Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Miscellaneous facts about the history of women in F&SF

A little data-mining from the comments at Science fiction's real-life war of the worlds:

Richcoad said,
Looking at the list of Hugo winners and nominees for best novel since 1970 shows
1970s: 4/10 winners by women
8/50 nominees by women
1980s: 2/10 winners by women
8/51 nominees by women
1990s: 5/10 winners by women
15/51 nominees by women
2000s: 3/10 winners by women
9/51 winners by women
2010s: 2/4 winners by women
12/26 nominees by women (includes 2014)
So women writers have won 36% of the Best Novel Hugos since 1970. Nominations don't look so good - not quite 23% but running at 27% since the turn of the century and 46% since the start of the decade.
If Julie Crisp's calculation at SEXISM IN GENRE PUBLISHING: A PUBLISHER'S PERSPECTIVE that 32% of submitted science fiction is from women applies to earlier decades, that suggests that in the '70s, '90s, and '10s, women won more awards than they statistically should've, in the '80s, they won fewer, and in the '00s, they were statistically perfect.

My guess is fewer women wrote f&sf in earlier decades, but I'd be happy to be wrong about that.

Fail Burton said,
"In 1975, in the introduction to 'The Best of C.L. Moore,' veteran SF author Lester del Rey wrote about an SF convention a couple of years earlier at which C.L. Moore had received a standing ovation. He wrote 'And everyone knew that Catherine Moore was one of the finest writers of all time in the field of science fiction.'" I have read almost everything by Moore and I agree.
"In his 1970 book 'Under the Moons of Mars,' famous SF critic Sam Moskowitz states that 'Francis Stevens was the most gifted woman writer of science fantasy between Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and C. L. Moore. She was greatly admired by A. Merritt.'" I have read everything by Stevens and I agree.
H.P. Lovecraft publicly defended the authorship of Frankenstein as being 100% Mary Shelley in that controversy.
"In a 1975 interview Brackett says she was welcomed into the field in the early '40s with open arms." I have read most of Brackett and I love her work.
Mary Gnaedinger was the chief editor of the much-loved American SFF pulp Famous Fantastic Mysteries for its entire run from 1939 to 1953. I used to own the entire run and Gnaedinger was really informed about the work and a great asset to the history of SFF.
And:
Miss Jemisin makes the claim that non-white writers such as her and Samuel Delany had careers institutionally "strangled at birth." That is clearly untrue as I showed with Delany's awards. Awards are a plurality Miss Somerville, an institution, not an anomaly. It wasn't true in the '60s and it's not true now.
Jemisin's first novel was nominated for a Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award and she had a short story nominated for a Hugo and Nebula that same year. Her second novel was nominated for a Nebula Award. Her third novel was nominated for Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. How is that "strangled at birth?"