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  1. The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms
  2. ‎WisCon 22 and the Secret Feminist Cabal, Femspec Issue en Apple Books
  3. The Secret Feminist Cabal : A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms
  4. Hm... Are You a Human?

Better than that, it's a terrific read.


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  • The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms!

Here you'll find everything you always wanted to know about women in fandom, women in publishing, women as writers. Helen Merrick's style is unassuming yet authoritative; she manages to be a scholar and an entertainer at the same time. The Secret Feminist Cabal is more demanding, an ambitious project, but equally successful: this is a fine book. She has a genius for letting us feel out what one knows and embodies when trafficking among worlds of academic critique, commercial publication, visionary futures, institutional intervention, and science studies.

She teases out how dynamic networks linking stories and publications respond to new contexts, newly reattaching meanings to feminist SF itself, the body and embodiments, cyberpunk and cyborg feminisms, feminist versions of naturecultures, and sexual and racial politics. To my reading, this book succeeds in its aim to effect membership; but I was convinced to start with.

And in that respect I began instead with some questions about whether Merrick was establishing a straw woman—her opening quote from Carolyn Heilbrun refutes that ". I think we must imagine, not a fantastic world, but how we might speak and act differently in this one. It is the utopian mode that separates science fiction from the other categories of popular feminist fiction.


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  4. Personally, I tend to react against critiques of SF that tell me what it is, or what it doesn't do, in defiance of considerable contrary evidence including my own clear knowledge or experience. Sure, some SF can be criticised for its depictions or absence of women, for its attitudes, or for clumsy attempts to improve—and the same is true of pretty much every other field of literature or art in general. Critiques that accuse all SF of escapism, lack of practical engagement with real women's real problems or with the agendas and narrative flaws that it generally abandoned decades previously make me, as I get older and more impatient, simply less inclined to respect and engage with those opinions rather than passionately determined to convince the naysayers and reclaim all aspects of the argument.

    Merrick's book does show how far we've come, how long the road has been, and thus very much why there's a lot to keep on fighting for as well as why some of that might be lost—but also why no feminist or reader should ever think that the feminists of science fiction aren't collectively part of the united front. Is it comprehensive, at least the final answer for now?

    The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms

    Merrick locates her work as part of the conversation, recognising many potential gaps and omissions. But she compiles and contextualises many strands of that conversation, acknowledging the work of writers and feminists before her while setting them in a broader landscape. The book mostly lives up to the promise of its subtitle, "A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms"—not least through including the arguments of those styling themselves, or claiming others as, "counter-feminists.

    Yet as the history other than the subtitle, Merrick mostly maintains usage of "herstory" throughout comes more into the modern era I found myself strangely excluded.

    The Secret Feminist Cabal A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms

    As told here, the story of fannish feminisms from the point at which feminist identification became possible is a story of North America in general, and Wiscon in particular; even as it broadens out again into online communities, so it leaves behind the parts of the SF community with which I identify. Maybe the political is not personal after all. Does it shed new light? To take another personal example, it told me things I didn't know about some activities and even attitudes in British fandom in a period where I've read the fanzines and also quite a lot of well-researched fan history of which much that was then available is also cited here ; and in doing so it effectively challenged both my own assumptions and those I had accepted from others.

    It doesn't always help itself, though.

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    ‎WisCon 22 and the Secret Feminist Cabal, Femspec Issue en Apple Books

    Noting a reference on the cover to Femizine , the s British "all-female" fanzine, and indeed an indication that it was an ancient UK scandal—which isn't quite how I'd have put it—I looked it up in the index so that I could jump straight to it. There was no reference. I checked the bibliography under "Joan Carr" pseudonym of the one not-actually-female editor of Femizine and saw a specific citation for a Femizine editorial; so back to the index and Joan Carr. There are two references, neither appearing to lead to any relevant text. So, the perpetrator's own name: Sandy Sanderson?

    Four references: one that also misfires, one that's correct but not about the fanzine, and two that finally plunge me into the right section.

    The Secret Feminist Cabal : A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms

    Finding similar omissions and wild goose chases for other searches, as the early sections of the book made me wonder whether specific topics of particular interest would be more developed later—as they did mostly prove to be—I eventually gave up on the index. Let us not under-estimate the time, effort and resource required to do indexing right; and let us encourage publishers to recognise and invest in that.

    Does it collect and establish a coherent timeline for the diverse and lively history of feminist activity and empowered female achievement in SF and SF fandom? It maps a lot of the territory—although, alongside my points about the US focus, there are to my perspective some further omissions and slightly curious views of fandom. Again, as a British reader I looked for more references to Foundation —not least because it's the critical journal which stands out in recent years as having been edited by a woman Farah Mendlesohn. Merrick's perspective here on fandom, not to discount her extensive engagement with British and US sources, may simply reflect an Australian sensibility—or perhaps instead a contemporary one, given her focus for much of the book on periods when many professional writers had first been fans and many fans also wrote fiction and hoped to get a break for their hobby to become even more of a way of life.

    Nonetheless, references to the relative prominence and success of US and British fans based on who "made the transition" to professional status doesn't chime with my own idea of the purpose or point of SF fandom. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

    Hm... Are You a Human?

    Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? The Secret Feminist Cabal is an extended answer to the question Helen Merrick asks in her introduction: "why do I read feminist sf?

    Descripción de editorial

    Her history is expansive and inclusive: it ranges from North America to the UK to Australia; it tells us about readers, fans, and academics as well as about writers, editors, and publishers; and it examines the often uneasy intersections of feminist theory and popular culture. Merrick brings things up to date with considerations of feminist cyberfiction and feminist science and technology studies, and she concludes with an intriguing review of the Tiptree Award as it illuminates current debates in the feminist sf community.

    Broadly informed, theoretically astute, and often revisionary, The Secret Feminist Cabal is an indispensable social and cultural history of the girls who have been plugged into science fiction. Read more Read less. See all free Kindle reading apps. Don't have a Kindle? No customer reviews.


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