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:
|Twenty-Eighth Annual Collection||33||24||9|
|Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection||32||25||7|
|Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection||30||22||8|
|Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection||32||24||8|
|Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection||28||21½||6½|
|Year’s Best SF 16||21||15||6|
|Year’s Best SF 15||24||16||8|
|Year’s Best SF 14||21||13||8|
|Year’s Best SF 13||25||18||7|
|Year’s Best SF 12||26||19||7|
Rich Horton (only 3 years here, as he switched from doing an S.F. best to an S.F. & F. best of in 2009):
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.
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.