What is the FemSFBookswap?

We’re a group of readers and writers who love science fiction, fantasy, and horror. We’re frustrated at the lack of female authors represented on some award ballots. We want to bring greater attention to wonderful books and short fiction written by women. And, in doing so, read a lot of great fiction ourselves. We’re dedicated to the idea that women should be able to participate in our genre’s awards process despite lack of resources or funding. We believe in the power of community to affect change.

Okay, tell me more

The idea for the FemSFBookswap grew out of the frustration many readers felt upon seeing the 2006 Hugo nomination list. There are, undoubtedly, many great books and stories on that list. However, there is only one female author in any of the 7 categories for writers. Very often it takes less than 20 nominations for a work of fiction or writer to make in on this nomination list. So why aren’t women better represented?

There are many reasons, money and access amongst them. In order to nominate works, people have to read new books and stories (ideally). New books are expensive, libraries aren’t always quick to acquire them, and forget about magazines. However, money and access should not hinder readers who care from participating in the nomination process of any big award in which we can have a say. Be it the Hugos, the World Fantasy Award, even the Nebulas. So, we formed this group.

How it works

The SFBookswap is mainly a nexus of information about books and stories written by women, so most of what you’ll see here are reviews or links to free fiction. The swapping happens in two different ways.

Foremost, it’s amongst the reviewers themselves. These are readers who agree to review all of the books they receive and often pass them on, either to other reviewers or interested SFBookswap community members. If you’d like to get in on the online swapping, just keep up with the blog. In each review the poster will indicate if the book is available for swap. You can also hang out on the free-form discussion board, where community members are encouraged to swap the books or magazines they have.

Every now and then we’ll put out a call for new reviewers. If you’re interested, just comment!

Other swapping opportunities will come at SF conventions. Whenever there’s a convention where several reviewers and swappers are going to attend (WisCon is a big one) we’ll set up a time for us to gather and swap books and magazines. Again, keep an eye on the free-form discussion page for upcoming cons and who’s attending.

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