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May 10 2006

Sacks of the Icons

Supersack

Thanks to the universally edifying Amanda (who has it from Zuzu), I have just found out that, crazy as it sounds, there are people in the world of comic book fandom who actually believe that human objectification in comics is equally distributed between the sexes. Oh how I laughed.

Just a Twisty reminder that in a patriarchy, a male body may be idealized, but it is impossible to objectify it, at least not to the appalling extent that a female body may be objectified. We are all socialized to view the sexes in patriarchal terms, and comic book superhero art merely magnifies these terms. Even a close-up of Superman’s supernutbag, composed by Karen at Oddity Collector as an instructive joke, suggests only superness; he is an anthropomorphized god, not a receptacle, and that thing is a weapon, not a vulnerability to be dominated. Whereas, on accounta women are the sex class in our bizarro world, Wonder Woman is primarily whackoff material, whatever else she is supposed to represent.

Comic book heroes, see, are not iconoclasts. They are a repository for every male dream of omnipotence.

Which seems an excellent opportunity to reiterate that within a paradigm of male supremacy, equality between the sexes is impossible, and that the glittering promise of some future attainment of same is a lie.

I ask you. Who would win in a knife fight, Superman or Wonder Woman?

52 comments

1 ping

  1. Arianna

    Wonder Woman, totally, if it was a Kryptonite knife. Unfortunately, Superman is the “Man of Steel”, so no other knife would cut him. The good news is that Kryptonite seems horribly common.

  2. Mandos

    Which seems an excellent opportunity to reiterate that within a paradigm of male supremacy, equality between the sexes is impossible, and that the glittering promise of some future attainment of same is a lie.

    “within a paradigm of male supremacy, equality between the sexes is impossible…” Er, um, isn’t this immediately and redundantly tautological anyway? Supremacy obviously can’t mean equality.

    How would you draw Superman to subvert it anyway?

  3. saltyC

    Wonder woman would hesitate cause she felt sorry for him. Plus letting him win might boost his self-esteem so he can get a promotion at the newspaper.

  4. TheGlimmering

    Anyone else feel kind of sorry for these poor superheroes with their enormous wangs? They seem so cute and vulnerable. Imagine what a liability that is in the midst of all that superheroic roughhousing?

    Myself, I’m a fan of the asexual male hero, a trait I sort of projected on V considering the extent to which his surface was burned. Whether the hero is impotent, conflicted, or has something else going on keeping him firmly rooted in his pants, I always saw it as a sign of admirable self-control, as though his mission really were important to him. If you’re calling it a night to cruise for “classy” (read: upper class) broads once per issue, how important is the calling in the first place? And does anyone else find the tragic hero who’s only emotional outlet is through sex irritating and sad?

    Hmm, I could keep going on this tangent, I’ll reserve it for my own blog rather than tormenting you longer.

  5. Vibrating Liz

    If Wonder Woman had taken an IMPACT self-defense course, she would easily win even if he had a knife and she was unarmed. It’s hardly a challenge kicking a package like that, a nice big easy target sort of like throwing darts at a barn door from three paces..

  6. Mandos

    Liz you are forgetting he is the man of steel and even his sperm are mighty.

    http://www.rawbw.com/~svw/superman.html

    (It’s by Larry Niven, of whose work I’ve only read a little bit despite being an SF fan. I’m told he’s a misogynist of some note but this may still be funny for those who haven’t seen it yet.)

  7. Pony

    You’re TOLD he’s a misogynist of some sort?! Read your link Mandos.

  8. Rad Geek

    Mandos: “within a paradigm of male supremacy, equality between the sexes is impossible…” Er, um, isn’t this immediately and redundantly tautological anyway? Supremacy obviously can’t mean equality.

    I think the point is that people (mostly men) often try to assert that equality between men and women exists in this or that limited domain based on superficial resemblences, but that they are mistaken: under a society-wide system of male supremacy the superficial resemblences do not actually play the same role or get taken up in the same way for the men that they do for the women. It’s obvious that supremacy and equality can’t coexist at the same time and in the same respect, but it’s not always obvious that male supremacy in particular is pervasive and systemic. It’s true that it is, but many (especially men) ignore or deny it.

  9. metamanda

    I once tried to balance the scales a bit by drawing a scantily clad Wolverine as a birthday present for a friend (no gargantuan package though… yuck). You make a good point, though, especially since the creator of Wonder Woman was a) sexist and b) big-time into BDSM. I submit this quote for your perusal:

    “During a conversation with an editor at D.C., Marston pitched his idea for a female superhero who would provide a role model for girls, displaying what he believed to be the most powerful feminine qualities — sexual allure and “domination via submission,” in which women made themselves so irresistible to men that men would willingly allow women to rule them. Or that men would sublimate their aggressive impulses by submitting to erotic bondage, which would then empower women. Or that women could be physically strong but still sexy, and that their strength wasn’t compromised if they got tied to beds by supervillains on a regular basis.”

    They also note that during the comics purge in the 1950′s, it was feminism, *not* bondage, that got Wonder Woman in trouble.

    The whole article is well worth reading:
    http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/mad-science/william_marston/

    wikipedia, it should be noted, edits out the really sexist bits:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Moulton_Marston

    I *do* think things will get better in comics in the next generation or so. I’ve been to Comic Con a couple times and I’m struck by a couple things. First, the completely gross and objectifying imagery that abounds on parts of the exhibit floor, and the very secondary role of women my age (mid 20s) and older in mainstream comics. And second, I notice a lot of younger women in the indy press and some genres of manga who are not just buying but *drawing* the stuff that interests them and sometimes playing with / subverting typical comicbook gender roles in their work.

  10. TP

    Larry Niven, the sci-fi writer, once wrote an amusing essay about the logical problems of Superman actually having sex. It was pretty funny, and alarming. If there were a superman, what would happen to his super-sperm? Could it fly? Would a blast of his super ejaculation kill the woman he made love to? Things like that.

    It is very hard for men to understand objectification of women. Sometimes I wonder if a man raised in a patriarchy can see anything at all as anything but an object. Maybe it’s a kind of cultural solipsism of sorts.

    It’s possible that men objectify men too, isn’t it? I’m not even gay and I can imagine I do that when I see men. Maybe men idealize men for certain uses, and objectify them for others. They certainly want to dominate and control other men almost as much as they want to dominate and control women. Otherwise we would have no sports…

  11. Twisty

    Mandos:”“within a paradigm of male supremacy, equality between the sexes is impossible…” Er, um, isn’t this immediately and redundantly tautological anyway? Supremacy obviously can’t mean equality.”

    Well, duh. I write this because people are morons. Liberal jagoffs like to pretend that equality is an attainable goal, which is their little way of making the actual revolution that would have to occur in order to liberate women smell bad.

  12. Lis Riba

    I ask you. Who would win in a knife fight, Superman or Wonder Woman?

    Writing as a comic book geek, in an impromptu fight, Superman would be protected by his invulnerability, which might give him the edge.

    However, Supes generally relies on his innate strength and powers to carry him through. Wonder Woman actually trained as a warrior.

    If they knew in advance the fight was coming and had time to prepare, Wonder Woman would win. If powers were equalized or cancelled out, again, I’d put my money on Wonder Woman.

  13. Pony

    Bleh. Wonder Woman or Supe. They’re both tools of the patriarchy. Look at what this library is going to do to “get boys reading”. Why, lower the standards of course, introduce comics (and more books on sports) and while they’re at it introduce MORE sexism, racism and imperialism into the catalogue. Great training. On this same webite there’s a photo of a woman boxer walking away triumphant after knocking the bejeezus out of another women boxer. Way to go. What liberation. Equality=Now we can be shitheads too!

    Comics bait for potential bookworms
    Schools, libraries start project to get males reading

    Scott Hornby
    The Edmonton Journal

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Getting more boys to read is the goal of a joint project between libraries and schools.

    EDMONTON – Libraries and classrooms will soon offer more comic books and sports magazines in an attempt to get more boys hooked on reading.

    It’s just one of the suggestions coming from a new partnership between Edmonton Public Schools and Edmonton Public Libraries.

    The partnership was finalized at a ceremony at McCauley school on Tuesday morning in front of a gymnasium full of kindergarten to junior high students.

    In January, the school board and libraries began a pilot project designed to increase literacy among young people by making it easier for students to get library cards. Library cards are free to anyone under 18, but the new system streamlined the process.

    Teachers in 45 test schools distributed library card applications for students to bring to their parents. Once the cards were ready, teachers handed them out to their students.

    More than 1,500 new cards were created as a result of the project.

    Within this new partnership, teachers and librarians will work together to create new programs that interest children in reading, said Linda Cook, director of libraries. Teachers will tell librarians what books their students need and librarians will help to create new programs that will mesh with homework projects from the classroom.

    “Librarians are the ultimate search engines,” said Edgar Schmidt, acting superintendent for Edmonton Public Schools. “They assist teachers and students in finding out the best information.”

    One of the goals of the partnership is to convince more boys to visit the library.

    A 2003 study based out of the University of Alberta and University of

    Victoria found that contrary to public opinion, boys do read, but they are more selective in what they read and often choose materials that aren’t traditionally considered literature, such as comic books and sports magazines.

    The study found that boys are often assumed to be less literate than girls because their preferred reading material is not highbrow enough.

    The partnership should help correct this problem said Pilar Martinez, a district manager for Edmonton Public Libraries.

    “We’re working with the teachers to make sure they know that it’s OK to read a comic book,” Martinez said.

    “We want to make sure that we have things that (boys) want to read in the library and not expect that they’ll want to read classics.

    “Once they start reading, we can open the doors and introduce them to other types of culture.”

    William Yousif is a 15-year-old Grade 9 student at McCauley.

    He liked the idea of bringing more graphic novels, comic books and sports magazines to the classroom.

    “All my friends are just like me,” Yousif said.

    “They are interested in sports books and horror books — those are the books we like to read.”

    His favourite graphic novel Hellboy might not be considered fine literature, but if students knew they could pick up a copy at the library — there are 18 copies listed in the library catalogue — they might be more interested in coming, he said.

  14. Lis Riba

    I don’t know if you ever read George Perez’ 1986 post-Crisis reboot of Wonder Woman, but he got Gloria Steinem involved in reviewing the character’s feminist credentials.
    Things may have gone downhill since Perez left, but I think “tool of the patriarchy” is a bit harsh condemnation.

  15. jami

    i get the impression that men are being objectified for wealthy gay men. the parts emphasized — bosomy hairless chest, giganta-wang, plump arse — are not the parts i, as a woman who likes man-parts, enjoy. they even manage to get sexy sexy stubble wrong, grooming the stuff.

    it might be fun to brainstorm what is sexy to women, straight and otherwise, and email it to the major media object purveyors. my vote’s for thick, ungroomed stubble. jake gyllenhaal does that up right.

  16. tuckova

    I think that Superman could take down Wonder Woman but I think he could take down pretty much anybody not armed with Kryptonite.

    However, WonderWoman was “faster than Mercury and stronger than Hercules,” so she definitely was put up against and beat some of the older superheroes. And she could definitely get Batman in a knife fight, because she’s got training AND superpowers, whereas he’s just got training; similarly I bet she’d get Green Lantern, because of her training and and and… I don’t know. I didn’t read comics as a child, but I liked the Wonder Woman show with Lynda Carter, and I liked that she didn’t have to fall in love every week like other shows.

    Also… I don’t know, but isn’t it sort of worthwhile to look at things in a historical context? WonderWoman broke out in the 1940s. I think that’s worth noting, somehow. She hasn’t perhaps progressed as far as one might like — certainly not to an equal status, which you say is impossible anyway — but for someone to conceive (in the forties!) that it would be nice to have a woman who could kick some ass and pursue justice, rather than fawn from the sidelines and type really fast, is nevertheless somehow heartening.

  17. Ragnell

    Just delurking to weigh in on the WW vs Superman fight. Wonder Woman easily, unless a complete misogynist is writing (Sadly, we’re on Earth, so that’ll be more often than we like). Superman’s vulnerable to magic and WW’s tiara, belt, breastplate, and lasso are all magic items. She also has years of training specifically as a warrior while Superman was a farmboy who just relies on his natural physical abilities. Diana’s abilities pretty much match him. Unfortunately, the only time we ever saw a fight between the two that was close to right was WW (Vol 2) #219, where Diana had to hold back because poor baby Superman was under mind control and didn’t know what he was doing.

    Lis Riba — Hey, I just ranted on the 1985 WW Reboot on my own blog and one of my commenters said that it was originally (when written by Greg Potter before Perez went from simply artist to writer/artist) going to be much worse. Was it Steinem’s influence that stopped some of the nasty rumors I heard? Because while I did enjoy it, there were still problems, and mainly they came from fitting her book into the universe. I think a lot of them stem from making WW’s debut several years after Superman’s, Batman’s, and the formation of Justice League, though, and this isn’t jsut a continuity thing. It seemed like as they powered her up, they made her more of an ingenue to make her less threatening. And then, when they went back and retold the formation of the JLA, they’d replaced her with a woman who had totally different powers and a completely different personality which also seemed off to me.

    I wouldn’t call WW a tool of the patriarchy, but there’s a lot of blaming to do on her book.

    *Finishes talkign excitedly abotu comic books, and looks around nervously. Re-lurks*

  18. Ragnell

    (Ack! Typos. Sorry about those.)

  19. Lis Riba

    Ragnell, I had noticed your post and have been meaning to comment, but haven’t had time. Just pinging to acknowledge that and will try to write more later…

  20. ae

    I don’t know anything about their respective histories, but I’d want to vote for Wonder Woman winning, thinking she’d be more nimble than Superman, but considering the story would be written under patriarchal rules, she’d probably trip on her 10″ stilettos running away from him, and he would get her. Or maybe her thong would cut off her circulation causing her to faint in his arms, at which point she’d stare longingly into the eyes of her captor and realize — finally! at long last! — that she really loved him and wanted to give up her whole life to be his helpmeet.

    But wow. Mandos, Mandos, Mandos’s link. Wow. Sperm as bullets that kill women. There you go. The sections I was going to quote — III and IV — are really gross. There could be worse, but I didn’t make it further than that.

    TheGlimmering, yes, I do find the tragic hero who’s only emotional outlet is through sex irritating and sad, though I’d note that it’s more likely “emotional.”

  21. thebewilderness

    I am unsure of the comics, but I distinctly recall S relinquishing his power and having sex with Lois in one of the films. Naturally he relinquished Lois in favor of the power ere the film ended. There is not room on the interwebs for all the words it would take to describe how vile L Niven is.
    I, of course, blame the patriarchy.

  22. tinfoil hattie

    Hoo, thanks for this thread…had to slink over here to be with my fellow, hard-core patriarchy blamers because at Pandagon, a commenter deemed me “too superior” to read women’s magazine articles before I comment on them…I actually commented on a “Self” magazine headline, which she defended because the accompanying article explains that even if you’re not in the mood for sex, you should say yes because eventually you’ll get in the mood. So actually it’s an article that’s good for women, and if I had actually bothered to read it, I would see the truth.

    The headline is:

    “Say Yes to Sex! (subheading)Even When You’re Tired or Stressed”

    Also, she called me a poopyhead. (kidding)

    Blame on!

  23. tinfoil hattie

    Now, to actually comment en pointe here — I have a brother who was a comics freak as a kid. Actually both my brothers were. I could never get interested in comics. Never-ever. And looking back, I think it’s because comics mirrored my feelings about the real world: Boys always win, Boys always have fun, Girls are weaker, Girls can’t do as much, Boys are more important. And even before I knew what “sex symbol” (as they used to say in the 70s) meant, I could see that’s what WW was, back in the day. I’m not up on her current configuration, but just on principle I will say she could kick Superman’s ass any day, Kryptonite or no.

  24. FamousSovietAthlete

    I’ve seen footage of the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali fight and have no doubt that Wonder Woman would win against Supey.

  25. Pony

    Ragnell and Lis Riba

    We have our own super person here.
    No imports necessary or capable.

    Thank you.

    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2006/04/28/comment-de-la-semaine/

  26. Mandos

    (It’s by Larry Niven, of whose work I’ve only read a little bit despite being an SF fan. I’m told he’s a misogynist of some note but this may still be funny for those who haven’t seen it yet.)

    The emphasis here was “I’m told … of some note”. Since I’ve only read one book by him. I already knew he was a misogynist. I didn’t myself know how notable it was.

    The link is bad, yes. Especially III and IV. It gets less obviously bad after that.

  27. Mandos

    In Lois and Clarke, the TV series, Superman and Lois do engage in the mating dance, and apparently they usually do it floating. So according to the TV series, Superman is easily capable of not crushing Lois during the act, contra Niven.

  28. Mandos

    Well, duh. I write this because people are morons. Liberal jagoffs like to pretend that equality is an attainable goal, which is their little way of making the actual revolution that would have to occur in order to liberate women smell bad.

    Well, to this nitpicker, it was confusing. Because the easy liberal comeback would be that equality is attainable and hence male supremacy would disappear.

    (What is the actual revolution? Does anyone know?)

  29. Nymphalidae

    “In Lois and Clarke, the TV series, Superman and Lois do engage in the mating dance, and apparently they usually do it floating. So according to the TV series, Superman is easily capable of not crushing Lois during the act, contra Niven.”

    Larry Niven should not write about sex. It’s painful to read.

  30. Mandos

    The problem with Niven, extrapolating from that article and the one Ringworld book I bothered to read from cover to cover, is that his stock in trade is horrifying irony. Especially irony directed at well-meaning or liberatory thought. So what easier target is there than women? In Niven’s universe, one horrible irony is, “Yes, Virginia, the entire universe REALLY DOES hate females!”

  31. Kerlyssa

    He’s the guy who created a fictional universe where all the women are non-sentient breeder slaves, regardless of species, right?

  32. Mandos

    Yep, in all species except humans, who are considered a bizarre anomaly. The Ringworld universe.

    SPOILERS

    However, some species are lying about this: the “male” Puppeteers are ACTUALLY male and female, and the nonsentient “female” Puppeteers are actually a different species used as a breeding medium for the “real” egg-laying females (who are called “male”). This different species also consists of males and females.

    The Kzin, enemies of humanity until they’re defeated and pacified once and for all, have barely sentient females who know only a couple of hundred words. It’s broadly hinted that the females know far far more than that, but have adopted a manipulative fiction. (Which is again a misogynistic notion).

    Other species have similar arrangements. Humans are anomalous in claiming that human females are just as sentient as males and not going to same effort to disguise it.

    I’m given to understand that in later Ringworld books, it turns out that all of the nonhuman species who lack sentient females actually HAVE sentient females—except they’re living on the Ringworld with reversed roles.

  33. ae

    It sounds to me like Niven needs to take a long walk off a short pier.

  34. Mandos

    Oh yes. Other characteristics of Nivenian and fellow-traveller thought: lower classes are frequently untrustworthy collaborators, only upper classes resist the Kzinti enemy. It is funny when vegetarians are eaten by carnivores. (I admit that has some humour value too.) Fat and weak people suck: all men should be musclebound hulks, if possible. (I gave up ths novel after a couple of attempts—which is why I’ve only read one of his books cover to cover.) He also frequently has elaborate, slavering depictions of the fear felt by the sentient live dinner that the Kzinti regularly eat, tied down and helpless.

    Did I say that I’m a walking SF bibliography?

  35. ozma

    Well dang, I dream of omnipotence all the time. I positively crave omnipotence. Is that wrong?

  36. Kerlyssa

    Oh, hell. He’s that bastard who wrote that long novella about a woman’s brain being wiped down to chimpanzee level so she could be a slave breeder? In long and loving detail. With disturbing details about cosmetic changes to make her sexually attractive to the alien captor.

    Which was supposedly written (in the fictional universe) by a MAN who found and her and made up a journal that he said was written by her. For purposes of war propaganda. He explains this to another women at the end, apparently his dimwitted secretary.

    Followed by a short story of a schizophrenic who is taken off his meds to become paranoid and violent enough to design a defense system against the aliens. Who is found so unbelievably attractive by women once he goes off his meds they leave their partners to bang him. Because insane violent paranoids are what women REALLY want, and no peacenik fascist liberal gummint can brainwash or medicate it out of them!

    I think I read that when I was 9. It made me swear off SF for a year. Nice to know others found it vomit inducing.

  37. Chris Clarke

    And the really sad thing, Kerlyssa, is that Jerry Pournelle still makes Niven look like Ursula LeGuin.

  38. hedonistic

    I am SO poaching that photo for the “Does Size Matter?” post I’m working on.

  39. Sam

    You people are reminding me of happy days spent in my college’s renown Sci Fi Forum listening to arguments such as whether or not light sabers are only a molecule wide as the Star Wars comic books say and how big the Guild Navigators from Dune had to grow before being able to successfully fold space. *sings* “Memories, misty watercolored memories”

  40. Kerlyssa

    They weren’t FROM Arrakis, you fool, they lived 99% of their lives in space!

    Right. Is this thread hijacked yet? Can we make it official?

  41. ae

    I know not from SciFi, but I did read LeGuin’s short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.” Anybody read that? Woof.

  42. Mandos

    You might like Le Guin’s other work, like the Earthsea series. I was a big fan of the Tombs of Atuan.

    And if you liked Omelas, you also might like CJ Cherryh’s novella Wave Without a Shore. But it’s not online.

  43. Christopher

    The answer to whether Wonder Woman could beat Superman is “It depends”.

    Superman has basically always been one of the strongest beings on earth. WW’s powers have fluctuated a lot more, sometimes she’s just unusually strong and sometimes she’s a strong as Superman.

    You can’t say she’d definately win, but it’s not a lock that Superman would win either.

    In a way, Wonder Woman is kind of a bad example to talk about this subject, because she’s kind of an odd case. Besides the fact that her origin lies in a rather baffling pseudo-feminism, she’s much more independant (She has her own title, unlike most women heores) and powerful then most female superheroes (Batman could kick Superman’s ass, but I honestly think he’d have more trouble with Wonder Woman).

    She’s not really an archetype of the female superhero.

    Incidentally, not all comics are about Superheroes. I really don’t see a problem with a library getting kids to read by giving them graphic novels. Bone is harmless fun, and probably more interesting and edifying then Lord of the Rings or, god forbid, a Piers Anthony novel. Not to mention that there are a non-trivial number of comics that are written by women, like, say Rumiko Takashi.

  44. Sylvanite

    Late to the party, as usual. I always found Niven’s characterizations terribly one-dimensional. I agree that the Puppeteers are lying, though I remember having a big, stupid argument with my ex-fiance about it. He insisted that Niven was arguing that the egg-laying Puppeteers were male because they performed a penetrative act. I guess that means that there are no female parasitic wasps!

    Also, Piers Anthony – *shudder*. Several friends of mine (male and female) complain about about his thorough dirty-old-manness. Wasn’t one of his recent Xanth novels titled “The Color of Herpanties”? Gah!

  45. Kerlyssa

    As I’ve only been reading comics for 10 years or so, I was unaware that WW was ever a weakling. She’s always been portrayed as in the same class as Superman in the books I’ve read. IE, the ‘attach a chain to the moon and drag it out of orbit’ class. Must be a 90′s thing.

  46. Thalia

    ae, try LeGuin’s “the Lathe of Heaven”. Can’t recommend that one highly enough.

    And at the risk of further hijacking this thread, anyone else loathe robert Heinlein?

  47. Pony

    Hardly at all compared to how I loathe Ayn Rand who was also writing sf as far as I’m concerned.

  48. Kerlyssa

    I remember liking Heinlein. But, then, I never got the impression that his books and characters were manifestos rather than fiction- I was very startled when I first met someone who loathed Heinlein as a fascist for Starship Troopers. His female characters were ridiculous, though. So it goes.

    Pony: Yeah, why is Atlas Shrugged never described as Scifi?

  49. Mandos

    Why are Atwood’s books never described as SciFi? The Handmaid’s Tale belongs well within a tradition of gender dys/utopias. Charnas, Elgin, even Brin’s riposte whatever you may think of it. Oryx and Crake is standard postapocalyptic fare—good, but well within SF.

    Atwood and Randians, despite their differences, resist the SF label for much the same reasons.

  50. Ron Sullivan

    Ah, Mandos reads Cherryh. See, I knew there was something I liked about the guy.

    LeGuin’s stuff is mostly available in pocket paperback, and in used-books from the likes of ABEbooks if you’re in the far wastelands. No reason anyone here shouldn’t read everything she’s written. It’s interesting to watch her work evolve, though I must admit I’m still enamored of the windsteeds — giant flying cats you ride — in one of the first, Rocannon’s World. Never mind the pieties about noblesse oblige.

    It was fun, back in the day, to watch her and Chip Delaney go at it in the lit-crit collections. I think she profited from it. I wonder if he did.

    By the way, we’ve tried a few recipes from Always Coming Home and they work.

    Charnas’ stuff, at least what I know of, is readable and engaging but so depressing I think even she had to lay off it for a decade or so. Like Butler’s Parables pair. Whoof. Ouch.

    I do remember saying, 25-30 years ago, that Larry Niven should be chained in a basement somewhere and made to invent worlds and maybe even species, to some extent, and then knocked out with a baseball bat until someone who could actually write needed more scenery.

    And I wish Elizabeth Lynn would write more. Hell, I wish Lisa Goldstein would write more. Damn the publishing industry anyway.

  51. Mandos

    I’m like a total Cherryh cultist for everything but a few of the asteroid belt novels, which I could never get into. I *want* to be able to say that Cherryh is a genius writer who will be remembered for centuries, frankly, with more general fame than she’s managed to achieve today. However good works are frequently drowned out by dreck anyway, so I’m reduced to saying that she deserves it rather than *will* get it.

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