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Women Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo Award-nominated magazine LIGHTSPEED entirely written—and edited—by women.
Women Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo Award-nominated magazine LIGHTSPEED entirely written—and edited—by women.
Women Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo Award-nominated magazine LIGHTSPEED entirely written—and edited—by women.
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Personal Essay: Marissa Lingen

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When we set out to destroy science fiction with this Kickstarter, we didn't want it to be your ordinary, run-of-the-mill campaign. We wanted it to be full of smashing, crashing women's voices, telling what it really means to be a woman reading and writing science fiction. One of the ways we hope to do that is by sharing a series of personal essays by women about their experiences as a woman in science fiction.

Personal Essay: Marissa Lingen

One of the tenets I've been taught of writing science fiction is that the future doesn't arrive everywhere evenly. (I think that's William Gibson, more or less.) I didn't realize how much it would apply to me personally. 

When I left physics to write full time, I was leaving a male-dominated field for one that looked to me like a shining golden paradise of women. Two of the most decorated SF writers anywhere, ever, are Connie Willis and Lois McMaster Bujold. The author my father gave me when I was twelve, to get me started on modern SF, was Nancy Kress. Everywhere I turned, there were outstanding female editors and agents, experienced writers like the ones I'd already read and beginners like me, whose ideas were just barely starting to see the light of day—it was an entire world of women. A beautiful, amazing world of women. 

And then it became clear that this world was not the world some other people were living in. 

I could tell stories about getting harassed at my first con—and my third con—and so on. I could talk about how male fans looked straight at me when I was on panels, when they raised their hands to ask why women don't write SF and whether it was because women don't like science. (After repeating "Dude, I am right here, don't talk about me like I don't exist" a couple of times, I lost my temper and challenged that man to a contest of differential equations.) 

But what I really think about, when I think about being a woman who writes SF, is that I was right about what world I was joining. It is a beautiful, amazing world of women. Women started "destroying" SF before I was born, and I am so glad and so proud to share the work with them. And I look at the people who are living in this cramped, airless world where SF is somehow not chock full of wonderful women, and I think, "Join us in the future. It's already here, it just hasn't gotten to you yet. And it's awesome." 

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Marissa Lingen is a short fiction writer living in the Minneapolis area. She has sold over onehundred stories to publications such as Year's Best, Tor.com, Analog, and Lightspeed. You can find her online at www.marissalingen.com.

Torrey Podmajersky, Shara White, and 8 more people like this update.

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