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There are a lot of things happening right now in the behind the scenes publication world (Ok, so we can stop saying “Behind the scenes”, because all of it is pretty much out in the open, isn’t it?).  And as an avid Fantasy reader since I was younger than I want to admit – the interceding years are more than my age was at the time – I feel like much of this involves me personally.  I won’t add in my many years as a book reviewer specializing in genre fiction, or the amount of fantasy and science fiction I’ve read, both good and bad.  And, you know, I’m also a woman (just in case you DIDN’T know).  

I don’t want to wade into the battle.  So many people are better at that, and more suited.  It feels too much like engaging trolls, which I’m SO TIRED of doing.  But I do want to point out what I love about women in Fantasy and Science Fiction.  And the female authors that I love who do it (or did it).  

Kate Elliott wrote a post earlier today about her favorite epic fantasy authors who just happen to be women.  Her list is exhaustive.  I may make a similar list of women in literary fiction that I love. Anyway, Kate and I had a conversation about this once at a convention (she may or may not remember this).  Aside from the biggies that seem to have started nearly every fantasy reader along the road (Tolkien, I am looking at you), Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince series was the most influential for me.  I was absolutely enthralled with the world Rawn created, and for many years idealized Sioned as a woman to be reckoned with; strong, loyal, intelligent, powerful. There were too few of those as protagonists in my fantasy reading.  I was more assured of the strong female protagonist in the chainmail bikini who kicks ass until she needs her man to save her.

It’s been years since I read the books, and I sort of hold back from revisiting them as an adult, because I don’t want any of my more cynical worldviews to interfere with the memories my original reading of them.

Kate wrote the following about Rawn and her books:
Melanie Rawn — I think her 6 volume (2 trilogies) Dragon Princebooks were transformative in terms of seamlessly melding big ticket epic fantasy with the sensibility of the telenovela (I do not see this as a “bad” or declasse thing, btw; telenovelas are hugely influential storytelling genre throughout the world). IMO Martin’s GoT (seen as transformative within the field) couldn’t exist without the work Rawn (and other women like Barbara Hambly, just for one) were doing earlier in the decade, yet women’s work is consistently and routinely left out of discussions of influence and innovation in how the SFF field came to be what it is today.

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