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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.


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Apr. 16th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
I find that review absolutely insulting. I've been a Gamer Girl for longer than I can remember! My dad raised me on the original D&D and the old Hero Quest board game. Killing monsters in those games had nothing to do with sex! Believe me, the power of your words, the integrity of your world, and the spirit of your characters is what drives me to so love your books.

(Arya's my favorite. She's the coolest female character I've met in a very, very long time.)
Megan Ervin
Apr. 16th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
"While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin's, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to "The Hobbit" first."

Funny. My entire book club of ladies (12 total, ranging from 24 to...old) just read Game of Thrones at my request. There were varying opinions, sure, but I "demanded" they give it a shot before I would lose myself in the latest "literary" fiction. In fact, I'm skipping next month's book in favor of finishing the rest of the series again.

I know very few female readers (of my age, anyhow) who would turn away from Game of Thrones sex scenes or no.

The article certainly earned its one star rating. Ridiculous.
Apr. 16th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
I read the review this morning and nearly spit my coffee all over my desk. What an idiot!
Apr. 16th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
That's an awful article. I'm surprised the editor let it get online. Moron obviously missed the point of the story. Siiiigh. (Also, very glad that there was such a high response, although it upsets me that the comments are no longer published at all, as I would have liked to read them!)
Apr. 16th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
We love you too :)
Apr. 16th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
Boy fiction? Is there such a thing? What a derogatory thing to say about women.

Thank you, Mr. Martin, for writing smart, complex fantasy that assumes your readers have brains with or without breasts.
Apr. 16th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
not to be a literary snob but...
Any review of A Song of Ice and Fire material that doesn't start with, "the best polyphonic writer since Dostoevsky..." or something similar, isn't worth the paper (or html space) it's written on.

Yes, I'm opinionated and arrogant, but I'm also not alone on this one.

My wife doesn't read fantasy, is not your target audience at all, and even she loves your books. They are brilliant beyond simple classification (and we are very much looking forward to Dance this summer).
Apr. 16th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
Thank YOU, George. We love you too.
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
Elitist fantasy-haters strike again it sounds like to me. It's similar to the "legit" musicians I ran into in my first couple of years of music college -- people that think only what they are into qualifies as being worth doing. I'm not surprised that this sort of nonsense came out of the NYTimes.

I have myself turned at least a half-dozen women onto your books, George, and they have gone crazy for them. Good writing knows no sexual preference.
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
I was wondering why my comment didn't show up in the NYT website.

Apparently, we cultured womenfolk are only supposed to like sensitive, thought-provoking novels about dead children, spouses, serial killers, and adultery that we can talk about at our "book clubs." I'm not sure why, but the whole book club paragraph really got to me. Much has been written about women's writing, and writing for women, (and much more will be), but I have to say, I never thought of your novels as slanted towards one gender or the other. They're about characters, history, and conflict.

Although, when the Times reviewer said they were about climate change, I did start laughing. That helped temper the outrage.
Apr. 16th, 2011 10:59 pm (UTC)
I've noticed the whole comment thread is closed. I tried to comment there, as well (I settled for giving the review a rating of "1".
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
Ok. I just read the review. I am disgusted. Obviously the reviewer had a poor opinion of the show/story before she even watched it. I love your books because of the entire story not because of the sex at all. I am so excited for tomorrow. When I called my cable provider to subscribe to HBO I told the customer service rep why I was subscribing and all about your books. He told me he hadn't heard of the show but that because of what I said he was going to check it out. I have been spreading the word as much as I can. Oh and I am already hoping that HBO is smart enough to make season 2.
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
I LOATHED that review. She's clueless. I LOVE that you *have* mentioned it.

And, we love you, too.
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
We luvs ya!
I too was so affronted by this elitist, derisive, scornful review I am still stewing over my own blog post rebuttal. I think that reviewer needs to get out of her ivory tower once in awhile and look at things from an angle other than down her nose.
Jennifer Horton Findley
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
I've never commented here before b/c I know you are a busy man (working on Dance :D) But I wanted to thank you for breaking your 'no comment' rule. I'm one of those scifi chicks who loves everything about the genre. I was appalled at the Times review and the one I read on slate.com. I am so excited about seeing the show and have been since you first announced it! Thank you for being an awesome author and keeping me coming back for more! I love you!
Jennifer F.
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC)
"Boy Fantasy?" FEH.
Loves you right back. :)
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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