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Oh, Bulletin

Halt! Help me fund Young Blood, my Mexican vampire novel.

I’m feeling too depressed to make a coherent post about the SFWA shenanigans (and I’m not even a member anymore!). [If you have no idea what I’m talking about, scroll to the bottom of Radish Reviews to see what I mean. Or read this post.]

So, instead, I’m going to put it in pictures.

This is a recent cover of the Bulletin. It has the typical babe in armour of the 80s. It is so retro, when I got that issue I wondered if I had gone back in time. Forget about cheesecake and all that, just as romance covers evolved from the “clinch” into covers like the 50 Shades of Gray which features not a Fabio in sight, most fantasy covers these days go for another look. So why did we do the retro dance for the 200th issue? I have no idea.

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I get the appeal of the sword and sorcery cover, with a warrior fighting or about to fight something, but for an official magazine of a professional writers association couldn’t we get, I dunno, something a bit more modern? More here and now? Less babes and chain mail?

If you think there is possibly no FREAKING WAY you can get a woman doing the sword and sorcery bit without putting her in a swimsuit, below is the cover of the upcoming Sword and Mythos, which I am editing with Paula R. Stiles. (But let’s pause for a second, first). How did I get my lady warrior (sarcasm) into a proper suit of armour?

In the brief I told the painter what I wanted. I said no chain mail and boobies.

Because this was a general consumption antho, not a sexy lady calendar. Had it been a sexy lady calendar, well, different venue, no?

In their latest Bulletin rant, Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg insist, among other things, that they appeared on an issue with a Warrior Woman on the cover. They lie. This is a Warrior Woman:

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Art by Nacho Molina Parra.

They appeared in an issue with Sexy Cheesecake Lady. If they can’t tell the difference, maybe that explains a LOT.

silviamgOh, Bulletin

Comments 3

  1. lguillamon

    I think it is very misguided that some people have labelled this cover as sexist. It is an accurate representation of one branch of sci fi. If I am not mistaken, that is Red Sonja, the female counterpart to Conan the Barbarian, another character who wears barely any clothes. It does indeed have a retro feel, but is having a woman in a metal bikini in some way wrong? I don’t get what the problem is with the human body? I can’t know for sure, but I doubt there would have been as much complaining if Conan had been on the cover.

    Still, that art by Nacho Molina Parra looks awesome!!! As does Young Blood! I wish you all the best with it! :D ¡Suerte!

    1. silviamg Post
      Author
      silviamg

      It’s not just the cover, but the juxtaposition of several issues of the Bulletin which asked women to behave like Barbie (I’m not making that up) and other comments. Furthermore, although this cover might be right at home on the cover of a Red Sonja compilation, the Bulletin is a trade publication of a professional writer’s association. It looked not only bizarrely retro, but this was not a special issue of heroic fantasy or anything of the sort, and having cheesecake on the cover of such a publication, for no good reason, is problematic. If you want to buy a Boris Vallejo calendar and have 12 months of cheesecake that’s fine, but SFWA’s Bulletin is (supposedly) the official voice of the organization representing professional writers.

      Like I mention in this post (http://silviamoreno-garcia.com/blog/2013/06/future-of-the-bulletin/) about the future of the Bulletin, I wouldn’t mind seeing retrospective stuff like Pulp Covers: An Evolution from the 20s to the 50s or Cheesecake, Beefcake and their Impact on Speculative Fiction Covers or The 1960s Gothic Novel: Grandmother of Paranormal Romances? But this cover came with no editorial context or acknowledgment, and was one of many things that went wrong with the Bulletin. I expect better content and better editorial context of a trade magazine.

    2. Steve3742

      “It does indeed have a retro feel, but is having a woman in a metal bikini in some way wrong?”

      Well, it’s a little impractical, to say the least. Armour is meant to protect, which means as much coverage as possible. And wearing chainmail with nothing underneath can lead to chafing in some particularly sensitive areas. Then, too, the climate doesn’t seem particularly suited for chainmail. It looks like a temperate, northern Europe type climate, rather than a tropical setting. In short, it would provide no protection and be uncomfortable to the point of being dangerous.

      Of course, you can’t expect 100% realism in fantasy. But if you ask why these particular unrealistic bits have been put in, the answer will simply be because they wanted a half naked woman on the cover. And whilst I’m not immune to the attraction of a half-naked woman, I agree with Silvia in saying that the cover of a magazine of a professional writers association isn’t the place for this.

      As for Red Sonja, yes, that’s probably who she’s based on. But I’ve always disliked the chainmail bikini aspect of that character (which Dave Sim lampooned particularly well in the early Cerebus issues.) Esteban Maroto has a lot to answer for

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