Linking Irresponsibly: The Year’s Best Men and Women

James Nicoll ran some numbers on the numbers of male and female authors in the last five years of each of the major Year’s Best Collections. I am aggregating his numbers here in one place as he spread them across several posts, and I like to have one place to view and compare. He also has a few posts counting comparable numbers for discontinued year’s best series. Following are the tables and links:

Gardner Dozois:

Twenty-Eighth Annual Collection33249
Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection32257
Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection30228
Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection32248
Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection2821½

David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer:

Year’s Best SF 1621156
Year’s Best SF 1524168
Year’s Best SF 1421138
Year’s Best SF 1325187
Year’s Best SF 1226197

Rich Horton (only 3 years here, as he switched from doing an S.F. best to an S.F. & F. best of in 2009):

2011 Edition281611
2010 Edition301713
2009 Edition372215

Mr. Nicoll counts one author in the 2011 edition as mu meaning insufficient information to tell whether the author counts themself as male or female. Some people count themselves as neither, some obscure their gender using pseudonyms, etc. I assume that author in this case is K.J. Parker.

Jonathan Strahan

Volume Five291414
Volume Four2912½16½
Volume Three281711
Volume Two24168
Volume One24177

Again, Mr. Nicoll counts one author in the most recent anthology as mu. Again, I assume that author is the pseudonymous K.J. Parker.

I’ve been collecting Mr. Dozois’ editions for a few years (only missing years one and two). I need to think about whether I will continue to do so. The fact that his collections are pretty consistently 75% male tells me his idea of what is the year’s best story doesn’t fit my idea. I would expect the numbers to cluster around 60% male (sometimes more, sometimes less), which I believe is approximately the ratio of men to women in S.F.W.A. I don’t believe men are writing consistently better stories than women.

I have one of Mr. Strahan’s collections that I picked up this spring when I visited Night Shade’s booth at FOGCon. The booth guy threw in the collection for buying a bunch of books. Historically, I’ve found reading through the Dozois collections to be somewhat slow and I’ve attributed that to having to context switch between stories. But perhaps I’ll find the Strahan collection to be easier on the ears, so to speak. Anyway, time to at least try something different.

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3 Responses to Linking Irresponsibly: The Year’s Best Men and Women

  1. Renay says:

    I can’t say I am surprised, but there’s still just a twinge there about the selections that actually do worse going forward. Sad faces everywhere.

  2. James Davis Nicoll says:

    I’ve tagged all the related entries with f/m:

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