Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Women are writing science fiction!

Jerry Stratton, September 27, 2015


The back-cover blurb to Margaret St. Clair’s Sign of the Labrys

When I was in at Musicians Institute, one of the instructors, Tommy Tedesco, I think it was, told us that when he was with his Jazz friends, he played blues; and when he was with his Blues friends, he played jazz. Thus, everyone thought he was a brilliant musician.

I’ve occasionally wondered if Alice Sheldon wrote under a male pseudonym less to avoid sexism which, while it certainly existed in 1967, did not stop Leigh Brackett (1940–1976), Andre Norton (1951–2005)1 , and Margaret St. Clair (1956–1974), and more to take advantage of her unique perspective using a name that wasn’t expected to have it.

Most likely it was just an effective disguise; she seems to have been a very private person. When she wrote under a female pseudonym she was easily found out, but under a male pseudonym she kept her privacy.

Then again it may have been to avoid this sort of breathless Wiccan/feminist prose, from the back cover of Margaret St. Clair’s 1963 Sign of the Labrys:

Women are writing science-fiction!

Original! Brilliant!! Dazzling!!!

Women are closer to the primitive than men. They are conscious of the moon-pulls, the earth-tides. They possess a buried memory of humankind’s obscure and ancient past which can emerge to uniquely color and flavor a novel.

Such a woman is Margaret St. Clair, author of this novel. Such a novel is The Sign of the Labrys, the story of a doomed world of the future, saved by recourse to ageless, immemorial rites…

Fresh! Imaginative!! Inventive!!!

I wouldn’t be surprised if St. Clair wrote this herself. She was, according to Wikipedia , into the occult and Wicca.

There have been several women’s renaissances in Science Fiction/Fantasy, and they all seem to forget their predecessors.

In response to 2015 in photos: For photos and perhaps other quick notes sent from my mobile device or written on the fly during 2015.

  1. Andre Norton had written under a male pseudonym in the forties, but chose to use her real name throughout the fifties.

  1. <- NFL vs. Teachers
  2. Religious upbringing ->