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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. 16th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
Having just read the article, I'm not sure it even qualifies as a review. She offers no analysis about the quality of the production, the plot or the actors. In fact, Ms. Bellafante is so vague I would guess that she did not even watch the episode but perhaps saw the trailer and skim read a synopsis.

It's plain that she's been aching to have a pop at the fantasy genre and HBO for daring to commission a series that isn't trying to be one of those oh-so-"realistic" (whatever that means) dramas. A critic that is willing to discard an entire genre based on their own narrow perceptions is not worth reading.

And for the record, I don't think there are many writers out there that present their female characters with the skill Mr. Martin possesses.

A simple case of one lazy reviewer not doing her due diligence, it would seem.
Apr. 16th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
I've seen reviews like hers before. They're more about letting the reviewer show how "smart" and cultured/educated/sophisticated they are, and less about the actual thing that they're reviewing.

Fantasy is a common target for this, simply because so much Fantasy is bad. The only things that tend to get exception are either weird, "out-there" stuff, or books that have been basically "grandfathered" in (like Tolkien).


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

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