The foremost thing that strikes me, looking back on these pieces and this period, is that we’re still having much the same conversation about women’s SF writing that we were having two decades ago, which is much the same as the one we were having two decades before that. Whenever it recurs (and it does), I am put in mind of a scene from the Disney movie of Alice in Wonderland. Alice, lost, follows a trail of animal footprints along a path – only to encounter a dog-like creature with whisk-broom whiskers walking backward over its own prints, shaking its head and sweeping out its trail into oblivion behind/ahead of it. Women have been here in these genres right along; why do conversations about its history keep erasing them?
I am by no means sure that the issue is entirely a feminist one. It has an analog in another, similar conversation that has, to the best of my observation, also stayed identical through the years. A decade ago, Gardner Dozois, in his introduction to The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Twentieth Annual Collection (2002), says in his opening line: “Although critics continued to talk about the “Death of Science Fiction” throughout 2002 (some of them with ill-disguised longing) the unpalatable fact (for them) is that science fiction didn’t die this year, and doesn’t even look particularly sick.”
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