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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. 17th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
It is so very sad and disappointing that this world of ours, now, in year 2011, among all our civilized freedoms, between branches of our high tech politeness and hard earned egalitarianisms breeds this kind of offensive gender inequality. And by whom? By women who read books!?! :( Bah, I’m appalled by these prejudices. I’m annoyed by this amount of malice. But more than ever, I’m proud to be this “nonexistent” kind of woman and a geek!

I would be inclined to forgive (better disregard) ignorance of middle-aged judgmental critics such as Ginia Bellafante, if it was only another anti fantasy I-don’t-like-it-why-should-anyone comment, but it wasn’t. This article of hers was vile and offensive to our gender. She suggested that we do not have sufficient mental capacity to remember more than 4 main characters (that’s the magic number for “Sex and the city” though), that we cannot possibly enjoy any type of literature that is not based solely on romance (because our gentle hearts strive only towards happy pink endings (not that I’m not especially eager for few matches to happen in the books to come, but then again so is my big brother)), that we can’t read subtitles and comprehended at the same time, nor have enough imagination to appreciate esthetics that is not hip and (again) pinkish… It infuriates me to see that someone in New York Times thought this article should even been published.

Other thing that completely escapes me is that there even are self proclaimed readers who would use expression like “boy literature”?!? What does that actually mean? Is penis a reading organ?? Used for acquiring specific taste in literature and comprehending? Hmmm, nobody told me that (and I’m biologist, I should know these things). As if we girls can’t read about wars, weapons or disembowelment and enjoy it just as any male? There is no “boy” literature and “girl” literature, only good and bad type. And the book that made me laugh and cry, that reconnected me with some people and gave me hours of good time, the book that I recommended to my father (who is as much into it as I) and my mother (elderly woman! go figure!), to all my best friends and to some new, the book that in a word (sincerely) changed my life…
Well in my opinion, that is one of a hell good book!


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

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