Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bechdel Test Tuesday!

Here we go! Hip hip hooray! I guess I’m in a cheery mood today. Maybe because it’s International Women’s Day? And Mardi Gras? Yes, those must be the reasons :) Also it’s…Bechdel Test Tuesday! For the newcomers, here’s a link to understand the concept of the my weekly meme.

I tried my very best last week to give Philip Roth a pardon with his book The Human Stain…but sorry! No cigar! This week, possibly the most famous science fiction novel of all-time is on trial. Will it survive the test? Let’s find out…
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
1. Does it have at least 2 women in it?
NO. Oh my goodness, it’s already over? One of the most remarkable books of the 20th Century doesn’t make it passed the first question?

Unfortunately the sci-fi genre has always been heavily dominated by and marketed towards men so I shouldn’t be too surprised. But it’s still sad. And on International Women’s Day of all days!
But I can’t let it get me down. I haven’t read any Octavia Butler yet, so there’s hope. Who knows what is in store next week.

Oh and...laissez les bon temps rouler!


Red said...

It's sad to see how many books fail this test. I understand not all of them have to pass it but it'd be nice if more of them did.

The only Butler I've read is Lilith's Brood. If you get a chance you should check it out!

llevinso said...

I know :(
The first Butler on my list is Kindred which isn't really very sci-fi but I'm still excited. And the main character is female, so that's something!

llevinso said...
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llevinso said...
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academic_drifter said...

If you're looking for feminism in science fiction the author to read is Joanna Russ. Oh, and a point of criticism -- I don't know of any sci-fi fan who would regard 2001 as "the most famous science fiction novel of all-time" for two reasons: 1) there are others that are much more famous (War of the Worlds? Dune?), and 2) strictly speaking, Clarke's work wasn't a novel so much as a couple of short stories strung together for the sake of the film.

llevinso said...

Well, I'm not a sci-fi fan, so that's probably one of the reasons I categorized it as such. I've only read a few books in the genre as they generally don't appeal to me (though I did really like 2001), however I'm always looking for new books to expand my horizons (so thanks for the recommendation)! So I should have said "one of the most famous" because I certainly do think it fits there. And yes, the reason it's probably so famous is tied to the film (which I have not seen) but I've talked to many sci-fi fiends and their love for the series and Clarke seems to know no bounds.

academic_drifter said...

I think there's the distinction. While I still don't think 2001 can be regarded as a sci-fi novel (I don't even think it was released as a novel until the film came out) it certainly ranks among the most famous sci-fi films ever made. I think Clarke's popularity as an author comes more from other works, such as Childhood'd End and Rendezvous With Rama, though 2001 certainly raised his profile amongst the public at large.

BTW, if you're interested in feminism in science fiction, there's an interesting chapter-essay in Thomas M. Disch's The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of that you might like which looks at feminism in science fiction. Reading your blog post reminded me a lot of it, as he makes many of the same points when looking at how authors (both male and female) have addressed it within the genre.

llevinso said...

Thanks for the info academic_drifter. I will definitely look into that one! :)