Edition 8: Notes From the Editor
When I first floated the idea of an edition of SQ Mag dedicated to some of the amazing work of women out there, Gerry (my boss and chief editor at IFWG Publishing) leapt at the idea. My initial idea came from a deep-seated desire to see more work by women. I mean, big names like Ursula Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, Mary Shelley and more come to mind, yet men are mainly recognised as the giants of speculative fiction. So we approached some writers (and chose books to review based on those) whose work we had seen and admired, but who perhaps do not have the following or accolades that other of their colleagues do, despite their multi-faceted contributions to fiction.
When we approached the very writers mentioned above, we asked a few questions. One question, one that we thought was a positive question to make people think about what women writers have to offer, was what got us the most fascinating answers. The common theme: that we all want to be recognised for the quality of our craft, not set apart by the trifling matter of our gender. Just to be recognised as an equal player on the field of fiction would be enough.
It puts me in mind of stateswoman Charlotte Witton’s quote: “Whatever women do they must do twice as well to be thought half as good.” There is more and more evidence that women authors aren’t being reviewed or interviewed or talked about as often. There is definitely a bias against women, especially in hard sci-fi, and publishers sometimes disguise a gender by using initials and a surname. Women authors are asked questions about their figures and personal lives in a much more intrusive way than men are. Let’s not even begin the talk on female public figures who cross into geek culture and are actively threatened; because sadly, that level of casual and unspoken sexism still exists.
Coincidentally, as our deadline approached, Twitter threw up a “to read” hashtag (#womentoread), highlighting a number of great authors who just happen to be women. It’s a great initiative on Twitter, and while you’re there, follow us at @SQ_Mag.
With this edition, we are wanting to bring to light authors who we humbly approached and graciously accepted a part in this endeavour. Who wanted to show you what you could be missing out on. We bring you authors from our main marketplaces: Australia, the UK and the US. We bring you different genres: fantasy, steampunk, science fiction and horror. Our featured authors are world-recognised and exceptionally good at what they do.
Tonia Brown is recognised as a well-connected steampunk and horror writer. Emma Newman has a great online following and a talent for fantasy and dystopian stories with dark and devious twists. Cat Rambo is a prolific and talented writer, whose interests cover most speculative fiction genres (and whose work inspired our beautiful cover). If you wish to read further into women’s disadvantage in publishing Cat has some great links over on her blog. And last but certainly not least, Cat Sparks writes award-winning speculative fiction. The other thing that ties these women together: a strong contribution to the writing community, through service in the industry and promoting other writers, to pushing the boundaries of what speculative fiction is and means. If you like what you’ve read, they’ve each got several great publications, so please look into their work further!
We had other submissions to SQ Mag. J.B. Rockwell was finalist in the 2012 Story Quest competition and was keen to be involved in this project from the early stages. Laura Haddock’s work has caught our eye before, and we’re glad she came back with another offering. Felicia Lee wrote a great story that captured our imagination and a bit of the burden of being a woman.
Mysti Parker, a reviewer with us since the early day of SQ Mag, has chosen a YA novel by Gail Carriger, Etiquette and Espionage. Damien Smith has gone local, with Lisa L. Hannett’s Bluegrass Symphony.
We also have the forum up and running, so you can tell us what you think about this edition and the stories we have for you. We’d love to hear from you, so please drop us a line there or on Facebook or Twitter.
Lastly, I want to thank Jeff Doherty for the exquisite cover that he created, inspired by Cat Rambo’s story. It honestly took our breath away when we saw it and his talent is very evident in the detail. Jeff, words cannot express how enthusiastically we greeted this work of art.
Thank you all for supporting us and our vision for this e-zine. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.