nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Is Cyberpunk ineluctably male? and other generalizations.

I'm behind on lj, and this from james_nicoll seemed like enough fun to pull out of the deep past of several days ago.

I don't like most cyberpunk because I don't like noir, and I'm pretty sure that the reason I don't like noir is the implied total lack of safety. In an effort to rationalize my prejudice, I suggest that people don't actually build societies in which it is impossible to raise children. Maybe there are babies in cyberpunk (if there are, please tell me-- I mean babies that need a lot of care from adults, not some techno weirdness so that raising babies is shuffled off onto machines (though I don't think you get that in cyberpunk, either)), but I'm not only not seeing them, the societies seem to have no room for them, and to get the bleakness, you have no hint of something more civilized elsewhere. It's at least conceivable that women get less fun out of imagining such places, though I'm interested in counterexamples.

I've read both Trouble and Her Friends (and disliked it) and The Fortunate Fall (and liked it very much), but I remember very little from either.

Delany's Nova did strike me as something very close to cyberpunk-- there was a lot of cyberpunk tech, but it was also set in a stable, prosperous society, so it didn't feel like prototypical cyberpunk.

And this reminds me of something I think I've noticed. Male writers make a bigger deal of weapons-- they're the ones who write stories with named weapons, doomed weapons, lovingly detailed weapons. There's a notable dagger in Bujold's Miles stories, but iirc it's a ceremonial suicide dagger-- you don't fight with it. There's some drooling over armor Mary Gentle's Burgundy tetralogy [1], but it's armor, not a weapon. As always, counterexamples are welcome, and I'm aware that if people notice this post, there will be some some women writers putting more about weapons in their stories.

And now to magical realism, which I believe is distinguished by a total lack of world-building. Unfortunately for my handy generalization, the world-building in most fantasy is pretty weak. The muggle world and the wizarding world should have had more effect each other. Ratatouille would have been a very different story if people had to take it seriously that rats are sentient. I think the difference between magical realism and genre fantasy is that the fantastic event is right out in public for the whole story, and no one notices that there's anything odd about it.

Addendum: It looks like my theory about women and weapons in sf is wrong-- see comments about some sf by women with named weapons. Also, it wasn't a suicide dagger, it was a seal dagger which was supposed get a little blood when used.

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