RARA-AVIS: male & female voice

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 28 May 2000

As we used to say in my native Georgia, I don't think this dead skunk is going to get any flatter no matter how many times we run over it. But having just returned from a bookbuying binge in London with Art Scott and Geoff Bradley, I can't resist rolling a tire one last time over this now flat thread.

I completely agree with Bob T. that a very good writer can make us believe anything they want us to believe. That's their business and more power to them. As long as they give me a good story and fine writing, they have fulfilled their end of the contract.

Have I been fooled about gender? Certainly. I was very surprised to learn that James Tiptree Jr. was a woman. Surprised but pleased that she had pulled it off for so long. Of course, Robert Silverberg who wrote an introduction to one of her collections proclaiming his certainty of her maleness had egg on his face but he accepted it gracefully. Whether he thought he had a special psychic ability or not I cannot say. But life does have a way of slapping the absolutism out of people.

Never had a chance to test this with Sandra Scoppettone/Jack Early as Sandra let me in on the secret before I read the Early novels. As I recall our conversations and letters from that time, she adopted the Early name for more than fear of gender bias. She was also convinced that there was an anti-Italian bias among reviewers of that time. A good writer under either name, my favorite novel by her was published under her own name before she was shelved in the mystery section of stores.

On to other topics. While visiting the store "Murder One" in London I picked up a copy of Charles Willefford's WRITING & OTHER BLOOD SPORTS. Cost me 25 pounds but I have had more than that amount of pleasure in just what I was able to sample on the Eurostar train back to Brussels. I am a Willeford fan and love his voice but I think anyone interested in writing would find this collection of his non-fiction pieces (reviews, obituraries, etc.) worth the price.

Richard Moore

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