I guess ‘most people’ will know that. One thing that disturbs me a bit is the frequency with which I come across 1950’s style fiction in workshops or the slush.
Yes, I totally get that you may have adored the SF greats. I am in no way suggesting that those writers weren’t great in their time, and some perhaps even now. However, a lot of that fiction has aged badly. I don’t mean technology. OK, we now have the net and computers, but sometimes it’s fun to read about a society at the time when a computer with the capacity of my geriatric laptop took up an entire room. This is part of the setting, and can be used successfully in new fiction.
I don’t mean 1950-style plots, those reminiscent of the great SF works. I love SF and space opera and while there is nothing edgy about the subgenre, it’s a lot of fun and still sells.
I mean the treatment of certain people in fiction, OK, ‘minorities’ and I’m especially talking about women.
The 1950’s style fiction will probably have women. It may even have women as major characters, but the way those characters are treated is patronising, or alternately, they exist solely to make a point. The woman is either a bitch or an object of sexual fancy, and viewed as a woman, not as a character or a person. The woman will be pretty and young. The woman will be a secretary in an office (if you’ve read my fiction, you’ll know that my secretaries are almost exclusively male). The woman won’t be a mother. If the woman is married, she will exist solely to serve dinner. The men will be protective and often kind.
The ultimate feeling I have about 1950’s style fiction is that the woman is a prop and a shallow character, a token, part of the scenery.
That’s why I will reject those stories which smack of 1950’s style fiction.
I am the last person to call myself a feminist. When I think of a one-word tag to identify myself, I think ‘writer’, ‘science nerd’ or ‘parent’. ‘Woman’ is a tag that comes very low on that list.
So, by all means, write golden-age-inspired SF, but treat all your characters like real people.