Once again about sexism in Science Fiction

It’s been a while since I wrote this post where I encountered blatant sexism, and today, Sean (@Seandblognaut) alerted me on Twitter about the existence of this post from inside the publishing world.

Written by Tor UK editor Julie Crisp, it is exactly the sort of stuff I wanted to hear from the industry. To take a few excerpts:

In the last few years I have seen numerous articles deploring the lack of female SFF writers, in science fiction in particular. And usually, the blame always comes back to the publisher’s doorstep. Every time I’ve seen one of these articles I get a little hot under the collar because, guess what? I work in publishing. I work in genre. And here’s the kicker – I’m a woman. Yes, a female editor commissioning and actively looking for good genre – male AND female.


The sad fact is, we can’t publish what we’re not submitted.

She goes on to quote that only 22% of science fiction submissions they receive are from women. This has been my (admittedly very limited) experience in the ASIM slush as well: that there is a distinct disparity in the submissions.

That said, the incident was inexcusable, no matter how much I was supposed to have “prompted” it. The proper reply that should have been given to my question was what Julie wrote. End of story. Thanks, Julie, for writing it.

Do I believe that pockets of blatant sexism exist in publishing? Hell, yes.

Do I believe that the majority of the publishing industry is at least attempting to be even-handed? Yes, I do. But that will not stop me speaking out when I encounter sexism as blatant as I encountered.

In any case, while I’m angry on behalf of women in general, it’s no skin off my personal nose. I am enjoying my self-publishing journey more and more every day, and getting more rewarded for it every day, too. Ticonderoga Publications is working on edits for my novel. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, the cliché goes, and I’ll survive well without a deal from a “big six” publisher.

2 comments on “Once again about sexism in Science Fiction

  1. Psst @Seandblogonaut 😀

    I just can’t help think that if this is her only comment on sexism in the industry, if this is how much thought goes into the issue then its not good enough. I get that its a bit of a defensive post, but I think that the conversation should probably move on to

    Why are they getting low submissions? Is it something they are doing as a publisher(ie how they present themselves)?

    Are they screening for gender bias?

    • What the heck is that d doing in there? OK, fixed anyway.

      I suppose there are two issues. One is: who publishes SF by women, and two is: which women submit SF and how are they treated?

      I have, at some time in the past, made a bit of a snarky post about women carrying on about the lack of women in SF and poking fun at the male-dominated hard SF genre, only to go on and say “but I don’t read that stuff”.

      *rolls eyes*

      Seriously, whoever doesn’t read it can stay off my fucking turf. I accept that there is a male-heavy bias because of the disparity of *interest* in the genre by males vs females. Whether or not that is even a problem is up for debate. In order to get women reading hard SF, we must do… what? I don’t know, and it’s not something that publishers control. The percentage of women reading it is of course on par with the percentage of women writing it.

      This is annoying, worthy of discussion, but, as I see it, not immediately problematic in terms of author/publisher relationships.

      What I encountered: blatant, spoken-out-loud sexism, THAT is unacceptable.

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