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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.


Apr. 16th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
George, you'll be interested in reading this: http://www.salon.com/entertainment/tv/feature/2011/04/16/game_of_thrones_review_of_reviewers/index.html

Salon's take on the review in question (and also Slate's review).

I also disapproved of how two separate review from the NY Times (including the one you're referring to) refers to this stuff as D&D. Not only did epic fantasy literature precede D&D by decades and lead to the creation of this media, but D&D is a game, whereas this is a type of literature. To call any kind of literature a game is to suggest it and the people who appreciate it are childish. So I'm glad to see that Salon also included that line about Dungeons & Dragons in its "review of the reviews" as well.

I'm hoping all this backlash will serve as a cautionary tale to other elitist reviewers not to make broad and sweeping generalizations, especially on subjects they're clearly not informed on.
Apr. 17th, 2011 01:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this, hopefully everyone reads that.

Very disappointed in the NY Times and Slate who normally represent the quality end of the US news media.
Apr. 17th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
While I don't disagree with the way you've perceived the reviewer's intention, you are dismissing games themselves as childish, which they are not. D+D was mostly played by adults; computer games today are mostly played by adults. I recommend reading Raph Koster's "A Theory Of Fun" if you can get your hands on it.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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