And there you have it. The default voice/viewpoint of F&SF is white, Middle American, male – and doesn’t even try to reach out and become the Other imaginatively. Where’s the alien archeologist exploring the remains of post-Catastrophe Terra, trying not to get shot by sling-armed natives as gtst loots, ahem, recovers the artifacts from the tombs of their ancestors, the Renaissance kabbalist trying tragically to wield mystic power against oppression in Isabella’s regime, the Queen of California’s reaction to conquistadors arriving on her shores as she saddles up the gryphons? Even the female writers self-identify with the patriarchy, even when reviewing Tiptree.
From here, which in all fairness is described as “a red-hot rant of a review”. The issue under discussion is the October/November 2006 issue — you’ll want to familiarise yourself with the table of contents here, since the reviewer pretty much expects you to know and just keep up. Let it be noted that the issue includes stories by Geoff Ryman (“The mind boggles – mine at least – at the amount of hubris and Western Privilege entailed in this endeavor, particularly given what I know about contemporary Cambodia”), Carol Emshwilller (“… nothing subversive or original here, yeah Strong Women On Their Own only they behave utterly conventionally in the Wimmen Are Naturally Wicked, Wanton, Jealous, Untrustworthy, Cruel & Uncooperative left to themselves without men to govern us”), and Paolo Bacigalupi (which is the part of the review that really made my head spin; it’s also how I discovered the post, since it links to my review, which obviously came over as less critical than intended), and that the patriarchy-self-identifying Tiptree reviewer mentioned is Elizabeth Hand.
EDIT: Just to be clear about this: the reason the above-linked review frustrated me, and the reason I linked to it, is not that I disagree with its assessments of the stories under consideration, though I do in almost every case, but that by being so sloppy in detail, by drawing such damning conclusions about the beliefs of the authors in question on the basis of such weak evidence, and by embracing such a hostile tone it makes itself too easy to dismiss. That seems a waste to me, because the actual issues involved are, self-evidently, important.