Mary Robinette Kowal Offers Herself Up as a Useful Representative Example
Mary doesn’t need me to defend her, and she hasn’t asked for my support. She has the latter anyway. Mary is without question one of the most competent people I know, and I know because I have worked with her directly, and did for years. Anyone who suggests she is other than competent is, bluntly, wrong. They also, bluntly, call into question their own ability to evaluate competence.
Likewise, anyone who would publicly characterize a woman who has reached the highest levels of two separate creative fields (puppeteering and speculative fiction), winning awards and acclaim in both, and who has offered up a significant amount of her personal time and effort to work on behalf of others in her fields as “no one you should have heard of, and no one you should concern yourself with” is so deeply and profoundly wrong that the only thing they should feel at such an appallingly ridiculous dismissal is shame.
How many more award nominations and wins does she have to have before she is somebody, I wonder? How many more books does she have to publish? How many more television shows does she have to work on? How many more years of unpaid, volunteer service to the trade organizations in her field does she have to offer? How many more years of abject, unambiguous and wholly undeserved contempt does she have to endure before she is allowed to be someone “you should have heard of”? Well, and of course, the answer is that for some people nothing she does will ever be enough. When you’ve decided such a woman is an “unperson,” then you will go out of your way to make sure other people see her that way too.
Mary Robinette Kowal is a wonderful writer whose works you all should read. She is an award winner in a happily competitive field. I speak from direct experience when I say that no one has given more of her time, effort and expertise on behalf of other science fiction and fantasy writers than she has, despite the fact that there have always been at least a few of those writers benefiting from her work who have treated her, well, poorly. I admire her immensely, as a writer, as a colleague and as a friend.
To those who call this incredibly competent, talented, lauded and laudable woman “no one you should have heard of” — Good god. You could not in this life or any other be more wrong about that. The woman in question is too gracious to say it. I, however, most emphatically am not.