A feminist manifesto from the front lines of fantasy fiction, Internet flaming, and Gamergate battles.
In caricature, geek culture is typically male, but Hugo Award winner Hurley (The Mirror Emperor, 2014, etc.) aims to upend those stereotypes, which persist throughout the culture at large. The author is a prolific writer of science fiction novels, a field long dominated by males, a provocative blogger on feminist and cultural issues, an incisive critic, and an angry voice. She also pays her bills and receives medical benefits (which help offset chronic disease) from her career as an advertising copywriter and somehow can “still write the 1500 to 3000 words of fiction-related work and associated blog posts I do every day.” A lot of writing can lead to a lot of repetition in a collection of blog posts and other essays, though there’s plenty of inspiration here for promising writers and for young women drawn to a culture where sexism is rife. “At its heart,” writes Hurley, “this collection is a guidebook for surviving not only the online world and the big media enterprises that use it as story fodder, but sexism in the wider world. It should inspire every reader, every fan, and every creator to participate in building that better future together.” The contents range all over the map, as has the author, who “traveled throughout my twenties—eight different countries—and moved nine times in nine years.” Some essays veer toward memoir, others offer advice on writing (fiction, advertising, or both), and many more are political and cultural broadsides, drawn from her viral blog posts and the responses they’ve generated. It can occasionally feel that readers are only receiving half the experience, as posts sustain a life of their own online, with a reach far beyond the pages of a book.
Passion and commitment permeate the writing as Hurley illuminates the online cultural vanguard from a feminist’s perspective.