Looks like someone touched a nerve. The Lightspeed Magazine kickstarter to raise money to publish a special "Women Destroy Science Fiction" issue of all-women contributors has massively exceeded its goals. So now they're doing "Women Destroy Fantasy" and "Women Destroy Horror" issues too.
Top image: Scott Grimando.
With around 30 hours remaining, the Kickstarter has raised over $41,000, as compared to a $5,000 initial goal. So as "stretch goals," they've decided to do issues covering fantasy and horror as well. (Full disclosure: I've been published in Lightspeed, and have been asked to submit a story to the "science fiction" edition of this "Women Destroy" bonanza.)
What's great about the "Women Destroy" Kickstarter is not just that it's shown how much hunger there is for good, well-thought-out speculative fiction by women authors. It's also provided a forum to explain why so many people believe this is so necessary. The updates on the Kickstarter page are all essays by authors and critics, about women in SF, which not only share stories of personal connection with the genre but explain why this matters.
For example, Pat Murphy talks about her disappointment with Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars, and then goes on to say:
Fiction writers have, in a limited sense, the power to control your mind. When you give yourself over to a good book, you come to believe in the author's world, the author's way of thinking about the way the world works. If a book is compelling, you believe in it on some very deep level. The world portrayed in the book seeps into your unconscious and becomes part of your experience of the world. The writer's truth—Heinlein's truth, my truth—becomes your truth.
As a child, I believed Heinlein's view of the world—until he wrote about something that I knew better than he did—the mind of a teenage girl. That's when he lost me. That was when his worldview bumped into something I believed in even more: my own ability to do whatever I wanted to do.
And frequent Analog Magazine contributor Juliette Wade gets to the heart of why this is important:
People sometimes ask, "Is science fiction dying?" We live in the future, the argument goes, and technology is taken for granted, while the cutting edge of science has become too complex and esoteric. I couldn't disagree more. Science fiction has never been about the superficial trappings. It's about discovery, and change, about reflecting on our own society by envisioning the future.
And to remain relevant, science fiction has to imagine a future that contains all of us, and future societies that feel realistic.
Anyway, even though the Kickstarter is more than fully funded, it's still a great idea to register your support. Even a $5 pledge gets you ebook editions of all three genre-destroying volumes.