Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Reader vs. Author Gender

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

There is a meme that shows up now and then in my twitter stream (today for example) and it goes something like this: women will read books regardless if they are written by men or by women, but men tend to read books only by men.

My experience is the opposite.

My very rough estimate is that only 20% of my readers are women. This is based on such things as reader emails received over the years, “Likes” on my facebook page, people who comment on my blog, people on twitter who are interested in my work, and statistics on a recent sale of a story of mine republished as an ebook.

All of my readers are fantastic. Men and women both are incredibly supportive and I would be nothing without them…but more and more I can’t help wondering why more women don’t read my work.

Yes, it’s true that most of my work has been hard science fiction – generally assumed to be a genre dominated by male readers and I don’t disagree, but still – why don’t more women read my work? Is it simply the label “hard SF”? But don’t women read “everything,” regardless?

In the last couple of years I’ve put out two “scoundrel lit” fantasy novels, darkly humorous and very concerned with male/female relationships. So far as I can tell, mostly men have read them.

I don’t think I write for any particular gender. I write the books I want to read. I often write from the male point of view, but probably just as often I write from the female point of view. I like to think there is a great deal of emotion in my stories, and that there are meaningful relationships.

So why don’t more women read my books? What is it in general that determines if men or women will read a book?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, men and women both.

Father’s Day

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Jack Webb, age 20, US Army Air Corp

1950s: the cowboy hat disappeared in later years

Fishing off Honolulu


There’s been a widespread discussion on the web these past few weeks about women writing science fiction. Today is Father’s Day here in the USA, so I’d just like to say the person most responsible for getting me interested in science fiction was this man right here, my dad, Jack Webb.

These days I think most dads know they need to encourage sons and daughters both to believe in themselves, to try new stuff, to be smart, self-reliant, and to develop an adventurous spirit. Back in the sixties and seventies, when I was a kid, that was still fairly rare if you were a girl.

My dad though, was ahead of his time. Because he was always looking for the next adventure, I grew up variously on the back of a motorcycle, riding horses, getting ill on fishing boats, hiking, camping, and flying between the Hawaiian Islands in little two and four-seater airplanes. My dad was also always sharing his interest in science and gadgets, and would never bat an eye when I would proclaim that I was going to grow up to be a primatologist, or an aeronautical engineer, or go to the air force academy. Never once do I remember hearing, “Girls don’t do that sort of thing.”

He was also always reading, fiction and non-fiction both, but always lots of science fiction, and naturally I followed along.

So for better or worse I blame my dad for setting me on the path to writing science fiction. It starts at home, guys, as most of you young dads already know.

My dad read all my books. He was my biggest fan and quite convinced I was the best writer out there, as a loyal dad should be.

He passed away five years ago at the age of 82. He lived a very full life.

Alastair Reynolds on Vast

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

I started noticing a definite uptick in the ebook sales of my novel Vast this past week and wondered why. Google Alerts proved useless in tracking down the reason, but my blog stats provided a clue that led me back to Alastair Reynolds’ blog, who has some really kind things to say about the book–and so do his commenters. Check it out here.

You can sample the book at the links below. Vast, in ebook form, will also be available from in July, and the print version will be out later this summer. USA
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble