Seriously?

She may be known as the Queen of the Aga saga, but Joanna Trollope claims that the moniker is sexist and “damaging” to her literary career.

The author, whose tales of rural intrigue have made her into a household name, said that the Aga saga tag had been applied to her novels as a result of gender discrimination within the literary establishment.

Then again, in a world where some seriously claim that standing while peeing is sexist what is there that cannot be claimed as sexism?

26 comments on “Seriously?

  1. Has a man ever read one of Ms Trollope’s novels? She may be a great selling novelist but I don’t think I even *know* someone who has read one of her books. At least not someone who will admit it.

    Women ultimately reduce pretty much everything to an Aga Saga. You ask them to write SF, and they write an Aga Saga in Space. You ask them to write history and they write an Aga Saga. The only exception I can think of, off hand, is that some women can write detective fiction that is actually about murder. Even then I bet most female-written Sherlock Holmes fan fiction is romance.

    This is not sexism. It is just that men and women are interested in different things, express themselves in different ways – and as far as anyone can tell, this is biological and unchangeable.

  2. You’re talking nonsense on stilts regarding female SF writers, SMfS. There’s a long list of good women authors. Further, SF is possibly one of the few literary fields where the sex of the author is of so little importance. None of the readership care. If there is any “written fro women” SF, it’s extremely obscure.

  3. BiS: Not read much SF for 40 years now save for re-reading the great Jack Vance. As the “Sad Puppies” etc saga shows most of todays stuff is leftist shite.

    Compared to the greats of SF I can think of NO women who were any good at all let alone great.

  4. Joanna, darling – I know it’s hard, but you don’t get to decide what the readers think of you. If they say “it’s shite” then it’s shite, no matter how hard you worked on it, or what your gender. They, after all, don’t care – they want a good read. If you don’t deliver, then you’re no good to them. You should be humbly grateful to be the “Queen of the Aga Saga” – the alternative might have been to be the “Queen of the Remainder Bin.” I appreciate that it’s hard to tell the difference… trust me – the first one pays much better

  5. bloke in spain – “You’re talking nonsense on stilts regarding female SF writers, SMfS. There’s a long list of good women authors. Further, SF is possibly one of the few literary fields where the sex of the author is of so little importance.”

    I may be talking nonsense. But if I am, nothing you have said shows it. Because none of it is relevant. I have never denied that there are good female writers. I just said they inevitably trend towards Aga Sagas in space. There are any number of female authors I like. And I agree that SF is a field where no one cares, or at least they didn’t. So what?

    “If there is any “written fro women” SF, it’s extremely obscure.”

    That is trivial to refute:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_You_Were_a_Dinosaur,_My_Love

    They gave another Hugo to this:

    Yeine Darr, mourning the murder of her mother, is summoned to the magnificent floating city of Sky by her grandfather Dekarta, the ruler of the world and head of the Arameri family. As Yeine is also Arameri (though estranged due to the circumstances of her birth), he names her his heir but has already assigned that role to both his niece and his nephew, resulting in a thorny three-way power struggle. Yeine must quickly master the intricacies of the cruel Arameri society to have any hope of winning. She is also drawn into the intrigues of the gods, four of whom dwell in Sky as the Arameri’s powerful, enslaved weapons. With only a few days until the ceremony of the Arameri succession, Yeine struggles to solve her mother’s murder while surviving the machinations of her relatives and the gods.

    I could swear that was a Georgette Heyer story.

  6. Depends on whether you’re interpreting SF to include Fantasy. I don’t consider Ursula Le Guin to be science fiction.

  7. Compared to the greats of SF I can think of NO women who were any good at all let alone great.

    D C Fontana.

    Hint: first name Dorothy

  8. That’s probably because you haven’t read any for 40 years, Mr Ecks. You’ve missed the entire New Wave movement & Cyberpunk. SF’s moved a long way from cowboys in spaceships fiction.
    Pat Cadigan, Connie Willis, Kate Wilhelm, Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay series…
    When I go back & re-read some of the “Great SF” I’m struck by how lousy much of it is. Implausible plot lines, weak characterisation…

  9. I bet she fucking loved it when it was getting her established and well-known. Then once the cash is rolling in and she’s a household name (though not in mine, as I was confused for a moment as to why Trollope was still writing) suddenly cry “Darlings, darlings, please no!”.

  10. Pat Cadigan, Connie Willis, Kate Wilhelm, Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay series…

    Who would have thought BiS was a chick-lit fan? So what do we have here? A woman who is famous for a story about a girl who is worried her boyfriend is cheating on her – in a virtual post-apocalyptic Japan, a time travelling Mary Poppins, someone famous for being married to a talented man but who also wrote a story about some Clone Mean Girls. And then there is the Mockingjay series.

  11. SMfS. That’s Fantasy. Long colonised by those of the female persuasion. Has nothing whatsoever to do with SF – in its Speculative Fiction meaning. (Preferred by those who wish to distinguish the genre from anything with Star in the title.)
    And I’ve a suspicion the Sad Puppies affair may have influenced that award.

  12. Bob Rocket: With such mini-essays as “So you found a grey hair” I think I won’t bother–thanks all the same.

  13. dcardno,

    “You should be humbly grateful to be the “Queen of the Aga Saga” – the alternative might have been to be the “Queen of the Remainder Bin.” I appreciate that it’s hard to tell the difference… trust me – the first one pays much better”

    Particularly as there’s nothing outstanding about her books.

    There are tens of thousands of women writing the same sort of fiction and just as well as her. She’s not a genius like Jane Austen or Dorothy L Sayers. She produced some good books and became a brand and sold a lot of books. But one of ten thousand other writers could have been in her place.

    Books have to be about the weakest art for bestsellers signifying quality. Films that succeed generally are better films than films that fail. The bestselling album each year is pretty good. But have you tried reading a Harry Potter book? They’re rubbish.

  14. It’s Post Apocalypse Nu Yawk Sitty, SMfS. And the plot revolves around a character who’s living their life in VR but turns up dead in the real world. Yes, the lead character’s dealing with a failed marriage. But characters with some depth are a change from the cartoon characters of the “Great SciFi” era who’s only emotions seem to be an affection for their ray-gun & have no “life” outside the feeble plotlines.
    It’s also somewhat relevant to today’s world. The phenomenon of people, now, living large amounts of their lives through the VR of social media. One could well imagine a detective today needing to investigate a murder where the motives of the murderer were to be found “on line”
    Except, she was writing this stuff a couple decades ago. That’s what good SpecFic does. Explores possible futures.

  15. BiS:

    “SMfS. That’s Fantasy. Long colonised by those of the female persuasion. Has nothing whatsoever to do with SF”

    Are you really going to make this distinction? OK.

    Star Wars before midichlorians, Sci-fi or Fantasy?

    Star Wars after midichlorians?

    Anything post-apocalyptic with technology same or below ours (Hunger Games comes to mind, or Mad Max)?

    Recent Hugo winner “The Fifth Season”?

    It’s usually fairly easy to tell what has been written by a woman and what by a man.

  16. @synp
    Haven’t the vaguest what midichlorians are. In a Star wars context or otherwise. I don’t regard the Star wars films as SF. . Kids’ action dramas with a spacey theme. Same genre as Ghostbusters. Or StarTrek in any of its incarnations.

    And very interest in the Hugos. Colour me an original Sad Puppy. Awards are mostly bollocks, anyway. Look at some of the tripe got awards in the 70s. Pretentious unreadable drivel. (See the Bookers). Book sales, yes.

  17. Dennis the Peasant – “Let me get this straight: A woman named Trollope is complaining that the term Aga saga is sexist.”

    It does make it socially awkward when at dinner parties you say you are in the mood for a couple of Trollopes. Of course I always mean Anthony but if someone else gets either of the two other choices stuck in their mind, well, it is a very English moment.

    But I don’t think she is. I think she is complaining that she would have won the Nobel Literature Prize if only people hadn’t unfairly labelled her work with a sexist term that caused people to belittle her achievements.

    I feel for her. I really do.

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