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Boy Fiction?

tiger
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

( 390 comments )
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evileena
Apr. 16th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, that woman has made me so angry. What a narrow minded b*tch. That is the type of woman who is responsible for so much that is wrong with the media's acceptable image of females!! *aaarrgh*

We love you George but we love your girls even more!
briannablade
Apr. 16th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you for writing this. I wondered if you'd seen that article. It made me so angry! I could go on a rant about it, but I'd rather just say Thank you because you're amazing and I'll continue to be a devoted fan- with or without sex. ;)
spitphyre
Apr. 16th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you for writing this. You are my professional hero and your work has taught me a lot about writing (both the act of creating a story and the business itself) I wrote a response - three actually - to this because in addition to insulting you I felt like she insulted many great women of literature. I am glad you took the time to tell us what you thought of it.
spitphyre
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
My big response: http://fem-rage.livejournal.com/870.html

I sent a letter almost identical directly to her (I removed a couple things) and I wrote a 150 word version that I sent as a letter to the editor of the NYTimes.
kerinda
Apr. 16th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
As a woman and as a SF/F reviewer, I found that article so incredibly condescending.

Here's to showing them up with the series' incredible success.
spitphyre
Apr. 16th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
(Also)
Where did she get the bit about it being a "global warming horror story?" WTH?
zeonchar
Apr. 16th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
As a geek girl, I approve of this message! :)
betasignal
Apr. 16th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
That review made me much less sad about the new paywall.
rkmacpherson
Apr. 16th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
Well said!
The right words with just the right tone. Nice.
Ylenia Gunnhildur Sigurardttir Manganelli
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:00 pm (UTC)
" By all rights, you ought to be in skirts and me in mail " fits well.
I'm proud of being one of your readers and a geek girl.
dragonet2
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
Good job at being calm
What the others said, love your works. That reviewer, WTF? (though about half the time I read reviews about movies I've seen and books I've read and go, 'did that guy ever go to that particular movie/crack those book covers? or did they just read the blurbs and write a review from that?"
michie3
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
I have not read the article, and now I do not believe that I
want to! One would expect more out of the New York Times. *tsk tsk*

...and isn't it strange, there is absolutely NO romance in the
fantasy novel that I am currently working on...
vanishdtwilight
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
I don't know which is more insulting -- saying that NO WOMEN EVER would watch the series, or the fact the reviewer compared it to Spartacus Blood and Sand. It pains me... pains me so much.

I, for one, will be baking lemon cakes to enjoy during the premier tomorrow. SO EXCITED.
delenapyle
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
I am glad to be a geek girl!! If it was not for fantasy I would not have survived to my ripe old age!! All I can say is me thinks she needs her head examined (with an axe mayhaps)!!!!!!!!!!
mizkit
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
We love you too, George. :)
sally_daer
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
We, geek girls, love you too :D
icepearls
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
we love you too <3
blodeuedd83
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
Nice post :)
That review just made me so upset, sure there was a lot wrong with it. But the thing that got me most upset was that I as a woman can't like fantasy, tsk
elf_fu
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, just yesterday I was lamenting to my husband how I couldn't possibly read a book that was well written, with an excellent engaging plot, wonderful characters and a fantastic story if there wasn't any juice hot sex scenes. Same as television.

As we women all know, we're really only in it for the sex. The TIMES has finally outed our big secret.



(The article made me lol so much.)
weswilson
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
I was pretty appalled that the review had very little to do with the actual show, and much more about what the reviewer felt HBO should be doing for programming instead.
samena
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
...that women could not possibly like fantasy unless a lot of graphic sex was added to it.

Right. So why is it then that so many women love fantasy books like, for instance, the 'Harry Potter' series and the 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy? There's no graphic sex in any of those. The person (was it a man or a woman?) who wrote that article is a moron.
nikkidohertybc
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
Hey! I'm a girl!
Go get'em GRRM! I was infuriated when I read that article! In fact, it should be insulting to any literate woman who does more than read cookbooks and Harlequins. Clearly, the author is a fantasy hater and a bitter, cynical woman. Maybe she wasn't allowed to read Lord of the Rings growing up. ha

I love your books, have read them for 13 years, and have been eagerly anticipating A Dance with Dragons. Then I saw the trailer for Game of Thrones on HBO and nearly had a heart attack! I am thrilled in an epic way, and this is one girl who will continue to swing her sword! Stick'em with the pointy end!
MartiMcKenna
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
Geek Girls Book Club
One awesome result of all this has been the formation of the Geek Girls Book Club (#GGBC on Twitter). Look for the GoodReads page. For our first book we've chosen The Hobbit. ;)
baka_kit
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
"Boys with boobs," ugh. What a bunch of snobbish, insulting, gender essentialist crap.

Counting the hours until the viewing party tomorrow night!
pitselly
Apr. 17th, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
+1
ningrim
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
sadly, many male fantasy readers have breasts
Ann S Koi
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
Baffling.
If female viewers/readers are the ones who need "illicitness" to enjoy their fiction, why does the porn industry still market almost exclusively to men?

Bellafante's review made my head hurt. Does she not talk to other women unless they're Vetted Urban Sophisticates TM? Can't wait until the day she trashes me, lol. ;)

Keep up the good work, Mr. Martin, and I hope the HBO adaptation suits your vision.
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( 390 comments )

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