‘Women don’t read sci-fi’ incites chaos on Twitter

What started out as a lovely tribute to the awesomeness of A Wrinkle in Time has ignited a hashtag frenzy on Twitter.

In the article, Pamela Paul, a children’s book editor at The Book Review, cites some sad surveys that indicate the number of women who identify as reading sci-fi is depressingly low.

So rather than talking about the book, the statistics got Twitter going.  The hashtag #womenreadSF has gotten the geek women on Twitter recommending all sorts of awesome titles and authors.

In the face of these depressing statistics, what would you recommend? Do you try to engage the girls in your life with some good sci-fi?

8 Replies to “‘Women don’t read sci-fi’ incites chaos on Twitter”

  1. You’d think that after the brouhaha that erupted from Ginia Bellafante’s review of the Game of Thrones premiere, the New York Times would have learned something about geek, girls, and genre.

    L’Engle is pretty good. Keeping it in the YA age range, a couple sci-fi books I loved as a teen: Peter Dickinson’s Eva and Pamela Sargent’s Alien Child. And Pern, I was all over Pern.

    Here are a few more recs:

    Nancy Kress’ Beggars in Spain.

    Jo Walton’s Among Others (ABOUT a girl reading lots of SF/F.)

    Joan D. Vinge’s The Snow Queen and The Summer Queen.

    And hedging into space opera, the Mageworlds series by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald. (I need to do a post on these, as they should be very much of interest to SW fans. Out of print, but they recently became available as ebooks.)

  2. I don’t see the logic in attempting to combat a statement of statistics (“one fourth of girls/women like SF best”) with a bunch of anecdotal statements to the contrary. Anyone heard of a vocal minority?

    I haven’t read A Wrinkle in Time, by the way. I was reading Zahn, Asimov, Bradbury, and Gibson during those years.

  3. It’s not about refuting the statistics as it is encouraging girls to embrace or at least admit they read scifi.

    For my recommendations, I’d go with Lois McMaster Bujold and Joe Scalzi. I was also a HUGE fan of Heinlein and Asimov when I was younger.

  4. my wife is way more well-read on sci-fi than me.

    my shelves: Star Wars, Tim Dorsey, James Rollins

    her shelves: Octavia Butler, Ursula Le Guin, Nalo Hopkinson, James Tiptree Jr, David Brin, Orson Scott Card, Dan Simmons, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert J Sawyer, Frederick Pohl, Frank Herbert, John Scalzi, Eric Flint.

  5. I don’t see it as an issue. If you like sci-fi then great but if not, so what?

    My wife doesn’t mind it to a point but she calls me a geek at least once a week. I honestly don’t think you’ll ever get even 50% of women into science fiction. That’s not because its ‘not for them’ or I’m sexist. I just don’t think it appeals to the majority of women.

    *Cringes in expectation of backlash*

  6. I’m personally responsible for getting my niece hooked on Star Wars some 18-odd years ago. Did that alone spur her interest in sci-fi? I don’t know, but she started writing essays for sci-fi and fantasy-related journals at 14.

    Even more surprising to me was coming home from college for a visit 20 years ago. My mom had just divorced. And on her bookshelf, in place of the untouched Readers Digest Condensed Books collection, was the entire Dune series along with Ursula LeGuin and Mercedes McCaffrey novels. Some I hadn’t even read. I never knew she loved sci-fi. She kept it hidden away our whole childhood. I’ve never asked why, I’m just glad she came “out of the closet” so to speak, because we have a common love of sci-fi to talk about now.

  7. Bardan Jussik –
    It’s not the matter of forcing women to like it or not– it’s automatically assuming that nearly all or all women do not like something because of a gender-based stereotype. That is the issue here. A lot of women have been encouraged to hide their geeky side by many for many reasons– and these days it is encouraging to all to let their geek banners fly.

    It’s like saying men don’t cook (hello Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, and Emeril for starters) because it’s traditionally a female thing to do. Little boys who want Easy Bake ovens and dolls to take care of should have them without questioning who they are as much as a little girl should get Transformers and hot wheels and not questioned.

    Again, not about forcing people but letting people be who they are without fear of being shunned or reprimanded.

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