Thursday, June 03, 2010

Even The Queen. And Other Stories.

Moonbootica linked to this informative and fun video about female writers of science fiction and fantasy:

It doesn't cover all the famous women of those genres but it's a start for those of you who want to escape without doing Sex And The City II (or the latest Kill All The Bad Guys And Rule The World movie).

The video mentions Connie Willis and her short story "Even The Queen" which has been seen as an anti-feminist riff or a feminist riff or both. The story takes place in a world where women don't menstruate because of scientific advances, except those women who want to make a radical statement about the society which forces male patterns of existence on them.

I have read the story a few times. It would be interesting to learn what others think about it. My very first reaction was a silly one: I thought the story was not science fiction in the sense that women don't have to menstruate today if they don't want to. And neither did they have to in the 1980s.

My second reaction was dislike. Not because Willis makes fun of various groups of feminists (a lot of that is very funny) but because she makes no shots at the reasons why feminism exist in the first place. It's like a story about the labor movement without any capitalists where one laughs at the silly extremes the workers go to. If only they had had robots for work like we do!

I'm not sure what the interpretations of "Even The Queens" are though I know they exist. Perhaps some reviewers find the very idea of a short story on menstruation inappropriate, something that should not exist in the lofty annals of science fiction which is supposed to be all about spaceships and AI? Or the fact that the characters in the story are almost all uppity professional women?

By they way, some good news on the latest of those great books or great authors lists: The New York Times list of younger authors to watch is fairly evenly split by gender.