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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 09:16 pm (UTC)
sadly, many male fantasy readers have breasts
Ann S Koi
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
If female viewers/readers are the ones who need "illicitness" to enjoy their fiction, why does the porn industry still market almost exclusively to men?

Bellafante's review made my head hurt. Does she not talk to other women unless they're Vetted Urban Sophisticates TM? Can't wait until the day she trashes me, lol. ;)

Keep up the good work, Mr. Martin, and I hope the HBO adaptation suits your vision.
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for commenting on this! I was so angry when I read the article Thursday night that I stayed up late to write my response:

This geek girl (and so many others) love you as well.
Thanks for being awesome.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:22 pm (UTC)
Re: NY Times reviewer e-mail
If any of you do email her, please keep it polite. Having received my own share of venomous email over the years, it is not something I want to encourage, no matter how angry you may be with the views that she expressed.
Re: NY Times reviewer e-mail - jschultze - Apr. 16th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: NY Times reviewer e-mail - spitphyre - Apr. 16th, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you
Thanks for addressing this here, George. I'm just echoing what every other female fan has already said, but it's nice that you recognize that you have lots of ladies ready to go all Cersei on the NYTimes' butt. ;)
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
That review put the nail in the coffin for me about the Times' paywall. I'd been considering coughing up the money for a subscription, but congratulations, NYT: you just lost a subscriber.

Hit 'em where it hurts, geek girls. ;)
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
That... was a truly bad review I have to say :-/ I have no words for it.

On the upside... as often is the case, the review will probably get the series more viewers... reviews of this calibre, and the feisty reactions it brings forth, often entices people to at least see what all the fuss was about. There is a reason why they say there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
If this review was by a man, I'd be offended but from another woman? It's just really, really sad.

How can someone have such a restricted and prescriptive view of their OWN entire sex? Baffling. I mean, if she wants to be 'that sort' of woman then that's her choice, but how can she not have noticed that it WAS a choice???

Is it nearly time for Game of Thrones yet...?
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Well, I haven't seen the show yet, but I give it 5 stars... and of course yellow moons, green clovers, blue diamonds, and purple horseshoes. Okay, okay, I was eating cereal when giving that review, which makes me wonder if that Belafante lady was eating bullshit when reviewing GoT?!?!

By the by, one of the Slate reviewers (Patterson is his name, I think)is getting skewered for his asinine review as well. I suppose these snobs will only feel their job is complete when folks have nothing on television but Sex in the City and reality TV pervading the airwaves. To hell with them. I need to get to my cereal now.
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
You go, George. :)
Carey Wilson
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
No worries, I am not even going to read the review. It sounds like there is little substance to it and frankly a waste of time.

On metacritic.com they have GoT with 16 positive reviews and 3 mixed. That is a pretty good ratio for a series as complex as GoT. It is going to take a few episodes for people (outside of the folks who have read the books) to grasp how deep and detailed these characters and their interactions are.

I think this is a show people will connect and embrace deeply if they will give it a chance. Positive reviews from the start sure help.

Check out metacritic.com it gives nice access to the different reviews and saves a bunch of time versus surfing the net looking for them.
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
As many girls may have pointed out already:

The reviewer seems way too prejudiced to approach the genre without having in mind some cliches from classical fantasy I thought we were already leaving behind. Not having any female character to relate to would make ASOIAF boy fiction but this is definitely not the case and I am really thankful for that.And then again, how is sex a specific interest for women?

I guess fantasy writers, male and female, should be face-palming hard by now.
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, George!
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
Glad to be one of the legions. ;*
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm a boy with boobs! Ahhh yeah!!

If the sex fits, awesome!! ... but sex isn't necessary for good story telling. Anyone who says otherwise is most likely illiterate.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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