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  1. #1
    sapper-in-chief Whiskeyjack's Avatar
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    embarrassed to admit liking fantasy?

    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. #2
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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 clichéd, 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. #3
    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. #4

    Wink

    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. #5
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiskeyjack View Post
    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?
    Though I'm a 33 and college educated professional, I've got no problem admitting I love reading this stuff.

  6. #6
    boss of several cats... Severn's Avatar
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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. #7
    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. #8
    Wishful writer of fantasy Garet Jax's Avatar
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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. #9
    Rogue Warrior
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    Shake the pillars of verse!!! LMAO
    Good one Jax!

  10. #10
    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". Why would I give a fiddler's fart about the opinion of these people?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by MacPJ View Post
    But the book covers don't help me any, let me tell you.
    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. #12
    Yobmod Yobmod's Avatar
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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

  13. #13
    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. #14
    Registered User ThornofCamorr's Avatar
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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. #15
    dw4rf thrinidir's Avatar
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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).

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