Structures in History

I’m continually astounded at just how few people really know how to put together a decent argument and work to convince someone of some basic fact or side of any sort of story, especially at a graduate school. I’ve always loved school, learning and writing, and when as part of my job, I was to take a graduate program; I jumped at the chance, entering a writing-heavy course that emphasized scholarly knowledge and being able to write a point down in a way that is designed to teach someone something new. History is so much more than merely an order of dates strung together; it is the interpretation of the events that happened at a specific point in time, designed to explain how said events occurred within a specific context.

Much of what I have learned at Norwich and elsewhere makes a lot of sense to me, in all manners of writing, from historical essays to fiction, and more and more, I’ve become far more aware of just how the structure of making a good argument can make or break the information that you’re trying to convey. Frequently, I’ve been paying far more attention to the books that I read, people I hear and television that I watch, and find that structure is everywhere in how we are trying to do things, and I’m beginning to realize just how this has impacted how I view things far beyond writing.

Most crucial is the intent behind a piece of interpretation. History is never a clear cut set of events, and often, the actions of people long dead are used to prove a theory or point in how they relate to the present day, the event itself or some other element that relates to a historical point. Numerous times, I’ve seen proposals for thesis papers that don’t set out to prove anything, but just examine a larger set of events in narrative form. When it comes to history, especially critical history, a straight up account of the events that transpired is the last thing that needs to be written about: it has no place, unless it’s a primary source of some sort, as history, because it does not examine: it shows, but doesn’t explain.

History is a way to interpret, and through that, explain what has transpired in the past. At a number of points, I’ve largely given up reading soldier biographies from the Second World War, not because their stories aren’t important, but because they do not do more than cover that soldier’s individual experiences and relate it to a larger picture. This is a general argument, and there are plenty of books that fall on both sides, but when it comes to critical history, the works of someone like Peter Paret are far more important and useful than those of Stephen Ambrose.

When it comes to the execution of the history, or any form of writing, one of the biggest issues that I’ve seen with my writing and others is that the argument is under supported by the evidence that the writer puts together. The basic structure of any argument is an introduction, where the writer puts forth their argument, and exactly what they are trying to prove. That introduction is then used to bring out the arguments that ultimately prove the point that the author is arguing, using evidence to support that basic argument. The conclusion is then used to tie everything together, utilizing the argument, what was found in the evidence. For some reason, this sort of format isn’t used very much, either in schools, or in stories, movies, television shows, and it undermines what the author or creator is trying to do. Ideas and intentions are good, but when they fail in their execution, it doesn’t matter how good the idea is; the entire effort fails.

I’ve found that I like minimalism, as an art subject, but also when it comes to writing. While there are plenty of writers out there who utilize a lot of words to get their point across, there is generally a purpose to that: they better explain what is going on, and help to create an environment that ultimately helps the book. When it comes to writing, of any sort, the main intent of any form of writing is to get the information across to the reader, whether it be fictional or coming out of real life. In that, every bit of historical evidence, from examples harvested from primary sources to other author’s words and analysis, must go towards proving that article, without extra stops along the way for an extra tidbit of information. In critical history, the main point is often a very small, dedicated idea that seeks to prove a specific point within a larger context.

If I was to select one lesson that I learned in high school as the most important, I would point to something that my Three Democracies (and later American Studies) teacher, Tom Dean, taught me: Microcosm vs. Macrocosm, i.e., how a small event can be taken out and applied to a larger context. The experiences of three men in the Philippines during the Second World War highlight some of the atrocities on the part of the Japanese, or the career of a race horse in the Great Depression as a way to look at the changing lives of people during the 1930s are two examples of this sort of thinking, and it goes hand in hand with how stories should be structured. Every chapter should work to prove the point of the introduction, while every paragraph should be used as a way to prove the point of the chapter, and so on. Books, in and of themselves, should follow this sort of microcosm / macrocosm effect, to the end. to prove the point of the author.

Stories are important, for the information that they contain, but also for what they teach us at the same time. Amongst the years of history are countless events, occurrences and actions that all have reactions and continued impact on each other and indeed, the present day. The execution of how stories are told is how history is remembered and thus learned.


The Limitations of Tie-In Fiction

A year ago, I wrote up something about the perceptions of tie-In fiction and how it compared to other, more original stories. Author Karen Traviss came up at one point, because she has remained a staunch supporter of tie-in fiction as a sort of professional writing, on the same level as other, more original stories. I’ve never really come down on either side as to whether tie-in fiction is better or worse than other ones, but Traviss’s recent announcement that she was pulling out of the Star Wars universe came with a bit of interest from me.

Karen’s approach to tie-in fiction is one that I think needs to be emulated by other writers. There is a reason why this sort of genre is looked down upon, I suspect, because authors essentially work from a script, and do little beyond transcribe the script and a couple more details. In contrast, Karen seems to get the stories, and really makes them into a worthwhile book while she’s doing it – Matthew Stover has done much the same thing with his own books, as well as a couple other authors who have dabbled in the Star Wars universe for their various tie-in books. The Star Wars editors and LFL have a pretty good grasp of their universe, which ultimately helps things.

Because of this, and because of Karen’s article, Sprinting the Marathon, I’m honestly a little surprised that she decided to pull out. Though out this essay, she stresses the importance for authors working in the tie-in field to be creative, and just how this field quite literally forces one to be far more creative than other avenues of the literary world – working within a tie-in universe has many constraints, and especially something with Star Wars, the challenges in putting together a book are far more frequent.

In a recent blog entry on her website, Traviss announced that she was going to be moving on from the Star Wars universe. The reasons that she listed are mainly that the established story lines that she’s put into place over the past couple of books, and with the new Clone Wars series, there will be conflicts with the higher up canon within the universe. While I’m happy that she isn’t going to be changing over a couple of the story lines and screwing things up more for the literature people to argue about, I’m a little annoyed that she’s throwing in the towel, because she’s one of the better writers to have come to the Star Wars universe in a while.

I have to wonder if there’s more at play here. Traviss is clearly aware of the limitations that are placed upon her as a writer, and that the story lines that she comes up with – original within the universe it might be – but essentially, they’re hers to come up with, not to totally own. Therein lies the big difference, I think, between tie-in fiction and an author’s original story: ownership. There are limitations to what you can do with a story that you don’t own, even if you’re given relatively free rein, because the higher ups at LFL can do pretty much whatever they want in the universe, no matter how it tramples on other stories. This was a big issue that a lot of the books and authors had to dance around prior to the prequel trilogy. Authors who got it wrong, got it wrong, and these are bits of the books that fans will endlessly argue over.

When it comes to tie-in fiction, and the ownership distinction, I’m a little baffled at this sort of distinction – if it is just ownership that separates the two (I think that it is), at least on an academic level, why is it that people take such notice and relegate the significance? I think the answer there lies in precisely why I think that Karen’s books are a step above, say someone like Max Allen Collins or Keith R.A. DeCandido – the writing style, attention to the story and the focus on the story over a mere paycheck is the deciding factor (Not to say that these guys only write for the money). Traviss’s books are different because there is the attempt to make these books a real reading experience, while other times, I get the impression that other authors don’t care nearly as much, and essentially are just trying to pay the bills. Whether this is intentional or not, I don’t know, but as a reader, I appreciate being able to read a story that is more than the screenplay. If I wanted that, I would just go see the film.

Really, the ownership issue is a really minor one – it all comes down to the one thing that I continue to gripe about, and that’s the story, story, story. The reason why tie-in fiction is disliked and looked down upon is the long bibliography of less than stellar, and if Karen’s example is anything to go by, the number of restrictions and lack of ownership tend to put off other authors who might otherwise write for a franchise. I find that second part a little more sobering than the first, because with more authors willing to write tie-in fiction, the genre as a whole would improve quite a bit.


I just turned in my final paper, The Military Roots of Spaceflight and the Symbolization of the Cold War Arms Race, coming in at 11,220 words, 38 pages. I’m done, done, DONE with Grad School!*

*Provided I don’t have this kicked back to me with more edits. Still, it’s more substancial than my last draft, better worded and with more information that’s far better organized.

Why We Write

That’s a bit of a bad pun but while talking with someone earlier today, I realized just how much I write. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a science fiction writer; I penned a number of really bad short stories, and submitted several of them to publishers, in hopes that I would become the next Isaac Asimov. Unsurprisingly, that never happened, although it’s still a hope kicking around in the back of my head that someday, I’ll be able to publish a science fiction story somewhere.

In college, I began to maintain a blog, which is what this has ended up being. I’ve culled a lot of the older entries, over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to refine my writing style, and the topics that I write about. This blog, which was originally more of a personal project, has gone towards something that is more analytical, rather than personal. This is something that I’ve noticed change over the past couple of years, influenced by several people whom I’ve come into contact with socially and through school.

I’ve begun to write again for my music blog, Carry You Away, something that I had backed off from because of problems that I had with the music industry, but also the fans of the music that I posted up. Writing there turned from a personal pleasure towards something that was more along the lines of regurgitating press releases that I received from publicists, pushing things on me that I had no interest in writing about, and over the past couple of weeks, while reviewing several albums from bands that I did like, I remembered just how much I enjoyed doing this, and how I was able to help them.

Another reason why I pulled back from CYA was my recent addition to the staff of io9 as their ‘Research Fellow’, which I have been enjoying immensely. There, I’ve written a number of articles about subjects that I really enjoyed: What a Stormtrooper Is Made Of , Stalking NASA, Trilobites: The Greatest Survivors in Earth’s History, The History (and Future) of Commercial Space Flight, Angels and Aliens Meet on Your February Bookshelf, Nine SciFi Books that Deserve to be Films, Tragedy for NASA’s Climate Science Satellite Program and China Lands on the Moon – Sort of, with more to come. This site has proven to be a fantastic outlet for some of my interests, such as space exploration, science fiction and history. Some of my articles have received tens of thousands of hits, with hundreds of comments, which is both facinating and gratifying.

Looking over these places, I’ve wondered why I like to write – it’s a lot more than I generally would have expected, and I suspect that it’s a bit more than the average person. Coupled with my master’s work with my Military History degree, there’s certainly a lot there. I like to tell people about things. I guess blogging is one of the natural extensions of how I can do this, because I’ve never been the most comfortable around people, and it takes me a little while to really warm up to people, with a few very rare exceptions. Writing, I’ve found, is a way for me to get ideas down on paper (virtual or otherwise), in a logical fashion, and is a means for me to really examine things, for all their flaws, whether it is looking at a new album, a book, news, history or any other random idea that I’ve got bouncing around. In a way, it’s a form of teaching, I guess, which is something that I would really like to do, especially in the academic history fields, which is what I’m mainly striving towards for my Master’s. Already, I’m beginning to start thinking about my thesis, as well as extended work on the Norwich University D-Day paper that I did for my Senior thesis as an undergrad, not to mention my Byron Clark paper, which deals with local history during the progressive era.

It’s fun to tell people about new things, and I like to think that I can help open people’s minds, turn them to new things or see things in a different light than they had before.Thinking back to my conversation earlier today, I do write a lot. I guess it just comes naturally.

Research Fellow at io9

So, the announcement just went live on io9 just a little while ago. Back in November, the website, which features all sorts of science fiction and related genre news, tidbits and articles, began to look for a new crop of interns. I interviewed for the position, and was offered a chance to become the site’s first research fellow.

The announcement linked in this blog, as well as my 501st one (which I need to update a bit more often.) I don’t know if I’ll see more traffic through here or not, but to briefly introduce myself, beyond what I wrote up for the website, I’m a grad student studying military history, and I’ve been a geek for a while now, and more than just Star Wars, despite being a 501st member.

During my time at this post, I’m going to be pursuing a couple of research projects, articles and book reviews. I’ve already begun the process of outlining my latest project, which will be examining the impact of the Cold War upon the Science Fiction genre in American history. That’s somewhat tentative, while I do research, and that could very well change over time. I’ve got several other ideas coming up that I’m quite excited about.

Midway through college, experienced a change in direction. I entered Norwich University with a degree in history, mainly because that was familiar, somewhat interesting. I liked World War II history, and felt that Norwich, as a military academy, would be a good choice. During one summer, probably between my 2nd and 3rd years, I came across a fantastic book called The Men Of Tomorrow: Geeks Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book, which showed me just how facinating and interesting the history behind the genre was. Since then, I’ve become far more interested in not only how the genre has evolved over time, but looking at the social status of the so-called geek/nerd cultures that have sprung up in the 20th century.

Understanding one’s roots is facinating ground to cover, and it is certainly something that I’m going to continue looking at. Not only that, but elements of history that have had a profound impact on the genre – currently the history of space travel and exploration. My thesis for my masters, coming up in June (hopefully), will focus on the Comic Book industry and the effects that the Second World War and later conflicts had upon the writers and stories. Thus, this position seems to be an extremely good fit to give me some purpose when it comes to doing research, which will hopefully be interesting to readers. Time should tell, I guess.

So, we’ll see what happens over the next six months. I’m very excited.

Genre Fiction & Legitimacy

I came across this fantastic article by Michael Saler earlier today and read it several times while at lunch. It’s entitled The Rise of Fan Fiction and Comic Book Culture. Actually, it has very little to do with fan fiction or comic books, but it does provide a good look at the perceptions of comic books and related ‘genre’ books out there in the world, by reviewing two books, The Ten Cent Plague by David Hajdu and Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon. I actually own The Ten Cent Plague, and I think that after I finish the book I’m currently reading, I’ll start that one next. I don’t have the one by Chabon, but I am a huge fan of his works.

Throughout recent years, Science Fiction has been a fairly embattled genre as a whole. As Saler points out, there’s a bit of a culture war that has gone on, predictably, between more traditional values and newer upstarts such as this. Hajdu’s book details the craze in the 1950s that the comic book industry as a whole faced – congressional and public pressure to ban its content, due to violence and sexual content. The movement became so powerful that book burnings were commonplace and eventually, the industry sought to impose its own restrictions, which has severely limited the content that can be published in the years since. It’s only been recently that comics have really broken out of their shell and begun to explore much darker themes. Still, this has created a notion that comic books are largely children’s affairs, a view that is really coming up against reality, especially in the light of recent movies such as Sin City, 300 and The Dark Knight, all of which are incredibly violent, well received publically and all based on comic books.

Part of this disconnect seems to stem from a perception that various genre stories are essentially lesser components of literature, to which Chabon states: “All literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction.” I’m not sure that I’d make that argument, but I’ve heard it reiterated before, that there are only a handful of basic story types, and that everything else is simply based off of them. If that’s the case, why is there still a disconnect?

I think that people just largely ignore that theory in the face of modernity and originality that recent culture and events brings about, as well as a certain amount of relevance for whatever is coming out. On top of that, I see a split between the purposes of various media types. On one hand, which would seem to be the more traditional side, there is a true creativity and design that authors put together to create some fantastic works. On the other side, a far more modern and contemporary view, is a growing trend of media and tie-in fiction (or non-fiction in some cases) that are commissioned to promote and enhance a series franchise. Star Wars and Star Trek comes readily to mind, but there are many, many others to go along with those. Almost every movie that comes out in the Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Horror genres are accompanied by a series of books, comic books, video games, action figures and all sorts of other things that tie into the story or add on to it. Star Wars is a fairly good example of how this works when it’s done well – there’s a strong continuity here, and it has no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Star Trek, by all reports that I’ve heard, is a fairly scattered series, with nothing linking everything together.

Saler brings up an interesting point: “Like Hajdu, Chabon defends mass entertainment against the accusation that it is merely a formulaic product. At times it is; yet commercial culture’s focus on deadlines and profits can also act as a ‘quickening force’ on an artist’s imagination”. I think the bigger issue is that in this case, tie-in novels are essentially viewed as a product, which implies a certain shallowness as opposed to something that is more self-indulgent for an independent book.

Karen Traviss wrote a fantastic essay on the subject entitled Sprinting the Marathon , where she is very forward with her desire and appreciation of working in someone else’s universe, and dismisses the notion that the books that she works on for the Star Wars (and now Gears of War) universe are any less original:

I write media tie-ins for Lucasfilm as well as my own “original” fiction, and I realize that bewilders a few people. I always slap inverted commas on the word “original”; it’s a meaningless term, partly because nobody can define originality, and partly because everything — absolutely everything — has been done before. A book’s worth lies in its execution and the impact it has on the individual reader. So let’s call it creator-copyright. That’s the only hard line between the two.

On examination, my critically-acclaimed Wess’har series is as much set in a shared universe as any tie-in. It’s a world of long-established tropes like everyone else’s “serious” fiction: aliens, interstellar space flight, culture clashes, colonialism, armed conflict. Those are shared elements across SF. So why should similar shared elements in the form of continuity render a tie-in beneath contempt? You can, if you want to, take as fresh a look at that shared universe as you can your own. Lucasfilm let me question the heroic image of the Jedi and show them as a morally compromised elite who’d taken their eye off the spiritual ball. Some readers were unsettled by it. Most, though, leapt on it and said it was a question they always wanted to see asked.

That being said, I think that it has to be noted that Karen is an absolutely fantastic writer because she seems to put the same amount of effort, planning, blood, sweat and tears into all of the books that she’s done, whether it’s the Wess’Har Wars series or her fantastic Republic Commando series. Karen actually followed up with this idea today with this post.

I don’t fault Karen for a moment for her work with LFL – she does a fantastic job at it, and her Star Wars books are among some of the better thought out and plotted novels out there, on par with some Non-genre SciFi books. One of the big distinctions to make here is that Karen is really not a common writer when it comes to Tie-in fiction. Where she lives and breathes the work, she also has a considerable amount of talent to back it up. The alternatives pale in comparison, such as Keith R.A. DeCandido, who churns out novel after novel, but from what I’ve read, the writing level is fairly poor and simple. The Serenity novelization follows the movie to a T, with only the slight detour to really pick on a couple characters personalities. Karen, on the other hand, has formed a fully fleshed out set of characters that far surpasses expectations of merely following a storyline that’s largely already been written. Other authors that I’ve read, such as Peter David, falls somewhere in between there.

To some extent, I agree with Karen and all of her reasons for writing in someone else’s backyard, and I hope that she’s the future of this massive trend. What makes me hold back, however, is that the genre fiction section seems to also be a section for authors who are aspiring, but largely lacking in talent, to cut their teeth and to get into a cycle and create an impression on the larger literary community that this is the norm and what tie-in media will be – something based off of a concrete universe with subpar writing. Mass culture, as termed by Saler is by no means bad – it can and is quite good at times. But consequently, there is a reason for some of the perceptions of the genre. I suspect that this gets wrapped into an overarching feeling that Science Fiction, comic books, fantasy, role-playing, films, and tie-in novels are something of child’s play, while the ‘Real authors’ get to doing serious works.

I do agree with this, to a degree. While Karen and others make a solid point that everything has already been done before, tie-in media works with a far more realized grasp. There’s limitations already imposed on characters and the actions that they can take, and it seems to be extremely hard for an author to break free from this and really challenge the heroes because it will put them into unknown territories as far as most fans are concerned, and they might not like that. Thus, working with these situations is a familiar grasp, because we all know that Luke Skywalker or James Kirk won’t get killed, and everything will largely be back to normal. Fortunately, at least for the Star Wars universe, this isn’t always the case, as several main characters have been axed, such as Anakin Solo and Chewbacca. We know that Luke is dead at some point, and thus some of the suspense is off. Even then, fans have some very strong reactions to the deaths of favorite characters. R.A. Salvatore received death threats when he killed off Chewbacca, and I know author A.C. Crispin and Karen Traviss no longer frequents various message boards because of problems with fans there.

Additionally, any really good entries in a tie-in universe tend to be shackled to these perceptions of subpar and inferior works, which is both unfair and untrue. Shatterpoint, by Matthew Stover, proved to be a fantastic read in and of itself, because of the themes and ideas that it drew upon, including the works of Joseph Conrad. Still, this book is unlikely to be recognized as such because of the franchise title on the cover.

Original fiction, even in genres such as Science Fiction have an air of a certain legitimacy to them, because they are far more original works than something such as a tie-in novel. This may be easier or harder, depending on the author, but at times, it is refreshing to read something that’s fairly new, that incorporates new ideas that might not come as readily in a tie-in world. I’d be very, very surprised to find something of the caliber of the works of Charles Stross, Neil Gaiman, Richard K. Morgan or Scott Lynch in a universe such as the Star Wars franchise because of the things that they are able to do in their own universes, but also because those universes that they create are so different and equally realized, all on their own. There has to be a certain amount of pride in the creation of one’s own little world, despite some of the advantages of working in someone else’s.

I don’t think that there’s anything inherently good or bad when it comes to genre or tie-in fiction. What really matters is the author behind the steering wheel, directing the story. If you’ve got a competent author, they weave in and out of traffic with ease. If they’re not, they’re one of the baseline reasons for the ten car pileup and bad perceptions, because everybody slows down to watch the car accident.

Worlds in A Grain of Sand's New Home

For the past couple of years, I’ve hosted this blog on Recently, I’ve been wanting to do more with my blogging, and a couple friends of mine, notably Noel Green, recommended that I try Word Press. Looking over the platform over the past couple of weeks, I’ve found that I can transfer all my posts over here, and that the interface is a lot easier to use, which I like, plus, it looks better.

While all of the original posts (900 +) are on here, some of the links might not work, or might lead back to the original blog site, which I’ll be keeping around.

Currently, the tags only go through last summer. I’m planning on updating them over time, but at this point, it’s not a priority. I’m going to be updating the links over the next couple of days. WordPress has a feature to convert all the catagories into tags. I love this engine.

Random Stuff

  • I’m liking this blogroll application that Blogger has allowed to be added to blogs. There’s been a bunch that I’ve tracked over the years, but this lays them out in a neat manner, and arranges them according to when they’ve been updated, via RSS Feed. I’ve grouped the history ones, people I talk to, Authors I follow and my other two blogs (501st and Music) together to make things easier for me.

  • Residency is here at Norwich University. I’ve been back and forth between campus, working extra hours while all of our students have been here. It’s been interesting thus far. I’ve sat in on one presentation, Explorations in Military Effectiveness, which was facinating, and I’ll write up something about it at some point.

  • Did a troop at the Montpelier Kellogg-Hubbard Library with our newest Vermont storm trooper, Mike, which went pretty well. Details here.

  • I get to see José González tomorrow night at the Higher Ground! So excited to see him in person, finally.

  • Anna’s coming up on Friday for the weekend and a couple days. Can’t wait for that.

  • George Carlin died yesterday, at the age of 71, from heart failure. Undoubtedly, he would have something funny to say about it.

RIP: Sir Arthur C Clark

I caught the news last night on my cell phone – British author Sir Arthur C. Clark died yesterday at the age of 90.

Honestly, I’m upset. Clarke has long been a favorite author of mine, ever since I read his brilliant short novel 2001, and numerous short stories and novels that he’s penned over the years. 2001 is by far one of my favorite science fiction movies of all time, and the book is just as good. Of all his short stories, I don’t think that I can pick out a favorite – there are so many good ones.

This is a huge blow to the Science Fiction community – Clark has long been regarded as one of the biggest figures in the genre, with his expertise and sheer brilliance when it came to what the future might hold. Clark was one of the giants, right up there, if not surpassing Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. There will never, ever be anybody else like him, or one with his stature.

In addition to his Science Fiction, I’ve come across Clark a number of times when I’ve been reading about the development of the space program, to various capabilities in the development of Rockets and a proponent of space travel. So far as I know, he’s been active in space exploration and in science fiction.

May the stars never go out for him.

Good Female Sci-Fi Writers are Hard To Find?

I just came across this via Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist – Orion Books and Gollancz have just launched a really, really bad ad promoting a book by a female Science Fiction author, and one that seems to say that there aren’t very many female science fiction authors out there, and that good ones are even rarer.

From the back cover:

“Female SF writers are a rarity; good ones are even scarcer!”


“Good female SF writers are hard to fine – this is sure to be included on many SF award shortlists”

I find this to be really off base and frankly, pretty offensive to a number of female science fiction and fantasy authors out there. Off the top of my head, I can think of a number of absolutely fantastic science fiction authors who are also female: Karen Traviss, Nancy Kress, Elizabeth Moon, Ursula K. Leguin, Madeleine L’Engle, Elizabeth A. Lynn, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Octavia E. Butler, Naomi Novik, Julie E. Czerneda, Karin Lowachee, Anne McCaffrey, Liz Williams, Connie Willis, Mary Shelley and a lot more. There’s a good list here:

I don’t doubt that this author that they’re promoting is good – Jaine Fenn, with her upcoming book Principles of Angels. But to completely degrade a whole wealth of science fiction authors and their works is absolutely appalling – there’s no justification for it at all.

The Science fiction field is largely unbalanced when it comes to gender. There’s a lot of male science fiction authors out there, but overall, I think female authors have just as good of a time with it as men do. I don’t know how they compare, but I suspect that there’s a slightly more even split when it comes to awards and individual fame, once you adjust for time and cultural changes.

Of all the Science Fiction books that I’m looking forwards to this year, the most anticipated is Karen Traviss’s book, Judge. I personally think that she’s one of the best contemporary science fiction authors out there. Good science fiction authors aren’t hard to find, and I think that nowadays? It’s easier to find a woman author who can hold her own with any male author out there.