An Anthology of One’s Own: SF Anthologies

LONCON3_logoJulio Rios M
Jeanne Gomoll
Alisa Krasnostein
Alex Dally MacFarlane
Ann Vandermeer

Jeanne—
memory of anthologies
Aurora anthology
XX Wonder series edited by Pam ?—republished in XXX during WisCon 20
introductions and histories of where we come from
tell people this is not a brand new event—need for the education and reminder hasn’t changed
hopeful new renaissance of anthologies will help other people realize they are part of a tradition and give role models
need to keep alive because it is still necessary to combat idea that

Ann—
more than just women writing sf
women writing in all genres: horror, surrealism, etc
doing Weird Anthology discovered interesting things—people thinking that in early 1900s women weren’t reading and writing it—but there were a lot of women loving that stuff early on—Weird Tales Club 40% were women
Frances Stevens, huge influence on Lovecraft (woman pseudonym)
trying to look at women always doing this throughout tiem, tho called diff things

Alex—
anthology looks at more recent work by women, mostly since 2000
partly because my interest and “most recent” pushes the boundaries
Not suggesting this is the first time that interesting things are happening.
Did not originally intend this, but it grew in such a way that I was looking at more recent work.
excited by more and more fiction that includes queer character (has happened before) but more and more interest from publishers, diversity
personal preference for narrative styles of how people write sff today—don’t particularly
Margaret Cavendish Blazing World subverted language and grammar in the book

Alisa—
Twelve Planets project came out of conversation in Australia, women not making short lists for awards
What would happen if we just published a whole heap of women publishing in one year?
Evolved into bigger than that.
These authors knew they could get their works published. Novellas can get published.
This has changed the conversation in Australia.

Julio—
history source: The Battle of the Sexes (dissertation for PhD) in Science Fiction
Daughters of Earth collection of stories form 1920s to 2000, w article for each about context etc.

Jeanne—where they successful for rewriting history?
3 books
Women of Wonder—30s and 40s
More Women of Wonder—50s and 60s
New Women of Wonder—70s
putting fiction into context—extremely important for Pamela Sargent?, edited the books as historical narratives, this is what the future and transforming the future looked like to women of the time—historical, exciting
At that time, significant idea was the idea that women could have equal influence. Easiest way to get there was apocalyptic. Now, however, closer set to our own reality; not necessary to wipe the slate clean anymore.
We are going to continue to change as individuals and women’s movement evolves.

Ann—weird fiction
willingness to change? You and Jeff have been a major force for weird fiction into 21st century.
Lots of glass walls shattered, but still more to do.
People still have prejudices and we still have a ways to go.
for every submission from a woman, getting 10-12 from men, for Weird Tales
not getting enough submissions, Weird Tales over 90 years, only second female editor, now it is all male staff again
Lovecraft is not the end all and be all. They are taking away from the other writers who are doing more interesting things than he does.
Nowadays when you look at a TOC in an anthology, more balanced.
10 years from now, won’t have to think about women in the TOC, LGBT will be normal/accepted in 10 years

Alex—
looking forward to SF anthology where I don’t have to count women in it

Julio—women in anthologies, when we fill it with just women, does it help solve problem?

Alex—
don’t know
Definitely a danger to ongoing body of work to say “oh I’ve done that.”
Would hope that is not something I would do.
edited an anthology on aliens with 50-50%, hope I would do that again
Hope eventually I can stop keeping count. Hard to say though.
How much are these projects preaching to the choir?
“You’re really into that sort of thing.”
going to be those who marginalize, some who say “great,” some who perhaps interesting
hope part of a wider discussion about gender in genres
We’ve got a lot of work by women out there.
Don’t think collecting it is the only thing we can do. Keep talking about it.
Part of a much bigger conversation.

Alex—
Everyone being in story and being able to publish stories …
diversity of theme and diversity of author—need a balance where writers are also having from multiple backgrounds
That is definitely happening in publishing right now. Diversity of author being developed.
Rose Limber, editor of Stone Telling (a poetry journal) and a bunch of other things

Alisa—
started publishing with women for a year, now doing Kaleidescope with a different diversity mission—What did you expect and what did you encounter?
expected a bigger fight than I encountered
as woman, interested in women stories, stories about how future will effect women
more diversity—kind of surprised by how many of my own biases I had to deconstruct and have a look at, mostly about what is a good story
awards select to stories chosen by editors
Just because I don’t engage with the character, doesn’t mean that someone else won’t.
Needed to learn to look at reading that wasn’t about me and still see a good book.
Australia small group—take writers, encouraging them
Being a cheerleader. Getting people to finish and submit.

Ann—
men have more confidence in their work. It has been my experience as a magazine editor, I get submissions from young men who think they are wonderful. They seem to have a lot more confidence in their work than women with the same level of awesomeness.
Have to work a lot harder with some of those women.

Jeanne—
Going to be a long journey –convincing women to listen to themselves and be confident
Ursula LeGuin Always Coming Home Certain allowable stories and they always started with man versus something. (fix the character analysis …)
Molly Gloss has explored the idea of generation ship, exciting things happening, but people are focused on their own lives.
You don’t have to just write the stories that have been written before.
Women in sf world are helping other people enlarge their space too (color, sexual orientation).
More we talk about our real selves.

Ann—
what we all thought sf was
Jeanne—
sf and feminism go together so well
Don’t think we are close, but the more we enlarge the possibilities of subject matter in stories…

Alex—
stories at more organic level
Stories that stand out to me are the ones that aren’t equal.
Strange to see sf where things are not equal, because sf always has it that way.
submissions in-box, lots of stories with armies in future all men—Where are the women? How is this happening? Didn’t read further than the front page of the story because there were no women.

Julio—
Ann said Men are more likely to think they are more confident. This is social conditioning.
As a society we teach boys that they are going to go out and do well. We teach girls they are going to go out and care.

Ann—
Men are rewarded for going out there and being confident. Women are not rewarded for going out there.

Alisa—
submit everywhere
Submit.
If you aren’t getting rejected, you are not trying hard enough.

Ann—
in math in school, boys got bad grade, teachers said “need to buckle down” when I flunked “you don’t need it anywhere”

Audience Questions:
I run a small indep publishing house, themed anthology. Do % thing. But don’t say anything in my calls. Suggestion for wording to encourage diversity without saying you are only open?

Answer:
Ann—contact writers whose work you want. Spread the word that way. People in the industry recommend the right writers.
Open calls are great, but not how to fill your space.

Alex—open to all genders, all backgrounds…
If you contact the writers individually, then they will see interest and send it.
Encourage open guidelines. LightSpeed has one.
But also endorse reaching out to people individually.
Question?
How do you develop editorial taste and what is the process of discovering new writers?

Ann—years of reading for editorial taste, but also have to consider indiv project and who is your audience—you want the widest audience possible, that’s your job
New writers? Totally excited each time I find them. Teaching—I teach and discover new writers. Promote the next generation.

Alex—Agree with what Alisa said about many ways to tell story. May not connect with stories due to norms of narrative.
Read widely. Reading intentionally. If something editor hasn’t done before, read specifically in that area. If you are bouncing, why? Yes, some bad, but others that make you think. Grow your sense of what a narrative is.
Know one person who when bought book by man, bought by woman. Think you should do that to diversity in other areas.

Julio—thinking about this, small exercise this, take a year’s work from free online magazines and choose your own list
make a list of best by gender, by POC, by xxx
Realize how it balances against what you are reading.

Alex—
editing and reading are not passive acts

Question
Going back to history, first woman’s anthology wasn’t book mentioned Women of Wonder. But had more emphasis and in direct conversation with other things.
Is there an attempt to provoke further discussion?
LightSpeed did xxx because there was a review that said “women need to be quiet like Barbie Dolls” in the SF Writers Association
“women are destroying our genre”
invited all the women we know and asked for pieces about destroying SF

Jeanne-
first time we had award, “feminist cabal”
We thought that was cool. We did space women cabal tattoos.
Response to backlash in 80s from the 70s women writing.
Tremendously depressed when I saw that men were taking the forefront again.
Pat Murphy came with TipTree Award (originally a joke) but shows that we are interested. Offering space and reward, so it came back.
Authors wrote stories specifically to be submitted for the Award.
One needed proof that she was a valuable person and won two awards for her novel Ammonite.

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