Ah, science fiction

08 Feb

Here we go again!

It’s a topic that really needs to die, or at least the ones who keep perpetrating it need to… go away and crawl back under the rock they tend to live under.  Note, I didn’t say die, because that would be rude.

I’m again talking about the fedora wearing dudebros who malign women who try to say they are fans of something in a genre (science fiction, fantasy, comic books, etc.), yet in the same breath complain because there are no women who enjoy the same thing they enjoy.  Ergo, the rise of the fake geek girl.  Or, the rise of fedora wearing dudebros accusing women of being fake and attention seeking.

This is quite a long rant, and doesn’t cover nearly as much as it could.  I don’t go into the aspect of science fiction writers who are women of colour.  That could cover an essay all on it’s own.

This army of ignorance seems to ignore facts about genres from the past.  Ignoring the fact that one of the first computer programmers (dare I say, THE first computer programmer) was a woman.  Adda Lovelace.  And originally, computer programming was thought to be a woman’s job, as no self respecting man would ever attempt to do something so meaningless.

That’s right, computer programming was originally thought to be “women’s work”.  How things have changed.

Which is indicative of the times.  Usually if a job was thought to be less than a man should do, then it was shuffled off to women and called women’s work.  Until a larger number of men started to take up the position, and the history of women doing such a thing was almost completely erased from history.  Medicine, for example, used to be completely in the arena of women’s work, yet centuries later, it’s considered appropriate as a job for men.  This is especially true when one considers a woman giving birth.  It was always common practice to have a midwife on hand to assist with the pregnancy.  And now, there are those who say that midwifery is akin to witchcraft and voodoo (mostly men).

All of this is equated to books and writing and being a fan of material.  Women have existed for all of human history.  If they didn’t, then there was some kind of homosexual reproduction method we’re completely missing out on.  Having said that, I now know somebody’s gonna write that as a sci fi story (all I ask is some form of credit in the forward or the acknowledgements).

Women have been writing and contributing to the genre of science fiction for a very long time.  It can be argued, if the loose translation of science fiction were applied, and considering the number of sub genres of sci fi, that Shakespeare’s The Tempest could be considered the first sci fi writing.  One, however, does not have to look that far back (though, close enough).  According to the wikipedia article on science fiction:

A product of the budding Age of Reason and the development of modern science itself, Jonathan Swift‘s Gulliver’s Travels was one of the first true science fantasy works, together with Voltaire‘s Micromégas (1752) and Johannes Kepler‘s Somnium (1620–1630). Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan consider the latter work the first science fiction story. It depicts a journey to the Moon and how the Earth’s motion is seen from there. The Blazing World, written in 1666 by English noblewoman Margaret Cavendish, has also been described as an early forerunner of science fiction. Another example is Ludvig Holberg‘s novel Nicolai Klimii iter subterraneum, 1741. (Translated to Danish by Hans Hagerup in 1742 as Niels Klims underjordiske Rejse.) (Eng. Niels Klim’s Underground Travels.) Brian Aldiss has argued that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) was the first work of science fiction.

You might notice that two women were listed in that conversation about what could be considered the first science fiction.  Margaret Cavendish and Mary Shelley.  Shelley’s Frankenstein is more well known, and while the book wasn’t an original hit, it was found to make great theatre.  After selling out stage plays, the book began to sell more copies.  Therefore, Shelley’s Frankenstein could be considered the precursor to the modern age of science fiction.

Some of the best science fiction that’s been produced has been produced by women.  One of the most prolific sci fi writers is D C Fontana, who wrote a number of Star Trek episode, such as “Tomorrow Is Yesterday“, “Friday’s Child“, “Journey to Babel“, “This Side of Paradise“, and “The Enterprise Incident“.  She also wrote under the pen name Michael Richards the episodes “That Which Survives” and “The Way to Eden“, both from the show’s third season. Fontana also wrote under the name J. Michael Bingham. This pseudonym was used for the story and teleplay credits for “The Naked Now“, an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The story credit was shared by John D. F. Black, who had written “The Naked Time“, the original series episode to which “Naked Now” was an homage.  She also wrote “Yesteryear” for the Star Trek Animated series, she wrote the 1987 pilot “Encounter at Farpoint“, and the episode “Dax” of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1993.

Other notable series she wrote for includes The Six Million Dollar Man, He-Man and Masters of the Universe, Beast Wars, Land of the Lost and the fanbased series Star Trek: The New Voyages.

Bethesda Softworks reports that Fontana, along with her partner Derek Chester, wrote the storylines for the video games Star Trek: Legacy and Star Trek: Tactical Assault. Fontana and Chester also wrote for IDW Publishing‘s comic line Star Trek – Year Four. They were involved with the second miniseries titled The Enterprise Experiment.  It was revealed that the character of K. C. Hunter (played by Nana Visitor) in the DS9 episode of Far Beyond The Stars was an homage to D. C. Fontana.

Women have been involved in science fiction for centuries.  So fedora wearing dudebros need to take a step back, shut the fuck up, and realize that some of the people they happen to be disrespecting have been the ones who have brought them their treasured entertainment for a very long time.



Posted by on February 8, 2014 in Life, randomness


Tags: , , , , ,

3 responses to “Ah, science fiction

  1. robertsonwrites

    February 8, 2014 at 6:56 am

    A powerful post. I did not realize how much women were involved in sci-fi as much as I love being involved the genre. I am not the hardcore fan, but someone that enjoys it as a pasttime.

  2. Doug Daniel

    February 8, 2014 at 8:22 am

    I do not understand the fan-boys who says a woman cannot be a fan. The level of ignorance that displays is simply staggering. Personally I know armies of fan women, most of whom are smarter, tougher and altogether badder than most of the little dweebs who can’t their noses out of their consoles. Women have been absolutely central as contributors to sci-fi and fantasy. Andre Norton, Ursula LeGuin, Lois McMaster Bujold, the list goes on and on. Pull your heads out of your behinds, fan-boys.


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