In Which Yr Hmbl Hostess Has Not Had Enough Caffeine

Bruce Sterling is trying to make a point over here.  Mind you, I’m not sure what his point is.  It sorta smacks of the old assurance from A Certain Male SF Writer that his female colleagues didn’t have to write fantasy!  They could, with only a little research, learn to write science fiction, too.

Lack of caffeine, right.

Anyhow, Mr. Sterling provides a list, lifted from a Must Read SF posting at The Galaxy Express, with the note that there is not a single male author appearing.  One of the authors listed is Steve Miller, who, last time I checked — quite recently, in fact — was male.  And an author.

When this was pointed out to Mr. Sterling, he amended his editorial to exclaim that there was a male author of half a book! on the list.

Since there were three books listed by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Mr. Sterling clearly can’t do arithmetic, either.

Back to the point of the thing.

If there is only a single male author of SFRomance on the list compiled by Galaxy Express, does that mean there are no men writing SFRomance?  I confess that I can’t think of a name — ref. lack of caffeine — but perhaps someone else can?

And!  If there are “no” men writing SFRomance, does that automatically make SFRomance an Inferior Form, as Mr. Sterling’s commentary seems to suggest?


4 thoughts on “In Which Yr Hmbl Hostess Has Not Had Enough Caffeine”

  1. I don’t know that I care for the implication that SFRomance is somehow inferior to “pure” SF, with or without the point that the majority of its authors are female. It’s certainly different, and has a different audience, but inferior? Of course not.

    As for men writing SFRomance… I can’t think of many offhand, but then I haven’t had coffee yet, either.

    How about Neal Stephenson’s _Cryptonomicon_? While I wouldn’t classify the whole book as a SFRomance, three of the four main POV characters have romance as a driving motivation, and those romances become significant subplots. They’re a bit tongue-in-cheek, but they’re very definitely romantic in nature, and in fact drive quite a bit of the action.

  2. Dave Freer and Eric Flint’s Rats & Bats series is a romantic comedy. So, come to think of it, are their Karres books which extend on James Schmitz Karres book (also a romance IMO) and ISTR other Schmitz books having a certain amount of romance in them.

    So that’s two (2.5 or three depending on how you count ’em) male SF romance books

  3. I think there’s a pre-definition issue partly going on, too… (if you’re male, you must *not* be writing romance, until proven otherwise.)

    I’d definitely consider much of Steven Gould’s work to be SFR-listable. There’s no getting around _Blind_Waves_ at all (there’s even an homage to Wimsey/Vane thrown in!) and both Helm and Greenwar (the latter with Mixon, so maybe it’s ‘half-a-book’…) can have a good case made. Jumper, too, come to think.

  4. Unless you’re limiting it it to authors who write exclusively in the science-fiction/romance genre, or who are issuing books this year,I can think of a few. Another male-female team is Debra Doyle and James McDonald, whose “Mageworlds” books (especially the original trilogy) certainly qualify as space-opera/romance. And don’t forget F.M.Busby. The development of the relationship between Rissa Kerguelen and Bran Tregare in his Rissa Kerguelen/Holzen novels, which were mostly written in the 1970s, is wonderful; they are some of my favorite “comfort novels.” (And aside from Rissa and Tregare, his Zelde M’Tana is the first female heroine of color I remember encounterng.) And among even older classic science fiction, even though Poul Anderson is not a “romance writer” I would classify his “Tau Zero” as a(fairly rare) example of hard science-fiction romance. In fact, I think Tau Zero shows why trying to classify and pidgeon-hole books and authors is often a fairly hopeless exercise. I think Tau Zero generally doesn’t get classified as a “romance” for the simple reason that it was written in an era when women, for the most part, neither read nor wrote much science fiction; heaven forfend that a book that appeals to men could actually be a romance! I also agree that James Schmitz’s “The Witches of Karres” qualifies as a romance, albeit a sexless one because the female half of the destined couple is emphatically under age!

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