The Salon: Is Fantasy Gendered?

This month in The Salon we discuss whether some fantasy literature is deliberately targeted at readers of a particular gender. The guests are Glenda Larke, an Australian fantasy writer, Lou Anders, an editor, and Tim Pratt, who writes urban fantasy as T.A. Pratt.

If you have difficulty listening this podcast you can also find it here, or via iTunes.

Here are some links to things mentioned during the podcast:

  • The novel Tim is serializing on his web site, The Nex

Here are the books recommended during the podcast:

Glenda LarkeGlenda Larke is an Australian fantasy novelist living in Malaysia, dividing her time between sweating in the rainforest on conservation projects and sweating at her desk writing books. She is the author of three trilogies published in numerous languages (Isles of Glory, Mirage Makers and The Stormlord) and one standalone: Havenstar. She has been shortlisted five times for the Aurealis best fantasy novel, gleefully setting a record for the most number of nominations without a win. Stormlord Rising (Book 2) is out this month in UK and Stormlord’s Exile, (book 3) is due out in mid 2011 in Australia, US and UK.

Lou AndersA 2010/2009/2008/2007 Hugo Award nominee, 2008 Philip K. Dick Award nominee, 2009/2008/2006 Chesley Award nominee/winner/nominee, and 2006 World Fantasy Award nominee, Lou Anders is the editorial director of the SF&F imprint Pyr, as well as the editor of the anthologies Fast Forward 2 (Pyr, October 2008), Sideways in Crime (Solaris, June 2008), Fast Forward 1 (Pyr, February 2007), FutureShocks (Roc, January 2006), Projections: Science Fiction in Literature & Film (MonkeyBrain, December 2004), Live Without a Net (Roc, 2003), and Outside the Box (Wildside Press, 2001). In 2000, he served as the Executive Editor of, and before that he worked as the Los Angeles Liaison for Titan Publishing Group. He is the author of The Making of Star Trek: First Contact (Titan Books, 1996), and has published over 500 articles in such magazines as The Believer, Publishers Weekly, Dreamwatch, DeathRay, free inquiry, Star Trek Monthly, Star Wars Monthly, Babylon 5 Magazine, Sci Fi Universe, Doctor Who Magazine, and Manga Max. His articles and stories have been translated into Danish, Greek, German, Italian & French. Visit him online at and

Tim PrattTim Pratt’s stories have appeared in the Best American Short Stories, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and other nice places, and his work has won a Hugo Award (and lost Nebula, World Fantasy, Stoker, Sturgeon, and Mythopoeic Awards). He is the author of two story collections and half a dozen novels, and works as a senior editor at Locus. He grew up in the rural south and now lives in the urban west with his wife Heather Shaw and their son.


  • Re: female heroines who lack self-esteem.

    I’m wondering if maybe young adult girls (high school and college) have more free time for entertainment reading than adults do. Then I’m thinking that while a goodly number of adult women have conquered any self-esteem deficiencies, almost no teenage girls have. That is, pretty much every teenage girl I’ve ever known has had serious self-esteem issues, and so heroines who have a similar lack are really easy for them to identify with. If those heroines go on to be successful, either in love or in ass-kicking, it may be very cheering for the young female reader, even if it’s infuriating for the rest of us.

    I guess I’m saying that Bella’s stunning lack of confidence in “Twilight” may be a feature, not a bug.

    • You have reminded me that I was going to recommend some more reading for people who are interested in these issues. Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher does a fabulous job of what happens to girls when they go through adolescence.

      However, given that teenage girls do suffer such awful undermining of their self-esteem, providing them with novels that make their condition seem normal isn’t very helpful. We need to give them novels that help them get through this difficult time.

  • I can’t get this to play, but I was sent to a page for Quicktime components/plug-ins. Any idea which one I might need to download? Thanks!