Ursula K. Le Guin's Perfect Response to an All-Male Sci-Fi Anthology

Author Ursula K. Le Guin in 2004. Photo by JuTa via Creative Commons.

Women have written some of the best, most ground-breaking sci-fi around. But you wouldn’t know that to look at mainstream sci-fi anthologies, which often tend to skew male.

Guardian column Letters of Note dug up an awesome 1987 letter that celebrated author Ursula K. Le Guin wrote to a publisher who asked her to write a blurb for a sci-fi anthology called Synergy: New Science Fiction, Volume 1. The problem with the anthology? It didn’t include any women.

Le Guin’s response was absolutely perfect:

Dear Mr Radziewicz,

I can imagine myself blurbing a book in which Brian Aldiss, predictably, sneers at my work, because then I could preen myself on my magnanimity. But I cannot imagine myself blurbing a book, the first of a new series and hence presumably exemplary of the series, which not only contains no writing by women, but the tone of which is so self-contentedly, exclusively male, like a club, or a locker room. That would not be magnanimity, but foolishness. Gentlemen, I just don’t belong here.

Yours truly,

Ursula K. Le Guin

Physical proof that Le Guin has been a badass since before many of her younger readers were even alive.

by Sarah Mirk
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Sarah Mirk is the former host of Bitch Media’s podcast Popaganda. She’s interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

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