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Time travel is a much-used trope in spec fic. It's been done enough times that it's hard to do well and still be original. In some ways historical fiction provides a very limited kind of time travel— at about the same level the Stereopticon allowed people to see places they had never been. The TV show Mad Men, on the other hand, is so well researched and the production values are so high, that it's almost like a trip back to America of the past, circa 1962.

And what Mad Men shows us is that, in spite of some amazing women's fashions, in many ways 1962 was not a nice time. Maybe looking back people can see things they miss from that time, but the levels of racism and sexism prevalent in society then are shocking to those who never knew them first hand. The 21st Century may not be free of either, but it has at least made it impolite and unwise to let such thoughts and feelings show.

Or so I thought until a tweet directed me to a blog post lamenting the decline of science fiction because of, as near as I can tell, girl cooties. There were a ton of comments, several of which agreed with my sentiments precisely enough I felt no compulsion to post a comment myself. Still, I was a little stunned that someone would a) feel this way, and b) be willing to tell the world that he felt this way. To me, this sentence says it all: "Science fiction traditionally is about men doing things, inventing new technologies, exploring new worlds, making new scientific discoveries, terraforming planets, etc."

I added the emphasis on the word men, because that is this guy's point. It is men who do worthwhile things, and he doesn't mean date, fall in love, get married, and have kids. No, he means manly accomplishments like building stuff— and also blowing it up.

Maybe he should watch Mad Men and pretend it's contemporary? He might feel less threatened.






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Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
irishkate
Oct. 13th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
I'm the one over there laughing - down near the bottom.

Scalzi suggested we should just point and laugh at such people so I went and did.
karen_w_newton
Oct. 13th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip. Here's a link to Scalzi's post.
bogwitch64
Oct. 13th, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
Yowza--this guy has serious girl-cooties issues.
irishkate
Oct. 13th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
Actually compared to the others on that blog I'm not sure he is the worst - But pointing you to the other horrors and suggesting you read those would be mean to you and give them credit on the web, more than they are due.

(unless we got enough people to visit every day and ensure that only sane people got to comment on every blog they write......)
bogwitch64
Oct. 13th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
True--we wouldn't want to give them the attention they're obviously not deserving of. Then again, I could go there to point and laugh like you did. :-D
irishkate
Oct. 13th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
That was fun..

But you know what they say, it is hard to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

But fun!!
karen_w_newton
Oct. 13th, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
I could laugh more easily if I could be sure this guy would not show up at work and shoot his (female) boss with an automatic weapon.
irishkate
Oct. 13th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
One of the joys of living in Ireland is that such a scenario never even occurred to me - surely not..
karen_w_newton
Oct. 13th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
we have an expression here in the States-- "going postal." It means to go crazy, and it came from what seemed at one time to be frequent instances of Post Office employees who went to work and killed their bosses and coworkers. Those are less frequent now, but on the other hand their have been a number of attacks at churches. No one has yet coined the phrase "going sacramental."

irishkate
Oct. 13th, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
I am familiar with going postal - though I had not heard about church attacks. It would never dawn on me to consider such a thing as possible, never mind probable. Though I must admit my brother claims drivers in CA are politer due to a series of armed road rage attacks about 20 years ago? You won't cut someone off if they might shoot at you.

I'm glad I live here.
bogwitch64
Oct. 13th, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
Hahahahaa! Did you see this one?

Damn, if only we could do something to get rid of all those twats and fags, they ruin everything!
In the words of Patton Oswalt:
You are going to miss everything cool, and die angry.

or this one?
Awww, poor baby. Sorry to hear about your dick falling off because women are reading (and writing!) good science fiction. But that’s okay — there’s plenty of Perry Rhodan left out there for you.

Hilarious!
marvad
Oct. 14th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
John Varley provides the bridge between female and male science fiction.

Just a reminder that he writes about half the time as female. Latest book is "Rolling Thunder" first-person narrated by Podkayne, a Mars-born woman. John isn't shy about taking the female POV.

His sf world posits the ability of people to switch between sexes. He writes well in either POV.

Personally, I have a fem POV YA SF novel. I'm reworking it to R-rated since SF with sex seems to be most popular. It's interesting to write sex scenes. Haven't done it before, so I'm tiptoeing into it. I'm glad I have critters not so shy as myself.
karen_w_newton
Oct. 14th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
I think lots of folks bridge the gender gap. Alice Sheldon wrote as James Tiptree for years before being outed as a woman. Lois McMaster Bujold certainly had plenty of male fans as well as female. This guy is just bitter about something in his life and taking it out on women.

It's good to have bold critiquers-- worth their weight in gold.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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