One of the things I discovered at the Bristol Women’s Literary Festival was a website called For Books’ Sake. It is a general literary blog run by women, and the people at the festival sounded interesting. When I got home I checked out the site.
You can probably imagine my disappointment when the closest reference to SF&F I could find in their menu was a listing for “Crime, Horror, Pulp”. Oh dear, is that what they thought of us? Still, I’m a mouthy bitch so I had a few words with them on Twitter. Much to my delight, they got back to say, no, they were happy to include SF&F, they just didn’t know a lot about it. But hey, here’s an article on top women fantasy writers. So I looked, and sure it includes Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan, but is also has Angela Carter, Ursula K. Le Guin and N.K. Jemisin.
Then I tried the podcasts, and a light bulb went off. It’s a measure of how much we have won the culture war that people these days talking about fiction automatically include a lot of SF&F without even thinking that they need a category for it. There are two podcasts up thus far. They discuss the new Gail Carriger series, and Anne Rice’s vampire novels. There’s a review of the new Jeanette Winterson, The Daylight Gate, which is all about witches. They the had segment about Michelle Tea, including the news that she has a YA fantasy novel, Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, due out soon. Michelle Tea, people! Why did I not know this? (I am looking at you, Charlie Jane Anders…)
FYI, The Winterson does not count as Crawford reading. The Stone Gods is science fiction, but she wrote Weight as part of Canongate’s myths series. The Tea, on the other hand, probably does.
Other parts of the podcasts opened my ears wide too. I hadn’t expected them to be quite so feminist as they are. Galactic Suburbia ladies, you should listen in. I particularly enjoyed the way they excoriated Robert McCrum over his 50 Most Influential Books posts at The Guardian. The FBS ladies also read 50 Shades of Grey so that we don’t have to, and reveal that the dire prose is probably not the worst aspect of those books.
In other words, I was entertained, and definitely intend to listen to future episodes as and when they are podcast. It will help me keep up with things outside of my specialisms, and amuse me, both of which are good things.