Gender equality. It’s a long-debated topic, and one that, as a female CEO, I’m extremely familiar with. But lest we get off on the wrong foot, let me assure you that I’m not about to go on a political rant one was or another about gender equality. That is not the purpose of this blog.
Instead, I’m here to tell you that I have never felt my gender held me back. In part, because I simply never adopted the frame of mind that would allow it. I’ve always demanded equal treatment because it never occurred to me to accept anything else.
In high school, for example, I became drum major of the marching band my senior year, along with two other seniors, both male. We were an unusual bunch. We all had exotic names (that made band introductions at away games really fascinating), and we were all taller than any of the drum majors preceding us, apparently.
I know this last part because the traditional drum major uniforms were too short for every one of us.
Ironically, this worked in my favor. You see, the traditional uniforms called for the boys to wear pants and the girls to wear skirts. I found this unacceptable. We were equals in leadership. Why should we not be able to represent ourselves equally, as well.
So, when we were told we’d need to come up with our own uniforms, I gave my classmates and my male band instructor a choice: We could all wear skirts, or we could all wear pants.
I’ll let you guess how that played out. Suffice it to say, I won my argument.
I bring all this up because sometimes, an inequality can be set to right. In the case of the uniforms, it was merely a failure to question a long-standing, but outdated tradition.
In the case of women writing science fiction (or not writing it), however, it is simply misconception. And it’s a misconception that our own Kristine Kathryn Rusch, herself an award-winning, bestselling science fiction writer, is working very hard to set to rights.
She has a number of projects I’ll share with you in the future. But the first I can share is the new Women in Science Fiction StoryBundle, which contains two WMG titles.
As the best person to tell you how that bundle came about is Kris herself, I will. Here it is, in Kris’ words:
I received a huge shock late last year when some younger writers told me that women didn’t write science fiction. “Present company excepted,” they said to me.
“But…but…what about…” and I listed wonderful writer after wonderful writer, whom these young writers had never heard of. I did some research and realized that even though women have written sf since the beginning of sf (in fact, you could argue that a woman started the genre. Hats off to you and your Frankenstein monster, Mary Shelley!), women and their fiction never received the press that their male counterparts did. That’s why those young writers had no idea women have always written science fiction.
So I decided to do a bunch of projects to rectify the publicity problem, including this StoryBundle. When I pitched the idea to Jason Chen, he loved it.
The women writers in this bundle have written or worked in science fiction for a cumulative 240 years. We have written every kind of sf, from space opera to hard science fiction. We’re all award nominees. Some of us are award winners. We’ve written dozens of bestselling novels. Many of the women in this bundle have written Star Trek tie-in novels. Others have written for popular games.
And of course, we’ve written in our own universes.
We’re sharing our universes here. You’ll find trips to the stars from Vonda N. McIntyre, Nancy Kress, Judith Tarr, and from me. Catherine Asaro and Linda Nagata explore the mind and artificial intelligence. Jody Lynn Nye injects some much needed humor into the bundle. Cat Rambo gives us a look at her versatility with her short fiction collection Near + Far.
I’ve been joking that we also have a token man in the bundle. Singer/Songwriter Janis Ian, a longtime science fiction fan, teamed up with Mike Resnick to produce the marvelous anthology Stars, which you can get in this bundle. But this award-nominated anthology balances the genders and includes the work of 17 men in addition to great stories by women, so Mike isn’t entirely alone in his maleness. All of the stories in Stars are based on Janis’s songs.
And, as a bonus, you’ll get one of Janis’s songs. She wrote “Welcome Home” for her stint as Toastmistress of the 2009 Nebula Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
The song makes me tear up every time I hear it. It is the perfect fannish anthem, and we get to share it with you as a special gift.
I did not ask these women for projects that have strong female protagonists or a feminist message. I just wanted great stories, and I got them, from some of the best writers in the field.
If you have a friend who claims that women don’t write science fiction, share this bundle with them—after you’ve bought one for yourself, of course. Because women have written some of the best sf in the world—I mean, in the universe!
One last thing. In addition to the usual charities that you can support with this bundle, we’ve included an extra one. The Pearl Foundation, named after Janis Ian’s mother, funds college scholarships. The Pearl Foundation’s mission statement says that knowledge is the greatest gift you can offer.
We hope you pick up the bundle, gain a bit of knowledge for yourself, and give a little extra so that other people can receive a good education.
Great writers, great stories, a marvelous fannish song, and great charities. All for a bargain price. Share this one, because it’ll be gone all too soon.
You can find out a lot more about the bundle here. And I hope you will. It’s great writing from some of the masters of science fiction. What’s not to love?
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.