SF Not Manly Enough?

Well, I’d sure hate to be the last blogger on the internet to run in circles, scream and shout because somebody complained about the feminization of science fiction, but it looks like I am. Whoever writes The Spearhead offered this thesis:

Science fiction traditionally is about men doing things, inventing new technologies, exploring new worlds, making new scientific discoveries, terraforming planets, etc.  Many men working in the fields of science, engineering, and technology have cited science fiction (such as the original Star Trek) for inspiring them when they were boys to establish careers in these fields.

The current generation of boys will not have this inspiration from science fiction, at least not from science fiction on television and in movies.

Shortly afterwards, Whoever got his comeuppance from Whatever, though in the course of administering a verbal spanking Scalzi refused to link to the offending post and forbade any commenters to do so.  As a result, only people who have heard of Google, or know someone who has, have been able to find the post and read it. And merely 28 other bloggers have linked to it. Well, 29 now, I guess.

Seriously, if I had 30,000 readers I’d think twice about rewarding the behavior, too, but whenever someone with such a large audience takes any notice of a miscreant he’s been rewarded. A Scalzi rant without a link — what difference did that make? Any time John fires his elephant gun people naturally want to see the target.

[Thanks to Janice Gelb for the links.]

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3 thoughts on “SF Not Manly Enough?

  1. It can be remarkably difficult to use Google to find a specific page on a generalized subject without exact quotes. Sometimes you get right there, but sometimes not, or it’s a tedious shuffle through a lot of possibles.

  2. As you may note if you have referrer logs you peruse enough, relatively few readers actually click any link — under 10% of visitors, as a rule, at best, even in the most provocative of cases.

    The number of folks who will go to the trouble of searching for an unlinked, intriguing item, is inevitably going to be a fraction of that fraction.

    That would be the difference it would make, which although I have no idea what the actual numbers are, I’d be willing to bet means that the difference between linking and not linking subtracts at least 20% of those who might click a link, and I think an assumption that it cut down the number by at least 30% or more would be a reasonably safe one.

    I could be wrong, but I’d bet a shiny nickel I’m not.

  3. Kind of an interesting question actually… what would an impressionable young reader (male or female) be inspired to become by reading loads of SF in 2009?

    A mind-reading, naturopath, Shamanistic healer? A slayer of dragons? A gormless victim of an de-humanizing, all powerful State? Perhaps the lone survivor of a 21st.-and-a-half century biological war? An efl? Maybe even an astronaut, althought that may be a little old hat…or old helmet.

    Actually, the list of possibilities is probably not all that different from 1939.

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