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Boy Fiction?

I usually make it a policy not to comment on reviews, especially negative reviewers. When you put your art out there in the marketplace on public view, some are going to like and some are going to hate it. Comes with the territory. And like Superchicken always said, I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.

Normally, I would not even comment on something as spectacularly wrong-headed and condescending as the review of the HBO series GAME OF THRONES recenltly published in the NEW YORK TIMES. There have been dozens and dozens of reviews of the show coming out all over the place, in newspaper and magazines, on television and radio, and of course on the web. Most, I am pleased to say, have been very good, but of course there are some bad ones as well. C'est la vie.

((Okay, I will confess, it does cheese me when I come across a reviewer who simply hates all fantasy. I had hoped that kind of literary snobbism was extinct, or nearly so. Maybe not.))

But the startling assertion in the TIMES review that women could not possibly like fantasy unless a lot of graphic sex was added to it (??) has prompted me to break my "no comment" rule. At least to extent of this post.

I see this morning that legions of female fantasy readers and self-proclaimed "geek girls" and "scifi chicks" have risen up all over the internet to say all the things that I'm too polite and too busy to say. And a lot more besides. I'd link to their blogs and posts here, but it would take hours. Google will lead you to them, if you're interested. It would seem that so many outraged emails and posts poured into the TIMES that they had to shut down the comments section for the review.

I am not going to get into it myself, except to say
(1) if I am writing "boy fiction," who are all those boys with breasts who keep turning up by the hundreds at my signings and readings?
and
(2) thank you, geek girls! I love you all.

Comments

( 388 comments )
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demicent
Apr. 16th, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)
I love how your books introduce us to female characters with widely varying personalities, but they are all compelling and believable. Your portrayal of women was one of the things that hooked me on the series. I'd read it with or without the sex scenes.

- A 56 year old female fan
corrinalaw
Apr. 16th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you
We at GeekMom.com love you right back. We were one of the legions of people responding to that review, which seemed to manage the triple play of insulting women, Tolkien, and male fantasy fans all at once.
ladyeleonora
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
Fantasy reading Geek Girl and proud. In the words of a certain wildling woman I'd say "You know nothing Ginia Bellafante"

We love you to Martin <3
dragonkit2
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
Boy fiction? Not at all. Your female characters are powerful and inspiring! I adore Dany.

Psh, boy fiction my socks.

Geek girls for the win!
babyraven
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
Well, aside from being completely ignorant of the actual series and showing she really doesn't grok Arya's storyline at all, that reviewer just shows she herself doesn't think much of women.

Perhaps all SHE is interested in is graphic sex, but hey, some of us like things like, oh, political intrigue and well-written drama. Some of us actually like using our brains while enjoying our entertainment.

Thanks for speaking up for us, George.
soustacaresse
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
WOW Dude... Really? I'm pretty sure I'm female... hell, I'm even feminine, and this is the best series there is.

The Times is just... wrong.
froda_baggins
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
We quite like you, too, sir.

And I'd hardly deign to call that screed in the Times a "review".
vivvianne1
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
We love you too!!
kalikahuntress
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)
This post has put a huge smile on my face and we geek girls do love you, even the non-geek girls too. I know quite a few women and men who aren't into fantasy or sci-fi; but love your books because they are so well-written. I feel bad that this Ginia felt so intimidated by your story that she attacked both genders and made a fool of herself all in one blow.
meistergedanken
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:25 am (UTC)
We here in 'flyover country' don't call it the New York 'Slimes' for nothing!

Now go a little farther: if they get this so spectacularly wrong, just think about all the OTHER stuff they get wrong....this is merely symptomatic of a greater disease.

In other words, stop worrying about Fox News, and see the Gray Lady for what she really is: a bitchy, catty, disingenuous whore.
fiendebass
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
Srsly..
Some of my favorite fantasy authors are women. Who can forget Robin Hobb or Naomi Novik?? Boy fiction ruules :D
agentclaudia
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
And the New York Times continues its decline into irrelevancy. I'm glad this crap is getting such attention, though: maybe sometime I'll stop hearing otherwise intelligent people referring to the NYT as some sort of "liberal" paper.

Anyway, thanks for sticking up for us, George! I also want to echo the thanks that so many other sci-fi/fantasy geek ladies have posted here already, for writing a rich, engaging, epic series with such a variety of strong, well-written, complex female characters.
hadgm
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
<--- Geek girl right here! We love you too!!!
mj_automatic
Apr. 17th, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
here I am commenting again, but...my heart breaks for this reviewer. By assuming that ASoIaF is "boy fiction", she is denying herself the experience of discovering such characters like Daenerys, Arya, Sansa, and Brienne.

In all the fiction I've read over the years, I'd be hard-pressed to find female characters as strong, as compelling, and as complex and flawed as the Dragon Queen and The Maid of Tarth.

People who dismiss the whole genre out of hand are only cheating themselves.

GoT aside, I can also think of a dozen well-written fantasy series written by women, which are centered on female characters and are also terribly sexually explicit. That reviewer is missing out on some of some hot readin'.

Oh, well, it is her loss.
guyminuslife
Apr. 17th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
What would Arya Stark say?
I'm imagining she wouldn't say anything, she'd just roll her eyes and keep practicing with Needle.

Perhaps Daenerys would quip that she was "only a young girl, and don't understand all this swords and magic stuff. Lineages and heraldry go right over my poor little head!"

But Cersei Lannister would be the worst. (Isn't she always?) I'm sure she'd glower at the suggestion that her ambition to rule was "boy stuff," and might arrange an unfortunate accident for a certain New York Times reviewer.

All I can say is, I'm glad that the Internet is somewhat more civil than Westeros.
Elena Amici
Apr. 17th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC)
Re: What would Arya Stark say?
well, arya stark would say something like "Arya Stark:
Ginia Bellafante, Nancy Derewolf Smith, Kate O’Hare and Caryn James. Weese, Dunsen, Chiswyck, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling. The Tickler and the Hound. Ser Gregor, Ser Amory, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, King Joffrey, Queen Cersei. Valar Morghulis" ;)
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( 388 comments )

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