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Elio & Linda

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Male & Female Authors [Nov. 7th, 2011|02:49 pm]
Elio & Linda
A few days ago, Kate Elliott and Katherine Kerr both posted on their LJs about women and fantasy. Now, gender issues aren't perhaps my favourite issues, but this time the subject caught my attention because I do think we've seen a frustrating development of fantasy in the last decade. Male writers write more and more "macho" stuff (gritty, violent, bleak, etc) and female writers write more and more romance.

I like the middle ground. ASoIaF is, for me, part of the middle ground, though it seems clear that certain aspects of it are the reason for the male writers going towards one end of the spectrum. The reason for the female writers moving towards the other end seems like it is often publisher-driven; they are being told its the only thing that sells.

I used to read a pretty equal amount of male and female authors. I didn't care (and I still don't) about the gender of the author. But what has happened over the last years is that I've pretty much stopped picking up new male authors. Not because they're male but because they don't write anything I am interested in.

Elio and I used to read a lot of the same things. Now it pretty much only happens with authors we were already reading, not with new authors. And it seems to be harder and harder to find the sort of middle ground fantasy that I like.

As a bit of an offshoot of this train of thought, I ended up considering the authors that get discussed (and that post) on the Westeros forums. I rather wish we had some female authors show up as well. There are plenty that ought to appeal to readers of ASoIaF, unless they are of the variety that never reads any other fantasy.

[User Picture]From: peadarog
2011-11-07 02:40 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. Robin Hobb was part of that middle ground too.

I always look at books in terms of Venn diagrams. Where the taste of two people meet isn't always obvious.

The reasons you like ASoIaF might not be the same reasons I have. Therefore, when I say book X is like A Game of Thrones, I might be saying that it has lots of swear words, whereas you might think my recommendation means that it's full of descriptions of feasting :)
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[User Picture]From: hippoiathanatoi
2011-11-07 02:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, Hobb's another middle one. Middle here being a very positive word as far as I am concerned.

Its absolutely true that any book recommendation really needs to be followed with an explanation of why you like a certain book and it is particularly true for ASoIaF.

Case in point, I always say I read it _despite_ the fact that no character is safe, not because as most others say. I read it for the character-driven story that combines so well with the world-building, I read it for the magical/supernatural aspects (not in spite of, as others would say) and I read it for the tragedy and romance.

I find it hard, though, to see why something like Deverry (at least the first quartet) wouldn't appeal to most ASoIaF-readers, however.
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[User Picture]From: peadarog
2011-11-07 02:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's exactly it.

The inclusion of romance in my own first novel was a complete accident -- a necessary plot point as far as I was concerned. But because of it, I ended up with far more female readers than male. And this despite the fact that I thought I was writing for boys!

I liked Deverry well enough, but never loved it. It's far, far too long since I read any of the books to understand why, however :(
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