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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 11:04 pm (UTC)
Having read Ms. Bellafante's rant I can't help wondering what criteria the New York Times has for hiring reviewers. I imagine the good ones are probably allowed some leeway in terms of content, but judging from some of Ms. Bellafante's other "reviews" I don't think that adjective applies to her so why, then, is she allowed to go on her little personal slagfest and ignore the subject she's supposed to be discussing? The only bits relevant to Game of Thrones would lead you to believe that it's an epic tale of illicit sex and global warming. That would be... inaccurate, to say the least.

I'd also like to know how the New York Times goes about assigning materials. Again, I'm sure there's a hierarchy involved, but wouldn't it behoove them to make at least a token effort to match stuff to a reviewer's taste? If for no other reason than to avoid what has happened here: a reviewer who so loathes the genre she's reviewing that she doesn't even pretend to understand or care about its actual content? This isn't the first time Ms. Bellafante has been forced to review SF&F; her rant about Supernatural, for instance, is another sight to behold. Why, then, is she being forced to do it?

Slag the lady all you want, but she's clearly repulsed by the very idea of fantasy so she's hardly likely to offer up a fair and comprehensive review of anything that is outside her "comfort zone." I know that as a geek girl if someone forced me to write reviews of Jersey Shore and Real Housewives I'd find it virtually impossible not to express my complete abhorrence of the shows and of the reality TV genre itself.

What Bellafante did was wrong and unfair, but she only did it because it was assigned to her by the New York Times... and they let her get away with it.


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

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