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fantasy stigma?

(4 Posts)
MarkMarkMarkMark Tue 21-Jun-11 11:29:56

In the UK (but not so much in the US it seems) there's a stigma associated with grown-ups reading fantasy books. We're allowed to read thrillers, murder mysteries, literary fiction, anything with vampires, even romance, but if somebody picks up a sword ... that's lame apparently. Magic is for children. It's ok in Harry Potter ... or if it's vampires ... but past that, it's for kids and sad annoraked men on the bus.
Many fantasy books in the UK have subdued and misleading covers so the reader can carry them in public without shame, and the term 'adult fantasy' is more likely to summon images of PVC and whips than of fantasy books written for grown-ups (at work the firewall has blocked off any sites tagged 'young adult fantasy' with the auto-generated explanation 'pornography').
Have you encountered these attitudes? Ever pretended not to own the fantasy book on the arm of your chair smile Are things changing?

bruffin Tue 21-Jun-11 11:45:25

I used to read science fantasy when I was in my 20s. I never thought of there being a stigma against it. In those days I was lucky to live in london and have easy access to bookshops like forbidden planet. I just wish the internet was around then and I could have got hold of more Marion Zimmer Bradley Darkover novels or Roger Zelazny.
I am not really interested any more but want to read Stephen King Dark Tower books.

Butterbur Tue 21-Jun-11 11:52:12

I've read science fiction and fantasy ever since I discovered it, at the age of 12. I feel no shame in it, and wouldn't try and hide it, despite my own mother scoffing, and saying I should've grown out of it by now.

By that she means moved on to eg Catherine Cookson!

I loved Forbidden Planet. I used to work in the Holborn area, and it was a fairly short walk along to the shop to buy reading material for the evening, or just to browse. The internet just isn't the same!

swanker Tue 21-Jun-11 12:03:20

I have never felt stigmatised for reading fantasy books, but then my parents read books of all genres and I had free rein of the library too.

There are many serious thought-provoking sci-fi/fantasy books-

Vernor Vinge's 'Fire upon the deep'
Mary Doria Russell's 'The Sparrow'
Dan Simmons' 'Endymion'
Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods'

I really like Tad Williams, Neal Stephenson, and William Gibson too.

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