Dear Gina Bellafante, Your Review Stinks

Why did you bother reviewing a TV series based on a book in a genre you hate? Because you know, I tend to prefer reviewing things I like. In genres that I like. When I find a book or show that I don’t like, they are usually still within in a genre that I like. That is because like yourself, I am only interested in genres that I like, and I only watch or read within genres that I like. This is common sense. It would never occur to me to do a review on a tv show or book that was in a genre I have no interest in.

You on the other hand, did the opposite. You woke up one morning and decided, “You know, I think I’m going to watch a fantasy-novel-based TV show that I’ve heard people are squeeing mindlessly about and then complain because it’s a TV show based on a fantasy novel, because my significant other/spouse has fallen asleep while romancing Anders in Dragon Age 2!” Or no, you probably do not have a significant other or spouse who is a gamer or fantasy geek. Even if you are stupid enough to watch a show when you hate the genre and have no familiarity with it, you cannot be dumb enough to date a geek when you are not a geek and not even geek-tolerant. (It would be like an octopus dating a horse.)

You  say that people with girl bits hate epic fantasy because you have girl bits and you hate fantasy, because suddenly, you are every woman. Or no, what you actually said was, “While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to The Hobbit first.” You also say that women would only watch fantasy for the sex. To which I say…”Ew.” Because the last thing I would read A Song of Ice and Fire for is the sex. There are no functional relationships in the series, and there is nothing of what I would call “romance.” Many of these people are unhappy and some of them are horrifyingly grotty and evil. And crazy. If I want sexy times, I read smut. If I want epic fantasy, I read epic fantasy. If I want a mystery, I read a mystery.

But then, I have common sense and do not view things that I know beforehand that I will not like. Unless someone nags me into it, either I will be deeply annoyed with that person forever, or I will read the book or watch the movie and possibly like it or dislike the movie or book on its own merits.

What we’re addressing is your deep failure to understand that you are not every woman. I will save some of the other ridiculous things you say for later, because they are obviously based in ignorance and a deep lack of familiarity with basic themes and concepts related to fantasy and science fiction. I feel that I would have to lead you gently into basic comprehension here. (Of course, I do not have a great level of success with something like that, if my attempts to explain Slightly Dotty coworkers in the past the more arcane aspects of science fiction programs such as Alien Nation are any indication.) I feel you are so ignorant that I might have to explain to you things like, “This is an imaginary world. It is LIKE Earth but it is NOT Earth. That is why the Medievalish culture and laws are not exactly like 15th Century Where ever.” Or, “Eddie is a singer in a rock band, she is awesome and so is her boyfriend who is a phouka, not a weredog so stop saying that.” I feel very sad and sorry for your confusion at there being vaguely science fiction concepts like “the seasons are out of whack for some mysterious reason and this is bad and scary” in a fantasy series.

A few questions, Gina: First–who the hell is Lorrie Moore? Is she a household name where you are from? I have no clue. Honest. I would not object to a new author, I read just about everything except historical romance that involves Nazis, and books where the dog dies. Second–it is really cute how you make the mere thought of someone with girl bits liking fantasy (gasp) something strange and bizarre. Third, building on the second, you do realize that you are not in fact every woman? While the general media portrayal of the sci-fi/fantasy geek is of a overweight man in his thirties who still lives with his parents–quite a few geeks are girls of various body shapes. and living arrangements I do not think we are so strange and alien as you seem to be implying. If anything, you’re just a strange and alien, though without the benefit of actually being strange and alien. (You presumably have the usual number of limbs and eyes and girl bits after all and you apparently think this mysterious Lorrie Moore person is a awesome writer who is better than Tolkien. Does she write about giant eagles? Because giant eagles are awesome.)

To sum up. Don’t review something when you hate the genre. Don’t review something when you have no familiarity with the genre and you can’t be bothered to state, “I have no clue about the genre.” Don’t whinge when a fantasy setting isn’t like Earth when the fantasy setting is not Earth. Don’t review something you already know you’re going to hate (unless you are familiar with the genre and/or awesomely funny and irreverent).

With epic levels of sympathetic embarrassment, because really, you don’t seem to realize how ridiculous you sound complaining about something you already knew you wouldn’t like,

Rena McGee

P.S. Tyrion Lannister is a human with dwarfism. The major non-human menace are called Others. There are no non-human dwarves, and there are no elves. Tyrion is also awesomely funny and irreverent, and one of the few reasons I actually liked A Game of Thrones in novel form. Otherwise my general assessment about various characters is, “Winter is coming? GOOD.”

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