Last night on Twitter various people starting linking to a “periodic table” of women in SF (PDF). Apparently it had been circulated at WisCon. That seemed a nice thing to do, but being on the iPhone I thought no more of it. Then I discovered I was on it! (Thanks Susan!) Let me put that in context.
Firstly I am on a list of just over 100 people that also includes Ursula K. Le Guin, Angela Carter and Octavia Butler. I am staggered, and deeply honored.
Also, I am on it, while people like Liz Williams, Storm Constantine, Pamela Zoline, Kelley Eskridge, Helen Merrick and Timmi Duchamp (to name but a few) are not. Obviously Sandra had to make some choices, so I’m not complaining about people being left off. Also she did provide a few blank spaces for people to add their own favorites, which was a great idea. But that I got on and those I named above didn’t??? Wow.
(Having said that, this does highlight what I believe to be a particular blind spot that WisCon people have when it comes to Liz Williams. She has written some really good feminist SF and y’all ought to go and read it.)
I think, also, that I am the only person on the list who is there for what was basically fan activity. Everyone else on the list is a professional of some sort.
Those of us with chemistry degrees immediately started wondering which element we had been assigned. Last night I thought I had been given Lead, which I found amusing. However, on closer inspection on a full screen I see that Sandra’s table does not have the same number of columns as the periodic table of elements, so direct comparisons are difficult. Numerically I am #71, and the element with that number is Lutetium. That’s a rare earth element named after the Roman city of Lutetia, now Paris. As with many such things, there was some dispute over naming rights to begin with, and Wikipedia says that in Germany it was originally called Cassiopium, which is rather cool.
I note also that I have been positioned directly between Ellen Klages and Nicola Griffith. This could be interesting.
But by far the best thing about this is the awesome video that Sandra made to showcase the project. Watch, it is lovely.
And Sandra, THANK YOU!!!