A couple of days ago, james_davis_nicoll
posted a list of women SF authors who got their start in the 70's
), and I happily copied out the list, bolded and italicized as appropriate, and then looked over my results and thought, huh. So, these other authors that I don't know... they probably wrote some great stuff. Some of them are names I'd heard of and *know* they've written some shiny books, which I just never had or got around to; some are total strangers to me, and they must be at least noteworthy to make it onto the list. (I'm assuming that more than 50 women wrote at least one SF book or short story in the 70s, and that these are prolific, award-winning, or groundbreaking authors.)
So I went looking for their ebooks (because I don't read paper anymore if I can avoid it), and... damn. About half have nothing available at all. A handful only have DRM'd ebooks (and you can guess who those are); the rest tend to have a small selection, often a few short stories only.( 20 with DRM-free ebooks )
I didn't list Amazon books; other than being sure that the Agency 6 books are all DRM'd, I have no way of telling if a Kindlebook is DRM-free. A handful of others have ebooks available (Anne Rice and Kurtz's Deryni novels are both available from Agency 6
publishers; a few others have DRM'd ebooks available) but almost half are out of print entirely.
This, THIS is why we need copyright reform: so that important works of art & culture aren't lost, so that our children can read the books that were important to our childhoods. Because waiting another 50+ years for some of these to hit the public domain means "by the time this book is freely available for copying, not only is there almost no chance of commercial value, there'll be no cultural context for it."
Much of science fiction ages poorly; we're now able to look at the books of the 70's with a critical eye, noting what worked & what didn't, what guesses were right and which were entirely off-base. In another 50-100 years? Nobody will care who predicted cellphones and who thought we'd have colonies on the moon by now. Nobody will understand how groundbreaking some gender-focused stories were. Nobody will know why it mattered that the name on the book jacket was a woman's name.