Tangent Online addresses the problematic issue of gender issues in author identification with an ingenious solution:
While we applaud Lightspeed’s recent groundbreaking, progressive Women Destroy SF and Queers Destroy SF special issues, we feel they didn’t go far enough. To effect change one must not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. Women and Queers are not the only groups destroying science fiction, for those who champion such a worthwhile social cause as androgyny are at fault too. These forward-thinking social futurists should be given their just due as androgyny is perhaps the most important social issue facing science fiction practitioners today, and which, for the most part, the SF community has chosen to ignore with its retrograde thinking in regards to the problem of gender inequality and gender bias in its fiction.
With greater frequency (which we welcome, but is still a small percentage of the fiction published in the magazines and in book form today), science fiction stories with nameless protagonists or ancillary characters are at the forefront of the androgynous revolution. But only in the field’s fiction do we see how it might work, as fictive experiments, so much enlightened theory on paper—food for thought and nothing more. If the lofty goal of the Androgyny Revolution is to reveal unconscious bias and prejudice in fiction by rendering invisible the gender of its characters then the same ideology should just as readily reveal bias and prejudice in other areas of the real world, but not if gender assignation is permitted to continue.
Therefore, Tangent Online will show how the philosophy, the core defining predicates of androgyny can be applied to non-fiction as well as fiction and how in other ways it should be applied to areas of our real world lives. Thus, the table of contents for the August issue of Lightspeed below will contain only story titles—no author names; for revealing an author’s name would give immediate rise to the same conscious or unconscious bias we find in so much of our fiction. As well, the name of the reviewer is not mentioned for the same reason. Following the lead of the special Women and Queers Destroy SF issues of Lightspeed, you will find an essay following the review. Its author is also nameless, as it should be. It is the content of the words which truly matter and not who penned them. Content over author or editor is the only way to go in the Androgyny Revolution.
Lightspeed and its companion magazine Nightmare have seen the light and no longer showcase author names on their covers. Only the magazine title and subtitle, issue number and issue date are shown for each. The exception being that the editor’s name is prominently displayed on every cover. We can forgive this seeming contradiction to the basic canons of the androgynous movement because it is a given that the editor’s name on the cover of any magazine is perforce a more lucrative marketing strategy than displaying author names—those who provide the content for which the potential buyer is shelling out their beer money. It works, and so we give it a pass because we all already know the editor is really one of “us” (yes, this previous knowledge leads to bias but since the editor thinks like we do it’s no big deal; insider exceptions are one of our most sacred, binding rules).
There is no end to progess in the SJW quest to bring about a more perfect world. So brave. Thank you for this.