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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

( 389 comments )
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irulan_amy
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for commenting on this! I was so angry when I read the article Thursday night that I stayed up late to write my response:
http://geekfemme.blogspot.com/2011/04/response-to-ny-times-game-of-thrones.html

This geek girl (and so many others) love you as well.
Thanks for being awesome.
justcomeinalone
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
Indubitably!
Women, including my g/f, were actually the ones who demanded I read Game of Thrones. I am a comic book/Doctor Who historian who works for Newsarama and I did a response to this so-called review that didn't once talk about the characters or plot points. Just wanted to say thanks for the stories and I think this kind of snobbery is definitely a dwindling minority.

If you're interested in the response I put on Newsarama, here it is. tinyurl.com/4xmudve

Looking forward to seeing how HBO has adapted your work. Cheers.

- Alan Kistler
(Deleted comment)
grrm
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:22 pm (UTC)
Re: NY Times reviewer e-mail
If any of you do email her, please keep it polite. Having received my own share of venomous email over the years, it is not something I want to encourage, no matter how angry you may be with the views that she expressed.
Re: NY Times reviewer e-mail - jschultze - Apr. 16th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: NY Times reviewer e-mail - spitphyre - Apr. 16th, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Veronica
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you
Thanks for addressing this here, George. I'm just echoing what every other female fan has already said, but it's nice that you recognize that you have lots of ladies ready to go all Cersei on the NYTimes' butt. ;)
pagerunner_j
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
That review put the nail in the coffin for me about the Times' paywall. I'd been considering coughing up the money for a subscription, but congratulations, NYT: you just lost a subscriber.

Hit 'em where it hurts, geek girls. ;)
lordstone
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
That... was a truly bad review I have to say :-/ I have no words for it.

On the upside... as often is the case, the review will probably get the series more viewers... reviews of this calibre, and the feisty reactions it brings forth, often entices people to at least see what all the fuss was about. There is a reason why they say there is no such thing as bad publicity.
bunn
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
If this review was by a man, I'd be offended but from another woman? It's just really, really sad.

How can someone have such a restricted and prescriptive view of their OWN entire sex? Baffling. I mean, if she wants to be 'that sort' of woman then that's her choice, but how can she not have noticed that it WAS a choice???

Is it nearly time for Game of Thrones yet...?
admiralbilko
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Well, I haven't seen the show yet, but I give it 5 stars... and of course yellow moons, green clovers, blue diamonds, and purple horseshoes. Okay, okay, I was eating cereal when giving that review, which makes me wonder if that Belafante lady was eating bullshit when reviewing GoT?!?!

By the by, one of the Slate reviewers (Patterson is his name, I think)is getting skewered for his asinine review as well. I suppose these snobs will only feel their job is complete when folks have nothing on television but Sex in the City and reality TV pervading the airwaves. To hell with them. I need to get to my cereal now.
dduane
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
You go, George. :)
Carey Wilson
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
No worries, I am not even going to read the review. It sounds like there is little substance to it and frankly a waste of time.

On metacritic.com they have GoT with 16 positive reviews and 3 mixed. That is a pretty good ratio for a series as complex as GoT. It is going to take a few episodes for people (outside of the folks who have read the books) to grasp how deep and detailed these characters and their interactions are.

I think this is a show people will connect and embrace deeply if they will give it a chance. Positive reviews from the start sure help.

Check out metacritic.com it gives nice access to the different reviews and saves a bunch of time versus surfing the net looking for them.
elama
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
As many girls may have pointed out already:

The reviewer seems way too prejudiced to approach the genre without having in mind some cliches from classical fantasy I thought we were already leaving behind. Not having any female character to relate to would make ASOIAF boy fiction but this is definitely not the case and I am really thankful for that.And then again, how is sex a specific interest for women?

I guess fantasy writers, male and female, should be face-palming hard by now.
lyndsaykate
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, George!
geekgirldivalj
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
Glad to be one of the legions. ;*
ersigh
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm a boy with boobs! Ahhh yeah!!

If the sex fits, awesome!! ... but sex isn't necessary for good story telling. Anyone who says otherwise is most likely illiterate.
winddancer110
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
We love you too! (Fantasy loving female here)
quahshi
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
I won't allow my wench to read Game of Thrones--it's Mr. Darcy for her or nothing.
livanna
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
You are one of my favorite authors, and anytime I recommend a new author to someone who I think could appreciate fantasy, you are the first name on the list.

And it has nothing to do with graphic sex scenes. It has to do with your unpredictable story. In most fantasy novels I know who will live and die, within one or two characters. The good guys will win and live, the bad guys will die. The bad guys are 100% bad, with very few, if any, redeemable characteristics, while the good guys have few, if any, flaws.

Yet you're different, and I love that. I don't know who is going to get ganked (or come back from the dead). I find myself pitying or understanding some of the bad guys, and I see flaws in the good. There are shades of gray in the real world, and you reflect that in your writing.

So I'm a proud reader of your novels. And I'm an educated woman, journalist and library grad student who is unembarrassed to say I love fantasy AND science fiction - with or without sex and romance.
azurelunatic
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC)
I had the pleasure of being introduced to your work about five years ago, and I deeply enjoy it. I also happen to be female. I have also occasionally read fiction (pro and otherwise) where the sex was pastede on yey, and I appreciate authors who do not feel they have to add unnecessary sex that isn't a valuable part of the story just as integral to the character arc as any other arc.
evilcasserole
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
Wow... that's pretty appalling. I've been a lover of fantasy since I was a child. At the time though I wanted unicorns and had no idea how sex actually worked lol. I found your short story of Duncan and Egg when I was around 12 (I'm coming up on 27 now) a local bookstore that was closing and have LOVED your writing ever since! I praise you to everyone saying you are the most talented author I have ever read in the fantasy genre and the plot twists and turns are so intricate it even becomes a little hard to keep up with (not a complaint I actually love the challenge!) To my point... even if your books were completely devoid of sex and romance of any kind I would still love them to no end. The TIMES makes women sound as if all we want are romance novels. Bull.

And thank you Mr. Martin we love you too!! :)
mrmasman
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
Odd reveiw. For someone who writes reviews for the NYT, and would purposedly have "a finger on the pulse" of her audience, the review comes across as seriously out of touch.

On a personal note, it was my mother who was just as interested in the series as I. She went and met Mr Martin at a signing in Kentucky I believe when the second book came out.

She's turning in her grave right now at that review, the NYT fan that she was.
little___hobbit
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
I am a geek girl and I am proud of it!
muneraven
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
Oh for heaven's sake
Everyone knows that the chicks dig George rr Martin!!
kitgordon
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
Well, that explains why this female fantasy fan of many years (hey, I'm even older than the author by just a bit) couldn't get in to comment; good for all those who did!

Edited at 2011-04-16 09:57 pm (UTC)
maryling
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
Right, that's why this girl's favorite character is the Maid of Tarth. Cuz I'm totally all about the tons of sex she's having. Of course.
ejwise
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
Ginia Bellafonte probably thought the S&TC movies were great. (I will admit to liking the series, but the first movie was the final straw in ridiculousness, as it took seriously what was originally all fun. It would be akin to making a serious-minded movie out of Entourage -- a series that I find extremely amusing to no end.)

Considering her distaste for violence, I have to ask:

1.) What did she expect?

And perhaps more importantly:

2.) Did not the Sopranos, Deadwood, Rome, and The Wire -- which she adores (as do I) -- also revolve around violence and sex?

It's clear to me that Bellafonte is a whiny anti-fantasy wench who couldn't hold a sword to Arya and her Needle. Cersei would no doubt have her head for dinner -- and her heart for dessert. (And I'd pay to see that.) :)

Not only do girls love your series, but also gay men like me. It ain't just for the stereotypical pimply-faced sexually-frustrated D&D straight males -- a stereotype that is highly outnumbered at Cons these days -- but for people from all walks of life. Nothing irritates me more than a snobbish literary know-it-all who can't read or think outside of established NYC and LA circles and salons. (I hail from Seattle, by the by.)

Consider yourself lucky, George, that you don't have Bellafonte as a fan. The success of this series will be testament that she's clueless. (Can't wait until tomorrow night!)

Peace out. :)
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( 389 comments )

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