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"gender" Topic

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543 hits since 11 Dec 2015
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Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2015 2:31 a.m. PST

This started over a discussion with friends: can you tell the gender of a writer of fiction by the style of the writing?

Please note: there is nothing pejorative suggested by this.
Different or distinctive: not better or worse.

I maintain no but I'm open to other opinions.

XRaysVision11 Dec 2015 5:49 a.m. PST

I've not been able to.

zoneofcontrol11 Dec 2015 6:02 a.m. PST

Not always, but with lots of practice I have been able to narrow it down to a 50-50 probability.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2015 6:44 a.m. PST

Same same.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2015 6:49 a.m. PST

I don't know – I usually have a good idea from the author's name on the cover.

Tanith Lee, Marion Zimmer Bradley – gals.
Isaac Asimov, Arthur Clarke – chaps.

George Elliot – well, I know so I can't use that as a test.

When reading TMP posts I think I could guess the gender ~97% of the time. Maybe more.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Dec 2015 7:29 a.m. PST

I've never been interested in the gender of a writer.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Dec 2015 7:53 a.m. PST


I don't know that I've cared whether a man or a woman wrote a book but sometimes I've read things and it has certainly made me wonder a lot about the writer. What gender they are, how old they were, when they were writing, what their back ground was?

All of those things inform what was written and might give you a better understanding of why it was written the way it was.

From reading I can sometimes tell the gender of a writer but it isn't something I'd put any money on.

For example, other than she is a better writer, it would be difficult to tell the difference between Edith Wharton and Henry James from their subject matter often.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member11 Dec 2015 7:59 a.m. PST

Depends on the author.

Parzival11 Dec 2015 8:13 a.m. PST

Yes. But not always, and most of the time it doesn't matter.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2015 8:53 a.m. PST

I'm gonna say no.

Skeets Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2015 9:03 a.m. PST


haywire Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2015 9:06 a.m. PST

Never cared

goragrad11 Dec 2015 3:58 p.m. PST

Alice Mary North wrote under the pseudonym of Andre Norton apparently to avoid gender bias. Apparently Catherine L. Moore did the same by using only her first initial.

I was rather pleased to find out that Andre was actually Alice.

As I was when I discovered that Frank Yerby was black/African American/Negro. It explained some of the secondary plot lines and details, while showing the gender, race, etc. are secondary to being a good writer.

Not to go fezzy, but orientation and political leanings appear to be far more detectable in writing.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2015 3:12 p.m. PST

I've never been interested in the gender of a writer.

Never? Particularly with favourite writers, I find any biographical data quite interesting.

I've possibly read more about Jane Austen than I've read of her works. Ditto Dickens.

Gender is but another aspect of who they are.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2015 11:59 p.m. PST

Upon reflection there have been a few books my wife and I both read where we felt male authors did not write convincing first person female narrators. We really like Jasper Fford's Thursday Next novels, but she doesn't seem like a woman, at least to us. My wife calls her a "female man". I think John Varley was the other author, and Steel Beach the book, but I might be wrong.

On the other hand, I've never read a female writer I felt was writing male characters unconvincingly.

Inkpaduta Inactive Member21 Dec 2015 9:40 a.m. PST

I would say yes when it comes to historical fiction especially if set during a war. I find that most women authors have much more "talk" and less action.

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