August 15, 2018, 01:51:05 AM

Author Topic: The stigma toward fantasy  (Read 1834 times)

Offline ultamentkiller

Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2017, 04:02:47 PM »
Ugh. Those people piss me off. Or this.

Person: "So what genre do you read?"
Me: "Fantasy."
P: "Oh. That's like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings right?"
M: No. that's part of the genre that I read, but not all of it. There's a lot more to Fantasy than the mainstream stuff."
P: Right. Right."

It's annoying as hell. It's so hard to shake people's minds from that. the best way I can describe Fantasy to people is by saying something I heard on here a couple of times. Fantasy isn't a genre. It's a setting. You can have any type of Fantasy story you want. It's just a normal story with magic in the background. Even that doesn't seem to sway people, but they seem to get more of an understanding of what it is.

The other thing I despise. "Harry Potter is the best Fantasy book ever." "Have you read any other Fantasy?" "Well... No?" "So you're looking at a portion of a gigantic wall and saying that it's the most beautiful part ever, even though you haven't seen the entire thing." "..."

Offline Takoren

Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2017, 07:27:06 PM »
Ugh. Those people piss me off. Or this.

Person: "So what genre do you read?"
Me: "Fantasy."
P: "Oh. That's like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings right?"
M: No. that's part of the genre that I read, but not all of it. There's a lot more to Fantasy than the mainstream stuff."
P: Right. Right."

It's annoying as hell. It's so hard to shake people's minds from that. the best way I can describe Fantasy to people is by saying something I heard on here a couple of times. Fantasy isn't a genre. It's a setting. You can have any type of Fantasy story you want. It's just a normal story with magic in the background. Even that doesn't seem to sway people, but they seem to get more of an understanding of what it is.

The other thing I despise. "Harry Potter is the best Fantasy book ever." "Have you read any other Fantasy?" "Well... No?" "So you're looking at a portion of a gigantic wall and saying that it's the most beautiful part ever, even though you haven't seen the entire thing." "..."

I despise the immediate assumption that I'm reading a "kid's book" or that because it's fantasy it must be action/adventure or nothing to be taken seriously. I have seen some stores (well, second-hand stores mostly) that have placed literally all fantasy fiction in the "young adult" section. This is almost universally true if the story contains vampires. One second-hand store I frequent habitually puts Charlaine Harris's stuff in the young adult section, despite her novels focusing on actual adults and featuring graphic sex and violence. I once found Andy Remic's Clockwork Vampires series in the young adult section. Remic, who purposefully fills his books with as much vulgarity as he can get away with and has been called the "Quentin Tarantino of fantasy". Two chapters in and you encounter the word "cunt". I just moved that one surreptitiously.
"The battle's won easy and the war's won cheap
My lords seem to trust me but I'm just 18
So I'll hang their hides from the bannisters
When I take my revenge on the Lannisters
Got engaged to a Frey so I could win a free pass
Can't get with Talisa but damn dat ass
Hey, hey, I wanna be Robb Stark..."

Offline Nora

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Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2017, 12:34:09 AM »
My thoughts are a bit complex on that issue.

First off, I've never been confronted with the offensive conversations you guys seem to have had. When people ask me what I read, I say, SF, fantasy, horror, 19th century classics, the odd non fiction and a shitload of manga.
No one has ever attempted to openly make fun of me for that, but I've had some people say they don't read SFF at all, and read classic fiction, or only non-fiction (or in one case, a young lady quite defensively said she didn't read, not finding the time for it, and was aggressive enough saying so that I think she'd had a few people act as if that made her dumb or something).

But I completely understand that some people will always find fantasy to be childish or immature, not their cup of tea, and maybe see its fans in a dimmer light.
To be very honest, I think that's fine so long as they can keep an open mind and filter their thoughts wisely. It doesn't have to keep you from being friends.

This sort of "compassion" on my side comes from the disdain I often have to repress while faced with other individuals.
I try actively not to judge until I know people a little, but if someone introduced me to a guy saying "he doesn't read at all but loves to watch soccer on tv" I would instantly brace myself to meet someone I'd have virtually no interests in common with and might end up despising.
I'm always ready to be proven wrong, but I do find that watching football (what we call soccer), is a flaw in a human's character, and I'd never date a tv-sports fan.
I know I unjustly look down on such things, but it's the same as the way I look down on bushy beards. 27 years in, it's not my jam.
I just don't actively shove my dislike in people's faces. Some habits/preferences I just don't agree with/enjoy/approve/find any interest in, and I expect people to be as polite with me as I am with them and tolerate what they dislike about me. If there is more to dislike than like we just don't hang. End of story.

But again, very honestly, when I had someone tell me that yes they read, but mostly sff fanfic, I did feel a wave of disdain I had to wrestle with. Can't help myself but wonder what the hell they find interesting in that, when they could read X or Y.
Has any of you not half choked in front of someone noisily declaring their undying love for 50 shades of grey (or whatever cheap, cringe-worthy book you can think of (and I'm sorry if you're a 50 Shades fan))?

Soooooo... I don't feel bad about people demeaning SF/F, so long as they're being well bred and rein in their offensive thoughts and either change the subject ("if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't speak"), or take the time and open mind to ask the person what they so like about it.

I think most of the lines of dialogue you're describing are the simple product of conversing with damn rude people in need of being turned into tacos.



How many of us look down on UF soft porn novels with weak female characters becoming the slave-like mate of a vampire hunk? Especially when it clogs up SFF votes?
Is that type of uf romance (the nick name for it escapes me right now...) not even more stigmatised, honestly?

But anyway... I don't know. I think people need to be educated. You can always ask them, did you like Buffy? Do you still watch Supernatural? Or X Files? What do you think these shows are?

I truly don't know what to offer as a solution, because I've never faced such thinly veiled disdain. If someone tried that on me I'd snap at them pretty fast. Ask them if they are half as assured in their opinions toward thermo nuclear energy, because given how little they know of the topic, they're not really entitled to lecture you. [I'm not being very clear... I mean, if you don't read the genre at all, how are you in any way entitled to make conclusions about it?]
(I am, sadly, much too knowledgeable in the domain of shameful vampire romance, and therefore regrettably entitled to be opinionated...)

Of course the more judging eye of readers/writers/publishers of our extended community is a different and more serious issue I think. I mean the people who think "literary fiction>>>>SF>>>>Fantasy". Such people do have the weight of tradition on their side, but I think enough literary sff comes around these days to change that mentality.

It's not an issue I lose sleep over though. I read a lot of manga, and watch a lot of anime, and trust me that brings about more stigma than fantasy, at least in the UK/NZ/OZ. In France we have strong ties to japan and consume a lot more of their culture. The space allowed to manga in stores here makes me wanna cry.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 12:45:40 AM by Nora »
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2018, 09:39:05 PM »
I was wondering today if it’s mostly a British thing this snobbery towards Fantasy or do you also get it in America?

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Offline Saraband

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Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2018, 10:24:49 PM »
I was wondering today if it’s mostly a British thing this snobbery towards Fantasy or do you also get it in America?

I would actually say that the UK isn't bad at all when it comes to Fantasy. In Portugal, Fantasy / SFF sections in bookstores tend to be a third or less of the size of what I usually come across here, and many authors don't even get translated into Portuguese because there's not enough demand.

We have no great Fantasy authors that sort of occupy a national space of British authors like Tolkien, CS Lewis or more recent ones like Terry Pratchett, and I think that has a lot to do with how Fantasy ends up being perceived. Fantasy is not really a part of school curriculums, and although movies and tv shows get consumed just as much as in the rest of the world, SFF literature just generally gets snubbed at. (@ScarletBea what do you think? Am I talking rubbish? ;D)
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Offline Feanor

Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2018, 12:21:31 AM »
I have thought some points about this matter.

 First, I feel that any people that snub at sff don't really understand what it entails, they mostly know about the mainstream stuff and, frankly, even those they know of how they are marketed in the general population and not their true essense.
In my experience, when people don't understand something either they will try to understand it or they will reject it either by considering it above them or beneath them.Most will consider ssf beneath them.

 Secondly, very often when some people come across the weirdest parts of ssf out there they will take them them in as representatives of the genre and sometimes they will try to convince others of the same notion thus creating negative advertising about the genre.

Thirdly, I believe that ssf is connected in the minds of most people with a level of imagination that is considered childish.In fact, I find most people find imagination has or can have a negative connotation, regarded as something that children are allowed to have before they grow up and become disillusioned from life.If people want to praise someone's imagination they prefer the term creative that has the more adult connotation.So people connect the ssf genre with children.Essentially, they view any story in this genre as a fairytale for children but with adult elements added to it to make it more "edible" for people that didn't  "grow up".

Lastly, I don't think we need to crusade over this.As I understand it whatever snubbing is being done affects us because it feels like the other party rejects a part of ourselves and we all seek acceptance so it causes some anguish.But, mostly, it hurts if the rejection comes from the close environment and that, imo, is something that falls under interpersonal relatioships and how people should accept and respect each other in general.If society or a part of it has placed a stigma on ssf then all we can do is continue to be ourselves and show anyone interested that reading, watching, playing or creating ssf is not just a childish fancy but part of ourselves.

 I feel like I was a bit dramatic in the last paragraph with words like "crusade" and "anguish".I don't really feel that strong about it although I've been the recipient of snubbing by friends, family and strangers.It hasn't leave me with any lasting "trauma"? but it did leave me with the impression that people are quick to bash something they don't understand.



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Offline cupiscent

Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2018, 04:05:00 AM »
Thirdly, I believe that ssf is connected in the minds of most people with a level of imagination that is considered childish.In fact, I find most people find imagination has or can have a negative connotation, regarded as something that children are allowed to have before they grow up and become disillusioned from life.

Seconding this from my experience. There's a pretty good spec-fic community and industry in Australia, it gets good shelf-space in bookstores, we have a number of authors who make good livings from it (which is hard to do in Australia, as we're a small market; most of those authors also sell overseas, but this is not a common thing for Australian authors in general).

BUT every year I scour the Melbourne Writers' Festival program (and we are a Serious Literary City, something something international city of literature??) for the fantasy-adjacent stuff. There are always a delightful cadre of Australian spec-fic authors... but only appearing on the "schools" program, i.e. For Kids.

There's actually a specific spec-fic writing festival (only one day, but still) launching this year, and I am super excited.

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2018, 07:01:27 AM »
I truly don't know what to offer as a solution, because I've never faced such thinly veiled disdain. If someone tried that on me I'd snap at them pretty fast.

This sentence! People know me as being quite hot-tempered anyway, so they might as well expect some verbal or physical ass-whooping.  ;D

Personally I haven't met anyone who despise fantasy outright, though.

Offline Eclipse

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Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2018, 07:50:42 AM »
I truly don't know what to offer as a solution, because I've never faced such thinly veiled disdain. If someone tried that on me I'd snap at them pretty fast.

This sentence! People know me as being quite hot-tempered anyway, so they might as well expect some verbal or physical ass-whooping.  ;D

I keep quiet and mutter unheard when there leave ????
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2018, 08:19:30 AM »
(@ScarletBea what do you think? Am I talking rubbish? ;D)
No you're not. In fact, for me it was even worse, because while you now (last 5 years or so, maybe?) have a small but separate SFF section in bookshops, when I was growing up there was nothing. Nothing that brought attention to SFF (I wonder if there was anything translated at all).
My sister and I started reading in english when we were teenagers in order to get some different books, and in those specific bookshops in Lisbon that had a good original books section is where I discovered Pratchett, Tolkien and others. There was no genre separation, and so that's why only until much, MUCH later I realised I'd been reading SFF for a long time, hehe

In fact, I find most people find imagination has or can have a negative connotation, regarded as something that children are allowed to have before they grow up and become disillusioned from life. If people want to praise someone's imagination they prefer the term creative that has the more adult connotation.
This is so clear, so true - very sad, isn't it?

I keep quiet and mutter unheard when there leave ????
Having met you, I can't imagine you raising your voice for anything ;D
We need to meet again to mumble against these philistines together, hehe
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Offline Yora

Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2018, 08:54:55 AM »
The assumption that fantasy is being looked down upon always baffles me. Maybe by some old men in gray suits smoking pipes who like gray books with lots of rain and depression. But in the population as a whole, I've never got any such impression.
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Offline Neveesandeh

Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2018, 09:25:48 AM »
I remember talking to the librarian at school once as she told me 'adults don't read fantasy'. I just shrugged it off. Another time, when I was working in a library, and someone asked me what I wrote, they gave me a disproving look when I told them the answer.

I still think this stigma exists, but it seems to be on the wane now, thankfully. It's odd, because the oldest and most enduring stories still told today, myths and legends, could almost all be considered fantasy.

A personal pet peeve of mine is bookshops putting all SFF into one section labelled 'science fiction'.

Offline Nora

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Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2018, 11:04:42 AM »
The assumption that fantasy is being looked down upon always baffles me. Maybe by some old men in gray suits smoking pipes who like gray books with lots of rain and depression. But in the population as a whole, I've never got any such impression.

I think you're misreading the reading population. A lot of older men come and lurk in my SFF section in Waterstones, and tend to be the toughest clients cause they've read it all, and if they're retired they read like fucking machines.
No it's older women and middle aged women who tend to despise it the most. Many are fine with it, they don't mind fetching me to recommend a book for their kid, or tag along behind bf or husband, but a crazy amount of little ladies are incredibly dismissive of the genre and will make comments (especially at the till and often whilst buying a crappy romance novel...)
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Yora

Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2018, 12:01:00 PM »
I meant literature critics who still think they are in the 70s and anyone cares about the high art books they read.
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: The stigma toward fantasy
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2018, 08:21:53 PM »
I keep quiet and mutter unheard when there leave ????
Having met you, I can't imagine you raising your voice for anything ;D
We need to meet again to mumble against these philistines together, hehe

be great to meet up again

HOW DARE YOU NOT IMAGINE THAT I DON'T RAISE MY VOICE ..... ;)
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate