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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 02:50 pm (UTC)
yeah, we love you too. Another impetus to start an open blog, as a geek girl who also works in fashion journalism.
I'm tired of seeing women interested in fantasy and SF portrayed as socially inept, fashion-challenged, dateless wonders who don't know what a tube of mascara is, and who don't have college degrees, frankly.
People need to be clued in: 1) We're smart 2) We look amazing, whether you see is at DragonCon, in the SCA, in Civil War reenactment groups, Steampunk attire, burlesque attire ( really there are so many types of crossovers) - or heading to work on your average freakin' Monday 3) W
e're largely better read and educated than the rest of the population and 4) We are not figments of your imagination.

Oddly, I find it's mostly insecure women who write about other women not having a place in fantasy and SF - perhaps because they don't like their significant other's interest in it? I read a terrible piece in a local alternative paper a couple of years back in which a "cool" girl grudgingly went along to DragonCon with her new BF - and proceeded to trash the experience and the people participating. She had the reverse effect to what she'd hoped for: Everyone was turned off by her complaining and whining.

I've also seen the male equivalent - best exemplified by books like "Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks" in which geek boys approaching middle age fear they'll never get awesome girlfriends because they like role playing games and fantasy movies. Wow. Insecure much? I beg to differ.

Maybe at some point in some upper crust or deeply entrenched middle class communities back in the 70s, it wasn't cool to be a girl who liked fantasy - or who admitted it. Well, that wasn't my generation... but from talking to fellow fangirls of all ages, I can honestly say anytime after 1980, near as I can tell, that stereotype went away.

I feel sorry for the women who don't let their imaginations take over once in awhile. Maybe Harlequin romances are enough for some - but what do you get but a rehashing of better fairy tales, without the magic or the wonder, in those tawdry love stories - and when do women actually get to be more than forlorn love objects?

No, thanks. I'll take my geek girl credentials any day.


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

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