I have a new paper out! It’s only the second time I’ve co-written a paper, but this was a particularly easy experience, writing it as I was with Ryn Yee, who is currently a grad student at the Centre for Science Communication at Otago University, which is where I got my PhD. Ryn and I are both big speculative fiction fans, and when we saw that the SFRA Review had a call for papers for a special symposium on sexual violence and science fiction… well, to be honest, I noped out of that one pretty quickly. It’s not a subject matter I was particularly interested in exploring.
But then Ryn and I got chatting, which quickly became ranting, about a shared hatred of that worst of science fiction tropes: repopulating the world after apocalypse. Rarely have I seen this trope handled in an appealing way. More often, it’s used as a narrative “justification” (and I use the term very loosely) to excuse a constant assault on women and girls.
I hate these storylines. Ryn hates them too. If the subject matter didn’t initially inspire us, spite and the opportunity to rip this stupid trope to shreds had us writing a paper that was, I’m happy to say, accepted. The paper, “Sexual Assault After Apocalypse: The Limited Logic of Natural Selection” is free to read with the rest of the symposium articles here. Please read with care, as it’s a horrible topic.
I shall probably never write about it again. Once was enough. I’d happily co-author another paper with Ryn, though, because they were excellent to work with. Thanks, Ryn!