On Joanna Russ and The Secret Feminist Cabal

Jeff VanderMeer • January 4th, 2010 @ 10:26 am • Culture

On the Amazon book blog, I just posted an interview Graham Sleight did with Farah Mendlesohn about a book she edited titled On Joanna Russ. It’s a fascinating book and an equally fascinating interview, and I highly recommend you check it out.

Among other things, Farah points out the potential problems of the old boys’ club as typified by guys hanging out with guys at cons. Inasmuch as conventions are business opportunities–work-related–she has a good point, although I wonder if this is more of a UK phenomenon? (Update: I may wonder this, but Farah says it’s something observed at US cons.) At least, I know Ann and I always meet with and hang out with a wide variety of creators and editors whenever we’re at a con–there’s absolutely no backroom, smoke-filled nudge-nudge, wink-wink. She also says that men should be more proactive about complaining about male-only panels at cons. I agree in theory, but in practice the decision-making process behind con panels tends to be muddled and disorganized across many different criteria. My hope would be two-fold: (1) that cons wouldn’t put us white males on panels in this position to begin with and (2) that cons would be more systematic and thoughtful about programming in general. (With the understanding that being in charge of programming, and dealing with writer egos generally is a really thankless job.) In any event, food for thought.

I also talk briefly in the premable to the feature about The Secret Feminist Cabal, which I hope to devote a blog post to late in the week, depending on other deadlines.

One Response to “On Joanna Russ and The Secret Feminist Cabal”

  1. Mia Wolff says:

    Joanna Russ—rarely does a writer have the peculiar zing that she manages. That flavor is hers alone. The only other writer on that plane is Tiptree, and now maybe China Mieville…..

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