Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
howeird

It's a Woman!

I have been reading a lot of short SF stories by beginning writers, thanks to the last two issues of Writers of the Future somehow landing on my Kindle. And I have noticed something not politically correct.

Most of the time, I can tell if the writer is a woman.

There's no value judgment here, it can be on stories I love and on stories I ditch after a few pages, and all levels in  between. But I usually notice the writer's gender in the first page or two.

So you're going to tell me of course, because WOF prefaces each story with a bio of the author (and of the illustrator as well). But no, I skip those because I don't want to know anything about the writer until after I have read the work. I think it is enormously rude of WOF to put those in front and not after the stories.

It isn't the subject matter, men and women have approached the same subjects, often in the same issue. It has to do with phrasing and a little bit of vocabulary. Sorry, I have not dug into this enough to give examples, except in vague terms.

except for one example of a man's writing. The story was one of those "retired military men form vigilante posse" tales. The main character was all about minor details of military order when they didn't really apply. Women don't tend to do that. The story was so stilted that way that I bailed after 4 pages.

This is not to say that if I cannot tell, then the woman writes "like a man". Nope. Everything I have read (and that's all her novels) by Margaret Atwood are gender neutral to me. Amy Tan, on the other hand, screams "I am a woman" on every page. Most of Sherri S. Tepper's work holds no gender for me, except when she delves more into fantasy than sci-fi. Truman Capote, for all his flamishness IRL, reads like a male writer.

Just a personal obvservation, no value judgment, YMMV.

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