cover of The Battle of the Sexes in Science FictionIt took four years of solid research and writing to produce The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction. I wrote it as my PhD thesis so much of that research and writing was funded by the Australian government’s Postgraduate Award scheme as well as the University of Sydney’s funding for overseas conferences and research. Then there was the informal funding provided by my parents, John Bern and Jan Larbalestier, and my boyfriend at the time, Geoff Horne (for which eternal thanks!). Not to mention the part-time and casual work I did as a tutor, a researcher, and IT support.

Serious research requires ridiculous amounts of time and money even in the humanities where researchers (mostly—but think of archeologists) don’t require fancy equipment. I have no idea how scientists, engineers and the like manage. In addition to the funding I received I was also helped by a huge number of people in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America: librarians (I love librarians), professional and amateur scholars, people in the science fiction community, my family and friends. So many people that the acknowledgements for Battle take up five whole pages!

Below is a link to a talk I gave in 2002 which reveals the true story of researching and writing The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction: the nightmare of picking a PhD topic (for any editors who read this account—I’m very happy to write books on rejected topics for shut-up or above amounts of money), the horror of international air travel and attending science fiction conventions, the gruelling hours hunched over mouldering science fiction magazines and fanzines, fearing at every minute that someone else had come up with the exact same idea and was going to publish first. Read on, but remember it is not for the faint of heart.

Researching The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction

In the essay I refer to a book I was working on at the time about the New York Futurians and Judith Merril. A book I was unable to complete because my funding ran out. I have reams of material and have even written a proposal and the first few chapters. As soon as I can afford to I plan to finish it. Like I said, research is an expensive proposition! Any editors out there: scads of dosh will tempt me into finishing it sooner rather than later.