SciFi networks and gender

scifiSciFi literature has a connotation of being a male thing, but I had no idea how far this gender stereotype went. As usual, I need to see a network before I learn something new. So I recently bumped into the webpage of “Hidden Worlds: Masking Gender in Science Fiction“. It collected data on authors of SciFi literature and their publishers. However, the author information the project gathered only includes female authors writing under male or gender-neutral pseudonyms. On their homepage you can see a network of these authors connected to their publishing houses, in a nice interactive interface that allows you to explore the network for yourself (using a Gephi plugin). What is more interesting, however, is the network that shows the different network patterns for authors who wrote under gender masking pseudonyms and those who did not. On this page you can see the authors who wrote under gender-masking pseudonyms are published by the same publishing houses, more so than authors who do not mask their gender. The webpage also shows how this network changes over time, from the 1950s to the 2000s. I did not find the time to read the accompanying paper in detail, but it looks like an interesting and thought-provoking use of network visualisations. Cool stuff!

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