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Friday, July 17, 2015

Sexism in SF publishing

It's there, it's just not in the direction you think it is. The former senior editor at Tor UK broke down their genre submissions by author sex in 2013:
I'm just one of a fair few female editors in this particular area. My colleagues (and competitors) are a set of brilliant, intelligent and hard-working women, who have loved genre since they were kids, have fought their way through the ranks, have extensive lists, love their jobs and don't compromise on the quality of fiction they publish. To name but a few there's Bella Pagan who works with me at Tor UK, Gillian Redfearn at Gollancz, Anne Clarke at Orbit, Jo Fletcher at Jo Fletcher Books, Jane Johnson and Emma Coode at Voyager, Cath Trechman at Titan and Anne Perry over at Hodder.

That means that every genre publisher in the UK has female commissioning editors and 90% of the genre imprints here are actually run by women. So you can imagine there's a slight sense of frustration each time I see yet another article claiming that UK publishers are biased towards male writers. And I do wonder if those writing the pieces are aware who is actually commissioning these authors?

The sad fact is, we can't publish what we're not submitted. Tor UK has an open submission policy - as a matter of curiosity we went through it recently to see what the ratio of male to female writers was and what areas they were writing in. The percentages supplied are from the five hundred submissions that we've been submitted since the end of January. It makes for some interesting reading. The facts are, out of 503 submissions - only 32% have been from female writers.

Tor submissions inbox
   
Historical/epic/high-fantasy: F 33%, M 67%
  
Urban fantasy/paranormal romance: F 57%, M 43%

Horror: F 17%, M 83%

Science-fiction: F 22%, M 78%
   
Young Adult: F 68%, M 32%
   
Total: F 32%, M 68%
          
You can see that when it comes to science fiction only 22% of the submissions we received were from female writers. That's a relatively small number when you look at how many women are writing in the other areas, especially YA. I've often wondered if there are fewer women writing in areas such as science fiction because they have turned their attentions to other sub-genres but even still, the number of men submitting to us in total  outweighs the women by more than 2:1.

Now what happens when you compare these percentages to how many new authors we take on in a year? Tor UK is still quite a compact list - we normally only take on three or four debut authors each year, if that. Of the four authors Bella and I have taken on this year - two of them are women.
In other words, in a field that is 90 percent run by women, two female editors accepted 26.4 percent less male submissions than would have been dictated by statistical neutrality. If there is sexism in SF publishing, there is a clear anti-male bias.

Now, given the very small size of the sample set - they accepted four out of 503 submissions - that's not really a fair characterization. But then, when do feminists ever trouble themselves about such things when the shoe is on the other foot?

And the sex imbalance at the gatekeeping editorial positions does tend to explain why Pink SF has become so dominant in recent years. Does that mean we should whine about how unfair it is and lobby Congress and Parliament to regulate the sexual distribution in SF editorial positions?

That's one way to do it. The other way, of course, is to simply set up a new shop that caters to the Campbellian Blue SF and Inklingesque True Myth Fantasy they have consciously rejected and eat their lunch.

Labels:

71 Comments:

Blogger Krul July 17, 2015 5:34 AM  

"Tor submissions inbox

Historical/epic/high-fantasy: F 33%, M 67%

Urban fantasy/paranormal romance: F 57%, M 43%

Horror: F 17%, M 83%

Science-fiction: F 22%, M 78%

Young Adult: F 68%, M 32%

Total: F 32%, M 68%"


ZOMG! This is the least surprising thing in the world!

Blogger kh123 July 17, 2015 6:22 AM  

As an aside, found this article from about a year or more ago, a wake up call to "half the species" (women) about the realities of the tech world.

Best part is how the author takes the sugar coating off on one end in order to snowflake ("Tech is tough ladies, you're going to have to fight! Like I did.") while on the other she can't resist putting the lavender kid gloves back on, praising the usual college campus shibboleths about needing and maintaining those inclusive inroads, from academia to industry.

Because demanding that half the species revolt from and rewrite what has sustained that species for several millennia... couldn't possibly have unforeseen long-term consequences.

Like many SJWs who demand the dyscivic on one end but benefit from the remnants of economic eucivicism on the other, the author works at a MacArthur Foundation supported studio. That is to say, to the best of my knowledge, a studio that is running on - and is - institutionalized charity, in more ways than just financial.

Anonymous Stephen J. July 17, 2015 6:50 AM  

The answer is obviously that women's writing is being suppressed at the very source by our sexist culture, in that girls who express interest in writing as a serious professional career are typically condescendingly ignored by their mentors, mocked by their peers and rejected by all males except fellow would-be writers (some of the lowest SMV types around for the most part). Which also handily explains why so many get into fanfic and stall there: fanfic is the drug of writing -- immediate gratification from an easy audience with minimal effort and time, plus the handy excuse that since none of it is original you don't need to bring it up to professional standards since it can't make money anyways.

Strangely, that wound up sounding less satiric than I meant. Maybe I'll let Flannery O'Connor have the last word:

"Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher."

Anonymous Giuseppe The Kurgan July 17, 2015 7:09 AM  

I am shocked. Shocked I tell you.
Why are so many women even out of the kitchen?
I can only assume polygamy is the answer.
They take turns doing their womanly chores and the ones not on the rota have more free time to write. Makes sense to me and seems the way to go.

Anonymous Stingray July 17, 2015 7:22 AM  

SJW, let the hamster spinning commence.

Blogger Nate July 17, 2015 7:29 AM  

"In other words, in a field that is 90 percent run by women, two female editors accepted 26.4 percent less male submissions than would have been dictated by statistical neutrality."

does it always have to be the math trap? I mean the numbers are damning enough right there.

Blogger Nate July 17, 2015 7:33 AM  

"Science-fiction: F 22%, M 78%"

its funny how they defend themselves by using these numbers... but no one is allowed to defend past hugo awards by siting them.

Blogger pdwalker July 17, 2015 7:44 AM  

I vote for continuing to eat their lunch.

Now break out the whips and get the Castilia writers to write faster.

Anonymous Difster VFM #109 July 17, 2015 7:47 AM  

The obvious next step is to find out who the rest of these strong, independent, gatekeeping women are and examine their social media histories and press releases and hammer them on every bias, real or imagined.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit July 17, 2015 8:04 AM  

They actually expect the wimmin to write and submit manuscripts to get published. How sexist!

They should take all of those manuscripts written by privileged cis-white-male shitlords and give them to the wimmin to submit in their own name!

Blogger Joshua Dyal July 17, 2015 8:11 AM  

The only thing I'm surprised by is that horror is even more masculine than science fiction.

Blogger Daniel July 17, 2015 8:32 AM  

Why is that, Joshua Dyal? If there is anything that concerns a mother more than her son reading science fiction, it is her son reading horror. While SF may be weird or boring to most women, horror is downright repulsive to even more of them.

Blogger Joshua Dyal July 17, 2015 8:59 AM  

Eh, maybe I just never thought of it. Horror, being an emotional, visceral type of literature if done correctly, struck me as being equally likely to appeal to female readers and writers as to male. Writers like V. C. Andrews and Anne Rice are huge in the genre, and it intersects closely with urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Anonymous Anonymous July 17, 2015 9:01 AM  

Castilia house ought to publish a right-wing humor magazine. The equivalent of either National Lampoon or the Onion (maybe hardcopy wouldn't be doable, but an internet mag like the Onion would).

anonymousse

Anonymous NorthernHamlet July 17, 2015 9:17 AM  

Have you considered putting out any horror, VD?

Anonymous BGS July 17, 2015 9:22 AM  

So they are trying to push any vag that puts out paper and they still can't get equality.

Blogger Jim July 17, 2015 9:23 AM  

@kh123 re: linked article

I gave up on her after she said something to the effect of "technology says 'break me'". That's not what it says at all. Technology says, "Make me". As in make me do something useful or creative that solves a problem or grants new capabilities. Force me to do your will. Maybe that's what she meant as in breaking a horse to the saddle, but if so she wasn't very clear in her intention. And as anyone knows who works with computers or tech, you must be very clear and specific in your intention if you want to get the desired result.

Anonymous kfg July 17, 2015 9:31 AM  

@Jim: http://www.hastac.org/blogs/ari-schlesinger/2013/11/26/re-feminism-and-programming-languages

Blogger Joshua Dyal July 17, 2015 9:32 AM  

Have you considered putting out any horror, VD?

And maybe it's splitting hairs, but if they'd had sword & sorcery, as opposed to high fantasy, I bet the numbers would have skewed even more strongly male.

Blogger Nate July 17, 2015 9:35 AM  

"Have you considered putting out any horror, VD?"

besides Return of the Great Depression?

Blogger Jourdan July 17, 2015 9:44 AM  

I agree that the best plan of action is exactly what Vox is doing: form a competitor that publishes Sci-Fi that men write and men want to read.

As we all know, men leave the field when women arrive in numbers (hell, this is even happening in college admissions when every message a young man receives from everyone is that he NEEDS a college degree) and there is no need for me to tell you guys why. You already know why.

BUT, that said, the same cycle will simply repeat itself some years down the road, which is why Vox's further points about how entryism must be resisted at all costs are so valuable.

In short: create our own institutions and businesses, guard them like a hawk against entryism, laugh as the competition crumbles.

Blogger Jourdan July 17, 2015 9:50 AM  

Speaking of which, did anyone see this?!? I mean, it takes a lot to fucking amaze me these days, but a U.S. Navy line officer seeking mommy time is just awe-inspiring stupid. Imagine what the Russians, Iranians or the Chinese must be thinking when they see this shit.

Source: Blog of the United States Naval Institute
Link: http://blog.usni.org/2015/07/14/5-things-it-will-take-to-keep-working-mothers-like-me-in-the-navy

Author: LT Mary Witkowski, U.S.. Navy

Quote:

As an active duty military mother, I jumped for joy when I read the Navy’s new maternity leave policy giving women up to 18 weeks of paid leave after having a baby. I believe that this is a huge step in the right direction for the Navy in its quest for becoming a more competitive employer, and to retain top talent. But I don’t believe it will attract more women to stay because women aren’t leaving the military due to short maternity leave. It’s the pre-ordained military schedule that can make Navy life and motherhood so hard to balance.

We are so going to get our asses kicked because of this shit.

Anonymous 0007 July 17, 2015 10:15 AM  

Jourdan - Can't wait for that silly bint to hold up her time-out-for-child-raising card as the Russian/Chinese/Iranian torpedo/missle is breaking the back of whatever ship has the misfortune to have as an officer.
Did I miss something here? The male authors outnumber the females 2:1 yet out of the four authors she "picked up, two were female?
Sounds like a typical female math error to me...

Anonymous NorthernHamlet July 17, 2015 10:26 AM  

Nate

besides Return of the Great Depression?

I come from a family of semi-serious preppers. The "great debate" was always a regular bedtime story like mother goose, complete with heroic stories in times of nuclear wastelands. I love that shit.

Wait, does that make me a bad person?

Blogger Quadko July 17, 2015 10:42 AM  

Urban fantasy/paranormal romance
Whoa! That's a nice bit of honesty right there. :)
They saying they only got 500 manuscripts from January to July 2013? I somehow thought that number would be lots bigger.

Anonymous The other robot July 17, 2015 10:46 AM  

@kh123: Re that article:

That’s what it feels like: the world waking up to the vast untapped potential in half of our species.

So right there in that little piece of rhetoric is the indication that she cannot think.

The fact is that in tech something less than 10% of males have any potential, much less untapped potential. Then, given that the female variance in IQ and other characters required to make it in tech is narrower, even less females have what it takes.

And, those females would be doing the species a greater service by having more babies. Oh the horror!

Blogger Quadko July 17, 2015 10:48 AM  

We are so going to get our asses kicked because of this shit.
One of my favorite dumb movies is Real Men with Jim Belushi and John Ritter. At a (comedy) desperate moment where the Russian spies have them pinned down, out of ammo and options, suddenly the bullets stop. Veteran spy Belushi tells noob Ritter, "Ah, it's lunchtime. We've got an hour before they bug us any further."

Blogger Ragin' Dave July 17, 2015 10:57 AM  

Jourdan - these are the same women who show up pregnant when it's time to deploy. Ooopsie, I guess I can't go with the unit any more!

As for the article VD linked, it just confirms what he's been saying for as long as I can remember. Women don't write SciFi. They write romance novels in a SciFi setting.

Blogger GK Chesterton July 17, 2015 10:59 AM  

I was likewise surprised about horror. I expected it to tilt heavily female.

Blogger Mint July 17, 2015 11:07 AM  

On woman and horror;
I do not know if it's repulsive to other women, but no horror for me in any kind of entertainment. I tend to involve my whole being and emotion when I enjoy a book, movie or video games, thus it's really stressful and tiring for me willing for the protagonist to stay alive. Especially if there is soundtrack ... The effect of horror soundtrack to my heart beat, I hate that. I keep wondering why there are people willing to pay to be frightened...real life is full of scary things already.

Anonymous The other robot July 17, 2015 11:16 AM  

so, in the UK they had ~500 submissions in six months and they accepted 0.8%

Were they any good?

And when it comes to the US Scalzi does not seem like he is in the top 1%. Compared to Andy Weir, for example. Surly Tor is failing if they cannot find talents like Weir.

Blogger Cee July 17, 2015 11:18 AM  

Does Anne Rice's output really count as horror, though?

Not a rhetorical question; I haven't read any of it, so I don't know how it compares to, say, King's horror in terms of being able to actually evoke a horror response.

(Also, recommendations for worthwhile horror?)

Blogger bob k. mando July 17, 2015 11:22 AM  

so women DO exactly all the things that they accuse men of? huh. whodathunkit.

( women ) always project.



30. Mint July 17, 2015 11:07 AM
...real life is full of scary things already.



*musses Mint's mane*

Blogger bob k. mando July 17, 2015 11:24 AM  

32. Cee July 17, 2015 11:18 AM
Does Anne Rice's output really count as horror, though?



i tried to read a Lestat novel once.

i suppose ... if boredom frightens you, you might have found it horrifying?

Anonymous Laz July 17, 2015 11:26 AM  

"Does Anne Rice's output really count as horror, though?"

It's horror but, reads like a romance. Take that for what you will.

Blogger Jourdan July 17, 2015 11:28 AM  

Anne Rice is a horror. Yes.

Blogger Mint July 17, 2015 11:30 AM  

*swats bob's hand*

Thanks for the wikipedia link on Peter Singer the other day. It helps me to understand some points.

Blogger John Wright July 17, 2015 11:30 AM  

I am surprised anyone is surprised that horror leans the most heavily male of any genre listed. Most of the men I know and all the young men are fascinated and allured by dangerous, terrifying, morbid and threatening situations. They all wonder on some level whether if they were caught in an emergency or a hopeless struggle, trapped or wounded or unable to cope, whether they would collapse or whether they would find a hero inside them. Situations of horror, where the evil is overwhelming and you are unarmed, is the pure quill example of this. Every hazing ceremony or trial by ordeal to join a secret society of the braves knows this.

I know of no women -- maybe those serving in the military who are different -- who thinks of being unarmed as a sign of danger and a cause for worry. I know of none of them who wonder whether she would be able to rip out the throat of an axe murderer found in the basement after he's chopped off both your arms, using just your teeth.

The female reaction (whether this is cultural or genetic, I leave feminists and chowder-heads to debate) when confronted with danger is to assume a nonthreatening pose and await rescue. This is the logical strategy Darwinian evolution suggests.

Likewise, and for the opposite reason, I have never met a man interested in making a career working with crippled and retarded children. I am sure there are, but I am also sure that the kind of spiritual strength needed to deal in a kind and loving fashion with children who lack any hope of ever being normal is not a strength Nature distributes with a blindfoldedly evenhanded statistical neutrality between the warlike sex and the gentle sex, between the spear side and the distaff side.

If not horror, what genre would be more skewed to males? Westerns? Sports stories? Slaughter novels about shooting Nazis in Argentina?

Blogger John Wright July 17, 2015 11:32 AM  

Anne Rice is romance. There is not a single tense or scary scene in all of INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE. It is a typical Gothic, merely staring an angst ridden supernatural unclean spirit rather than an angst ridden Mr Darcy or Rhett Butler.

Talk to your wives and girlfriends. They should know what the signs of an old fashioned Gothic are.

Blogger Joshua Dyal July 17, 2015 11:33 AM  

I do not know if it's repulsive to other women, but no horror for me in any kind of entertainment. I tend to involve my whole being and emotion when I enjoy a book, movie or video games, thus it's really stressful and tiring for me willing for the protagonist to stay alive. Especially if there is soundtrack ... The effect of horror soundtrack to my heart beat, I hate that. I keep wondering why there are people willing to pay to be frightened...real life is full of scary things already.

http://mypersonality.org/wiki/doku.php?id=movie_tastes_and_personality

For movies, not books, but again; this is why I was surprised by the results shown above. From the article: "Our investigation yielded one puzzling finding, pertaining to horror films: whilst most theorists insist upon males’ alleged partiality to violent films as opposed to females’ inherent dislike of them (Oliver et al, 1998), the odds ratio for that category is extremely close to 1:1, indicating that the likelihood of sexually differentiated viewing preferences is null."

Anonymous Stephen J. July 17, 2015 11:37 AM  

John Wright: "If not horror, what genre would be more skewed to males? Westerns? Sports stories? Slaughter novels about shooting Nazis in Argentina?"

Technothrillers. I cannot recall ever reading a single technothriller written by a woman, I cannot recall ever meeting a single female fan of Tom Clancy, Dean Ing, Stephen Coonts or any of that sort, and I cannot recall a single female genre fan who has ever complained that there are no female technothriller authors. Even more than horror or Westerns or war stories, technothrillers seem to be pure-quill masculine stories.

Anonymous Stephen J. July 17, 2015 11:40 AM  

Actually, I must correct my previous post: I know of one female technothriller author -- Judith Reeves-Stevens, who wrote a couple of them in collaboration with her husband Garfield. But she may not count, as she was (a) second-billed and (b) has no books to her own name alone that I know of.

Anonymous Jack Amok July 17, 2015 11:51 AM  

Science-fiction: F 22%, M 78%

Wait, let's fix that:

Science-Fiction: F 3%, M 97%

Genre-flavored Romance: F 99% M 1%


If not horror, what genre would be more skewed to males?

Ludlum-esque spy thrillers

Blogger Danby July 17, 2015 12:05 PM  

@Joshua,
it (horror) intersects closely with urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

That's where the female potential horror writes go. Very few horror stories are plot-driven, and a woman's first instinct in telling a story is to talk about the relationships.
What relationships are there in a classic horror story? A Vampire is an inhuman predator, absurdly strong, intelligent, superficially charming, and completely uninterested in her sexually. Game 101 says her first reactions will be "How can I get in his pants?"
A werewolf is a hypermasculine, hyperviolent, absurdly strong (and yet suffering!) brute, who, if he is interested in sex, will rut like a wild animal, completely uninterested in her beyond her genitalia. She'll jump his bones faster than she would the vampire.
This is what it's usually about with women writers. Elaborate sexual fantasies with some plot thrown in on top.

Blogger bob k. mando July 17, 2015 12:15 PM  

37. Mint July 17, 2015 11:30 AM
Thanks for the wikipedia link on Peter Singer the other day. It helps me to understand some points.



yeah, the disturbing thing about Singer isn't even the philosophical positions he espouses.( i myself am quite used to saying things and having people recoil from me )

it's all the accolades, authority and teaching positions he has received for promulgating them.

truly, this world is run by the evil and the incompetent. and it's oft-times hard to determine which is actually in ascendancy.

Blogger Marissa July 17, 2015 12:27 PM  

I keep wondering why there are people willing to pay to be frightened...real life is full of scary things already.

Agreed, I just watched a documentary about eight people who have sleep paralysis, called The Nightmare. Whether the filmmakers or the people themselves knew it or not, the movie is actually about the demonic. It was pretty scary, all the more so because it was about something real. I also saw It Follows this year which scared the pants off me.

Anonymous Eduardo July 17, 2015 12:36 PM  

"Bella Pagan"?

Jesus.

Blogger Joshua Dyal July 17, 2015 12:43 PM  

On the left. http://static1.squarespace.com/static/54d4bc07e4b07ddcbfd92373/54e36fede4b06e391db992cf/54e36ff5e4b06e391db99ec9/1351094653000/Bella-Pagan-and-Lauren-Beukes.jpg?format=original

Pagan may be accurate, but Bella is clearly an exaggeration.

Blogger Cee July 17, 2015 12:49 PM  

but Bella is clearly an exaggeration.
Dem horseteeth.

Blogger Sm Fish July 17, 2015 12:52 PM  

I noticed that the SF/Fantasy section of the local library (for which I pay $900/yr in property taxes in the soviet of seattle) has more female than male authors. ?bias of book buying librarians? I have not read female authors in 15 years. The good book / bad book ratio is too unfavorable for what little time I have. Seattle Public Library did build a huge new downtown library a few years back. No parking and mostly old run down books, but a new building. They have an Edifice Complex.

Blogger Danby July 17, 2015 1:20 PM  

Pagan is a real name.Bella too for that matter. She may have come by it honestly. She seems to keep her social media life professional, nothing at all about her personal life online, which is actually something I admire in a Leftist. They mostly have an inordinate desire to parade their stupiditry and bigotry.

heh, stupiditry. Typo but I left it in, 'cause I like it.
Stupiditry -- noun
The practice of being stupid.
ex;
"Her stupiditry overwhelms her claims of education."

Anonymous BGS July 17, 2015 1:20 PM  

a more competitive employer, and to retain top talent..... It’s the pre-ordained military schedule that can make Navy life and motherhood so hard to balance

Do you really retain "top talent" when it can squat out 5 babies in 5 years from 5 different race dads in order to avoid deployment?

That’s what it feels like: the world waking up to the vast untapped potential in half of our species.

Has she never heard of the 80/20 rule? I think that was made before affirmative action.

Does Anne Rice's output really count as horror, though?

Fem horror is bestiality / necrophilia love stories.

I have never met a man interested in making a career working with crippled and retarded children

You probably wouldn't want the gay Hispanic nurse that specializes in PEDS/NICU to touch your boys.

Anonymous Ostar July 17, 2015 1:20 PM  

Sm Fish
"I noticed that the SF/Fantasy section of the local library has more female than male authors. ?bias of book buying librarians."

Yes. I live in Southern CA, and have been to 20 libraries from over eight different cities/counties. All of them have 2/3 to 3/4 female authors in the SF/F section. Most of the male books are "old school" authors, with most of the newer books being female. I've only found one library that even carried Larry Correia books. That library was run by a man.

Anonymous Ostar July 17, 2015 1:29 PM  

Side note to Mr. Wright:

Just about every county/municipality library system I've been to in Southern CA carried your books, either directly or by order from an associated library.

Blogger ScuzzaMan July 17, 2015 1:36 PM  

Evil and incompetence are effectively the same thing, from the victims point of view.

Blogger Jourdan July 17, 2015 1:45 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Jourdan July 17, 2015 1:45 PM  

@BGS -

Not only that, what mentality does it speak to when an officer of the line of a nation's navy thinks of that navy as her "employer"?

Blogger David-093 July 17, 2015 4:07 PM  

"Agreed, I just watched a documentary about eight people who have sleep paralysis, called The Nightmare. Whether the filmmakers or the people themselves knew it or not, the movie is actually about the demonic. It was pretty scary, all the more so because it was about something real. I also saw It Follows this year which scared the pants off me."

I'm watching it now. It's definitely something demonic. It's happened to me only once, but thinking the name of Jesus when it happens ends it almost immediately.

Blogger GK Chesterton July 17, 2015 5:00 PM  

@JCWright

I'll actually strongly disagree for the reasons others cited. Especially where _film_ is involved it seems women enjoy horror if they have someone with them that isn't afraid. Horror is also currently dominated by faux horror romance so I was expecting with the standard definitions Rice-lite stories would dominate.

And to your question I'll likewise concur that "techno-thriller" of the Ludum/Clancy variety would be more exclusively male than general (but not hard with which it shares the technophile leanings) SF.

Anonymous Sheila July 17, 2015 5:24 PM  

Interesting point, Steven J - but FWIW, I'm a woman and I read lots of techno thrillers. I read "Hunt for Red October" after reading a review about it in the Washingtonian magazine right after it was published - the copy I have is the one from the Naval Institute Press. I read a few of his others but they got too formulaic and boring. I started reading WWII/Cold War thrillers when a family I babysat for had them around. I started reading WEB Griffin books when a guy I was dating had them.

The only thing I do not read is horror (the only horror in the house are a handful of books my husband had before we married). Don't/can't watch the movies either. I have a vivid imagination and a high squeamish factor.

Anonymous WaterBoy July 17, 2015 6:28 PM  

Cee @ 32: "Also, recommendations for worthwhile horror?"

Stephen King (obviously): Most of his catalog.

Clive Barker: Some, but no particular ones that I can think of beyond Books of Blood (various volumes)

Dean Koontz: Phantoms, but only if you haven't already seen the movie.

And of course, the Classics: H.P Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Sorry I can't remember more specific titles...been out of the field a while.

Blogger Cee July 17, 2015 7:47 PM  

@WaterBoy

Quite all right! I've read some King (all of The Dark Tower, a couple of short story collections, Lisey's Story, The Talisman, The Green Mile) and like him; I'll eventually get around to the rest of his catalog before I die. Maybe.

Will look at Barker and Koontz again--I think I'd read one each from them and liked them, but just forgotten. Definitely appreciate the recommends.

Blogger Cee July 17, 2015 7:57 PM  

Oh, Under the Dome too. Mixed feelings about that one, since the message got ham-handed in the person of the ex-soldier.

Anonymous WaterBoy July 17, 2015 8:42 PM  

Haven't really read any of King's later stuff. But his classic books, like The Shining and The Stand, are quite worth the while if you haven't already.

Again, though, they aren't really worth reading if you've already seen the movies. Most of the appeal of Horror is in not knowing what's coming next...to let the atmosphere build until the big shock is sprung...and that's just not really possible if you already know what's coming.

Blogger Groot July 17, 2015 8:48 PM  

I just can't read or watch horror, because it seems so silly. I like the Sixth Sense, but it was the surprise ending, and it wasn't scary at all.

But I will say that I went to the theaters to see a few when I was dating, and it was because of girls like Mint. On first or second dates, they will squeal and clutch your biceps. And listen to her! That is just cute.

Blogger Doc Rampage July 18, 2015 3:54 AM  

Sleep paralysis is not demonic; it's just dreaming with your eyes open. I've experienced it several times. It is usually associated with some sort of paranoia. Occasionally I believe there is a demonic presence or a ghost, but more commonly sense a human intruder or believe that there is a hidden spy camera in my room.

These paranoid delusions may or may not be accompanied by a noticeable period of paralysis. After some time, usually nor more than a few seconds, I come fully awake and realize that it was a delusion. The sensation of waking up and realizing that it was a delusion is no different from waking up from any other dream (or nightmare) and realizing that it was just a dream.

During dreaming your critical faculties are turned off. You don't realize how unlikely it is that you could fly or that you would be speaking in front of a large crowd when you discovered that you forgot to get dressed that morning. When you wake, up your critical faculties kick in, you re-analyze the events of the dream, realize that they make no sense, and dismiss them.

I suspect the only real difference between a regular dream and sleep paralysis is that in sleep paralysis your eyes are open so your dream incorporates the sensations that come to you through your eyes into the dream. And because your eyes are open, you realize that when you try to move the scene before your eyes is not changing. In the dream you interpret this as being paralyzed but you are really just experiencing the normal mechanism that lets you dream that you are moving without actually moving.

Blogger Doc Rampage July 18, 2015 3:57 AM  

Sleep paralysis is not demonic; it's just dreaming with your eyes open. I've experienced it several times. It is usually associated with some sort of paranoia. Occasionally I believe there is a demonic presence or a ghost, but more commonly sense a human intruder or believe that there is a hidden spy camera in my room.

These paranoid delusions may or may not be accompanied by a noticeable period of paralysis. After some time, usually nor more than a few seconds, I come fully awake and realize that it was a delusion. The sensation of waking up and realizing that it was a delusion is no different from waking up from any other dream (or nightmare) and realizing that it was just a dream.

During dreaming your critical faculties are turned off. You don't realize how unlikely it is that you could fly or that you would be speaking in front of a large crowd when you discovered that you forgot to get dressed that morning. When you wake, up your critical faculties kick in, you re-analyze the events of the dream, realize that they make no sense, and dismiss them.

I suspect the only real difference between a regular dream and sleep paralysis is that in sleep paralysis your eyes are open so your dream incorporates the sensations that come to you through your eyes into the dream. And because your eyes are open, you realize that when you try to move the scene before your eyes is not changing. In the dream you interpret this as being paralyzed but you are really just experiencing the normal mechanism that lets you dream that you are moving without actually moving.

Anonymous Stephen J. July 18, 2015 8:38 AM  

@Sheila: "Interesting point, Steven J - but FWIW, I'm a woman and I read lots of techno thrillers."

Fair enough; I can now say I know at least one woman who does. I can still honestly say you are the first I've ever corresponded with.

Let me modify my thesis, then: While there are female technothriller fans, the very nature of being a technothriller fan means that one is far less likely to assess the quality of a work, or the genre field, by SJW standards, and thus there has yet to develop any significant SJW interest in "improving" that genre. Does that sound more accurate?

Blogger Cee July 18, 2015 5:30 PM  

Does that sound more accurate?
Yes.

Even when technothriller fans aren't men, they have the very masculine interest in How Things Work and How Things Are Done, which are orthogonal to most SJW interests (How Things Feel). They managed to get into soft sci-fi because soft sci-fi often deals with the social realm (How We Do Things Together), but hard sci-fi with its emphasis on doing and making still eludes them partially. (Alastair Reynolds is lousy with equalitarianism but he at least does not seem to have kung-fu waif problems.)

Blogger kh123 July 18, 2015 9:04 PM  

"Sleep paralysis is not demonic;"

Michael Persinger's said fairly the same thing for about 4 decades now, simulating in patients a form of waking sleep paralysis, or feelings of a presence in the room by stimulating certain parts of the brain while immersed in a dark, quiet setting.

Of course, radio transmissions in and of themselves are neither visible, physically tangible, nor necessarily 2 way communication either. But the radio does receive them if tuned a certain way. And are broadcast from someone somewhere.

Blogger kh123 July 18, 2015 9:11 PM  

...A building is not necessarily just the door and key, though they are an important part. Neither is it just tenant and visitor, though again they constitute an essential element.

I tend to think that, much like what the brothers involved in the Allagash Incident have reported, these sorts of things are an admixture of both sleep paralysis/dreaming and of something external, the percentage of either element not necessarily ever being constant.

What exactly that external is, is up for debate.

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