Lately there has been a raft of blog posts within (and without) the SFR (Science Fiction Romance) community, mostly surrounding the fact that people (men) within the SF (Science Fiction) camp feel threatened (my interpretation) by the womenfolk who are now writing SF and SFR. As an unpublished writer – who has many drafts of mostly science-fiction-related stories on my laptop – I’m unable to really comment. However, as a female SF (and SFR, incidentally) reader, I can say a few things – mostly instigated by comments made in this article by Stuart Sharp. In particular, his comment that “the new authors coming into the field don’t necessarily get them [shared cultural references]”.
I began to read SF as a teenager. I cut my SF teeth on Hugh Walters’s Chris Godfrey series, and quickly graduated from there (still a teen) to Isaac Asimov and any SF book of his I could lay my hands on (including the entire original Foundation Series). On the way past, I consumed Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which I have read twice and I STILL do not get the Towel Day reference – it is simply not important to me), Heart of the Comet by David Brin and Gregory Benford, Jules Verne’s novels, Frank Herbert’s Dune series, Arthur C. Clarke’s Richter 10, and Gregory Benford’s hard SF Galactic Centre Saga – to name but a few. It was only in my late teens that I picked up my first Anne McCaffrey novel and fell in love with her work, as well as Joan D. Vinge’s Snow Queen Cycle. But still, give me an epic (my term – referring to a novel over 1000 printed pages in length) hard SF book and I will be at my happiest. Unfortunately no examples spring to mind at the moment, since I have been out of touch with the hard SF genre for many years now.
Should I mention that I have gaily absorbed Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Dr Who…..
I therefore feel it completely unjustified that Stuart presumes to suggest that SFR writers (for yes, while unpublished, I know most of my potential stories are more in the Anne McCaffrey style) are unversed in “real” (what a weird word) SF. As even he admits, concepts that run through all our heads these days are FTL, wormholes, the laws of robotics, etc. There isn’t all that much space (pun?) left for originality in some areas, really!