Miserere by Teresa FrohockGender is always a hot-topic issue in the Fantasy and Science Fiction fan community. Though we’re not perfect (who is?), we’re constantly working to become a community that promotes equality and diversity among its fans, authors and the characters that bring us all together. In the spirit of gender equality, Teresa Frohock, author of Miserere, along with several of her author friends, has put together a little challenge and contest. The catch? You’ve got to read some passages, and decide whether it the author is male/female/or otherwise.

Frohock explains:

Tell us, based on the prose, whether the scene was written by a man or a woman. At the end, I want to tabulate the results and see if readers can really tell the difference. If you want to, you may say why you feel a particular scene was written by a man or woman, but you don’t have to.

Yes, as a scientific study, it is full of holes and sucks, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. This little test is an itch that I’ve been wanting to scratch for a long time, especially when I read the Fantasy Reddit and I don’t see a single woman listed for best novel in 2012. I know women released books in 2012. Perhaps I’m hanging out in all the wrong places.

Or maybe the “female-authors-equal-romance-y/YA-ish-themes” connotation is true in readers’ minds, so you all are skipping novels by women entirely. I wonder. And when I think too much, I tend to get into trouble … or hold a contest.

So, are you up for the task? Details about the contest can be found on Frohock’s site. Entries are due by the end of the this weekend, with results, winners and discussion following on Monday, January 7th, including a post here from Mazarkis Williams on writing without a gender.

  • Natalie January 4, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I totally -think- I can tell, but sometimes not until I finish the whole book. A single passage isn’t all that telling.

  • GoddessCarlie January 5, 2013 at 1:46 am

    As someone who loves fantasy from YA to romancy to high to dark and gritty, the gender of the author has never been a problem for me, and thus I have never really thought – when it comes to me personally – as to if I hold baggage about the gender of the writer of a story. I have read so many great fantasy books by women, that it does make me sad that this isn’t the case for others as well. I will go check out this contest, I am curious about the results.