St. Martin’s Press has crossed my mind a few times lately, though I worked there only briefly, in the early 90s:
•Fellow former St. Martin’s editorial assistant Alex Kuczynski has been criticized for her supposedly cavalier writing about hiring a surrogate mom.
•Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote in this month’s Reason about the St. Martin’s sci-fi imprint Tor being friendly to libertarian tales (as William F. Buckley put it the only time I ever spoke to him: “Science fiction is rather conducive to conveying libertarian values”).
She also mentions an editor who left, named Baen, who started an explicitly libertarian/conservative/military-themed sci-fi book publishing company. I mentioned that company in one of my decade-ago New York Post sci-fi reviews, even though my editor thought it was weird to comment on a publishing company instead of a book. Alas, the Baen books I read were mostly awful and sounded like third-rate military thrillers with “Soviet” taken out and “Rigellian” put in, and I said so — so let no one claim I put politics before art. Perhaps they’ve improved over the years, though.
Mangu-Ward also forwarded this link to ad images from vintage chemistry sets for kids — with girls present as equals in the 1928, absent in mid-century, and on their own separate but equal chemistry set by the time the Sexual Revolution arrives, whatever we conclude from that.
•But the reason St. Martin’s warrants mention in this Month of Feminism is the following panopticon-like tale, fraught with sexual politics, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I recently met up with my novelist friend Katherine Taylor in her boyfriend’s apartment. I mentioned that the beautiful Flatiron Building across the street (one of the oldest skyscrapers) is home to St. Martin’s, which is also publishing Katherine’s novels. She said, I know that now but didn’t until I called to talk to my editors and mentioned I’d been wandering around my boyfriend’s eighteenth-floor-or-so apartment without clothes on all day…to which they said, Uh, we may have seen you…does he live across from the Flatiron Building…?
Does this mean Katherine has been exploited by her publishing company? Has she sexually harassed her editors? Perhaps everyone wins.
(As it happens, she also just got back from a trip to Switzerland, a country which in addition to being rather libertarian and a bit boring did not allow women to vote until 1971, a couple years after my birth and not too many years prior to Katherine’s. This raises an obvious question that, given the seriousness of the issues touched on in this Month of Feminism, may warrant thorough discussion: Might Switzerland’s freedom and prosperity be causally tied to disenfranchising women?)