ago, the second book one month ago. In that time I’ve been told:

    1. I was a terrible, horrible, no good person for filling out a personal top ten list of novels with all women writers. How could I do that?

    2. That women really have ruined science fiction and fantasy. (actual, no shit quote)

    3. That maybe women don’t get reviewed as much or nominated for awards because we don’t write anything MEN WANT TO READ.

    4. That by writing “idealized” versions of men, i.e. men who treat women as equals and not chattel, I did….something unforgivable…that caters to the hard nosed, man hating feminists.

    5. And I must hate men too, I just won’t admit it. After all, look at what I write…

    Cranky? Doesn’t even come close. It’s approaching full blown rage and the need to lay waste to major cities.

    Probably worst of all is that I’m developing a full blown, almost physical aversion to any new books written by men. Any men. Any book. Do not want.

    Intellectually I know that’s not fair, because it isn’t. Emotionally, however, is another story.

  3. It’s approaching full blown rage and the need to lay waste to major cities.



    Let me know when the laying-waste starts. I’ll bring snacks and demo equipment.

  4. oh please count me when the rampaging starts?!? I can only accomplish so much with the putting of money where my heart is.

    I have so profoundly changed my reading and buying habits over the last couple years, mostly due to wanting my monies to support women. I buy e-books from women (and I rely on Liz to talk about what she likes because I like her style) and I get all books from blokes from the library. All of them.

    I will bring stompy boots and geologist’s hammer.

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