Gender and Genre

Free Today on Amazon

While browsing the Science Fiction category in Kindle books I noticed two free-for-now novels by science fiction and fantasy writer, Andre Norton. For those who aren’t familiar with this author, here’s the Wikipedia blurb on Amazon:

Andre Alice Norton, née Alice Mary Norton (February 17, 1912 – March 17, 2005) was an American science fiction and fantasy author (with some works of historical fiction and contemporary fiction) under the noms de plume Andre Norton, Andrew North and Allen Weston. Norton published her first novel in 1934, and was the first woman to receive the Gandalf Grand Master Award from the World Science Fiction Society in 1977, and won the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) association in 1983.

That’s right, Andre Norton was a woman. Back in the day, she and other female science fiction writers, such as James Tiptree, Jr., used male or gender neutral pseudonyms in order to be published in the genre.

This got me thinking about my previous post, The Big Bang Theory of Comic Books. A lot has been written about women and geekdom, and all things being equal. Or not. Recently, the Fake Geek Girl meme exploded all over the Internet, due in no small part to the article, Booth Babes Need Not Apply.

The tired, sad trope is this: attractive woman + sexy cosplay costume = fake geek.

There’s been plenty (plenty) of follow-up and debate, even making it to the Forbes website, with two converse articles written by a man (‘Fake Geek Girls’: How Geek Gatekeeping Is Bad For Business) and a woman (Dear Fake Geek Girls: Please Go Away.)

Which brings us back to Andre Norton. Not a fake geek girl at all, yet she had to hide her gender to be taken seriously. Back in the day, right? Yet, what about J.K. Rowling who also hid her gender behind a pseudonym in order to be published?

What is it about gender and genre? And while it’s easy to point an accusing finger at sexism in science fiction, how many male romance writers do you know of? They most certainly do exist and, according to this Publisher’s Weekly article, also tend to use pseudonyms.

My answer to all this is to try not to allow stereotypes to color my judgment. People should be able to cosplay a character they enjoy/admire without the fear of being grilled over every tiny detail of that character’s existence and being called fake. When it comes to literature, what really matters is content: well-written, good stories, such as those authored by Ms. Andre Norton.

Time Traders  Time Traders by Andre Norton
Intelligence agents have uncovered something which seems beyond belief, but the evidence is incontrovertible: the USA’s greatest adversary on the world stage is sending its agents back through time! And someone or something unknown to our history is presenting them with technologies—and weapons—far beyond our most advanced science. We have only one option: create time-transfer technology ourselves, find the opposition’s ancient source . . . and take it down. When small-time criminal Ross Murdock and Apache rancher Travis Fox stumble separately onto America’s secret time travel project, Operation Retrograde, they are faced with a challenge greater than either could have imagined possible. Their mere presence means that they know too much to go free. But Murdock and Fox have a thirst for adventure, and Operation Retrograde offers that in spades.

Star Soldiers  Star Soldiers by Andre Norton
Only as interstellar mercenaries can humans go to the stars; the aliens who already dominate the galaxy allow no other recourse. But when Swordsman Third Class Kana Karr and his comrades-in-arms are betrayed and abandoned on a hostile world by their alien masters, the warriors from Earth begin a desperate but glorious march across a planet whose every sword is against them. Their actions may doom humanity’s future . . . or lead the way to an empire of their own! Four thousand years later, galactic civilization is collapsing, and the underfunded crew of an exploration starship is forced to set down on an uncharted planet: a mysterious, abandoned world that is achingly beautiful-and hauntingly familiar. Ranger Sergeant Kartr, telepath and stellar Patrolman, searches with his crewmates for the source of a beacon which may mean escape for them all. What he finds is far stranger: the first clue to what may become the greatest revelation in galactic history!

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s