Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fantasy: It is for Intelligent Women, Too.

Thousands of fans, male and female, have been bombarding, tweeting, and blogging about how wrong Ginia Bellafante is when she characterizes “Game of Thrones” [a]s boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half," obviously meaning that women would not watch the epic fantasy unless there was sex involved. Not only does Bellafante throw a slap in the face of intelligent women everywhere who actually read and enjoy fantasy, but also hits back at HBO for "... ventur[ing away from its instincts for real-world sociology, as it has with the vampire saga “True Blood..." for pandering to such a low common denominator and forgetting that HBO, like all television, is also about entertainment and not just social commentary.

Viewing from her lofty perch, it seems Ms. Bellafante was the wrong person to review and comment on George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones since she has no understanding of or love for anything that veers away from the real world, a world she must inhabit alone without the touch of women who actually get fantasy and enjoy it, with or without the sex. What a bleak and colorless world she must live in.

What amazes me is how Ms. Bellafante could have missed the women who also write fantasy fiction, intelligent women who have put their mark on fantasy and on the science fiction genre for many decades, women like Anne McCaffrey, C. J. Cherryh, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May, Andre Norton, and more contemporary authors like Elizabeth Hand, Elizabeth Moon and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. I guess they don't count either, and I could go on naming names and pointing out the rich and fertile female minds that create believable fantasy worlds and situations and even forgo hot sex and bed hopping. Ms. Bellafante needs to go back to the books and take a good hard look at what is and is not fantasy instead of pointing at the current trends in adding lots of sex and naked bodies in order to lure people into a world that has already been well received and championed by women. She mistakes the idea that sex makes everything better, including fantasy, when fantasy has done very well without such devices. The Borgias, The Tudors, Rome and other cable network fare would have been just as compelling and interesting without the sex as with it. Don't mistake a corporate decision to sex things up for the well written and complex fantasy of Georrge R. R. Martin or any other fantasy author.

While George R. R. Martin is wise enough not to respond to reviewers, at least his female fans, and they are legion, are willing to take up the banner and speak out for intelligent women everywhere that they are readers and writers of fantasy and they're not ashamed to say so.

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