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

Jerry Friedman jerry_friedman at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 2 16:01:34 PDT 2011

> From: Marc Aramini <marcaramini at yahoo.com>

[women SF writers of the 70s feeling dated]

> 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'd say a lot of the most admired male authors before the 70s--Heinlein, Asimov, 
Van Vogt (who I don't like), Anderson, Bradbury, Pohl, Kornbluth--were extremely 
didactic, with pragmatic, realistic purposes.  Clarke might be an exception.  
And I don't think women writers had or have any kind of monopoly on weak 
lowest-common-denominator left, right, or libertarian slanting (though this does 
bring up Ayn Rand...), certainly not considering the shoot-em-ups that you 
rightly note are aimed at teenage boys.

> 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).  
And, of course, Le Guin, author of the best YA fantasy ever (and I say this 
without having read Harry Potter).

Lee's Flat Earth books are one of my guilty pleasures.

> 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.

I'll go along with that, unsurprisingly.

Jerry Friedman

More information about the Urth mailing list