Comments: Non-politically

I just started a Terry Pratchett ... binge, I guess you'd have to call it. My wife finally got Discworld as an audiobook, so I had to go back and reread it, then I went to the library.... it's so much fun, but the library collection's pretty spotty.

And I just reread Gaiman's Neverwhere, reconfirming my belief that it's his best novel, in a career of generally fantastic writing. (I don't remember where you fall on Gaiman, but if you haven't formed an opinion yet....)

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at July 14, 2006 05:22 PM

When I started reading the "big three" sf authors (Bradbury, Heinlein and Asimov), to me it wasn't a feeling that they hated women so much as a feeling that they never considered women that much as characters; they were there to supplement the main male characters but that was about it. This did start to gradually change thanks to second-wave feminism. By college all I was reading was fantasy written by women, so I didn't have that problem any more.

Glad to hear you're another recent sushi convert. I can't get enough of the stuff.

Posted by Elayne Riggs at July 16, 2006 08:22 AM

Jonathan - I picked up one Gaiman book a couple of months ago (embarrassing...the title temporarily escapes me) and enjoyed it, but it wasn't quite the upbeat reading material I'm looking for at the moment. I'll undoubtedly buy more at some point, though.

I resisted Pratchett for years and now I'm asking myself why....

Posted by Anne at July 20, 2006 03:33 PM

Elayne - A lot of the "Golden Age" authors I enjoy were writing before or concurrent with the "Big 3", but I cut my teeth on the Big 3 as a youngster. :)

With Bradbury and Asimov, I always get the feeling that they're not actually misogynistic, it's just that gender isn't relevant to what they're writing. (If that makes sense.) They wrote primarily male characters, but they weren't writing about gender issues, so it didn't really matter. Bradbury wrote about what it meant to be human and while there isn't a more intimate subject available, it's not necessarily a "gender" topic. Asimov wrote about the same thing in his Robot stories, so ditto.

I could make an argument about how Asimov's Future History is the epitomy of male domination of society, leaving women unseen and largely unnecessary in the background, but I could make just as good of an argument that what he was addressing in those stories went beyond the story of the individual and that any attempt to introduce gender issues that weren't even a gleam in USofA culture's eye at the time would have distorted the story he was actually wanting to tell, but I could argue a lot of things and this sentence has already been going for a long time.)

With Heinlein...there are days (and not a few of them) when I really prefer his boys' books to his later fiction because he bends over so far backwards trying to write "empowered" women that his female characters are painful to read.

I could write a whole essay on what I think about my Top 5 favorite Golden Age authors, but I'm supposed to be leaving town in 12 hours. :)

Posted by Anne at July 20, 2006 03:44 PM