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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 03:41 am (UTC)
It's one thing to write a negative review of something. I'd have been perfectly willing to accept a negative review of GoT, as much as I love the series, as long as it was well-written and made fair points. But this review is full of a bunch trite stereotypes of fantasy fans that hasn't even been accurate for 30 years now. It's true that fantasy used to be very male oriented and had a lot of works written by hacks. And even Tolkien, as great of an author as he was, barely made any mention of women at all. But, in the past 30 years or so, both male and female fantasy authors have made interesting, three dimensional female characters, in addition to telling stories that are far from lame sword and sorcery cliches that made literary types hate fantasy novels. And not to be a shameless sycophant or anything, but ASOIF is about as far from all those old fantasy cliches as it gets. So, basically, this reviewer wasn't even focusing on the merits (or lack thereof) of the plot, the acting, and the source material. It's a very weak review when a reviewer tries to show you how clever they are and not comment on most of the elements of something. I got nothing out of the review about any of the actors' performances, the reviewer's take on the plot, or anything useful, for that matter. Just a bunch of lame stereotypes about fantasy fans. I mean, seriously, maybe in 1980 she might've had a point. But this? This doesn't make any sense.


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

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