So I follow George R.R. Martin’s blog and have come across an old argument brought to the forefront. If you know much about the publishing industry or trying to break into the business, then you probably know, a significant part of non-fantasy and non-science fiction readers emphatically look down their noses at the two genres. By some strange twist of perverted logic, the concept of a book taking place in a magical land or even a speculated universe is less than readable and considered ‘trash’. This fascinates me to no end. Some how the two more popular flavors of books are less than worthy of society and an affront on the arts. I cannot wrap my head around how this is even possible. Because Martin’s books, which are heavily influenced by War of the Roses and medieval society, have sex and in-your-face violence in a fantasy setting, this somehow makes them base. I call shenanigans because one of the hardest books, in terms of sexual content, I have ever had to read was Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and literature. It seems to the ‘defenders of all that is art’ that using realistic elements in fantasy and science fiction makes them sub-par when using them in other genres call for praise.
I recently went to a Patrick Rothfuss signing and he said it best: People act like just because a story is in a fantasy setting or has magic, it isn’t literature. What doesn’t make sense is some of our most loved literature has magic, say such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
To sum up my feelings; people who think fantasy and science fiction are only low-class fun are a bunch of snobbish elitist idiots. Just because a story has dragons in it, doesn’t mean it is less representative of conflict and basic reflections of the human condition. Then again it is easier to pick apart art or creative outlets that one doesn’t understand than it is to rub two brain cells together and think. Click on my poetry page to see what I’m talking about.
What brought this on was a recent review of GRRM’s adaptation of A Game of Thrones into a HBO series. You can read the review here from The New York Times. Calling his work ‘boy-fiction’ just really shows the lack of understanding and the curve of ignorance that still stains the genre.
How much does a potential consumer need to listen to a reviewer? With hundreds of forums covering all the different platforms of entertainment, why do we still listen to the reviewers? People vote with their wallets and usually aren’t afraid to voice their opinions, internet anonymity leaves the door wide open for brutal honesty. Why listen to reviewers when the consumers offer the best overall information? A good article on this subject found here.
If anything, fans have the last say. Fans are what drive entertainment medium’s success.