Gentlemen, I just don’t belong here

In 1987, multi-award winning author Ursula K. Le Guin was asked to supply a blurb for Synergy: New Science Fiction, Volume 1, the first in a new four-part series of anthologies edited by George Zebrowski which intended to showcase science fiction stories from authors both established and up-and-coming. For Ursula K. Le Guin, however, the book was notable not for its stories but for its complete absence of women’s voices. She reacted by way of this brief letter.

(This letter can be found in the book, More Letters of Note. Sign up for the Letters of Note newsletter to receive similarly interesting correspondence in your inbox.)

The Letter

John Radziewicz
Senior Editor
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
111 5th Ave
New York NY 10003

Dear Mr Radziewicz,

I can imagine myself blurbing a book in which Brian Aldiss, predictably, sneers at my work, because then I could preen myself on my magnanimity. But I cannot imagine myself blurbing a book, the first of the series, which not only contains no writing by women, but the tone of which is so self-contentedly, exclusively male, like a club, or a locker room. That would not be magnanimity, but foolishness. Gentlemen, I just don’t belong here.

Yours truly,
Ursula K. Le Guin