It’s that time of the year when everyone gets excited (one way or another) about the science fiction awards.
There’s the BSFA awards that are proposed and voted on by the BSFA membership. They demonstrate what has been popularly liked amongst the dedicated science fiction fans. Yes, the system has its pluses and minuses, but you know where you stand with such awards.
The Arthur C Clarke award is chosen from those novels that are submitted to its panel of judges. This year has produced a record 121 submissions, which I consider healthy for the genre. Of those 33 were written by women (27%), which seems to be around about the same proportion as science fiction novels submitted to publishers. Angry Robot’s recent open door garnered 135 novels from men, 45 from women and 9 from people of unknown gender (people who either gave initials for their first names, names were too obscure to know the gender or names could be of either gender). That means women took between 24% and 29%. So it all lines up.
Until you look deeper into the numbers. I examined those publishers that submitted more than 5 novels. Here’s the graph.
Now I know that a one-off set of results really proves nothing in itself. But this graph tends to back up the general feeling that there are some publishers who have, for whatever reason, a bias against women science fiction writers.
I, for one, now know which publishers I don’t want to send my novels to. And by the end of this year, I will be working on two different novels in different universes in tandem. Don’t ask why. It gets very complicated very quickly.
Otherwise, I can only suggest make of these figures what you will.