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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. 17th, 2011 03:39 am (UTC)
Absolutely disgusting
My name is Jennifer. I am a young writer in both prose and screenplays. I first read martin's novel series when I was 13. I mean that. Ethics aside, these novels taught me almost everything I know today about writing. From complex character development, to spoon feeding exposition to the audience, to even little rules, like how to never have your characters answer a direct question without dire need, else dialogue gets boring.

One thing I did not read it for was for the sex. In fact, I found that sex had it's own set of themes in the novel, and that it showed character development, only in a more honest, brutal way. When Dany was first taken by Drogo, we saw her character change. When we saw how Tyrion interacted with Shae, we saw his character come through in ways that we wouldn't have seen in less intimate scenes. We even saw characteristics of Ned and Catelyn that we wouldn't have otherwise seen.

This bigoted chauvinistic reporter CLEARLY has no idea what women read fantasy for, and I'm sick of it. I've heard this for years, and I'm only seventeen. I simply don't understand it. Sigmund Freud's theory that women have "penis-envy", when brought up, is almost always considered a load of crap by the general public nowadays. Yet, this reviewer seems to think that the only reason women are into fantasy series is for the sexual endeavors.

Not only that though, I've heard this from people the other way around - that women get turned off by the book because it's so sexual. And I just...I don't get that either. Martin has a very good, level comprehension of the female psyche. Not all of his females are strong go-getters. Just ask Sansa. Or Margaery. And even the ones that are exhibit their femininity often and well. This book isn't misogynistic, or clearly "boy fiction". I've READ "boy fiction", and wrinkled my nose at it. The women are always beautiful, always fall to men's desires in the end, or they make a man succumb to them. Either way, it's flawed, flat, and glorified porn.

Not every character in Martin's novels is pretty. Ask Brienne the Beauty. Ask Asha. or Shagga. Not all of them want to be women roles. Not all of them want sexual relations, and NONE are flat in character - even when they are flat in chest. That's the draw of his novels, as a woman. He's not afraid to make his world more realistic for the sake of story.

I am a woman. I am a nerd. I have read fantasy all my life. And I firmly say to whatever narrow-minded pig, male OR female, that wants to stereotype me or any other female fantasy nerd as some sexually deprived, ill-informed airhead: Try me. I will GLADLY prove you, and the rest of your kind, wrong.

...I will now dismount from my soapbox. Thanks. I had to vent about this one!


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

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