The latest issue of Fireside Fiction just went live, and with it, my short story, The Middle Child's Practical Guide to Surviving a Fairy Tale, the story I read at last year's World Fantasy Con and this year's ICFA. Originally written as a Twitter joke, it slowly grew into a blog post, as these things do, and then mutated into a short story.

Also just going live, the latest issue of Lightspeed, available for subscribers or as an individual issue, which includes my short story, "Deathlight," along with new short stories by An Owomoyela, Seanan McGuire, and Wole Talabi, reprints from a number of well known names including Tim Pratt and Elizabeth Hand, and Hugh Howey's "The Plagiarist."

I may have a bit more to say about this one once my individual story goes live on the web on May 17, but for now, I'll just note that the two stories are, I think, quite different - and not just because one is more or less fantasy (if a bit snarky about it) and the other marks my return to hard science fiction.

My latest short story, Inhabiting Your Skin, just popped up over at Apex Magazine, along with an interview with me.

In the interview, Andrea Johnston asks questions about why so many of my stories - including this one - don't have character names. Usually it's because I can't think of names, to the point where I deliberately wrote an entire story around that. In the case of this particular story, however, I knew from the first sentence that nobody would have a name - you'll see why as you read it, I think.

The actual problem I had with this story was with the title. I went through 30 different titles for this story, all worse than the last. "Inhabiting Your Skin" wasn't, as it happened, the final title - by mistake, I sent Apex the story with an earlier version of the title. By the time they responded, I'd realized that the final title was even worse, and told myself I would just try to think of a new title before the story was published.

Which didn't happen. Oh well. I can only say now that in my opinion - for what that's worth - the story is a bit better than the title. Enjoy!


Dec. 1st, 2014 02:53 pm
My short story Offgrid just popped up over at Three-Lobed Burning Eye today, along with short stories by writers like Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, and J.M. McDermott.

Available for purchase today, the July issue of Nightmare Magazine, which includes my story "Death and Death Again." You can pick it up here. It's a little foray into pure, unadulterated horror.

And available for preorder today, Upgraded, an anthology of cyborg stories edited by Neil Clarke, containing my story, "Memories and Wire." You can preorder it here. The book should be available later this month; I'm really looking forward to seeing the other stories in it.

That both these pieces are appearing in the same month is a fun coincidence, given their somewhat similar themes and tinges of horror. Well, ok, in the first story, not tinges so much as outright horror.

(The other little story coming out this month from Daily Science Fiction is something else entirely, but more on that later.)
Ah, Brisco County, Jr.. If you missed this show, it's not terribly surprising: it ran for just one season back in the early 90s, back when Fox was still trying to become a Real Live Broadcast Television Network and had not yet spread out into its various other Evil Entities. Even then, however, Fox had established its hallmark technique of screwing over most of its best, most innovative shows: Brisco County was shoved to a Friday night slot of doom, right before the first season of X-Files, barely advertised, subject to considerable Network Interference, and consistently inconsistent.

Plus, it was about cowboys. Chasing time travelling evil guys, magical orbs, pirates (on wagons, not ships), riverboat gamblers and oh, yes, people willingly living in the house from Psycho. Also, zeppelin airships. And the Pittsburgh Steelers. To say it was not exactly your typical television show is a vast understatement. Did I mention the pirates?

I only caught it by accident myself: a friend from Virginia happened to be visiting, and we decided that 8 pm was just a little too early to try to hit the South Beach nightclubs (although in retrospect, that would have been a better time to try to find South Beach parking, but I digress) and were trying to figure out some way to kill an hour, so flipped through the channels looking for something. It says something that this was the only something on, but, as I said, 8 PM, Friday night. We started watching. And were enthralled enough to continue watching until 10, an hour after we'd planned to leave, on my then tiny tiny little TV. I tuned in the following week, telling myself that the show couldn't possibly live up to its pilot, which was true, but it was still good enough that I stayed through to the end and then figured I'd just watch whatever was on next. And that is how I got into the X-Files. But I digress.


So, when I found myself with a gift certificate to spend, I decided to go ahead and buy the DVD set, sternly warning myself not to be disappointed if it didn't live up to my memories. Fortunately, it did.

Brisco is a fairly typical action hero dude: a dashing, witty sharpshooter. His rival/later partner Lord Bowler is more interesting: a superb tracker and sharpshooter with a seemingly rough exterior, he later reveals that he has used his bounty hunting fortune to purchase a luxury home and invest in fine crystal, and has plans to buy a nice vineyard – he's heard good things about the Napa Valley. Their friend/sorta employer Socrates is mostly there to get plots going and to have jokes told at his expense. Other characters come and go: love interest Dixie, a burlesque dancer with a heart of gold; a kinda boring card sharp; an Elvis impersonator; a mad scientist; a slightly less mad scientist; the bad guys, including Pete, who has a rather disturbing love for his weapons, and who often dies, and then comes back (the network liked him); and Comet the Horse.

About a third of the episodes focus on a rather silly plot involving some Orbs which only Good People Can Use and Big Baddie John Bly who wants the Orbs even though he can't use them. (Huh?) Bly's actor can't quite manage the pure menacing evil the plot calls for, and the various writers couldn't quite manage the plot, resulting in massive inconsistencies: the number of orbs, what the orbs could and could not do, who besides Bly wanted the orb, where the orbs were at any given time, and so on. I was reminded of the weaker bits of Lost. Not coincidentally, the writers who came up with the Orb plot were the same writers that went on to X-Files and Lost.

The Orb episodes aside, though, the greatest thing about this show is that you honestly never know what you're going to get: gambling, Timothy Leary (the Timothy Leary) talking about various plant products; pirates, ninjas, bulls set free in china shops, science fiction, rockets, scuba diving, the shower scene from Psycho (filmed in the same house), ghosts, the aforementioned football players talking strategy, and horse tricks. Four of the episodes are whodunits, including one pretty good take on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None; one episode – the Psycho one – a horror parody; a few others are more or less science fiction; one episode is mostly Elvis jokes; and, apparently just to completely throw all viewers for a loop, a couple of episodes are – gasp – straight Westerns. And although the show has quite a few damsels in distress, they pretty much all end up helping Brisco help themselves; the one exception is a young girl, played by Mercedes McNab of later Buffy and Angel fame. Speaking of the guest stars, it feels that about half of them later ended up on Lost (not surprising since Carlton Cuse was a showrunner on both shows), but there's a few other major genre stars here and there. Also, Timothy Leary. In case you missed that. This and the increasingly odd street signs helps the show hide that nearly every episode takes place on the same Warner Bros studio lot (used in several Westerns), although after marathoning the show, I couldn't help but wonder if the Orb (Orbs?) was (were) making everyone just happen to go into the same jail cell over and over, baring a slightly shifted desk.

Oh, and Comet the horse. Did I mention the horse? The horse plays chess, opens bank vaults, solves mysteries, rides trains (after buying tickets), and arrives whenever needed for the plot. (As a stunned character asks, "Do you have him on call 24 hours a day?")

What I most love about the show, though, is how it never hesitates to go for a pun or a joke, no matter how really, really, really bad. And I mean, bad, or how long the setup. One episode adds an entirely unnecessary scene for the sake of a Dunkin Donuts joke. It's hilarious mostly because you keep waiting for the scene to have a point, any point, and when it turns out to be Dunkin Donuts – what can I say. I laughed. It helps that the actors play all of this perfectly straight, even the Elvis bits. It also helps if you have at least a modest tolerance for puns.

If you do, I highly recommend checking the show out. It's held up well.

Going Clear

Mar. 7th, 2013 11:53 am
Some science fiction writers spend their time sending off hopeful submission after hopeful submission hoping to rake in the money. Others, after a few years of this, say, screw this. I'm starting a religion.

Ok, maybe just one went with option two.

L. Ron Hubbard seems to have led a colorful life before deciding to go the religion route. I say, seems, because as Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief notes, the details of Hubbard's early life are not entirely clear and may have been partly made up. It appears, however, that Hubbard did spend a lot of time travelling, was at least in the military (disputes about his military record form a large section of his book), was extremely successful at selling science fiction to pulp magazines, was abysmal to at least two of his three wives (and according to this book cheated extensively on all three of them), made friends with various science fiction writers and enemies of others (the quotes from L. Sprague de Camp are among the book's highlights) and founded a religion. Of sorts.

One reason Scientology has had issues obtaining official "religious" status is that many of its elements do seem to come from pure space opera – not surprisingly, given Hubbard's background. Wright details the more, um, interesting of these, while also noting that the earlier stages of Scientology – the ones advertised in those endless Dianetics commercials years back, have a combined quasi scientific and "Buddhist" feel. (I'm not sure that either Wright or Hubbard knows much about Buddhism.) The whole "reading" thing (to really oversimplify and risk the wrath of Scientologists, a machine that "reads" your energy as you kinda work through your memories and your problems going "up" various levels until, as the book's title has it, you are "clear,") is encased in scientific wording; the reincarnation is...well, it's not really Buddhism; the space opera stuff is pure pulp fiction. Ahem.

(Sidenote: MS Word is ok with Scientology, but not Dianetics. JUST SAYING.)

This science fiction background helps explain why John Campbell, editor of Astounding for one, was an early adherent. Heinlein, however, was more skeptical, and eventually even Campbell backed off. But the science fiction writers backed off for multiple reasons. Scientology thrived, as Wright documents, by finding adherents in Hollywood, and by taking many of its most devoted followers on ships where they could be more easily controlled. In Wright's version – and in the testimony of many ex-Scientologists – the Scientologists engaged in frequent physical and emotional abuse of its members and engaged in techniques similar to brain washing (although Wright also notes some skepticism about whether or not brainwashing actually exists.) Top Scientologists within the church hierarchy enjoyed luxuries not available to others. They became, in the terms of many, a cult (many anthropologists reading the book will be banging their heads against the nearest wall when they reach that point of the book, but moving on). Defenders noted that some of their critiqued behaviors are at least superficially similar to some groups within the Catholic Church, which has a history of indulging some of its top leaders (hi, Vatican) and practicing self-flagellation in some groups. And, of course, Scientology could offer the hope of making connections in Hollywood.

It's easy to see why the Church of Scientology objects to this book. Wright scrupulously includes comments from multiple people, perhaps most notably Kristie Alley, who claim to have been helped by Scientology, and discusses Narconon, a Scientology program many people credit with breaking their drug addictions. Wright also scrupulously notes multiple denials from the Church and from various lawyers for John Travolta and Tom Cruise. (It's safe to say that Travolta and Cruise's attorneys would still not be happy with the final result.) But these denials and legal statements are generally buried in footnotes, and some of the more questionable negative stories about Scientology, like this one:
David Mayo was sent to the RPF. He was made to run around a pole in the searing desert for twelve hours a day, until his teeth fell out.
are presented without skepticism. The endnote for this anecdote credits an interview with Bent Corydon, a biographer who worked with Hubbard's estranged son Ronald DeWolf to write a biography that the Church of Scientology strongly disputes. I'm willing to admit that running around a pole in the searing desert for twelve hours could cause all sorts of medical issues, but unless David Mayo had prior major dental issues (the text doesn't say) I don't think that teeth falling out is one of them. "Collapse" or "death," sure. Teeth falling out....maybe not.

And although attorneys for Cruise and Travolta apparently reviewed sections of the book (and objected), other attorneys and celebrities did not, most notably Kristie Alley and two of Cruise's wives, Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes. Given that Alley was reportedly a witness to some of the events Wright mentions, and Kidman and Holmes form a part of the allegations against Cruise in this book, this seems a bit odd. (None of the three are portrayed in a negative light; it just seems odd.)

Wright has one or two odd moments elsewhere. For instance, in his comparison of Scientology and the Catholic Church (specifically Franciscan friars), he claims that unlike Scientologists, Franciscans can enter or leave their orders without needing to cut off contact with friends and family. This has not always historically been true. (And going beyond the Franciscans, it's not always true today for some enclosed orders.) It's a minor slip, but it makes me wonder what other minor slips are in there. And from a narrative point of view, it might have been better to tell the story in a straightforward way, rather than beginning with screenwriter Paul Haggis, going back in time to Hubbard's life, then forward to Haggis, then back to Hubbard and so on. It's not particularly difficult to follow; it just made the book feel, how do I put this? More literary and less detached. I was also annoyed by Wright's continued avoidance of the word "bisexual" – come on, Wright, it's 2013. Some people are gay, some people are straight, some people are John Travolta, and some people are bisexual.

I suspect most of you will be intrigued by all of the Hollywood gossip – I felt new levels of compassion for Kidman and Holmes (I told you Cruise's attorney would not like this book.) Speculative fiction writers, on the other hand, may be more interested in the tidbits at the beginning of the book – the bits where Hubbard is hanging out with the Heinleins and Campbell and so on. Also the bits where Hubbard seems to have been involved with a group that took its guidance from Alistair Crowley, because, you know, Satanism. This is all great stuff and frankly I found the IRS battles and the Hollywood gossip, even with the brainwashings, forced separation from spouses, parading potential spouses in front of Tom Cruise and so on kinda boring in comparison. My quibbles aside, fascinating read. Recommended.
I interrupt a much happier post about Tarpon Springs, Florida, and some work on two upcoming novellas, to alert you to yes, still more wrong from the New York Times, in a review of A Wrinkle in Time.

I hardly know where to begin. Let's see:

1. It's Mrs. Whatsit, not Mrs. Whastis. Right there on the blurb, even. (This might have been a typo but I am not inclined to give the New York Times much credit here.)

2. Charles Wallace, Asperger's? Seriously?

3. Having just read through pretty much every one of L'Engle's novels, I can assure you that good absolutely does not always triumph over evil in L'Engle's fiction, and indeed, her issue was attempting to reconcile her belief in a divine god of love and goodness with her realization that evil absolutely exists in the world, and that sometimes, evil wins. Her argument is not that good always triumphs, but that even in a world filled with evil and horror, we still need forgiveness and love, and we still need to fight against the darkness. As troubled as I have been by some of her moral judgments in some books, this is a message that resonates with me.

4. Girls read science fiction.

I shouldn't have to say it. It's even in the article, which admits that although the science fiction readership is dominated by men, women do read it. We even write it.

And yet here we have the New York Times trotting out, yet again, this canard that girls and women don't read science fiction. We do. We even write it. And for the record, the seminal science fiction work for me as a kid was not A Wrinkle in Time: it was Star Trek, which had a girl exploring space and talking to aliens. It was Lester Del Rey's A Runaway Robot,* the book that introduced me to robots and which at the time I thought was the best book ever written.** Those were the works that let me find A Wrinkle in Time. And robots.

Enough, New York Times. Enough.

* Which according to Wikipedia wasn't even written by Del Rey? Huh. Who knew?

** I was six. I also loved the Bobbsey Twin books and since we'd just moved to Italy, was about to start on loving Enid Blyton. Be kind.
Even post a nap I was pretty out of it yesterday evening, so instead of writing, I decided to give up and just watch some mindless TV. Hulu had been suggesting this little thing called The Booth at the End (link to Hulu for American viewers), which sounded mindless enough, so I clicked on that.

Two and a half riveting hours later, I sat, enthralled and stunned, and realizing that whatever this was, it was not mindless TV.

The Booth at the End has a simple enough premise. A man sits at the booth at the end of the diner (thus the title), eating and drinking and occasionally scribbling in a notebook. As he does, various people come up to him, occasionally making mysterious statements about pastrami sandwiches, and ask for his help with a problem. He listens, and offers a deal. If they do X, they will have what they want.

But they have to tell him about how they did (or didn't) do X. That's also part of the deal.

And so, they come back, again and again, to talk about their progress. Or lack thereof.

The tasks range from simple (help ten old ladies cross the street) to hellish (set off a bomb in a crowded café; the old lady trying to do this to restore her Alzheimer's stricken husband remarks with wonder that Google really can tell you anything). Others turn out to be more complicated than originally thought (bank robbing). And some lead to other tasks.

But, as the man in the booth explains, whether they do the task or not is entirely up to them. All he does is make the deal.

In between deals, a waitress tries to chat him up.

The Booth at the End was filmed on the cheap, and it shows. The show has only one set (the diner) which I'm fairly sure, given the lack of variety of camera angles, was an actual diner, not a set built to look like a diner, along with a couple of (frankly unnecessary) brief exterior shots of the diner. Lights are turned off and on to give us night and daylight shots, and one or two scenes have some technical lighting issues (I think they were filmed either in the morning or the afternoon when the light was wrong). The film editing could occasionally use a little work. People eat food and drink stuff and a glass gets broken, but otherwise, that's about it for set costs.

And, let's face it, the dual premises – dealing with the devil, and just how far will people go for what they want, are not, shall we say, exactly original, and some of the storylines and twists are predictable. (Some.) And some of the storylines - well, they may not be for everyone.

Which doesn't make the show any less compelling and watchable, thanks to an intelligent, taut script with often brilliant dialogue, and brilliant acting, particularly from the guy playing the man in the booth (possibly known to some of you as the guy also playing Percy in the current version of Nikita, although he's much, much better here), who manages a neat blend of reassurance, interest, menace and cynicism. Parts are brutal. Parts are creepy. Parts are funny. Parts put a lump in my throat.

And the ending. I can't really say much without spoilers, except to say it pulled off the rare trick of leaving me both completely satisfied and completely guessing. Yes. Both.

So. I'm enthusiastic.

But I'm also bringing this up because once it was over, I couldn't stop thinking about a certain cable television channel that has loftily told us that it needs to cut back on its original genre programming because of budge concerns. And a certain broadcast television channel that has happily splurged money on a mindless genre show where four episodes in (yes, I'm behind) dinosaurs are still not eating nearly enough people. (And by "people" I mean most of the cast except for the soldier running the compound who is pretty cool but I digress.)

Look, I'm not denying that genre shows can benefit from a decent budget. (See, Game of Thrones, and to a lesser extent, this year's Grimm and Once Upon a Time.) Nor I am denying that sudden budget cuts can harm genre shows (hi, Season Four of Fringe).

But I am saying, enough with the bullshit that you can only make decent genre shows with money. What you need for a decent genre show is thought. And if you don't believe me, well go watch The Booth at the End. You should probably do so anyway.
My latest post, about L. Frank Baum's experiments with science fiction, is now up at Enjoy!


Jun. 6th, 2010 09:57 am
As if to directly contradict my recent protests that I'm really a fantasy/horror writer, not a science fiction writer, Everyday Weirdness has published my latest flash fiction story, Shifting.

Not that the lines between fantasy/science fiction/horror are all that defined, of course, and not that I don't intend to spend time blurring those lines still further in the future.

Anyway, enjoy!
As [profile] girlie_jones notes, this is depressing news for science fiction writers:

Dolphin starts to use Apple iPad.

I only wish I could have made this up.
So, as I mentioned in my last post, SFSignal contacted me to ask me to contribute to a "What Science Fiction Books Should Be in Every Fan's Library?" discussion. This was moderately surprising, since a couple of short stories aside, I don't feel very much like a science fiction writer, and I'm certainly not even a minor voice in the science fiction community. At best, I'm a tiny, tiny whisper.

With that said, I do wish to note that my list was written in a great hurry and with little if any thought: Things are Happening around here that do not exactly create ideal conditions for thinking of lists of recommended books, so if you are thinking, wow, that sounds like a list written in a great hurry and with little if any thought, you would be right. About my only thought, in so far as having one, was to focus on not including Heinlein, a thought reinforced after mentioning this list to a few people, all of whom responded with "Heinlein!" following this with "You can't have a list like this without Heinlein," to which I answered "Oh, yes I can." In fact, I could expand this list and still leave Heinlein off it.

I should clarify: it's not that I don't like, or haven't enjoyed, Heinlein, but that I find his ongoing placement on pretty much every single science fiction list, like, ever, baffling. It's been awhile since I spent much time with the traditional Science Fiction Greats, but as I recall, Bradbury, Vonnegut, Clarke, Bester, Delany, LeGuin and Russ greater and more original thinkers (and with the exception of Clarke and possibly Bester, also better stylists); and Asimov had much better robots. (My science fiction knowledge tends to focus on robots.) Even if we're thinking influential, I'd argue that McCaffrey, Herbert, Norton, and Cherryh are much better read; you could certainly argue that McCaffrey and Herbert in particular spawned mini industries.

Meanwhile, if you are thinking that it's quite sad that my list of science fiction books does not contain a single work from this century and was filled in with two 19th century books, I agree with you. But the truth is, I don't actually read that much science fiction, and then only when recommended by trusted friends.

But if I had had a chance to think about it, and argue that really, no list should be restricted to just ten books anyway, here's some science fiction books I would have added to my list:

Elizabeth Moon, The Speed of Dark
Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others
Samuel Delany, Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand
Nancy Kress, An Alien Light
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
Anne McCaffrey, Crystal Singer (ignore your thoughts about what happened to the Pern books and in fact what happened later in this series, and just focus on this one)
William Sleator, House of Stairs
Wilo Davis Roberts, The Girl With the Silver Eyes (not sure if this is actually a great book or not, but I loved it when I was a kid)
Ursula Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed (although truth to tell I prefer her fantasy to her science fiction)
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents
Mary Shelley, The Last Man (Sacrilege, I know, but I could never get into Frankenstein. I think The Last Man is a much better book.)
Connie Willis, Passage (if I had my book collection with me instead of in storage, I suspect that this, not To Say Nothing of the Dog, would have been on my list, but that's what happens when your books are in boxes. On the other hand, I suspect most of you would enjoy To Say Nothing of the Dog more.)
Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (I left this off since I already had H.G. Wells on there and the list was old enough.)
Tobias Buckell, Crystal Rain (I haven't read the sequel.)
Sheri Tepper, Grass, Beauty (although as I recall I had some issues with that one), Singer From the Sea.

And this list is still brutally incomplete. Sigh. I think the overall lesson here is that I should stop trying to do these sorts of lists.
So, since I'll be spending time with a major Stargate fan today, I figured it was about time I shared my opinions about the latest Stargate installment. And what I've got is a giant Meh.

Meh! Meh! I spoil you with Meh! )


Aug. 4th, 2009 06:20 pm
But I find myself impelled to chat about the table of contents for The Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF. As many others have pointed out, this supposedly mindblowing book does not have one story in it by a woman, or a person of color. Or Isaac Asimov. ([profile] tchernabyelo has an excellent post suggesting that the Table of Contents even does a disservice to white male writers.)

I was going to stay silent on this, really, I was. I suck at these sorts of conversations. And then I remembered three more conversations/blog posts I've been in/read about just this week that chatted about the perception that men read/write science fiction and women read/write fantasy. Never mind that a couple of the major bestselling fantasy writers out there have been men (Tolkien, Robert Jordan, George RR Martin, Ted Williams.) (Or, amusingly enough, that it was two guys who told me to read Twilight. I'm still working on forgiving them for this.) Never mind that some of the major bestselling and ground breaking science fiction writers have been women (Ursula LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Joanna Russ, Nancy Kress, far more) Never mind that the boundary between the two fields is extremely questionable to begin with and many works of speculative fiction contain elements of both, and many writers write in both fields.

No, what's upsetting me is the robots.

When I was a kid, I had no taste in books whatsoever. None. For crying out loud, I read Enid Blyton and Bobbsey Twin books. Yes, it was that bad. My horrified parents and grandfather tried to help by sneaking in decent books, some of which I did like/love. Two things, though, could automatically make any book ABSOLUTELY GREAT:


(Alas, no one ever wrote the ultimate book for me: a book where all the dinosaurs were secretly robots and trampled all over schools and found pirate treasure and kidnapped criminals. I did tell you I had no taste as a kid, right? Moving on.)

I loved robot books. Good, bad, indifferent – it really didn't matter; if it had a robot in it, I read it. I also watched Star Trek and played Star Wars with all of my friends, all of whom wanted to be Han Solo because, let's face it, Han had an ACTUAL spaceship and in the last two movies redeemed himself by also having robots.

Fantasy, at the time, was a decidedly secondary love. Yes, I loved Oz and Narnia and the Nesbitt books. But I wanted robots. And come to think of it, Oz actually had a robot (Tik-tok, the mechanical man who needs to be wound up). No wonder I loved Oz. Talking animals AND ROBOTS. But I digress.

In case it hasn't been clear, I'm a girl.

And each and every time someone says something like this:

" That probably has something to do with my concept of "mind-blowing". Women are every bit as capable of writing mindblowing sf as men are, but with women the stories concentrate far more on people, life, society and not the hard-scientific concepts I was looking for."

I want to respond with, "BUT, ROBOTS!"

I mean, I could dispute this by chatting about Connie Willis and Ursula LeGuin and Nancy Kress, or about how the phrase mindblowing sf does not necessarily have to exclude a focus on people, life and society, or how much of the very best science fiction focuses on how hard scientific concepts change people, life and society (and robots!). I could note that this just again perpetuates the ingrained and frustrating fallacy that not only sees science fiction and fantasy as two opposing genres (even though they're continually shelved together in bookstores and libraries), so ingrained that even someone like this particular anthologist/editor, who has focused on and published female writers before, finds himself repeating it.

Instead, I'll just say it again:

I love robots. Really, really, love robots.

Even the ones that don't look like dinosaurs.

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