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

You folks all know I write Sleeps With Monsters over at Tor.com 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.