WWE Challenge: Part Four and Conclusions.

I’m a challenge host!

Since Worlds Without End included a Women Authors Challenge and an Authors of Color Challenge, the lack of an LGBT Speculative Fiction Challenge was one I could not help but notice.

So I created one.

2014 LGBT Speculative Fiction Challenge

The books I picked for my own reading selections are as follows:

  • Hild, Nicola Griffith
  • Palimpsest, Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Salt Roads, Nalo Hopkinson
  • Ash, Malinda Lo
  • Briar Rose, Jane Yolen
  • China Mountain Zhang, Maureen F. McHugh
  • Fledgling, Octavia Butler
  • Godmother Night, Rachel Pollack
  • The Drowning Girl, Caitlin Kiernan
  • Up the Walls of the World, Alice Sheldon
  • The Kappa Child, Hiromi Goto
  • The Red Tree, Caitlin Kiernan

This is (um, maybe) my final challenge, joining the 12 books by authors of color, 12 books that have been nominated for the Mythopoeic Award, 12 winners of 12 different SF/F awards, and 12 nominees of same. And I am applying the standards of the Women of Genre Fiction challenge to all of them – meaning that every book I picked was authored by a woman.

So in the course of choosing these books, I browsed many, many awards lists, more than once.

This was a somewhat painful exercise.

Finding female winners or nominees for some of those awards was not easy.

There were many years, and not just before 1975, or even just before 2000, where no women were even nominated for some awards. Some were awarded to women less than 10% of total years. On many award lists, the same three or four uber-famous female authors popped up from time to time, but it was clear that the male nominees were not all, or even mostly, heavy-hitters.

The numbers were not good, though I managed* to restrain myself from creating spreadsheets to satisfy my obsessive-compulsive pollution.

Some awards were more woman-friendly than others. The clear winner is the Mythopoeic Award, with slightly over 50% female winners and nominees, while the number of women authors nominated and awarded by the Brits, in both the BFS and BSFA, is fucking abysmal.

Just so we’re clear – the former’s award and nominee gender ratio, which looks so phenomenally great in comparison to the rest (vag-tastic, I exclaimed), roughly duplicates the gender ratio of the total human population.

One has to wonder why female authors ever began publishing under their real first names.


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