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Overheard in Conversation

Last night I was wandering the SF/F section of my local Barnes & Noble, trying to decide the best way to spend my birthday gift card.  I had one book in hand (a friend's new release that I'd gone for specifically), but still had money to burn.  I was browsing the new release shelves when a trio of guys (I hesitate to use the word "men" because they seemed to epitomize the man-child, I-spend-too-much-time-playing-WII-and-not-enough-time-socializing stereotype of today's modern male SF fan---sad, but true) wandered by.

They ended up browsing within arm's reach of me, so I overheard an...amusing snippet of conversation between two of them.

Dude: Man, look at all this.
Pal: Wha?
Dude: I'm getting so sick of seeing this shit.
Pal: Wha?
Dude:  This, and this and this (*pointing to books on shelves I'd have to crane my neck to identify*) and this and this.... All these books with heroines who wanna be the hero and shit.

(At this point, if I'd been drinking a beverage, I'd have spit it out.)

Dude: And vampires, man, quit with the stupid vampires.  We need more books like this.

(He picks up the latest video game tie-in.)


Needless to say, I turned the corner before I either laughed in their faces, or said something snarky I'd later regret.  But I hate confrontation, so unless I somehow managed to channel my inner-Evy, I doubt I'd have actually spoken to them.

So, Watchers and Members, has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever overheard or participated in a conversation that took a harsh swipe at your favorite genre/books?  How did you react?  Do you try to educate people who seem to have no real clue about the books they are denigrating, or do you just let it roll off your back?

Curious minds.....

Comments

( 85 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
LOL!
(no subject) - templarwolf - Jul. 1st, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dawn_metcalf - Jul. 1st, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - templarwolf - Jul. 1st, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
marshmallow
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it's just where I shop, or a sudden, vehement backlash against the Twilight set or what, but I witness this a lot.

I usually make it a point, at that juncture, to politely say, "Excuse me, if I could just sneak past you here.." and to pluck the object of derision from the shelf with a big smile (even if I already own it and have to return it to its place when they've left). ;)
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
I considered that, actually. *g*
(Deleted comment)
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
I agree, it's definitely a matter of taste. UF was obviously not their genre. But as pickledherring commented below, it was more the broad swipe at the heroines in these books that got me.

I tend to hate generalizations of any sort, especially when there's no way this guy read the half-dozen books he pointed out on the New Release shelf, so he had no way of knowing what the content really was. It seemed more like a "sexy woman on cover equals bad book" reaction.

Of course, he's entitled to his opinion.
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(no subject) - kellymeding - Jul. 1st, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kellymeding - Jul. 1st, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pickledherring - Jul. 1st, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - moonwolf23 - Jul. 1st, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Not the Book Police. - pickledherring - Jul. 2nd, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - kellymeding - Jul. 1st, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - silvertwi - Jul. 1st, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ladyhedgehog - Jul. 1st, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - moonwolf23 - Jul. 1st, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kellymeding - Jul. 1st, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - moonwolf23 - Jul. 1st, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
pickledherring
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
It's the whole 'heroines who wanna be heroes' that really gets me.
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
Yes. I wanted to look him in the eye and say "these women don't want to be the heroes, they ARE the heroes."

But he was really tall and bigger than me. :)
(no subject) - pickledherring - Jul. 1st, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alanajoli - Jul. 6th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frost_light - Jul. 1st, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
denisetwin
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
I let it roll over me and laugh when they leave the aisle!
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
*grin*
(Deleted comment)
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
I went through a year-long phase (oh, many moons ago) where all I read were Star Trek:TNG tie-in novels. I've read a bunch of other tie-ins over the years, and they're fun reads for expanding a universe you enjoy.

I don't know about a steady, exclusive diet of them, though. Or a steady, exclusive diet of anything, for that matter. So many books, so little time. *g*
kellyrfineman
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
Wait, what if it was a video game tie-in featuring a girl who wants to be the hero? *is bewildered by clueless gamer guys*
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
LOL! If this book doesn't exist, it needs to. :)
(no subject) - patricemichelle - Jul. 1st, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - templarwolf - Jul. 1st, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kellymeding - Jul. 1st, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - acetachyon - Jul. 24th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC) - Expand
adaveen
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)
I dunno - I've had such a rough time finding good books for my fantasy-loving 16 year old son and my horror-fan 15 year old son, so I sort of sympathize with the guys. Boys still need heros, too. Fantasy books teach young people how to be men and women. I don't want my son reading Twilight - I want him reading the Belgariad, you know? (He's actually offended by the idea of a sparkly vampire, which makes me laugh. Of all the things to be offended by.)
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine many 15 year old boys reading Twilight. *g*

But there are plenty of leading hero books on the shelves next to the heroines, so I don't think the male-lead lovers have much to worry about. We haven't overtaken the SF/F section completely yet. ;)

Has your fantasy-loving son read Brent Weeks? His trilogy is supposed be amazing.
(no subject) - patricemichelle - Jul. 1st, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - adaveen - Jul. 1st, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - moonwolf23 - Jul. 1st, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kellymeding - Jul. 1st, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - moonwolf23 - Jul. 1st, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - adaveen - Jul. 1st, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
patricemichelle
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
Just like my son won't pick up a book that has a girl on the front (heaven forbid she might be the main character!), everyone has preferences. Btw, I did convince him to read Scott Westerfeld's Moonlighters series (2 of the books feature girls on the cover. HA!) and he loved them! So, I say...their loss if they are solely judging a book by its cover.
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
I have the first of Westerfeld's "Uglies" series in my TBR pile. I've heard good things about it.
(no subject) - patricemichelle - Jul. 1st, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - silvertwi - Jul. 1st, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Uglies - feycreations - Jul. 7th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
dawn_metcalf
Jul. 1st, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
People like what they like & don't like what they don't like. If they're willing to talk, sure, but perfect strangers? Eh. (Although I may have been tempted to ask what they liked about the tie-in and see if I didn't know something in genre that might appeal...)

Reminds me of a writer-friend of mine who worked in a bookstore and routinely had a busload of nuns come to buy romance novels. He said he felt guilty for selling them, but these were customers CLEARLY knew what they wanted & that was that.
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
OMG, that's funny!
irysangel
Jul. 1st, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
This conversation has pretty much happened to anyone that has ever mentioned they are writing romance.

My boss: You write romance? Wow! Your sex life must be crazy.

My co-worker: Romances? When will you write a real book?

My friend: You wrote a romance? Aw, that's cute.

My brother: It's all vampires and sex. I can't believe somebody paid you.

Isn't that sweet? ;)
- Jill Myles
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
Hehe. I think I'd call it something other than "sweet." *grin*

(no subject) - dawn_metcalf - Jul. 1st, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frost_light - Jul. 1st, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kellymeding - Jul. 1st, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - irysangel - Jul. 1st, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frost_light - Jul. 1st, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - irysangel - Jul. 1st, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
skirmish_of_wit
Jul. 1st, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
In situations like that I get mad at a society that teaches men that women aren't interesting enough to be heroes.
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
Or strong enough. Or smart enough.

*sigh*
janni
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
What I run into most actually are parents, vaguely troubled their children are reading fantasy and trying, without success, to convince them to read other things ... why they expect me to share their concern, as a writer of the things they don't want their children reading, has never been quite clear to me!

On the other hand, I did have a parent after hearing me talk say she felt now she could let go of wanting all her children's books to be explicitly educational, so people can indeed learn. (I talk a lot about both about how kids--like adults--have the right to just read for fun and escape, as well as about the fact that fantasy has a lot more going on than fun and escapism.)
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Good for you, for getting through to at least one parent.
(no subject) - adaveen - Jul. 1st, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alanajoli - Jul. 6th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
12stargazers
Jul. 1st, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
At a writer's retreat, I was asked, point blank, by an older lady librarian why young males only wanted to read sf and nothing else. (She wrote WWII era historic fiction.)

The summary of my answer was "the boys want to read something they can identify with."

I also once had to deal with a non-fiction author who put down anything that didn't make the NYTimes best seller's list. Which included all Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance. After a few weeks in the writers group, she was the only person left.
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
I'm curious--is it the male leads in SF that you think boys identify with most?
(no subject) - moonwolf23 - Jul. 1st, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tom_gallier - Jul. 2nd, 2009 01:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - adaveen - Jul. 1st, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 12stargazers - Jul. 3rd, 2009 05:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - adaveen - Jul. 3rd, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 12stargazers - Jul. 3rd, 2009 05:08 am (UTC) - Expand
ladyhedgehog
Jul. 1st, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
Generally, I shake my head and move on, laughing silently at myself over the fact that at least as many people say silly and derisive things about their books as mine.

But, then, I've been numbed to people dissing my reading material by decades of my grandmother harping that I need to read things I consider dull instead...
kellymeding
Jul. 1st, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
People enjoy reading what they enjoy reading, and I've been pretty lucky in that no one in my family (actively and to my face, at any rate) disses my reading/writing choices.
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