Astrogator's Logs

New Words, New Worlds
Artist, Heather Oliver             

Opining about SF and Fantasy

Charles Tan, the Bibliophile Stalker, interviewed me for SF Signal.  The result just appeared on SFS.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Do you have a preference for SF or fantasy?

I will read anything that is not a hack job; what matters is the quality of the story telling, not the mode.  Of course, I have preferences, just as I like dark chocolate and goat cheese: I gravitate to stories that are hybrid and/or hard to categorize; I still have a soft spot for well-written space opera (with C. J. Cherryh and C. S. Friedman at the top of that list) and particular types of alternative history fantasy (for example, Jacqueline Carey’s Renaissance Europe, in which Celtic Ireland and Minoan Crete are still going strong); I tend to dislike cyberpunk, though I loved Melissa Scott; and steampunk makes me break out in hives, automata in particular – to say nothing of corsets.  At my age and exposure, I can tell from reading the first and last page if it’s worth my while to read the whole work.”

ETA: Paul Gilster of Centauri Dreams caught all the echoes of the interview in his recent entry Reflections on a Mythic Voyager.  I originally had a link to it, but removed it when his post got deluged by comments from nerdtrolls “explaining” why Paul was terribly, terribly wrong in liking the words of a dark female ethnic, no matter what objective credentials she has.

Cool Cat by Ali Spagnola

16 Responses to “Opining about SF and Fantasy”

  1. Caliban says:

    Nice interview!

  2. Athena says:

    Thanku! Charles asked me interesting questions and I could have said a lot more, but didn’t want people’s eyes to glaze over.

  3. LauraJMixon says:

    Loved it! Nice to see your words hither and yon.

  4. Copper Yeti says:

    I like the Saxophone. Does he know Ornette Coleman?

  5. Athena says:

    Especially yon! But you should see the comments they aroused at Centauri Dreams, when its owner allowed himself to enjoy my words.

  6. Athena says:


  7. Walden2 says:

    Athena, it is shameful and embarrassing what went on in CD in that thread. I have posted a rebuttal there which while I have few illusions will change much if anything regarding some of the perpetrators, will at least I hope rally the more “civilized” members.

    As a writer who loves science, I will continue to do what I can whenever possible to hopefully one day remove C. P. Snow’s Two Cultures, which are clearly still pervasive in modern society.

  8. Walden2 says:

    FYI – By remove I meant to say merge.

  9. Athena says:

    I know what you meant, Larry, and thank you for the support. However, this is not a Snow-type division, since these people profess to be enlightened as well as science-literate. I didn’t go back after posting The Cootie Dialogues and I don’t intend to — I’m done with Centauri Dreams. So I haven’t read your post, but I understand that at least two other human beings also spoke on my behalf.

    It’s incredible that envious jerks spewed senseless venom (when others sprout genocidal garbage on that site with little reaction) and almost everyone stood by and said nothing. Then the space exploration community wonders why it has practically zero non-white non-males among its members. And these are the people who want to build starships on behalf of the entire species? We’re doomed.

  10. Walden2 says:

    Athena, you may find this blog post from Not Even Wrong to be of sad interest:

    In summation, the same Big Physics conference held in 1911 had about the same number of women scientists attending as the one held this year – two. On a positive note, the majority of comments to the post focused on this disparity.

    I am seeing attitudes change for the better in society regarding women and other non-white male groups compared to when I started becoming truly aware of such things three or so decades ago. However, it is also obvious there is a long way to go, but the older generations with their Archie Bunker notions are starting to slowly pass away. At least there is more public awareness of things. I can clearly recall op-ed cartoons in my local newspapers from the 1970s making fun of homosexuals that would never even be considered today, as just one example.

    As for science related, I often attend a local college’s astronomy club’s lecture series and their subsequent Open House nights to observe the evening sky. A fair number of members are female students. In fact their previous president was a woman, and she only left the position because she had to graduate.

  11. Athena says:

    Yes, sad particularly because it doesn’t surprise me. Also, I wish I were as optimistic that this is changing as time goes by: the nerdtrolls at CD are not old and their views on anything beyond their narrow field of interest are as progressive as those of religious fundamentalists.

  12. Caliban says:

    Larry, if yours was the post at 11:28– beautifully said.

  13. Athena says:

    Larry, Calvin just sent me your post. It was eloquent and moving. You are both the best friends a person could have.

  14. Walden2 says:

    You are welcome Athena and thank you, Calvin. It looks like the nonsense has stopped, at least in that thread.

  15. Caliban/CWJ says:

    Hello, I have set up a blog for civil discussion of technical issues. In particular Astronist/Stephen seemed interested in a discussion of technical issues. I suggest we begin with Tom Murphy’s blog posts.

    Visitors should keep in mind I will keep tight reins on civility.

  16. Athena says:

    I look forward to the discussions!