Judy Moffett (hefngafr) wrote,
Judy Moffett

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Gender Piece

The current issue of F&SF contains a feature article by Susan Elizabeth Lyons, entitled Women Writing Science Fiction: Some Voices from the Trenches (http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2008/sl0810.htm). Lyons contacted 31 women writers and got 15 replies, one of them from me. I was included because Gordon Van Gelder, editor of F&SF, asked Lyons to include me; he thought the survey should represent at least one woman writer in the field whose career, after early promise, had NOT worked out.

Ironically enough, to the best of my knowledge this regrettable fact has nothing to do with my being a woman. I go into detail in the interview about what it does have to do with. Specifically, I discuss my difficulties when I tried to break back in with The Bird Shaman. After my agent gave up, and I had to face the question of self-publication, the problems seemed to boil down to these: "The book was long; while I'd been out of the loop, length had become an issue. The book had 'midlist' written all over it. The book—and I found this difficult to credit—was still haunted [in 2006] by the poor sales numbers of my 1992 novel Time, Like an Ever-Rolling Stream. And of course I and my work had long since dropped off the radar screen, a fact not much affected by the appearance in F&SF of versions of parts of the novel, in 1998, 2003, and [eventually] 2007."

I didn't mention it, but I'm pretty sure the subject matter also contributed to my difficulties. The Bird Shaman deals with child sexual abuse, and it treats the Mormon Church in a way that members and leaders are bound to consider unflattering. Utah pioneer history has its heroic side, which is also reflected in the novel, but who among us weighs admiration as heavily as criticism?

Anyway, it's an interesting article that provides insight into the experiences of a number of high-profile women writers, and I recommend it.
Tags: f&sf, gordon van gelder, women writers


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