It’s amazing, the responses you get, when you say that you read mostly women SF/F authors. It’s almost like the SF/F community bends over backwards to mansplain that reading mostly male authors is a signpost of simply reading quality fiction, but if you’re reading mostly female authors, you are TEH ONE TRUE SEXIST!!!1!1111!!
I have switched paradigms — dude authors must do something spectacular to get my attention. I have readjusted my mental antennae to receive female-authored broadcasts. Changed the default, if you will: in which it’s not “authors” and “lady authors,” but “authors” and “dude authors.” If the latter but not the former makes you uncomfortable, I’d posit that this is a good starting place for examining prejudice.
So here are some dude authors I’ve discovered recently whose works are sufficiently impressive to tune in:
Richard Parks — for “The Manor of Lost Time” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #150. It uses a well-trod plot — the escape from magical captivity — to showcase so much else. The story has vivid characters and a dark fairy tale quality. And the voice! The narration! It’s somehow 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person all at once. This one is kind of impossible to describe and had me searching for synonyms for “awesome” in the thesaurus.
Benjamin Parzybok — for “The Colts” in Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. Why this story is full of win: it balances grief and hilarity and just perfectly encapsulates the joy and sadness of remembering the things that you’ve lost. Also proves that there’s more to mine in zombie fiction.
Ken Liu — for “Knotting Grass, Holding Ring,” also in Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. Meta-fiction told in the voice of 17th century Chinese sex workers. The point-of-view in this story is so insightful, as the female characters — one clueless, one sadly not — negotiate survival for themselves and others in a war-torn foreground.
I hear that all three of these dude authors have novels coming out soon — Yamada Monogatari, To Break the Demon Gate, Japanese mythic fiction; Sherwood Nation, a post-apocalyptic Robin Hood retelling; and The Grace of Kings, a massive tome of epic fantasy. I’m kinda looking forward to them. Don’t tell anyone.