embarrassed to admit liking fantasy?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Whiskeyjack, May 28, 2008.

  1. Whiskeyjack

    Whiskeyjack sapper-in-chief

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    First off, I'll admit that fantasy is my favorite genre. But I must also say that I am embarrassed to admit this fact to family, friends, and colleagues. After all, a 50 year-old, college-educated professional who likes fantasy -- what's up with that? So, I usually tell people I read "science fiction." Anyone else have a hard time "fessing up" to liking fantasy? Any suggestions on how to "come out" of the fantasy closet?
     
  2. Syrio

    Syrio Registered User

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    Absolutely. I have friends who read a lot and always tend to justify what I'm reading when they ask. "It's not the clich├ęd, characterless, linear bollocks you're thinking of. Great prose, very clever... don't think Lord of the Rings..." etc etc. But I'll admit to you all now that I don't like a lot of fantasy literature. No, I'll put that another way. I like a lot of fantasy literature, but I dislike more. I also try to mention other literature I enjoy; Dickens for example, in order to implant the idea that it may not be as bad as they think. That said I do feel guilty for having to justify myself.

    I find it interesting that you prefer the term "science fiction" to "fantasy" as, in my mind, it has more of a stigma attached. I'd be interested to hear what others think about this.
     
  3. MacPJ

    MacPJ Registered User

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    I'm in the same boat. Fantasy is stigmatized so much it's ridiculous, more so that nearly any other genre. If given the opportunity, I try to explain that I avoid the cliche D&D fantasy and expound on the fact that the books I read are often very deep with complex characters and plots, just set in a fantastic world.

    But the book covers don't help me any, let me tell you. I personally thanked George R.R. Martin for the simplistic, unassuming covers of his wonderful ASOIAF books that are devoid of the detailed and cliched knights-dragons-spells-castles that so often leave me wishing to rip off the cover when I take the book into a public place to avoid the glances and assumptions.
     
  4. Stevenator

    Stevenator King in the North

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    I say science fiction too. It sounds more intellectually compelling than fantasy for a lot of people. Just saying, "yeah, I read fantasy" can have the wrong ring.
     
  5. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    Though I'm a 33 and college educated professional, I've got no problem admitting I love reading this stuff.
     
  6. Severn

    Severn boss of several cats...

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    I don't have the slightest problem at all. Why should I? Fantasy is a perfectly legitimate form of literature - in fact, as far as I'm concerned it has a lot more in common with 'literary fiction' than many may think. My normal reading habit is to read one fantasy novel, then one literary fiction, and so on. I'm often surprised at the similarities I find crossing between the two types of fiction.

    Having said that: even if the above wasn't the case I still wouldn't have any problem 'admitting' I read fantasy, because I love it, and I know how good it can be. Really, why should the ignorant opinions of people who haven't read all the great fantasy I have bother me? Hehe. Because, truly, that's what those stigmas and opinions are - ill-informed, ignorant bollocks.

    Stand up and be a proud fantasy reader, seriously. If you act ashamed, apologetic, or justify the genre if only lends itself to the idea that there is something inherently wrong with fantasy, and readers of fantasy.
     
  7. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    I don't really care what people think. If I get the chance, I'll get to talking & blabbing on & on about Martin, Lynch, etc.
     
  8. Garet Jax

    Garet Jax Wishful writer of fantasy

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    Just check out what the people who mock fantasy read. Maybe 10% of them are actually reading some literature that is "classic" or "well-prosed". Dan Brown and John Grisham don't exactly shake the pillars of verse. (I'm probably being too generous to the human populace with 10%).

    However, fantasy does have its dribble just like all of the other genres. I know I catch myself reading it once in awhile.
     
  9. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    Shake the pillars of verse!!! LMAO
    Good one Jax!
     
  10. Sabetha

    Sabetha love interest

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    Nope, I'm not embarrassed to let people know that I read fantasy although I'm 31 and college educated. I'm not exactly sure what "professional" refers to in this context, but if it means to have a job, and one situated in the "academic world" at that...yes, that too. ;)

    I'm rather embarrassed about the occasional chick lit and/or romance novel (I haven't read one of those for about a year now...I swear) . Those are hidden away in the second row of the book shelf behind my most colourful fantasy novels. I got sneered at for liking Pratchett...by folks who have not read a single one of his novels, but covers like those of the Discworld series can obviously only indicate "inferior literary value". :rolleyes: Why would I give a fiddler's fart about the opinion of these people?
     
  11. Ademona

    Ademona New Member

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    Exactly! I'm not embarassed about loving fantasy -- although I admit to using the more ambiguous term "speculative" fiction at times -- but some of the cover art makes me cringe.

    For example, I went on a trip with some friends for the holiday weekend. Now, they all know that I read fantasy, but I was still not comfortable busting out my copy of Lynn Flewelling's Luck in the Shadows. I've seen the whole cover art discussion and I don't want to step on any one's toes here, but what's wrong with a discreet cover? Heck, I'd settle for one that forgoes dudes with mullets. Depending on who you're with, that's just asking for mockery. (Unfortunately, I was with a group that was more than happy to give it.)
     
  12. Yobmod

    Yobmod Yobmod

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    I have no problem with admitting it, and i'm a post-doc researcher.

    But the only time i generally get asked is when i'm dating someone new. I answer: science fiction, fantasy and "literature". As most people rarely read anything more than the TV guide for pleasure, they are hardly in a positiohn to judge!

    Do others ask people what read, when meeting new friends / dates?
    I always do! :).
    The hope that they might have read something we can talk about it always burning. Of course, we mostly ending up talking about films they've seen, for which i have read the book it's based on :D
     
  13. Dark Wolf

    Dark Wolf New Member

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    No problem there :) I'll admit happily that I read fantasy and that the fantasy books are the most part of my reading. I don't understand why to be ashame of this, because it's a very imaginative genre.
     
  14. ThornofCamorr

    ThornofCamorr Registered User

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    The word 'fantasy' just sounds so juvenile. Fantasy to the mainstream is what comes out of hollywood, IE Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, ... Eragon... My friends that don't read fantasy or sci-fi, or anything for that matter, assume fantasy means wizards and princesses and fairies and faggotry. I try to explain the brutal elegance and complexity of GRRM, Lynch, Abercrombie, all that- but it doesn't really get through.

    It doesn't matter to me, because I only ever read at home since highschool, so I've not experienced the awkwardness of whipping out something that looks like it was written for children in public. But you can talk about being proud of reading whatever you want all day, it still doesn't change the fact that some people will probably think you're a bit off when they see those bare-chested barbarians and swooning women on the cover. If you wear a Power Rangers shirt to work, it doesn't matter how cool and comfortable you make yourself feel; you still like like a fruit. And everyone cares about that, on some level.

    I've forgotten where I was going with this. Whatever, just take the covers off the bad ones. Or leave it at home and take Vonnegut on the train.

    As for the intellectual titans who look at genre as frivolous and absurd... well it pretty much is, but no more than Dickens or Austen. Some people think fantasy is stupid, some think all genre is stupid. Some think novels are useless entirely. It can all be debated. Even if your people think what you read isn't worthwhile, you can still have a lively discussion about it. Its the awkward stares on the train that are the most annoying.

    Oh I think I found my point. You shouldn't be embarassed to talk about what you read, because its all a matter of perspective. But looking like a fruitcake in public with a fat DnD-looking novel in hand, thats less easily avoided. So yeah, the world isn't going to stop thinking all fantasy belongs in the YA section any time soon, so if that bothers you don't brandish it about. And if the college professors and whatnot are really hardcore in bashing genre fiction, well hell you read about fights and battles all the time, kick their ass.
     
  15. thrinidir

    thrinidir dw4rf

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    Nope. No shame. No embarassement. But it might be because we are sadly not a literary nation (I believe that Slovenians read 1/2 of a book per year on average) and among those who read a lot - only a small minority actually reads english literature (or any other foreign language).
     
  16. Cranky Hamster

    Cranky Hamster Registered User

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    I definitely avoid reading fantasy in public, although I'm hiding at least as much -- and probably more -- from fellow fans as I am from members of the general public. This is the same reason I gave up tabletop gaming: it is just way too excruciating to have to avoid clueless Cat Piss Men who think that sharing a hobby with a random stranger is automatically an invitation to have a long close-proximity conversation about it. Uh, no.

    As far as the respectability of the genre goes, eh. Harry Potter got spec fic into the mainstream of literature, LotR and Narnia did it for movies, and The Road did it for recognized quality of literature (although I'll take GRRM over Cormac McCarthy any day, thx), so I think fantasy is about as de-marginalized as it's ever been.

    IMO, it's the unfortunately high-visibility fraction of spec fic fans who are CPM rather than the quality (or lack thereof) of fantasy fiction that causes whatever negative stigma it might have in the mainstream. At least that's what I worry about.
     
  17. Sabetha

    Sabetha love interest

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    Exactly!!

    I have ONE friend who likes to read...and likes to read the same books as I do. And nowadays we don't even live in the same country any more. Makes discussions always a little rushed. But we both enjoy them immensely. :D
     
  18. Physics Knight

    Physics Knight Defender of Cononicals

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    I feel like I should care because I am well aware of the stigma, but I don't. I find bringing up fantasy as an excellent test for new acquaintances. If the person is quick to judge me for my interest, then I probably don't want to know him/her anyways. If, on the other hand, a similar interest in fantasy is professed (even science fiction) well, that just leads to hours of things to talk about and an instant new friend.

    I just feel kindof silly bringing those covers into public because they don't at all represent the books.
     
  19. DarthV

    DarthV Sith Lord

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    With the number of people who religiously follow multiple reality TV shows out there, I'm definitely not embarrassed to admit I read scifi/fan. :cool:
     
  20. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh http://is.gd/4flJX

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    LOL! Excellent point DarthV! :)

    I don't even think that reading fantasy is at the same level as "watching mainstream TV" or "Playing Video Games" or "Seeing Iron Man on big screen". :) If one can admit one of those publicly, I don't see any problem in admitting reading fantasy.

    However, I appreciate that not everyone understands what "fantasy" means when I say I read "fantasy". I just smile and say "Not really!" if they say "Do you mean Harry Potter?". Actually even my wife thinks that "all these novels contain too much magic and monsters" :).

    It is also fair to talk about general fiction. In a world where people praise Dan Brown (not that I don't like him) it's only fair that I can praise Robin Hobb, Guy Gavriel Kay, etc.

    And if they really insist:
    "De gustibus no est disputandum"! ;)