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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?
(2) thank you, geek girls! I love you all.


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Apr. 19th, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC)
And we love you!
Apr. 19th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
I'm a proud geek girl!
Apr. 19th, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
Sex & chicks
I think that the person who wrote the review at the NYTimes didn't read your books. If he had, he "might" have noticed that sex is an important part of your books.
In my opinion, the first episode is an introduction to the characters as it is in the book. It could've been better but the review is not focused in the right way.
By the way, congratulations for your books...but...what are you doing reading my poor english???? You should be working on your next book!!!! :-P
Tracey Stewart
Apr. 20th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
We love you too, needless to say
There's plenty being said on Goodreads.com - including a new GeekGirls reading group. (The first book? The Hobbit.)

Thank you, Mr. Martin - I've been a geeky fangirl of yours since Vincent. Other people's ignorance isn't bliss, it's absurd.
Apr. 20th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you from the bottom of my heart
Mr. Martin, I was one of the 'boys with breast' who turned up to defend the female geek fan base of your incredible series. Ms. Jones by far, angered me the most. I just want to thank you for writing this. It warms my heart knowing that you read our comments and know how much you and your series mean to us. I feel like you just gave all us ladies one wonderful bear hug. Thank you!
Apr. 21st, 2011 03:52 am (UTC)
I never leave comments but this nonsense has been flowing through the internet for days. It made me really mad when I first heard it. I have loved your books for years and can't imagine where people get these ideas. (I have also been following Not-a-Blog for years, hoping and praying that I'd eventually hear that ADwD was on the way...and I got that wish this year, too!)

Your work is fantastic so don't let the critics get to you. This particular argument on their part is so erroneous it could be laughable if it wasn't insulting to those of us women who truly have had a passion for this series for a very long time and don't appreciate the fact that this isn't being recognized as a possibility.

Keep it up! Can't wait for July 12!!
Apr. 21st, 2011 02:28 pm (UTC)
just who do they think we are...
I don't know about the rest of the readers out there but it sounds like they haven't even read the series of books... I guess they think if it's not sparkly vampires? targeted at tweens then it must be 'boy?' fiction???
With all the drama (and I mean DRAAMA...but in a good way) that is in the books, it almost plays out like a soap opera 'that hasn't had a new episode in 4-5yrs' :P . (No offense Mr. Martin, I'm a big fan, I just couldn't resist typing that after it popped in my head.) I'll just leave it at that... don't want to give away any spoilers.

Forgive my bastardizing punctuation useage.

Apr. 21st, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
I'm one of your biggest Geek Girl fans! Yes I have met you and the only words I could utter were "I love Arya, please don't kill her off!" The article was terrible.
Apr. 21st, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
I don't get HBO but I'm going to have to buy the book on the strength of the review alone.
Apr. 22nd, 2011 12:26 am (UTC)
Geek girls <3 you too, sir! :-D
Apr. 22nd, 2011 01:00 am (UTC)
Yes, I sent a profanity laced tirade to the Times before it even went viral. Idiots.
Apr. 22nd, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
To do the inverse...
I was not horribly offended by the article, at least at first.

However, while I will admit I have not yet picked up one of the books of this series, it is an oversight that is soon to be rectified. I have heard good things, both from men and women, and being a geek girl myself, feel the sudden desperate urge to read any of these books.

So, in summary, Mr. Martin, you can thank this rather offensive reviewer for at least one more (and probably many more) book sales. So, her pigheadedness served only to help you in the end. And, you know even further the strength of your fandom. May every good author have your luck. ;)
Apr. 23rd, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
NY Times made me a man book lover.
I got my girl friend started with the HBO series, she was just blown away. Now she is reading the first book, she has not stopped reading it all week.

I showed her the NY Times article and she almost broke her laptop. She asked me if I liked boys with breasts (after reading Mr. Martin's post) I said I don't think so. She then bared her breasts at me and made me believer.

Thank you NY Times, for making me like man boobs.
Apr. 23rd, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
Times ?
You know what? I am a female, I love all your books, and have turned plenty of friends into fans of A song of ice and fire. One of my biggest points is the fact that every character is so strong in there own way, weather they are female or male. I love that about the way you right. I'm glad Times received feed back! They are obviously wrong.
Kelly Marsolek
Apr. 23rd, 2011 06:32 am (UTC)
Your books are like life, the great equalizer! Good and bad, right and wrong, kindness and evil, all are perspective based. As always, the mainstream media is willing to dismiss things based upon gender. Thankfully your books and the characters therein are well developed, multi-dimensional beings that are more than just their chromosomes, so very much more. Thank you for these books and the ones to come!
Apr. 24th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
BOY fiction! I made my husband read the "Game of therones" ages ago, and now we both are loyal fans of the saga. Thank you, George, for a delightful, intricate, luring books and characters. Looking forward to the "Dance" and the rest.

Yours truly,
a geek girl from Russia
Apr. 24th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
The Wall Street Journal had 2 very positive reviews of HBO's Game of Thrones. Conservatives know best, I guess!
Apr. 24th, 2011 08:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Wsj
The only WSJ review I saw was negative.

But I don't think reactions to the show are breaking down on political lines. There are liberals and conservatives who love the show; there are other liberals and conservatives who hate it.

Apr. 25th, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC)
I haven't even read the series (sorry! I'll munch them all down before I watch even a second of the show, I promise, no matter how cute the wolf pups look), but that article incensed me nonetheless. Thank you for speaking out! That article's author needs a bonk on the head and a crash course on what the terms "statistically relevant" and "representative sampling" mean.
Apr. 29th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
Literary Snobbery
Despite the fact that I am sure this post will never be seen I figured I'd voice my similar pain with fantasy being snobbed at by literary critics. I went to AWP in Denver and half the people I talked to in the convention hall and exhibition hall wouldn't talk to me once they knew I wrote fantasy. It was disheartening because Tolkien, one of the literary giants, wrote fantasy.

All I figure I can do is try to write really good, literary fantasy with good prose. If I don't, what's the point :(
Apr. 30th, 2011 02:14 am (UTC)
There are elitists out there who hate fantasy. It's their problem even when they write stupid reviews that show they have no idea what they're talking about (Tyrion part of a race of dwarves?)

There are people, including women, who have narrow and bigoted views of women and are convinced we should watch nothing but Sex in the City -- and some of those bigots are women like the reviewer. One has to shake one's head and go on.


Now I am female and like sex as much as the next women, but I have yet to see the man who says, "Ewwww.... They put sex in that. Let's go see Bambi instead."
Apr. 30th, 2011 08:51 am (UTC)
From a girl who apparently reads and enjoys "boy fiction" very much, thank you for writing your amazing "boy" books! Also, loving the show so far. Thank you for speaking out about this—I believe it's important.
May. 11th, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
Stopped reading the review after the first paragraph myself. I felt like the writer of that thing was saying that there are too many characters to keep track of and that we would be better of watching Sex and the City.

I kept up with the bloodlines and things just fine thank you. It's when people write silly reviews that my attentionspan gets kinked.
Jun. 23rd, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
To show the other side: I'm a fantasy loving geek girl and don't like Game of Thrones.

I hate the Times statement that "women could not possibly like fantasy unless a lot of graphic sex was added to it". I like fantasy but I'm really tired of all the sex scenes and the amount of breasts (and full frontal female nudity - but never full frontal male nudity) you see especially in recent American pay-tv series. I couldn't care less about the graphic sex scenes which seems to become longer and longer and more and more graphic. I'm an adult I don't need to be shown minutes of thrusting and moaning to get that they are having sex. Use the time for dialogue or whatever.
This woman shouldn't generalize for all women - and being a geek girl also doesn't automatically mean you like Game of Thrones.
Jul. 3rd, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)
Game of Thrones
Hey, Mr. Martin. I'm a woman (haven't been a girl for a while now) and I LOVE Game of Thrones, both the 1st book and the HBO series. I've also been reading, science fiction mostly, and some fantasy since before ANY so-called girl was supposed to like them. Guess what? I'm neither titillated... who in their right minds say that graphic sex scenes attract female viewers? Generally, they're not the target audience, when the author or director of the piece is a schlockmeister... nor am I turned off. They're part of the story, plain and simple.

GOT has a strong medieval vibe and one of its premises is that life is cheap, sex can be bought, and women have to be strong and hope they are born in the right place to the right people (and I'm not just talking rich and powerful here). I bought the books on my Kindle after the first episode and read along. I stopped reading just because I wanted to be surprised each week. Now that the first season is over, I'm reading again, and pretty happy that HBO led me to find your wonderful series. I already knew your through Wildcards, but I didn't know the Song of Ice and Fire series. Thank you very much, and that woman is full of hoohah. Bet she used to look down her nose at the girls who didn't wear the 'in' clothes of the week or the lipstick colour of the month in high school. Ptah!

And I have to say, Lord Petyr shocked the hell out of me! I quite liked him until he sold the dour Lord Eddard down the river. Though ES was out of his mind to lay his cards on the table like that. Like everyone else -- I assume -- I adore Tyrion Lannister and hope he lasts a long long time in a series with a serious body count. As I wrote before, life is cheap in GOT, so...
Aug. 7th, 2013 04:50 pm (UTC)
I hate such stuff even more when it's coming from a woman! -.- It feels like being slapped twice...This whole article is an offend from bashing Sex and the City to mentioning Spartacus and GoT in one sentence. Really annoying!
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George R.R. Martin
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