By Julia Arciga
Illustration: “Scholars’ Tower” by Julie Dillon (2014), courtesy of Catalysts, Explorers & Secret Keepers: Women of SF Kickstarter page
From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to her more contemporary counterparts, women have always had a full, strong voice in the written science-fiction realm. Now, The Museum of Science Fiction’s Journal of Science Fiction is creating a full anthology celebrating women in sci-fi storytelling.
Catalysts, Explorers, and Secret Keepers: Women in Science Fiction is a “take-home exhibit” from the museum that aims to immerse the reader in a world of science lore that was built by women.
“Ultimately we want to highlight and underscore [the role of women in sci-fi] with this project,” said Monica Louzon, managing editor for the Journal of Science Fiction. “I see a blog post about the issue here and there, and some women have won Hugos this year and that brought a lot of attention to women in sci-fi— but women writing science fiction is nothing new.”
While the Journal of Science Fiction has made a splash and has gained a lot of support in academia, the team behind the anthology wanted a way to reach out to writers and the general public to spread the world about science fiction literature, and the Museum of Science Fiction project as a whole.
“We were tossing around ways we could be engaged with people, and sci-fi literature is a huge part of the genre. It’s constantly changing every single day,” said Louzon. “So, we thought, why not make an exhibit you can take home?”
With over $10,000 raised on their Kickstarter page already, the anthology is set to be released in August 2017. While the anthology already has an impressive line of featured authors ready to go, the anthology plans on taking sci-fi submissions from the general public up until December of this year.
“We want people to shape the future of the exhibit, and we thought that [accepting submissions] was good way to give people a say in the future. I’m a writer myself, and I wanted to show respect to writers,” said Louzon. “Women have been writing sci-fi since the 1800s and women have been doing this! Our project really wants to highlight how we’ve been engaged.”
How about the future of women in the written sci-fi realm?
“In my personal opinion, women are published well but there’s always room for improvement,” said Louzon. “There’s always room to grow and improve within the genre, and to work towards more equally representing people as a whole. But I think overall, people have noticed that women need more equal representation.”
But change doesn’t come without a force to drive it.
“Keep writing sci-fi! Not just for the anthology, but beyond that. Keep writing, and keep consuming. Without readers and writers, we have no room for change. People can change the sci-fi genre, and I think that’s awesome.”