Changing the Story

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Women of the Military

Image from “Women of the Military” (http://www.womenofthemilitary.com/)

I have been hunting for just what the heck Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg had written in the SFWA Bulletin that has gotten so many people angry. I’m not a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), so I don’t get the bulletin or have access to the online version. But I started seeing tweets about it by outgoing SFWA president John Scalzi and incoming president Steven Gould, and I thought surely something this controversial would be made public somewhere. I have yet to find the original Resnick/Malzberg article that caused the uproar, but I have found many things about it, and the gist I’m getting is that Resnick and Malzberg made some sexist statements in a column they write for the bulletin, for which they were vociferously called out. Instead of apologizing, they wrote a second column saying their detractors were trying censor them and control their thoughts. Gasoline, meet fire.

But this post isn’t about that. Well, it sort of is. But it’s really about llamas.

In the course of trying to find the offending Malzberg/Resnick article, I went to SFWA’s website, where I found a post by Kameron Hurley. It’s titled “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative,” and it is very long, but it’s well worth reading. In fact, go read it now—the whole grande enchilada.

I’m glad I read it when I did. My little space opera has several women in it, and while I hope I’m writing them as strong characters, I’ll be going back and looking at them with a more critical eye now. I’m actually kind of nervous about it. I hope I like what I find. Even if I don’t, though, changing the story will make it a better story, and I’m fine with that.

So go read Hurley’s essay, and then change your story.

Make sure you get the llamas right.

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