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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 07:11 pm (UTC)
Maybe they meant boy when they wrote girl? I don't even think I know any women readers who like fantasy only with graphic sex.

Girl, woman, and crone, I've been reading fantasy since I've been reading, and watching it since I first went to Snow White in 1946, and graphic sex has never been the reason.

I also thought it was weird of Slate to publish a review that made the point only that the reviewer didn't like fantasy.

Apr. 16th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! :-)
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
I'm a girl and it was my best friend (yup another girl) that got me a the addicted to the series by telling me it was a medieval type fantasy with great characters and bloody wars. I couldn't help but laugh until my sides hurt over that piece of dribble in the NYT. And I'd lay odds that the most replies you get to this journal entry will be from us "geek" girls. ;p

Can't wait to watch the first Episode with my boyfriend...he doesn't like to read (due to his dyslexia) but he's heard me babble on about the books and that's excited him too!
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
In the minds of serious people, we are still not serious writers - SF or fantasy. It's all the province of children - and none too bright children at that.

I find that oddly liberating. It exhilarates me that we still get to be rebels at our age.

Aux barricades!
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.
(no subject) - thedarkproject - Apr. 17th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
a) your series is probably my favorite of all time; i am OBSESSED and i usually don't even like the fantasy genre.

b) i'm not interested in "graphic sex." at all. bwuh???
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
I can say without a doubt that your series are the best and most enthralling books I have ever read. I'm going to start my 3rd read through soon. I was only introduced to your books in 2009.
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
First time
The BS from NY was stupid enough that i finally opened an account, so i can make a post here.

Generalizing with such confidence shows a lot of arrogance in writer's part. I did look around the web, and it seems that ladies on the web has taken up the issue nicely with Times. It deserve it.

I just subscribe to HBO, so i can watch the show. it looks great and i hope that HBO goes on to make multiple seasons for it.

Apr. 16th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
Damn, that´s the biggest bull**** I´ve heard for a while.
I´ve read all your work and loved it!
Well, call me (tom)boy if you like.

I´m shocked how judging and unfair TIMES is. This a bad case of stereotypic thinking.

Fantasy rules!
I´ve been a fem-roleplayer for almost 20 years and I´ve always been reading fantasy (fairy tales beeing the first)...*growls*

Thank God you did not let it hurt you.
(Please don´t stop, waht you´re doing.)

Okay, admitted - I´m very pleased with the choice of (male)actors in this one. Some fit my image of the characters almost 100%!

And I am a Jason momoa fan as well, so...YES, I´m looking forwards to see him almost naked it this one *smirks* )
But still...

Greetings from Germany
Virginia Carrasco
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
That article also pissed me off so much. She got so much wrong.
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
"Boy Fiction" >>> "Girl Fiction" anyway ^__~
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
That was an awful article, and the idea that graphic sex would be the way to make it not "boy fiction"...just so stupid all around.

Also disappointed by the outright disdain for the fantasy genre. I guess some people are just determined to miss out!
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, what girl would ever want to read an incredibly well-written story with so many strong, engaging female characters?

Apr. 16th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
Boy fiction. I haven't been so offended since someone decided that chick lit was a genre.

She could have just stopped with "I didn't care for it," but I can't believe she wrote what amounts to "no woman on earth would stoop to ever watch this." I'm glad she doesn't make decisions for the women of the world, though she seems to think she does.

We geek girls love you too!
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)
Geeks and nerds of the world...UNITE!
I had wondered what your reaction might have been to that particular review. I completely understand the idea of avoiding reviewing the reviews, that's sort of an unspoken and sacred rule among writers and critics. That said, Ginia Bellafante HAD to know her piece was going to induce reaction, if not backlash. The NYT did themselves a serious disservice to their readers, I can only hope they learn from this.

I also hope Ms. Bellafante enjoys her rather large slice of humble pie with her foot baked into it.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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