Military SF is, fundamentally, a politically conservative genre… the wild-eyed revolutionary firebrand and the generally stable — even, one might say, socially rigid — institution of the military tend to get along about as well as a house on fire… That conservatism is most glaring, though, in my opinion, when it comes to the position of female characters and non-“western” cultures.
As examples she cites a few authors (Shepherd, Drake, etc.), but suggests they come up short in their attempts to portray different cultures - inventing the unique term “Irish Chineseness” in the process. Scalzi, however, is the only author she cites as bucking this trend.
There are lots of places to start in dissecting her arguments, and lots of places where we agree (e.g., we need more diversity in our military SF). I was going to write an entire “but, but, but, you didn’t even MENTION Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War” post (this is a glaring omission) but then I looked at the comments. As usual I’m late to the game; others have raised this issue on the Tor blog so no analysis will be forthcoming from me (for now). Plus, upon reaching the end of her article it struck me that before I decide if this is worth my time, I’d like to see Ms. Bourke’s response to the multiple Forever War comments.
In the meantime, Livie Tidhar’s tweet sums things up nicely: “ha, ha, that Liz Bourke, trouble maker!”
Instead I’ll leave you with this self-serving reminder: make sure you register for WorldCon so you can nominate for the Hugo and Campbell Awards!!!!!