(urth) Book of the New Sun won the contest!

Marc Aramini marcaramini at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 2 12:50:15 PDT 2011

--- On Tue, 8/2/11, James Wynn <crushtv at gmail.com> wrote:

> From: James Wynn <crushtv at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: (urth) Book of the New Sun won the contest!
> To: "The Urth Mailing List" <urth at lists.urth.net>
> Date: Tuesday, August 2, 2011, 8:56 AM
> 1) Since this is a democratically
> selected list, you would probably have to limit the voting
> to exclusively to women to hope that a woman author would
> make the top 10. We're talking about authors whose work
> would inspire someone in high school or early college--at an
> age when a writer helps set the concrete of a reader's
> tastes. Stil, I wouldn't have been surprised to see
> "Frankenstein" on this list. But the most successful female
> authors among females in my experience are Rowling, Meyer,
> and Lackey. None of which are going to make this list. I
> haven't read "The Time Traveler's Wife". Is it as deserving
> of being on this list as "The Name of the Wind"?
> 2) The big names are Feminist authors whose work simply
> feels dated now (imagine a Pro-Suffrage SF writer). 
> LeGuin, Atwood, Yarboro...These are all skilled writers but
> their Great Works are essentially museum pieces to certain
> themes that were current in the 1970s. An exception IMO is
> Joanna Russ, whose novels are still worthwhile for study by
> budding writers -- but I'm not sure I'd call them
> pleasurable.
> 3) The woman authors whose work still carries today, do
> their best work in short story format: Tiptree, Willis, and
> Nancy Kress (yeah! I said it!).

A whole lot of 70s SF feels dated, from the artistic efforts of Samuel Delany on down, in the same way modernism seems a bit musty lately, or those socially conscious novels of the late 19th and early 20th century that are many things, but are probably not artistic in the final analysis.

I don't know, I always felt like the previously mentioned Atwood was not doing exciting things in the way that more mainstream female writers like Flannery O'Connor or Acker or even Byatt were, I felt like I'd read 1984 and other similar dystopian stuff over and over and over before when I read some of her stuff, or LeGuin's for that matter, so tired of that weak lowest common denominator left slanting.  Their SF in general IS too closely tied to a didactic, pragmatic, realistic purpose, instead of the quite possibly teenage boy aimed wow rocket ships explosions impossible science human villains cool plot twist kind of stuff men seem to write in SF ... .  

I think there is a better case for quality fantasy female authors than actual SF for some reason (Hobb, Tanith lee, Susanah Clark, some of the gothic (southern or otherwise) stuff, etc).  

but some of the works that were selected seem like they are just recent and in people's memories now, something that is not true of New Sun, which I would like to think deserved to win.

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