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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 10:46 pm (UTC)
I come from a long line of science-fiction fans - I grew up with my mother's collection of Heinlein, Cherryh, Donaldson, McCaffrey, Vance, etc. at my disposal, and my grandfather had a first edition set of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom books that's still in the family. While none of them were quite as, er, explicit as ASOIAF, they never shied away from sexuality either. (I remember being 10 or 12 years old and encountering Master Eremis' seduction of Terisa in Mirror of Her Dreams, which was a little more frank than anything I had read previously.) But that wasn't the main reason why I read these books; there were plenty of smut novels out there to whet any appetite I might have had for that. I picked up and loved Game of Thrones because it represented everything I had always wanted from fantasy - dark, dystopian, a reasonably realistic depiction of a pseudo-medieval world where there's no clear line between the good and the bad. The sex is just a perk.

And even in the early days of widespread consumer use of the WWW, back in the mid 90s, there was never any dearth of female fans of the genre, as I recall from the Melanie Rawn and Tad Williams forums in particular.

If only the writer had done the least bit of research...


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

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