I’ve been thinking about that supposed truism that Men Don’t Read Books by Women, and wondering where it comes from. More to the point, how true is it and does it become self-fulfilling prophecy if publishers take it as a given and thus publish less women?
I don’t know what the basis is for this claim, but as far as I can recall, I have always wondered about it. I’ve been thinking back over my SF reading days, and the authors I’ve discovered.
Paul Kincaid has always been a good source of recommendations, our tastes don’t always match but when he talked about Karen Joy Fowler I listened. Likewise it was through the blogging of Niall Harrison that Kelly Link, Theodora Goss, M Rickert and others came to my notice.
My local SF bookdealer Peter Pinto has regularly offered me the likes of CJ Cherryh, Lois McMaster Bujold, Kit Reed and Michaela Roessner, whilst Birmingham’s Rog Peyton (not renowned as a feminist) was a huge promoter of Storm Constantine.
Conversations I remember from conventions include Ian Sales on Gwyneth Jones (and in a less complimentary manner Janet E Morris,) Gamma talking about Josephine Saxton, Mike Christie and Charlie Stross discussing Cherryh’s Wave Without A Shore, Mark Plummer’s theories about Connie Willis, and Dave Hodson telling me about Pat Cadigan.
That’s a small sample but are you really telling me those men, talking knowledgeably and enthusiastically about women SF writers are so unusual? Maybe, just a radical thought, more men read women than you think, but they keep getting told they’re unusual, so they keep quiet. They keep getting told there is little SF by women, so they don’t look for it, or don’t find it easily, but when they do, when it’s marketed so they can find it, be drawn to it, and buy it, I assure you they do read women SF writers.