Mon, 24 February 2014 She Walks in Shadows

Within genre circles (sf/f/h) there are some debates that keep rising from the grave, like brain-lusting zombies. You chase the brutes about, slice off their heads, throw them back into the pit, and tamp the soil down hard upon their twitching limbs.

Yet, they keep digging their way out of the earth.

This is particularly tiresome if the debate is centred around – say – the ability of an entire gender. Since we are 50% of the world’s population, it should be no surprise that women come from lots of different backgrounds, which makes it difficult to make definitive pronouncements about the abilities/interests/desires of such a large group of people.

One thing I can state with certainty: we really don’t appreciate it when someone implies that we don’t like a particular subject when there are plenty of examples of women both liking, and creating, said subject.

For instance, recently horror editor Darrell Schweitzer asked on the Lovecraft Eternal Facebook page:

“Is appreciation of Lovecraft and the Mythos a Guy Thing, like The Three Stooges?”

The question came about because he had no women contributors in his latest Lovecraft anthology, because his “female regulars all turned me down.” (One wonders about all the other irregulars who could have been asked.)

I have read and enjoyed some of Lovecraft’s fiction, and I have watched and enjoyed some of The Three Stooges. Immediately, the question has no merit for me. I have also written Lovecraft-inspired fiction (two of those stories have been published). When women are faced with such questions it not only alienates us, it implies that those who are participating in this field are invisible. We are challenged to prove that we exist.

I imagine the person with this question peering at a large group of people with a pair of binoculars with one of the lenses blacked out, and wailing, “Where, oh where are the women?”

So we cry back: “We are right here.”

And the seeker removes the faulty binoculars, peers about properly, and is amazed.

Well, that is until someone else asks the same question in a couple of months time!

There was quite a healthy, and mostly civil, debate about the ‘where, oh where are the women writing Lovecraftian horror?’, with many writers and editors pointing out there were plenty of us about. And how ironic that this topic was raised during Women in Horror Recognition Month!

Yet, when this beast sticks its neck back out of gravedirt it’s no harm to make a very clear point. Which is what editors Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles are doing. They’ve started an Indiegogo campaign for an all-women Lovecraft anthology called She Walks in Shadows.

The project is over 50% funded already, but there is plenty of time for you to support it if you feel it is deserving. There are some fabulous women writers already signed up to write for the anthology.

I’m looking forward to reading it when it is published in 2015.

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