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    Question Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    So while eagerly awaiting a new novel A Conjuring of Light by Victoria Schwab that's supposed to be published later this month, to tide me over I picked up A Whispering Storm by Michael Moorcock (an old favorite), and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (an author that's new to me), this week.

    So far I'm findingThe Invisible Library more page turning, but what I'd really like to see is another book by Susanna Clarke, and that sparked a thought which made me go look at my bookshelf and check something:

    Genevieve?

    Susanna?

    Victoria?

    Ursula?

    Poul Anderson, Robert Howard, Fritz Leiber, and Jack Vance are all still on my bookshelf, but I noticed that while at least 9/10th of the fiction that I've enjoyed reading that was published in the 20th century had male named authors, at least 4/5th of the fiction published in the 21st century that I've enjoyed has been written by women (I also read a lot less science fiction, and a lot more fantasy than I used to), and most of the fiction written in the 21st Century by male authors (Gaiman, Moorcock, Pratchett, Wolfe) that I'm reading is by authors I read in the 20th century, while most of the younger authors I'm reading are women.

    Why might that be?
    (What does it matter? Your probably wondering with good reason, but when I notice a curious pattern, I get curious!)

    Maybe it's just mostly women being published?

    To test this, I went to a Barnes and Noble (instead of Dark Carnival which is my usual bookseller), and I looked over the shelves. The "Fantasy and Science Fiction" section is much larger than it once was, and since except for a little Bradbury, and a lot of Tolkien, most of the older books I knew aren't there, but it didn't look like titles written by women were overwhelmingly what was on the shelf, so to find a short cut as to what may be the "best" I picked up the January/February issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (it's been over a decade since I subscribed), and I counted five men authors, and four women authors, so almost equal. I picked up The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016 which had ten female, and ten female authors, so exactly equal, which is what you'd expect, so why was I enjoying mostly men's writings in the 20th century, and mostly womens writings in the 21st?

    Just a fluke?

    Or is there a pattern?

    What might that be?

    If it's a clue, I started to read less Science Fiction and more Fantasy, after Cyberpunk became the popular sub-genre in the 1980's, and as well as Swords & Sorcery, I'm reading more Gaslamp Fantasy, a sub-genre that except maybe for Avram Davidson's Doctor Eszterhazy tales I previously never saw.

    Please feel free to argue by mentioning books you like!

    Thanks!
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia was published last year IIRC, so i think it may just be an odd coincidence for you. Honestly i've got a mix author wise from all of my books and the bulk of them are pre 2000 and id say around half are women, though the Dragonriders of Pern may be throwing that average off a bit.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    There is no shortage of male fantasy authors. For example, here is a list of popular fantasy novels of the 21st century. Taste or no (I lean towards 'no'), it offers plenty of male authors. Similarly with a more focused list.

    Also, you're not just reading recent work by women. le Guin broke out in the '60s, and her crown jewels are '70s novels (published before The Silmarillion, even)--I don't know if that really counts as 'lately'. She was born only three years after Poul Anderson, who you name as an old fart; she was in the same high school class as Philip K. Dick.

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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    I suspect it's a matter of you being disinclined towards contemporary trends in Fantasy fiction which a number of the more heavily marketed male authors tend to produce and also tend to be directed towards Men. More multi-part door-stoppers in general, more grittiness in the flavour of Martin, and a lot of action and whole clothe myth making like with Sanderson -- I'm sure you can do a deeper analysis if you've the time but from the covers and the descriptions alone its easy to tell what publishers are trying convey and to whom based on the language of 2000's genre fiction that most of us understand even if we don't put it into words.

    Of course there's still a wide audience outside of that specific but highly lucrative block who are buying genre books en masse, and quite of lot of that is catered towards and provided by women. While obviously most of it is also pretty bad like with anything, you've grown a distinct fondness for the gems.

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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    If you want some good works done by women I'd suggest Mercedes Lackey, some books are hit or miss but over all the world she's weaved in her major series is pretty good. Goblin Emperor, not by Lackey, is also really solid.

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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    If you want some good works done by.....
    I just want to read good stories regardless of who writes then.

    To be clear, I have read and enjoyed works by women authors in the 20th century (Leigh Bracket, Ursula LeGuin, Catherine Lucille Moore, etc.), and I have read works be new male 21st century authors (Jon Hollins, Scott Lynch, Rodrigo Garcia y Robertson, etc.) that I've enjoyed, it's just how the preponderance of who is writing what I enjoy has changed that's got me curious.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    If you want some good works done by women I'd suggest Mercedes Lackey, some books are hit or miss but over all the world she's weaved in her major series is pretty good. Goblin Emperor, not by Lackey, is also really solid.
    Basically, anything in her valdemar lineup is generally something you can assume is good. She is always finding new gaps in the timeline to insert more stories into the overall history of her world. As for the topic at hand, I dunno, aside from lackey and anne bishop, I dont have a lot of ladies as authors on my list. Eddings, gemmel, tolkien, weber (he has at least one decent set of fantasy novels, not just sci fi) butcher, jordan, etc etc etc.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Basically, anything in her valdemar lineup is generally something you can assume is good. She is always finding new gaps in the timeline to insert more stories into the overall history of her world. As for the topic at hand, I dunno, aside from lackey and anne bishop, I dont have a lot of ladies as authors on my list. Eddings, gemmel, tolkien, weber (he has at least one decent set of fantasy novels, not just sci fi) butcher, jordan, etc etc etc.
    I actually ended up deciding those Valdemar books were bad. Or certainly not to the taste i had grown to like. Main complaint is incompetent villains. As well as 95% of the book focusing on relationship drama, with the suposed plotline then being resolved in a single chapter at the end. Oh.. and all the coincidences, where people just.. know things.. because it would be inconvenient otherwise.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    To be honest, I have not read much in the way of recent fantasy at all. With the helpful note that I absolutely despise George R.R. Martin, particularly his division of every human action into villainy or folly and his clear preference of the former... what's good lately?
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    "Best-seller (or favorite, or best) fantasy fiction writers" seem to be a small enough sample size that you probably can't make good statistics of them, even if it were otherwise meaningful to do so.
    Last edited by Cespenar; 2017-02-06 at 08:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by DomaDoma View Post
    To be honest, I have not read much in the way of recent fantasy at all. With the helpful note that I absolutely despise George R.R. Martin, particularly his division of every human action into villainy or folly and his clear preference of the former... what's good lately?
    If you haven't already, you should try Brandon Sanderson's Stornlight Archive. It's basically the antithesis to Game of Thrones. It even plays the paladin trope entirely straight and makes it work.

    (If you read it though, read Warbreaker before the second Strormlight book. Just trust me on this...)

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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Oh, if anyone wants something fantasy thats very different from anything else they have read, then i would like to recomend "the last Unicorn"
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adderbane View Post
    If you haven't already, you should try Brandon Sanderson's Stornlight Archive. It's basically the antithesis to Game of Thrones. It even plays the paladin trope entirely straight and makes it work.

    (If you read it though, read Warbreaker before the second Strormlight book. Just trust me on this...)
    Thanks.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Well, I'd name my current favourite still publishing authors as Gaiman, Butcher, Sanderson and Miéville, so that's not true for me. But then, I'm one case, and a male one at that. That said, if I look at what I actually bought this year so far in Fantasy...

    Tropic of Serpents, Marie Brennan
    Fool's Assassin, Robin Hobb (pen name of Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden)
    Victory of Eagles, Naomi Novik

    So, more female authors, but I tend to like the male ones more? All of those up there are books from authors I like very much, but I feel quite a bit more emotional about Sanderson and Butcher than any of the others.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2017-02-06 at 08:59 AM.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    I dunno about lately - Le Guin's been crushing male writers for decades.

    Taking a step back though... it seems likely that female authors will become more prominent as time goes by. Historically it has been much harder for women to get published, as opposed to men, but that is changing now. Schoolgirls today read more than boys and achieve better grades, go to university in larger numbers and make up a sizeable majority of amateur writers (if my experiences with NaNo are anything to go by). So women in general are now far better equipped to write good stories and get publishers to take them seriously. Perhaps there's some truth behind the OP's feeling.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by DomaDoma View Post
    To be honest, I have not read much in the way of recent fantasy at all. With the helpful note that I absolutely despise George R.R. Martin, particularly his division of every human action into villainy or folly and his clear preference of the former... what's good lately?
    That is a ludicrous oversimplification of Martin's work. Just because heroic characters make mistakes that come back to bite them doesn't mean GRRM prefers the villains. It's a pretty constant theme in A Song of Ice and Fire that dishonorable actions may work in the short term, but they screw you over down the road when everybody knows you can't be trusted. Tywin's actions earned him a crossbow bolt through the belly courtesy of his own son, Joffrey earned himself a poisoned cup of wine, Cersei earned herself a trial for treason, the Freys earned themselves the hatred of the entire realm and are being hunted down and killed.

    If you haven't even read the books, don't make false statements about them.

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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    I actually ended up deciding those Valdemar books were bad. Or certainly not to the taste i had grown to like. Main complaint is incompetent villains. As well as 95% of the book focusing on relationship drama, with the suposed plotline then being resolved in a single chapter at the end. Oh.. and all the coincidences, where people just.. know things.. because it would be inconvenient otherwise.
    The only times I really was annoyed was with a few of her stories where she really tended to grind on the girl power stuff and other moralistic messages. The Oathbond series, By the Sword, that stuff. Where a big part of the focus is on a single aspect of the character, or in the last herald mage series, on his sexual preferences. I do admit that romantic pairings is often a rather sizeable fragment of the stories, but I honestly never minded that. There was generally enough action or mystery going on that I didnt feel like I was reading a romance novel.

    Im not sure I understand the whole "just know things" issue, can you give examples? Normally I recall her as doing a fairly decent job establishing early on that characters have such and such a background that becomes handy towards the end. Its rarely an out of the blue thing. Unless you mean foresight flashes and such.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by An Enemy Spy View Post
    That is a ludicrous oversimplification of Martin's work. Just because heroic characters make mistakes that come back to bite them doesn't mean GRRM prefers the villains. It's a pretty constant theme in A Song of Ice and Fire that dishonorable actions may work in the short term, but they screw you over down the road when everybody knows you can't be trusted. Tywin's actions earned him a crossbow bolt through the belly courtesy of his own son, Joffrey earned himself a poisoned cup of wine, Cersei earned herself a trial for treason, the Freys earned themselves the hatred of the entire realm and are being hunted down and killed.

    If you haven't even read the books, don't make false statements about them.
    "Division" was a bad word, admittedly. Villains can be fools. Especially hammered in regarding Joffrey's actions in the first book. But good is never, ever wise, and the whole story is garnished with long embittered speeches just to make sure you got that.
    Last edited by DomaDoma; 2017-02-06 at 10:55 AM.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by DomaDoma View Post
    To be honest, I have not read much in the way of recent fantasy at all. With the helpful note that I absolutely despise George R.R. Martin, particularly his division of every human action into villainy or folly and his clear preference of the former... what's good lately?
    In no order, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Charles Stross, and Lois McMaster Bujold are all enormously entertaining modern authors.

    Regarding GRRM: A Song of Ice and Fire certainly didn't hook me. I quit with a bad taste in my mouth after reading the first book in the series. That said, pretty much everything else this author has ever written has been stellar. It is by no means current, but Tuf Voyaging is very atypical and absorbing science fiction. His friend, Roger Zelazny, who died many years ago, is also a staple of sci-fi and fantasy. (Damnation Alley clearly inspired Mad Max.)

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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    My current reading is split between catching up on A Song of Ice and Fire and reading Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death, which is pretty excellent and I think I am probably going to pick up there stuff by her after I finish.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by DomaDoma View Post
    "Division" was a bad word, admittedly. Villains can be fools. Especially hammered in regarding Joffrey's actions in the first book. But good is never, ever wise, and the whole story is garnished with long embittered speeches just to make sure you got that.
    That's not the impression I got. The impression I got is that those who put Honour over common sense, even if they know it will hurt them, end up suffering for it. And even then, it's only a handful of people. Even then, it's often more poetic tragedy than senseless slaughter. There's in fact a few good people who get out of A LOT of dangerous situations, sometimes through ridiculous luck. Martin's reputation for grimness and slaughtering characters is far overstated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    That's not the impression I got. The impression I got is that those who put Honour over common sense, even if they know it will hurt them, end up suffering for it. And even then, it's only a handful of people. Even then, it's often more poetic tragedy than senseless slaughter. There's in fact a few good people who get out of A LOT of dangerous situations, sometimes through ridiculous luck. Martin's reputation for grimness and slaughtering characters is far overstated.
    Who's honorable and common-sensical? Heck, who, in a series devoted to a many-sided battle for the throne, even has a consistent system of law? (The answer to that last one would, of course, be Stannis. But his is unpleasant enough that he can get away with it.)

    I'm not saying that everyone with honor dies. In fact, they usually live, in considerable suffering, none of their actions having accomplished a remotely lasting good, their acts of mercy having led directly to their betrayal by the exact person they took mercy on. All the better for them to hear the aforementioned long embittered speeches.
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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by DomaDoma View Post
    Who's honorable and common-sensical? Heck, who, in a series devoted to a many-sided battle for the throne, even has a consistent system of law? (The answer to that last one would, of course, be Stannis. But his is unpleasant enough that he can get away with it.)

    I'm not saying that everyone with honor dies. In fact, they usually live, in considerable suffering, none of their actions having accomplished a remotely lasting good, their acts of mercy having led directly to their betrayal by the exact person they took mercy on. All the better for them to hear the aforementioned long embittered speeches.
    It's just like that awful movie Star Wars. I turned it off after Obi Wan died, because I was so sick of how George Lucas' villains always win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DomaDoma View Post
    Who's honorable and common-sensical?
    Tyrion, Arya, Davos. Bran. Brienne's fate is not entirely sure, but I'd put her on there too. Jon Snow tries. Maybe Doran Martell, unsure where this goes. Some of these people have survived despite half the world being out to get them.

    As for good, but unsuccessful people? Mostly there's Eddard Stark, who walks around his entire book with an "I'm going to die at the end of this" sign around his neck and blunders around to an astonishing degree, and his son Rob, for similar reasons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Enemy Spy View Post
    It's just like that awful movie Star Wars. I turned it off after Obi Wan died, because I was so sick of how George Lucas' villains always win.
    You're not picking up what I'm laying down here. Villains sometimes lose (though there's always the insurance that the loss is thoroughly useless in the grand scheme of things - you'd think Joffrey's death would have more upside than down, wouldn't you?) But good guys only win by becoming villains, and the instant they try to relapse they come down with a nasty case of blindness or what-have-you. And hey, at least the villains don't have any illusions to be disabused of.

    Um. Someone post on topic now please.
    Last edited by DomaDoma; 2017-02-06 at 12:36 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Enemy Spy View Post
    It's just like that awful movie Star Wars. I turned it off after Obi Wan died, because I was so sick of how George Lucas' villains always win.
    You say that sarcastically, but Space Nazi have reconquered the galaxy for the thousandth time as per the current continuity.

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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    At least as long as I've been alive, women have been very well represented in novels. Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton, Ursula K LeGuin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey, etc, etc. and all of those were writing well before I was born.

    But there has been no shortage of men either in the same timespan. Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, R.A. Salvatore, etc., etc.

    The best you could glean from that is that females from my perspective dominated fantasy literature in some nebulous period in the late 80's and 90's (because I had a good backlog by the time I could read), but that's doubtful.

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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    Quote Originally Posted by An Enemy Spy View Post
    It's just like that awful movie Star Wars. I turned it off after Obi Wan died, because I was so sick of how George Lucas' villains always win.
    Spoiler, it doesn't get better. I mean, the protagonists' reward for taking out the enemy's superweapon is learning that the enemy can just build a bigger badder one. Being a rogue gets you packed in carbonite and sent off to your debtors; being noble gets you an amputation with complimentary cauterization from your evil dad. And even the wise old masters turn out to be miserable liars. I just hope Luke at least gets somewhere with Leia soon, the clueless git.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DomaDoma View Post
    You're not picking up what I'm laying down here. Villains sometimes lose (though there's always the insurance that the loss is thoroughly useless in the grand scheme of things - you'd think Joffrey's death would have more upside than down, wouldn't you?) But good guys only win by becoming villains, and the instant they try to relapse they come down with a nasty case of blindness or what-have-you. And hey, at least the villains don't have any illusions to be disabused of.

    Um. Someone post on topic now please.
    What. The villains have SO many illusions. So, so many.

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    Default Re: Is most of the better Fantasy fiction being written by women lately?

    I confess to quitting about a quarter of the way through book five, but I've not heard a single spoiler that disabuses me of my point. The process is just relentless, and if you all are actually expecting the endlessly escalating cycles of vengeance to subside any time before the Others get in and mercy-kill this miserable world, I don't know what to tell you.

    Like I say, the moral of the story is explicitly spelled out, repeatedly and at length. The world is awful; be awful yourself and it won't hurt so much.
    Don't blame me. I voted for Kodos.

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