Smugglers Stash

Smugglers’ Stash & News

Howdy folks, and Happy Sunday!

Giveaway Winner:

The lucky winner of a signed copy of Give Up the Ghost is…

Nicole (comment #109)

Congrats! You know the drill – send us an email (contact AT thebooksmugglers DOT com) with your snail mail address, and we will get your winnings to you as soon as possible.

And remember, our giveaway of Rotters by Daniel Kraus is still going strong, so make sure to get your entry in while there’s still time!

On Patronizing Reviews:

Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you are a fantasy fan and you are drooling/jittery with anticipation for tonight’s premiere of the HBO series adaptation of A Game of Thrones (OMG WE ARE SO FREAKING PUMPED). It’s a fantasy lover’s dream come true as THE premium cable channel – that has produced countless awesome series’ over the years – takes on a beloved (and sooooo deserving) epic fantasy adaptation with George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Add to the mix actors like Sean “Badass” Bean, and you’ve got a recipe for fansqueeing from here to eternity.

Chances are, if you’re also an avid online geek, you’ve probably caught wind of a few early reviews for the show. You may even have caught wind of this *lovely* review from the New York Times in which reviewer Ginia Bellafante makes some awesome assumptions about HBO and readers in general. Ms. Bellafante complains that the Game of Thrones cast is so large that only those capable of Rainman style card-counting or Warren Buffett-esque agility can follow the story, but then concludes her article by saying that HBO is becoming “cheap” with shows like this one, and that viewers are now in the hands of “cheaters.” The really good stuff comes later in the review, when Ms. Bellafante makes the following observation:

The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. 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. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.

Now that, dear readers, is some sweet patronization coming ‘atcha. As females, as avid readers of fantasy, as women that would much rather join a book club that reads Tolkien in lieu of Lorrie Moore, we can say to Ms. Bellafante, HOGWASH. Not only are these labels of “boy fiction” versus “girl fiction” ridiculously reductive and flat-out untrue, we also love the bizarre underlying assumption that women would only read/watch a politically complex and multi-character series if there are copious amounts of sex in the mix. Because, ya know, we chicks only dig Sex in the City and True Blood. By the way, it would have perhaps been much more effective had Ms. Bellafante actually read the books or did some preliminary research – because all the sex she complains is pandering to a female audience? Yeah, it’s in the books. I guess GRRM just threw that stuff in there too because he wanted to toss us ladies a bone, right?

To read some seriously awesome opinions on the subject check these out.

Reason No. 354 Why HBO Is The Best EVER:

In happier news, HBO is in the process of acquiring a new show. And that show, dear friends, is…

That’s right. Neil Gaiman and Robert Richardson (of JFK & The Aviator fame) will be teaming up for the HBO adaptation of the multi-award winning novel. Produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman under their Playtone label, this is some really excellent news. We hope everything goes through smoothly, because really, who doesn’t want to see Shadow and the gods – both old and new – brought to the screen?

(On that note, while we would be thrilled for the live-action adaptation of Sandman which has been long rumored as in the works, American Gods lends itself better to the screen…don’t you think?)

This Week on The Book Smugglers:

On Monday, Ana talks about her new favorite author Connie Willis, with an in-dept double review of Blackout and All Clear.

Tuesday, Ana tackles By These Ten Bones by another newfound awesome author, Clare B. Dunkle.

On Wednesday, Thea (finally) reviews Rotters by Daniel Kraus (yes, for real this time, and damn you Real Life for getting in the way of book reading awesomeness).

Thursday, Thea takes on steampunk/noir/horror novel The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Friday, we close out the week with our participation in the Gay in YA blogathon, in honor of the newly launched Gay YA website, with Ana’s review of Vintage by Steve Berman.

Phew. Until tomorrow, we remain…

Since looking for a new apartment, this has been my life
~ Your Friendly Neighborhood Book Smugglers

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  • Gerd D.
    April 17, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Actually I thought the NY times to make a few valid points in that review regarding “Game of Thrones” and HBO shows in general (though I do wonder how in their listing they could miss to mention the porn appeal of “True Blood” in this context:

    It says something about current American attitudes toward sex that with the exception of the lurid and awful “Californication,” nearly all eroticism on television is past tense.


    But hey, you can’t seriously argue with this:

    If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort.

  • pamelia
    April 17, 2011 at 6:19 am

    I actually read the review and found nearly all her comments offensive; especially the one about questioning how the producer/writer(?) could have previously worked on a worthwhile Spike Lee project and then fallen so far as to get involved with the GoT series/books. Really? Ah well, literary snobs are convinced that only “real” literature is valid as art and only works that transparently seek to understand life via the re-telling of “reality-based” stories can illuminate the human condition. Their loss since oftentimes the human condition is best interpreted through more oblique avenues like fantasy, science fiction and the like. Now, time to take off my “arguing with the internet” hat and put on my FANGIRL SQUEE hat to prepare for tonight’s premiere!! CAN’T WAIT!

  • Amanda Isabel
    April 17, 2011 at 6:49 am

    OMGOMGOMGOMG! American Gods on HBO!?! Yes Please! Thanks for the head’s up! 🙂

  • Gerd D.
    April 17, 2011 at 9:07 am

    especially the one about questioning how the producer/writer(?) could have previously worked on a worthwhile Spike Lee project and then fallen so far as to get involved with the GoT series/books. Really?

    Well, given the rampant growth in the field of Tolkien inspired High Fantasy novels in recent years I can understand why someone might feel a little put off by it. Especially if one isn’t a Fantasy lover to begin with. 😀

  • pamelia
    April 17, 2011 at 9:21 am

    @ Gerg D. : I guess what I don’t understand is that they had someone review the show who if asked “Have you ever read the books?” would respond: “Oh, GOD no.” I would have preferred a review by someone at least familiar with the genre and somewhat accepting of it so that the review had some value to someone who, say, wanted to know if the show was a) well done, b) faithful to the books, etc. The review is more a condemnation of a genre than an evaluation of the success of the show.

  • Karen
    April 17, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Clare B. Dunkle! Hooray! I love all her fantasy (not as much The Sky Inside) to bits!

    That review was ridiculous. I haven’t actually read any George R.R. Martin, but I’ve read a ton of other epic fantasies and am offended on behalf of my fellow fantasy-loving females.

    ooh, Neil Gaiman on my TV as well? Tempts me to get cable again (although I probably still won’t, because I am cheap.)

  • Kristen
    April 17, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I couldn’t believe that review, either. As a fellow woman who’d also rather read Tolkien (or Martin) than Lorrie Moore, I just have to say right on! (Oh and I am also so unbelievably excited for the premiere tonight! Have been excited about it for about 4 years now since it was first announced as a possibility.)

  • April (Good Books & Wine)
    April 17, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I wish I had HBO. That’s all I shall say on the subject.

  • Rosey
    April 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    American Gods on the screen sounds awesome but how long will the series be? Its only one book LOL. I think a movie might be better.

    Excited about GofT!!!

  • April
    April 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    That review just gives me a headache. There’s absolutely nothing I like less than the constant assumption that women don’t read, watch, or enjoy certain things.

  • Becky
    April 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I actually was quite offended by the review. To think that only men can enjoy this type of series is backwards thinking really. Am I the only one to feel like her statement is a little anti-feminist, telling us what we can or can not read and enjoy…

    I know I am exaggerating just a little, but still…

  • Rhiannon Hart
    April 17, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Ms. Bellafante can kiss my “boy-fiction” loving ass.

  • Nikki Egerton
    April 18, 2011 at 2:57 am

    First, I am very sad because I cannot get Sky Atlantic (which is where Game of Thrones is showing in the UK) because we get our TV through Virgin, not Sky. And I love Sean Bean and it looks so awesome and I really really want to watch!!

    Secondly, thanks for the heads up about American Gods, I’m actually reading that right now. It’s my first introduction to Neil Gaimon and I’m enjoying it a lot.

    Thirdly I really really want to read Blackout.

    :o) xxx

  • Jodie
    April 18, 2011 at 6:33 am

    wtf eva off putting review – WTF EVA! That excerpt hits so many of my ‘gah what are you even talking about?’ spots (boy fiction?!).

    So many shouty arguments in my head right now, but mostly I’m really pissed that this woman’s argument will probably require us all to split out sexy times enjoyment and serious drama enjoyment in order to fight her assumptions. I do like political drama for its own sake but I do like sexy political drama too. Her argument seems to imply that I must renounce that second part of my interests in order to be taken ‘seriously’ and to make my voice count.

    And I loooove that she seems to think sex has been chucked in to (solely) draw in female audiences – yes because I totally expect this show to only contain female positive, female gaze directed sexual depictions, that only women could find attractive. No sarcasm at all in that statement, no comment being made on the majority of sexual depictions in visual media AT ALL.

    I get so ticked when people are like ‘Oh The Tudors/Rome/True Blood has so much sex which means women (and here we can make a pretty decent assumption that most people are generalising and mean exclusively straight women) will like it’ – yes just give me any kind of sex to watch and I am sure to be interested in it what with being a woman and all. I do not have my own tastes and preferences and I am just drawn to any show containing copious amount of sex, purely because of the sex. I obviously can not get enough of watching men make vague, rather unrealistic thrusting motions over a woman who 9 time out of 10 has incredibly toned breasts.

    Just…sorry that was a serious rant. What I meant to say was ‘Why don’t I have Sky Atlantic?’

  • elizabeth
    April 18, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I linked over to the Game of Thrones review on the NYT website and I am completely amazed that they allowed that nitwit to review something of she is obviously totally ignorant. Perhaps she was cranky because she spilled a cosmo on her Sex in the City boxset? Oh wait, that would be me making a generalization based on stereotypes which may or may not be true depending on who that person actually is and what they actually appreciate…how wrong of me?

    I have adored the Song of Fire and Ice series since the first book. I also like Tolkein, Tad Williams, Patrick Rothfuss and various other authors who’s ability to create new and amazing worlds far surpasses anything this reviewer has ever encountered. We are not our mothers-there are literary boundries that have been crossed in the past generation-including making fantasy and scifi appealing and accessible to females.

    Anyway, she ruined my Monday.I could rant, but that just about sums it up.

  • L
    April 19, 2011 at 12:44 am

    @Gerd D.

    It isn’t a case of the fantasy genre swelling and people getting sick of it. This kind of genre elitism has existed for decades. Ursula Le Guin has a dozen essays on the subject all the way back in the 70s, if you’re interested in checking them out. 🙂

  • Estara
    April 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Dear Booksmugglers, I was wondering if you could boost a signal for a great but small sf and fantasy publisher – also a Nebula nominated writer – who has lost her house and health insurance and has to move from L.A. to Vermont (with animals and mother)?

    She was the lady her friends and the genre community tried to help with the Help_vera auction on LJ, and John Scalzi even had a tip jar for one of his short stories for her.

    Vera Nazarian offers a print home to Sherwood Smith and the continuing Sword & Sorceress anthologies originally conceived by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The anthology series Clockwork Phoenix is also by Norilana, and Tanith Lee is getting a print release with her own imprint, with all kinds of goodies included, in TaLeKa.

    She’s not asking for donations, she’d just like to spread the word about her small press and hopes that people will enjoy and buy some books.

    Maybe you could included in one of your radar posts? Also if you like Catherynne Valente’s work, you might really like Dreams of the Compass Rose by Vera Nazarian herself.

  • Gerd D.
    April 20, 2011 at 8:28 am

    @Gerd D.
    It isn’t a case of the fantasy genre swelling and people getting sick of it. This kind of genre elitism has existed for decades. Ursula Le Guin has a dozen essays on the subject all the way back in the 70s, if you’re interested in checking them out.

    A thanks, but I abstain.
    I’m honestly not much of a Fantasy reader myself and never branched out much beyond R. E. Howard and J. R. R. Tolkien.

    But, agreed, it is a case of the “what were they thinking?” that they gave this review to somebody that has a clear cut aversion to Fantasy. It doesn’t exactly speak of much journalistic integrity on behalf of the NYT.

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