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October 17, 2007

The Globe Finds FanFic
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:16 AM * 215 comments

In the Boston Globe:

Fan fiction has long been a part of Debra Doyle’s life.

In high school, she concocted imaginary stories spun off of the original “Star Trek” series and handed the printed pages to her friends. Then after spending several years writing for academic purposes while getting her doctorate in Old English from the University of Pennsylvania, Doyle re-engaged her creative writing muscles by returning to fan fiction. Later, when she lived in Panama with her husband, James Macdonald, while he served in the Navy, they wrote fan fiction together inspired by “Star Wars.”

“I always wanted to be a writer,” says Doyle, 54, who lives in Colebrook, N.H. “Really there wasn’t that much of a distinction when I got started with fan stuff and other stuff. It was pretty much things that I wrote.”

So for Doyle, it wasn’t surprising when she and her husband shifted from fan fiction to original short stories. By 1988 the couple’s first short story had appeared in an anthology about werewolves. Today Doyle estimates that she and Macdonald have co-written more than 20 science fiction and fantasy books for adults and young adults.

Yes, I’m that Macdonald, and Debra Doyle is my beloved wife and coauthor. Our secret shame revealed in the lede of a story in the Globe.

Actually, it’s a non-heinous article. Not a look-at-those-strange-people-aren’t-they-funny piece at all. Observe too our own Patrick, same article:

“I do think that the idea that publishers ‘troll’ fanfic sites is more myth than not,” Patrick Nielsen Hayden, a senior editor at Tor Books in New York, wrote in an e-mail, “but I will say this: If I had lots more spare time, I would.”
Comments on The Globe Finds FanFic:
#1 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Actually, it was yesterday's (10-16) Globe, but as you said. I got busy and forgot to send Doyle a note, because it was one of those rare positive and balanced articles about fanfic, and shows off her and the other writer featured in a very good way. Also the picture of Doyle (how surprised was I to see her beaming from above the fold of the Living section?) was one of the nicest I've seen yet!

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:38 AM:

Congratulations, Debra.

#3 ::: JDC ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:38 AM:

Reading the headline in Google Reader, I immediately assumed this would relate to the discovery of a cache of Elizabethan slash fanfic featuring the Capulets and Montagues. Although I am pleased that a decent fanfic piece appeared in a newspaper, I am still bitterly disappointed.

#5 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:50 AM:

That's an amazingly respectful piece, considering the current state of low-level warfare between the literature establishment and genre fiction. I'm sure a lot of that is down to Doyle and Patrick carefully explaining the background to the reporter; gratitude is in order from all of us. But even so, the reporter who wrote the article, Vanessa Jones, deserves a lot of credit for good journalism, something that's not in great supply these days. Well met and done, all of you.

#6 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:06 AM:

Naomi Novik, who wrote fan fiction as a teen before having the first book in her "Temeraire" series published last year

I'm very amused by the past tense in this.

Also, nice article.

#7 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:11 AM:

The weather beaten trail wound ahead into the dust racked climes of the baren land which dominates large portions of the V'ron'n empire. Age worn hoof prints smothered by the sifting sands of time shone dully against the dust splattered crust of earth. The tireless sun cast its parching rays of incandescense from overhead, half way through its daily revolution. Small rodents scampered about, occupying themselves in the daily accomplishments of their dismal lives. Dust sprayed over three heaving mounts in blinding clouds, while they bore the burdonsome cargoes of their struggling overseers.

"Dost thee bite thine thumb at us, sir?", gasped the first Capulet.

"No sirrah, I dost not bitest my thumbst at thou, sirrah, but I bitest my thumb, sirrah." returned Smpsn.

#8 ::: JulieB ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Very nifty. Will print this out to read while I'm out today.

#9 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Hooray! How warm and fuzzy.

#10 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:26 AM:

JDC: I would dearly love to read that. So much that I think I'm going to write it.

#11 ::: Sheila ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:35 AM:

Did PNH really say "troll" or was it "trawl"?

#12 ::: Leah ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:38 AM:

How refreshing and pleasant! I've always liked best the notion that writers are writers, and 'fanfic' or 'genre' or 'Biography of Ferdinand de Saussure' is just what the writer is doing, not what the writer is. Good writing is good writing, regardless.

So good to see such a balanced article. Congrats!

#13 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Looks like someone sent Fark the article; they've posted a link on their site to it with a funny description: http://www.fark.com/

#14 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Trolling is, in fact, a fishing technique, just as trawling is. They are different techniques, however. Trolling involves hooks; trawling involves nets.

I would expect Patrick to use a hook rather than a net. Though a spear even moreso.

#15 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 10:44 AM:

Joel,

Flip your thous and thees. Thou performest an act, the act is received by thee. Also, thy = your and thine = yours (i.e. Those art thy shoes; Those shoes art thine).

Dost thou bite thy thumb at us...

I dost not bitest my thumb at thee...

I bet you knew all of that, but the Shakespeare nerd in me could not resist. Rather, I could not resist the Shakespeare nerd in me.

#16 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Nice article! Congratulations, all.

#17 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:03 AM:

Shouldn't that be "I do not bite..."? Or for extra Jacobean flavor, "I bite not"?

#18 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:06 AM:

While I join the congratulations to Debra, I'd like mostly to congratulate the Globe on doing actual journalism, which is (as Bruce said in 5) rare these days.

CosmicDog 15: I'm more than sure you realize that Joel was parodying the screamingly-wrong pseudo-archaic English committed by many fanfic writers, and that you yourself are parodying something, but I, too, am unable to resist:

'Thine' is used predicatively, as you state, but also attributively before a vowel: "thy lady," but "thine own lady." In that period 'my' and 'mine' are also governed by sandhi in the attributive position, which is why it's "in the presence of mine enemies" in the KJV.

The '-st' ending is second person. *"I dost" is incorrect. It's "I do not bite" just as in Modern English.

#19 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:17 AM:

In regard to #6: I've just recently realized, finally, who Naomi Novick is in fandom; since she's long been on my fannish "read any by" list, I must go out and start reading her hard-copy.

#20 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:19 AM:

I'll add my voice to the chorus of congratulations. It's nice to see a newspaper article about something I have at least passing knowledge about that does the topic proud.

#21 ::: Christopher Turkel ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:26 AM:

That is really awesome! Great article. I am humbled to be such company :)

The V'ron'n Empire was a thousand miles of hot, blasted land. No one but the V'ron'n knew the secrets of survival, the nooks that hid tiny pools of water, the plants that gave protein, the way of the circle snake and the red raven.

In other worls, it was desolate in the exact same way the lush lands of the Amazon weren't.

#22 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:45 AM:

How refreshing and pleasant! I've always liked best the notion that writers are writers, and 'fanfic' or 'genre' or 'Biography of Ferdinand de Saussure' is just what the writer is doing, not what the writer is. Good writing is good writing, regardless.

The real challenge would be to write a fan-fic genre Biography of Ferdinand de Saussure, specifically about that time he and I stayed up late one night talking about linguistics with a vampire.

#24 ::: JulieB ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 11:48 AM:

Finally got to read the article. Nice to see an article about fanfiction that isn't all "get a life."

#25 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:08 PM:

22: Good idea. Get writing! (After all, who better to investigate Words of Power than a linguist?)

"Noam," he rasped. "My old friend. So shall we face each other at last?"
Chomsky stepped cautiously on to the bridge, his cutlass steady in one hand. "When I first read your 'Course in General Linguistics', I was but a student. Now I am the master, Ferdinand."
Ferdinand's stocky companion stepped into the lamplight. "Foolish child. I will tear your tongue from your mouth and watch as you try to interpret your own screams."
"Quiet, Roland," the white-haired Swiss snapped. "You shall have your fun soon enough."

#26 ::: Jon Sobel ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Where da Debra Doyle Buffy fanfic at?

#27 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Jon Sobel #26: For serious.

#28 ::: jmmcdermott ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:28 PM:

I wrote a lot of crap when I was getting my creative writing degree. A LOT of AWFUL AWFUL prose intended for an audience as typical as any academic creative writing workshop.

I recently dug through my old files for old novel ideas (this morning). The first "good" writing I did, and the best early short stories, were fan-fic for a Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) I played in the days before MMORPGs.

The audience was out to support authors, not out to rip their prose apart, and I wasn't worried about being important. I was worried only about being entertaining, and being read.

It was what pushed me off the plateau of wannabe into that next level where I was selling stories and a book.

Just my three paragraphs to add to the discussion.

#29 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:31 PM:

You folk are going to be the end of my financial discipline -- I already own a number of Jim and Debra's books, so I said to myself, I said, Uhmmm? Naomi Novik, check Amazon why don't you?. So there are now four books winging their way to the Skyedreams household...

Oh well, my birthday was last week. Happy Birthday, me!

#30 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:31 PM:

I've been thinking about doing some Ekumen/Bitchun Society crossover fanfic.

#31 ::: Jon Sobel ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:40 PM:

#27 - can't a guy ask a serious question using a crude sense of humor around here? :-)

#32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:42 PM:

How about crossover slash fanfic... For example, Kirk/Puck.

#33 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:44 PM:

Alex 30: Yes, crossovers are my main temptation to fanfic as well. Like the one where a little kid comes through the Stargate and runs up to Vala saying "Mommy!"

And of course, the kid's name is D'Argo Sun-Crichton.

#34 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Jon Sobel #31: No, no, no, I was backing you up. For serious, where da Debra Doyle fanfic at?

#35 ::: Jon Sobel ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 12:59 PM:

#34 - cool - I miss Buffy - recently re-viewed seasons 1-3, now taking a break to watch Freaks and Geeks - an incredibly well-done show (with amusing sf-geeky content) that only ran for one season - then back to Buffy soon.

#36 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:04 PM:

re 29: four? (Checks Amazon) Must call bookstore....

#37 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Kirk: And what country, friend, is this?

Chekov: Keptin, it is Illyria.

(Alarums, off.)

And we are discovered!

Kirk (Opening communicator): Commander Scott,
By thy good graces we may yet be saved.
We call thee, with most urgent plea,
So thou might direct thy sparkling beams,
Seek us out upon this hostile shore,
And in the merest n;inking of an eye,
Restore us to the safety of our mighty argosy.
Being us to that haven, cup us in that saucer,
So that our Enterprise may keep its prize;
Return to its bosem both most puissant Captain
And his gallant crew. So that,
In Mother Russia, and each our native lands,
No mourners weep for bones on alien sands.

(Exuent)

#38 ::: jmmcdermott ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Also, the slash fan-fic with noam chomsky sent large cornbread crumbs across my keyboard in explosive laughter, and now my shift buttons are both jammed with cornbread.

totally worth it1

good job1

#39 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:29 PM:

It occurs to me that, if Shakespeare were alive today. he might very well be tempted to write for Doctor Who.

Or maybe act in it.

#40 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:47 PM:

#39Dave Bell:

It occurs to me that, if Shakespeare were alive today. he might very well be tempted to write for Doctor Who.

Or maybe act in it.

He already did. The Shakespeare Code, season 3 (new series), episode 2.

And how nerdy was that? I didn't even lookup the episode guide on Wikipedia.

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Keith @ 40... And Martha complained about his breath when he tried to kiss her goodbye.

#42 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:08 PM:

jmmcdermott, your situation in #38 brought this xkcd cartoon irresistibly to mind. This may be a record for the earliest mention of it in a thread where it's not referenced in the post.

Alas, my attempt at referential humour by adding in a mouseover title field to the link has been stymied by the comment code-stripping function. You all will just have to imagine some witty remark.

(Serge; "in some perfumes is there more delight"?)

#43 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Not to mention containing this immortal bit of dialogue:

Doctor: You can flirt later!
Shakespeare: Is that a promise?
Doctor: Oh...57 academics just punched the air.

I giggled for hours!

#44 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:25 PM:

Might I request Jim write a bit of Gerry Anderson's 1980 fanfic?
"We hope you don't find your daughters mutilated...by UFOs!"

#45 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:27 PM:

It's a wonderful episode.

OK, so the monsters might not be the best, but I'd happened to watch In search of Shakespeare a few weeks previously--he's a lot more interesting than the standard view of my schooldays--and it's filled with blink-and-you'll-miss-it detail. It's not just that they were able to shoot in the Globe Theatre, it's that they made Shakespeare real.

#46 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Jon #35: I assume that you're reading the comic? There's some great Faithy stuff going on right now...

Topically: The only fanfic I've ever been tempted to write is Star Trek fic about how awful it must have been to be Yeoman Rand. A few weeks ago I had a brilliant idea for the story, but, alas, it has gone.

I've also never, ever read fanfic (of the non-professional variety, that is), mainly because of the hugeness of the selection. I'm no good at starting things (hence my constantly asking where to start with things like Doctor Who and Lovecraft), but once I'm started, I'm damn good at being obsessive.

#47 ::: Ruth Temple ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Congrats, Debra, James, Patrick, and the Globe!

Dave, I bow in appreciation of your "Beam us up, Scotty" sonnet.

#48 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 04:32 PM:

Ooh, excellent article, and a strong point made that writers are writers, and fanfic =/= parasitism.
Lee Goldberg's head may explode.
-Barbara

#49 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 04:37 PM:

I'm very amused by the past tense in this.

Me too. I can see why she doesn't want to bruit about her current stuff too much, given she now has to deal with the folks what owns the IP, but it does amuse.

#50 ::: Cadence ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:22 PM:

The thing that amused me most about that article was Livejournal making it onto the list of "fan fiction websites." True, that's where most of fandom lives these days, but that's hardly the site's primary purpose, obviously.

It has a sort of bitter irony to me, considering that a lot of fan writers/artists (including all of my immediate circle) moved away from Livejournal a few months ago in disgust at the administration's unfriendliness toward fandom.

#51 ::: cofax ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:32 PM:

I've also never, ever read fanfic (of the non-professional variety, that is), mainly because of the hugeness of the selection.

Ethan: All you have to do is ask. ::smiles cheerily::

Because the fic world is so large, there are these things called "recs pages". Like this one. Or this one. Both of those links are to sites that recommend stories in a variety of fandoms, including literary, and cover both romance (heterosexual and not) and plotty stories. The labeling isn't that confusing, so long as you know what "het", "slash", and "gen" mean.

Some of the stuff linked to on those pages is of astonishing quality, and all of it will at least meet the test of not making your eyes bleed.

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:45 PM:

Any good non-slash fanfic about Harcourt Fenton Mudd?

#53 ::: SueinNM ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:48 PM:

Hi. This is my first post here, but it resonated with me so much that I thought I'd dip my foot in.

(I'm Serge's wife, by the way, for those of you who know him.)

I also started out with fanfic, and this led directly to my writing my first novel. I'd written a number of unfinished short fanfic stories, never having even considered publishing them. In my younger years, I didn't even know one COULD publish them.

Then I helped produce (and did artwork for) a Beauty and the Beast fanzine (I'd become active in that fandom.) I found that all that reading (primarily F&SF) I'd done since my childhood had resulted in a natural ease with writing a real, finished story. And while it attracted no particular attention, a friend involved in the publishing industry read it and suggested I try writing a romance novel.

So, in spite of my utter ignorance of romance novels, I did. I created a werewolf hero (ubiquitous now in the romance genre, but mine was one of the first back then, and WAS probably the first non-cursed werewolf in the genre.) I managed to sell it on the second try (the first publisher didn't do contemporaries at the time, and found a werewolf hero a little too strange.)

I made lots of mistakes early in my career. But writing fanfic wasn't one of them, and if I had time, I think I'd still really enjoy it.

#54 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:49 PM:

Funny that you should mention Dr. Who and Shakespeare. I was just reading that David Tennant will be playing the lead role next year in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Hamlet. And, none other than Patrick Stewart will be playing Claudius opposite him.

So, there's a nice fanfic crossover setup there: The Doctor stabs and poisons Picard.

(Also, Stewart has said he'd like to appear on Dr. Who at some point. I hope they make that happen.)

#55 ::: Ben Engelsberg ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:49 PM:

Jon @ 35,

I have to concur with Ethan (@ 46), the Buffy Season 8 comic book has been outstanding... not only good art that is very reminiscent of the show, but the writing and plot are very, very faithful (no pun intended). I'm not sure I wouldn't rather have another season on T.V., but the comic has been an awful lot of fun!

#56 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:54 PM:

Joe J @ 54... The Doctor stabs and poisons Picard.

And if you watch the first Elizabeth movie that Cate Blanchett was in, you'll see Christopher Eccleston as Norfolk, and Daniel Craig as a monk/hitman. The Doctor and James Bond.

#57 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 05:55 PM:

Ruth, if that was a sonnet it was by accident. I was thinking more of the plays, which are mostly a little less tight.

#58 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:02 PM:

SueinNM 53: (I'm Serge's wife, by the way, for those of you who know him.)

Those who do not know Serge do not read these comment threads. You are the famous "She Who Must Not Be Named" he's told us so much about! (I'm kidding. He speaks very highly of you.)

#59 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Congrats to everyone for the Boston Globe nod.

And we're doing recs now, are we? This gem of a crossover fanfic by Christine Morgan, Harry Potter and the Eagle of Truthiness, has been on my brain today because of Stephen Colbert's announcement that he's running for president. It's one I often point out to people who've never read fanfic before.

There's good fanfic out there. And then there's pure genius.

#60 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:06 PM:

xopher @ #58, Serge has morphed into Rumpole? Oh dear, oh dear.

#61 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:11 PM:

Linkmeister, no, that's She Who Must Be Obeyed. He Who Must Not Be Named was V*ld*m*rt, if I'm not mistaken. This is crossover Rumpole/Potter fanfic, with Serge's wife as Sue, the WordMage Who Must Be Obeyed, At Least By Serge If He Knows What's Good For Him. :-)

This idiotic comment brought to you by Those We Don't Speak Of, who remind you to wear yellow when walking through the woods.

#62 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:17 PM:

#59: I'm only on line 100 or so, and already I need a new keyboard and an emergency room trip to stop the coughing fits ...

Dare I go on?

#63 ::: Jenna ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:17 PM:

I'd like to stand up and be counted as someone who learned to write through fanfic. There's some quotation about writers having a million words of garbage to get out before they write anything worthwhile (I want to say it's George Bernard Shaw but he's my default quotation source so I'm probably wrong) and what better way to get those million words out of the way than writing for fun and an audience?

(And often a demanding one, at that.)

#64 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 06:24 PM:

cofax #51: Thanks! I will peruse.

SueinNM #53: So you do exist! It's a pleasure.

Being 100% ignorant of the romance field, I had no idea that werewolf heroes happened. Pretty cool.

#65 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:05 PM:

Jenna @63: I'm using blog comments to get my million words of garbage out...

#66 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Cofax, well, there's this one too, although it began mostly as a BtVS collection.

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:20 PM:

SueInNM @ 53... Remember that CJCherryh fan group thru which we met? If I'm not mistaken, CJ had gently asked that no literal fanfic be written, and instead suggested that people should write their own version of what it was in her stories that appealed to them. You may not know it, but that's what you wound up doing with Kinsman's Oath, if I am to believe a comment that Canadian writer Elisabeth Vonarburg made to me. And one could say that James Tiptree wrote Star Trek fanfic with short story Beam Me Home, using none of the show's specifics, but going to the heart of it. Fanfic is a love letter.

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:23 PM:

Thanks for the welcomes to Sue. Her posting her etook me by surprise as much as it did you. As for Linkmeister's suggestion that I had morphed into Rumpole, I prefer thinking that I have turned into Allan Quartermain.

#69 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:36 PM:

And of course Xopher @ #61 is correct; I confused Rumpole with Voldemort, thereby commingling Mortimer and Rowling. Now there's an idea for fanfic!

#70 ::: The Other Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:48 PM:

Aw! That's a lovely piece and of course without even noticing who posted, I immediately wondered "is it Jim Macdonald they mean?"

I've never written much fanfic although I've played with it. I like reading other people's fanfic if it's filtered -- that is if some system of quality control has kicked in first. Because, I'm sorry but some fanfic sites? My brain starts to bleed out of my ears. I suppose the best can't get highlighted because they'll get hassle?

I should also mention that Teresa's posts on the subject have made me change my view of fanfic quite dramatically.

(er, not Sylvia Li. I can post as Sylvia Wri, if that helps? Or maybe even Aivlys.)

#71 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:55 PM:

Also, to balance the blowing my own horn aspects of my last post, may I point to The Crack Van, a Live Journal multi-fandom recs community; go to the memories for the entire range of stories sorted by fandom.

#72 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 07:55 PM:

Doyle, may I post a link to your fanfic?

#73 ::: cofax ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:03 PM:

I suppose the best can't get highlighted because they'll get hassle?

Oh, yeah, that's definitely an issue in some places. Which is why Archives =/ Recs Site.

Okay, backing up a bit. There are a variety of different kinds of fanfiction sites. Archives are where the stories actually live. There are open multi-fandom archives, such as Fanfiction.net (which is often referred to as "the Pit of Voles", although there is good stuff there): this is open to all, unfiltered, within certain constraints. This is by far the largest fanfiction site on the net, and as a result it's very hard to find quality stuff there unless you have a guide.

There are fandom-specific open archives, such as Leviathan in the Farscape fandom, or Gossamer in the X-Files fandom. Again, anyone can load a story there, of any type.

There are genre-specific archives, such as Area 52, which is a slash archive for Stargate: SG-1. Otherwise open to all, so long as the content meets the archive's requirements.

Then there are specialty archives, such as Henneth-Annun in the Tolkein fandom, where the story must be approved for quality by other members before it can be posted. Other specialty archives are less or more stringent. This is where you get some bitching about "elitism", because not everyone uses the same definition of quality.

And then there are recommendations sites like the ones I posted above, where someone other than the writers provide links to stories they enjoyed, usually with some commentary about why they enjoyed them. Delicious is beginning to fill in for recs sites in some form, at least for some of us.

Finally, an awful lot of this is taking place on various journaling sites, particularly Livejournal (although increasingly now Insanejournal, Greatestjournal, and Journalfen as well), so now a story might actually constitute a post to someone's LJ (while also posted to an archive), and some recs sites are actually individual or community journals. Additionally, some fandoms have LJ newsletters which compile lists of stories and recommendations and other newsworthy posts on a daily or weekly basis.

Thus endeth my overview of How Creative Fandom Is Organized. ::wipes brow::

#74 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:07 PM:

Coming in a bit late (being in hospital does that to you), but congratulations!!

#75 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:15 PM:

Serge #68: With or without Scottish accent?

#76 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:23 PM:

Fragano @ 75... French, like Christophe Lambert... And why were you at the hospital?

#77 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:23 PM:

Yay for the positive notice, and I'm very much enjoying the snippets people are writing in the comments.

I just want to point out the existence of a Bard Slash community, where more such stories reside.

Rule 34

#78 ::: SueinNM ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:35 PM:

Thanks to everyone for the welcome. I'd like to respond indivually, but I am WAAAY behind on the book that was technically due the 15th but will actually be turned in around the 30th because my editor is in Madagascar!

Sue

#79 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:54 PM:

Serge #68: With or without Scottish accent?

#80 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 08:56 PM:

Serge #76: I went in to for a regular checkup, and was bundled into the adjacent hospital thanks to, inter alia, a blood pressure of 70/50. Hospitals are not my idea of fun.

#81 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:02 PM:

Serge 68: Her posting her etook

Did she post her etook? *looks around* Don't see it.

#82 ::: Betsey Langan ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:03 PM:

Fragano @80: Eep!

End-organ perfusion = Good(TM). 70/50 is well into "You walked in here, how, exactly?"

I hope the cause was found and addressed before you had to eat too much hospital "food".

#83 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2007, 09:22 PM:

Teresa -- better yet, I'll do it myself: People can go here for a very small archive of the small amount of my fanfic that postdates the age of hardcopy.

(There's not a lot of it; I'm by no means a major luminary in the fanfictional sky.)

#84 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 12:36 AM:

For my part, I'm going to plug a Doctor Who zine which a fan-to-pro friend of mine started: Lost Luggage. I think it shares some sensibilities with ML denizens.

#85 ::: platedlizard ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 12:40 AM:

Okay, I am curious. I love fanfiction, but I've never read any of Naomi's stuff (that I know of), other then her books (which are really excellent, although I did burn out about half way through the third one for some reason that wasn't the author's fault), and now I want to know what fandoms she writes for. Anyone know or willing to tell?

#86 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:16 AM:

Serge @ 56: And if you watch the first Elizabeth movie that Cate Blanchett was in, you'll see Christopher Eccleston as Norfolk, and Daniel Craig as a monk/hitman. The Doctor and James Bond.

And Galadriel!

Lis Riba beat me to the punch about Bard Slash, but there's a bit more Shakesfic at Shaksper Random. Which is not all about fic, but is generally awesome.

#87 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:29 AM:

I'm way behind here and in other threads as well, so I'll bundle some comments together. Why oh why can't I read blogs for a living?

Fragano, I hope whatever was wrong has been put right, and doesn't happen again.

Dave Bell @ 37
That was great! Maybe you and ethan can get together to work Yeoman Rand in.

ajay @ 25
My cheeks hurt from laughing. But it does explain some things about Chomsky that had puzzled me.

Linkmeister @ 69
Let's face it, if Voldomort was ever actually tried for his crimes, the only barrister worth getting for his defense would be Rumpole.

SueInNM
I'll say welcome even if I am a rather junior member of the group, but, hey, any wife of Serge's is going to be welcome.

Xopher @ 33
Please, please, I can't wait to hear what Daniel Jackson says.

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:33 AM:

Fragano @ 80... Take care.

#89 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:34 AM:

Xopher @ 81... Curses! Sloppy cut&paste strikes again.

#90 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:40 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 86... any wife of Serge's

Hmmm... "The Secret Lives of Serge Maalox" does sound like a best-seller.

#91 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 03:37 AM:

Fragano, trust me, you want more BP than that!

#92 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 04:28 AM:

Joe J @ #54:

That'll go nicely with the BBC's Hamlet of 1980, which also featured Patrick Stewart as Claudius. No Doctors in it, but three other Time Lords, and a couple of alien monsters.

#93 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 04:51 AM:

platedlizard@84: I believe she's written in a number of fandoms, but the ones I best remember are a couple of long Smallville/DCU pieces.

...yup, checking her site, I count 40 different fandoms. And a substantial amount of 2007 era stuff. Considering she's had four commercial novels published in the last two years, she must write at terrifying speed.

#94 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 05:22 AM:

Brian Aldiss wrote a letter to the London "Times" the other day. The editor's subhead said "If you write science fiction novels, better deny your genre."

At the Cheltenham Festival Margaret Atwood said that writers “are likely to be compulsive wordsmiths” — presumably a way of saying that writing is for some of us an expression of the life force.
Her life would have been more difficult had she not cleverly denied that her early science fiction novels, such as A Handmaid’s Tale, were science fiction. Had she neglected this strategy, there would have been for her no more literary festivals, no more reviews, no more appearances on BBC breakfast programmes.
It is a truth widely acknowledged that SF is not worth consideration by sane minds. ...
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article2664835.ece

#96 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 07:48 AM:

And for other Treks and other Elizabethan authors, Avery Brooks will be starring in Marlowe's Tamburlaine next month in Washington DC

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 07:55 AM:

John Stanning @ 93... had she not cleverly denied that her early science fiction novels

How do you disguise your story's nature as SF? Presumably by feeding to those who don't know what it is, a definition of it that just happens to exclude SF's elements that are in your story.

"There are no robots in my story, and no spaceships."

#98 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 08:31 AM:

Serge: I don't know; I never read it (or, indeed, any Margaret Atwood AFAIR). That's what Aldiss said. Maybe folks here wouldn't think that it's tuly (or falsely) SF at all. Has anyone here read "The Handmaid's Tale"?

#99 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 08:46 AM:

We all know that that Ms. Atwood only writes "speculative fiction", because science fiction is about talking squids in space. (David Langford is never going to let her live that one down.)

Back to reality: The Handmaid's Tale is a grade example of distopian fiction. It is no more or less science fiction than Brave New World.

#100 ::: AJ Hall ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 08:50 AM:

John Stanning @97
I've read it. It's set in a dystopian near-future in "the Republic of Gilead", a theocracy located in what is now the United States of America. There aren't any rockets or spaceships, but I'd say it was science fiction in the proud tradition of such classics of the genre as "1984" and "Brave New World".

#101 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Ah!!! But was Brave New World considered to be SF by the Literary Establishment - or by its author, for that matter? I read the book when I was still in high-school (when NASA was still flying Apollo missions) and it most definitely is SF. But Literature said otherwise. I think their reasoning went...

If it's SF, it can't be good. If it is good, it can't be SF.

That's why I stay away from mainstream people like Atwood who come in, take our stuff and don't acknowledge where it comes from.

#102 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Brian Moore cut his teeth on paperback pulps, before writing his "first novel," _The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearn_. The other things simply weren't considered as books.

I find that funny, but suppose it has repercussions as to awards, placement in bookstores, etc. But then it didn't seem to hurt Doris Lessing with her Canopus books (haven't been brave enough to crack those!)

#103 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:47 AM:

#98 talking squids in space

A noble phrase which inspired Vonda McIntyre to create a website devoted to the concept:

http://www.talkingsquidsinouterspace.com/

#104 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:54 AM:

Betsey Langan #82: Thanks. My nephrologist thinks I've been overmedicated. I'm now under instructions to drink more fluids (a lot more) and watch my blood pressure closely.

Hospital 'food'. Not yum. Nor the people who kept waking me up and told me they were there to help me to sleep.

#105 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:56 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #86: Thanks. I hope so.

Serge #87: I shall try.

#106 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:00 AM:

Fragano @ 104... Please do. If you don't, we'll send a Talking Space Squid Squad to pay you a visit.

#107 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:01 AM:

The Handmaid's Tale is so patently sf that it could stand in for one of the unwritten novels preceding If This Goes On in Heinlein's Future History sequence, if those novels had been written by a mid-to-late twentieth century Canadian feminist instead of an early-to-mid twentieth century American ex-naval officer.

In fact, it would take a great deal of argument to convince me that Atwood had never read the Heinlein novel in question at some earlier point in her career.

#108 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:05 AM:

Serge #89: Starring Christophe Lambert as Serge Maalox?

#109 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:12 AM:

I'd call both The Handmaid's Tale and Brave New World* (the latter which I read for A-Levels back in the Mesolithic)SF. The tropes are classic sciencefictional ones. But I'm no literary critic; I am but an ignorant social scientist.


*I'd also call Island science fiction (the moksha medicine is fascinating).

#110 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Maybe I don't understand the market at all, but it seems to me that the rule is that if you start by writing a bunch of normal fiction and then start writing SF stories, you keep the same publisher and therefore you aren't writing SF. But if you start by writing SF and then write something normal, then you still get published by Baen or whoever and your book is still SF no matter what the subject is.

#111 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:16 AM:

This idiotic comment brought to you by Those We Don't Speak Of, who remind you to wear yellow when walking through the woods.

Didja know there's The Village fanfic? The Pit of Voles (fanfiction.net) has a good couple hundred* instances, mostly of the "Ivy and Lucius get it on" variety.

That movie really, really annoyed me. There was no part of it that was not deeply compromised in some moral, factual or canonical way.

* Not much compared to something like, say, House, which is at 240 pages (at ~30 stories per page) and counting, but not insignificant either. Of course, LotR dwarfs them both.

#112 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:20 AM:

I've recently been mentally compiling a list of the SF writers who've later been rehabilitated by the mainstream critical world, with the feeling that a list of people who "aren't really science fiction because they're good" would be about as long as a list of science fiction writers, period.

#113 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Debra@106: thank you for saying that. I've been thinking it for years and the only time I tried to discuss it, I was told I "did not understand the difference between literature and science fiction." I still don't know it, and I don't expect any argument, however well reasoned by the "correct" literary gatekeeper, to make it clear to me.

However, I'm with Serge. I WILL NOT read an author who borrows freely from science fiction or mystery and then puts the genre down. There's nothing more sour than an ungreateful thief.

#114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Fragano... I'd rather have Hugh Jackman playing Serge Maalox, you ignorant social scientist... If not Hugh, then maybe Doug Jones...

#115 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:53 AM:

Carrei S @ 110... When I first read your reference to Village fanfic, I thought you were refering to the Village depicted in The Prisoner. As for Shyamalan's movie, I didn't care much for it, but it was better than the one where space aliens who supposedly can move very fast just stand there as a human walks across a room, grabs a baseball bat then hits the alien on the noggin.

#116 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Carrie S @ 110... LotR dwarfs them both

Really? I thought LoTR elvates them.
Ow!
I wasn't fast enough to avoid that frying pan.

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:56 AM:

Emma @ 112... Meanwhile, there are people like mystery writer Walter Moseley. I have never read anything of his, but I understand that he says that his SF indeed is SF. Ther was even an interview with him in Locus where he talks about comic-books.

#118 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 11:03 AM:

As for Shyamalan's movie, I didn't care much for it, but it was better than the one where space aliens who supposedly can move very fast just stand there as a human walks across a room, grabs a baseball bat then hits the alien on the noggin

Hey, at least Signs was vaugely internally consistent (it damn well should've been, given where he ripped off a lot of his characterizations from) and didn't feature important characters who were completely morally bankrupt.

I mean, yeah, there was the fast-moving thing at the end, and the concept of anyone pubbfvat gb vainqr n cynarg gung'f 75% pbirerq va n fhofgnapr qrnqyl gb gurz was deeply silly (maybe it was alien extreme sports?), but I wasn't actually sitting in the theater critiquing meta-narrative. Which I did with The Village.

#119 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Carrie S @ 117... I don't know if it was the meta-narrative thingie that bored me with The Village. It may have been that I had figured out the Big Secret even before the movie started, because of its title's association with The Prisoner. If I can figure the Big Secret in advance, then it was no Big Secret to begin with.

#120 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 11:22 AM:

I had an entirely different reaction: I wasn't bored with The Village, I was pissed off.

#121 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Carrie S... Understood. As for myself, I didn't care much for The Village's message, but it didn't make me angry because I didn't care about the movie at all.

#122 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 12:25 PM:

Jeez, I didn't know there were any fans of The Village, let alone any fanfic.

Joining the choir of those who guessed the SHOCKING SURPRISE ENDING from the commercial. I didn't bother seeing it. M. Knight Shyamalan is a sham, as far as I can tell.

Oh, and Debra Doyle: Buffy, in the future, in Arkham? I like.

#123 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 12:38 PM:

Serge #113: Hmm. Hugh Jackman? Perhaps Jean-Claude van Damme instead?

#124 ::: Mags ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Apropos The Handmaid's Tale being genre (I always thought of it as dystopian fantasy, even in my English major days): the recent glurge of Jane Austen sequels and other paraliterature is often treated with disdain and horror. How can these authors do such a thing to Jane Austen? the detractors ask. To them, I say: Wide Sargasso Sea. Nobody wrings their hands for Charlotte Brontë over that one, do they? Does Miss Brontë not deserve the same consideration as Miss Austen? (And I'm a much, much bigger Austen fan.)

It's all fan fiction, really. I don't like it when fan fiction, professional or amateur, is condemned on general principles. I'm the first to admit that most of the Austen-related stuff stinks, again, professional or amateur, but there is some that is good and some that is not good precisely, but not offensive and kind of fun. Each piece should be judged on its own merits.

I like to say I got my MFA at the University of Fan Fiction. Writing regularly was the best way for me to improve--and fan fiction gave me so much "scope for the imagination," as Anne Shirley would say. I had (and have) more fannish ideas than I have time to write, whereas before I started writing fanfic, I never had ideas I considered "good enough." I was trying too hard. With fan fiction, toss it out there and see what happens. What does it hurt? It's great practice if you want to improve. Of course, if you're just in it for praise and attention, without a mind to improving and getting better, you can write fanfic for a thousand years and nothing will help you.

#125 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:06 PM:

Fragano @ 122... Jean-Claude van Damme? Gack.

#126 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:12 PM:

Mags... Did anyone ever do a crossover between Jane Austen and Lovecraft?

"You loved them in Pride and Prejudice, but Lizzy Bennett and Mr. Darcy will be back in Dread and Jaundice."

#127 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 01:26 PM:

Serge #124: I thought you might respond that way!

#128 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Fragano @ #126, Maybe you should have suggested Kid Rock or Vin Diesel.

#129 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 02:36 PM:

If the "what's the true definition of science fiction" discussion starts as a result of this, I apologize in advance, but it seems to me that A Handmaid's Tale, Island, 1984, and Brave New World are all examples of social science fiction*, and I don't see why that variety should get an exemption from the larger category. Heck, other than the spaceships, why can't the first three books of Foundation be called social science fiction?

*Sociology and psychology practitioners worked pretty hard to get accepted as science.

#130 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 03:32 PM:

Serge: Did anyone ever do a crossover between Jane Austen and Lovecraft?

Not that I can recall, though Mags may know of one.

I do have fond memories of Lizzy the Vampire Slayer, though.

#131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Jennifer Barber @ 129... Lizzy the Vampire Slayer

Ah yes. Now I remember someone mentionning that a few months ago.

#132 ::: Nomie ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Mags@123, I actually did scream "But this is just bad fanfiction!" upon reading Wide Sargasso Sea for class. (Er, not to say that it has no literary merit; I just really did not enjoy it. I loathed Jane Eyre as well, which didn't help.)

On Margaret Atwood's SF-shunning: One of my friends went on a magnificent tear a while ago about Atwood's claim that Oryx and Crake was not SF. It's an attitude that really bothers me - Atwood's, that is, not my friend's. She may not have set out to write SF, but she shouldn't be hideously offended when people call it as they see it.

#133 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 04:16 PM:

#61 - I've occasionally wondered if the Rumpole stories could be argued as H. Rider Haggard fanfic on that count.

#134 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 04:23 PM:

Sarah @ 132... With Leo McKern as Allan Quartermain?

#135 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 04:28 PM:

#100

Well, even if it weren't, it would have been hard to deny "After Many a Summer Dies the Swan" as SF (carp guts hold the Secret to Immortality (TM)! But at a hideous price! Also, quasi-Buddhism!).

I love that novel way more than Brave New World.

#136 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 05:04 PM:

Carrie 110: I didn't know there was The Village fanfic, no. Unlike you I liked the movie, in part because there were no perfect people in it, but also no one who was entirely reprehensible. (The village Elders came closest, and they did a terrible thing to their descendants, but I found them flawed, not deeply evil. Besides, the movie isn't about them.)

I'm assuming that's the moral compromisation you speak of. Factual? Canonical? Could you elaborate? (I can't even figure out what being canonically compromised would mean, so I'm confused.)

Emma 112: Despite the fact that Atwood is a good writer, I agree. She's a jackhole, and I won't read or buy any more of her books.

Serge 114: They were overconfident and didn't think the baseball bat was a threat. The water thing (as pointed out in Stargate SG-1 and Carrie's 117) was more bothersome. But if you didn't like that movie for that kind of reason, you missed the point of it. That movie was "about" alien invasion, but it was really about the Mel Gibson character's faith journey. It was deeply flawed plotwise, but really solid thematically; this is really typical of Shayamalamalan's work.

(Hey, if Ethan can do it, so can I.)

Speak of the Devil 121: I am one. I quite liked it.

#137 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 05:21 PM:

A thought about The Village: I think of it as an ambiguous cautionary tale. The decision the Elders made is not celebrated; in fact the movie beats you over the head with the cost of it. Noah and Ivy pay the highest prices for their parents' crimes; Edward admits to feeling shame for what he did to Ivy.

And what do you think happened after? Do you think Ivy kept the secret? I'd be shocked. The whole thing would crumble in the next generation, because either the Elders would have to let their kids in on the scam (in which case some of them would certainly rebel) or they wouldn't, in which case Those We Don't Speak Of would cease to appear eventually, and the web of lies and fear built by the Elders would collapse.

In fact it would probably collapse much sooner, because at the end of the movie everyone knows that TWDSO can be fought and killed—by a blind girl, no less.

Another viewpoint: it's an allegory. For what, I will leave as an exercise for the reader.

Does anyone really think the Elders were supposed to be the heroes, or that their long-ago decision is supported by the movie? No, IVY is the hero, and she struggles against a lifetime of being lied to, to do what she must to save the man she loves from death.

#138 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 05:24 PM:

Xopher @ 135... Oh, the water bothered me more than the bat.

#139 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 05:27 PM:

Serge 137: Since the aliens' motives in trying to take Earth are never revealed...think of them as trying to capture a huge weapons depot. Subdue the locals, then bring in the cargo ships and have an endless supply of deadly raw material to win the war back on their home planet.

#140 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 05:33 PM:

Xopher... Maybe. I guess the bottom line is that Shyamalan doesn't 'it' for me.

#141 ::: Spiegel ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 06:28 PM:

cofax @73: Fanfiction.net (which is often referred to as "the Pit of Voles", although there is good stuff there): this is open to all, unfiltered, within certain constraints. This is by far the largest fanfiction site on the net, and as a result it's very hard to find quality stuff there unless you have a guide.

When I find a good story on FF.net, usually through a rec page, I check the author's favorite stories (and those other authors' favorites). They usually range from good to decent and at the very least I avoid the soul-sucking bad stuff that can be found there. I get the impression that many good stories archived at FF.net were posted before the site became the Pit of Voles.

#142 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 08:25 PM:

In my experience, SF written by literary types is distinguished by a lack of attention to the way things work. Take The Children of Men. How, exactly, did all the men on Earth become sterile? It doesn't matter, because the whole flipping book is geared toward that pynffvp angvivgl fprar, ooo, pretty. ARG! I read the whole frelling novel to have the central mystery explained, because, 1. it's SF! That's what we do! 2. She's a mystery writer, for god's sake.

I never read The Handmaid's Tale, because I prefer my feminist diatribes in essay form, but I saw the movie and kept gnashing my teeth over the crazy logical inconsistencies. Particularly at the end where they eha bss naq yvir unccvyl ba fbzr sebagvre. Vs gung'f rira cbffvoyr, jul jbhyqa'g rirelbar qb gung? Dystopias shouldn't have loopholes.

Around that same time I read Adrienne Rich's Diving into the Wreck in poetry class and just couldn't get past the image of her climbing down the ladder wearing flippers. Poem: "I am crippled by my flippers" Me: "Then wait until you're in the water to put them on, moron!"

I expect stuff to make sense. SF generally does. Yay SF.

#143 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 08:26 PM:

Whoops!
I read the whole frelling novel to have the central mystery explained

HOPING to have the central mystery explained.

#144 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 08:42 PM:

Mary Dell #141: I started to read Children of Men but had to stop because PD James's writing style is far too overwrought for me. But I didn't mind at all in the movie (which has quickly become one of my all-time favorites) that they didn't explain what caused the infertility. I'd still call it science fiction to stand with the best of them.

#145 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 09:07 PM:

I don't care if authors call SF a filing-drawer used as a urinal -- or whatever His Grace's line was. If they write good stuff, I will reward them by reading it. I don't care if it's good SF; I'll read good anything, including 'midlife crisis of literature professor' fiction.

Much of this is because I'm not even on the FIAGH/FIAWOL continuum; SF fandom is not part of my self-identification. But mostly

Time that with this strange excuse 
Pardoned Kipling and his views, 
And will pardon Paul Claudel, 
Pardons him for writing well. 

Atwood actually called her SF "if this goes on" fiction. I was sure this was a high wink to SF readers, but she has said not, in her -- graceful, I thought -- apology for misprising SF.

Dimenuendo; Barbara Hambly's new books are straight up historical/literary fiction, and are being published as such. Also, I think they're better than her early works, much as I love those. Also, the path D&Dish->political fantasy->vampires->early New Orleans->Revolutionary US politics makes *perfect sense*, but only in hindsight, which makes it a thing of art in itself.

#146 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 10:14 PM:

I watched The Village on DVD and I thought the costumes were very good.

#147 ::: Shay ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 11:41 PM:

Long-time lurker here, finally drawn in by talk of fanfic (and the hilariously entertaining comments). Great article and, like others here, I'm glad to see fanfiction discussed in such a reasonable way.

Spiegel @140: Recs and favourites browsing are definitely the best way to explore FF.net.

cofax @73: Nice roundup! I'd add that ff.net also spun off AFF.net for all the non-gen fics.
The exodus of fandom from LJ hasn't been as extreme as some thought it might after the rounds of censorship, but most of my fannish circles have created back-ups on IJ or GJ just in case.

#148 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 11:57 PM:

Oh, my sweet freaking Lord, until this day I have managed to avoid the sucking time hole that is fanfic (almost, anyway) and now you people have driven me to it.

Firefly. A House/Batman crossover. A fan-freakin-tastic little vignette collection post-Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-III.

My God. It's full of stars.

#149 ::: Shay ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 12:16 AM:

My God. It's full of stars.

Oh, yes. And then there are wonderful things like Yuletide where you can request fanfic for particularly obscure fandoms.

#150 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 12:53 AM:

Mary Dell, #141: "In my experience, SF written by literary types is distinguished by a lack of attention to the way things work." Quite right. Arguably, the line of division (Terminus Est!) between what we geeks perceive as "mainstream" and what we experience as authentic is rooted in exactly this: does it attend to, and tell us, how the world works? Which is one of several reasons that Patrick O'Brian registers on our subconscious as SF. As does John McPhee.

Clew, #144: "I don't care if authors call SF a filing-drawer used as a urinal--or whatever His Grace's line was. If they write good stuff, I will reward them by reading it." Right on. Good stories aren't so common that I feel I can afford to reject them just because their authors happen to say dopey things about my subculture. My subculture will manage to soldier on.

Indeed, the idea that I should triage my reading according to how faithfully the authors pledge allegiance to the flag of Genre SF strikes me as entirely repulsive. Even though I'm generally the first to pledge allegiance to--and extoll the virtues of--exactly that flag.

#151 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:43 AM:

Xopher @ 135 & 136

I shall stand beside you in defending those movies, sir! One of Night's weaknesses is that he doesn't make movies that are completely independent from all his other work. They're not dependent in terms of characters, plot, or theme, but to understand his metatheme, which is central to all his work, you have to have seen several of his movies. And the metatheme is somewhat abstract*, and people often aren't looking meta because there's a fair amount happening straight ahead.

His metatheme is the nature of narration and the act of story-telling. Each movie is based on a different genre and medium for stories: "Sixth Sense" is a ghost story, "Unbreakable" is a comic book, "The Village" is a fairy tale, "Signs" is a '50s sf movie. But each movie ia really "about" something else, usually something relating to the fundamental nature of one of the characters; moreover, they're usually very consciously not about the primary activities of the central character, who sometimes isn't who you think it is. "Sixth Sense" is not the story of the Bruce Willis character, it's about Haley Osmond, and the decision he has to make about the shape and purpose of his life. "Signs" isn't about the aliens, it's about Mel Gibson's faith. Etc. Not only that, in each movie, he's tried to work out the "real world" consequences of accepting the story as true: each movie has one idea or thread for which you have to suspend disbelief, but everything else flows naturally from that one thing. If there are super-heroes there must be super-villains to contend with, and vice-versa; whether you are a hero or a villain depends a lot on who you find to contend with.

It's the structure of the movies relating to these metacharacteristics and the metatheme that I find really exciting about his work. Granted, a lot of people don't get an aesthetic thrill from this sort of thing, but then we always knew I was weird.

* meta-ness usually is

#152 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:15 AM:

To anybody who is considering going to fanfiction.net for the first time:

It got its nickname, the Pit of Voles, from an offhand remark somebody made in another forum, the gist of which was that if a googol of chimps given typewriters will eventually bash out Hamlet, then whatever lurks at fanfiction.net ain't chimps. To put it another way, the site disproves Sturgeon's Law; Sturgeon was being far, far too generous.

And aff.net is worse.

That said, there are some gems in the Pit and the site is the single biggest source of fanfic for nearly any fandom you could name. The poster who suggested looking at a good author's Favorites was right on. Also try clicking the Communities link on the main page. You can register--it's free--and maintain a blank author's page of your own with your Favorites listed if you wish. When you've mastered mining at the Pit, the site can be a Godsend for those late nights with a cranky baby.

In other news, Betsey Langan, do you have relatives in Alaska or around Puget Sound? Or, going the other way, in Ireland?

#153 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:42 AM:

Brave New World is clearly science fiction, given that it was a response to Men Like Gods.

I think that it should be remembered that science fiction, in Britain, up until very late (the 40's and 50's, I think), was quite respectable -- Shaw wrote science fiction, and was a member of the British Interplanetary Society (and corresponded with Arthur C. Clarke as an equal), H G Wells was a respected intellectual, and prominent in the Fabian Society, C S Lewis was a respected academic, etc. Lord of the Flies (frex) is clearly SF, and doesn't make much of an apology for it.

Even now, in Britain (and Scotland especially), SF has quite a high status. Alasdair Gray writes SF. He is also widely recognised as the most important living Scottish author, and was Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. Ian Banks' liffey novels haven't lost status by being written by an SF author, as far as I can tell.

I sometimes think SF, as a genre, forgets that, in point of fact, it is really quite respectable -- compared to (say) romance novels, or adventure novels.

This leads me to thesis I: that in Britain, the low status of SF is attributable to the influx of American cultural goods, both in the direct form -- crap pulp; and in an indirect way -- American commentators assumed SF to be synonymous with said crap pulp.

I further suppose thesis II: the British New Wave derived in part, conciously or not, from the realisation that SF wasn't, in point of fact, always an American ghettoised genre, but had very respectable British roots.

(I doubt thesis I, and II is almost certainly false, but, hey, why not throw it out there?)

#154 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 06:16 AM:

152: here's an interesting project. Norman Spinrad's "The Iron Dream" is, or rather contains, a pulp sf novel supposedly written by Adolf Hitler after he emigrated to the US in the 1920s and became a writer. The challenge is: write "Albion's Dream", a genre novel written by historian, author and former politician Winston Churchill, after he retired from politics in the 1920s...

#155 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 07:22 AM:

Linkmeister # 127: That's because I want Vin Diesel to play me.....

#156 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 08:33 AM:

ajay @#153: The challenge is: write "Albion's Dream", a genre novel written by historian, author and former politician Winston Churchill.

Just think what Mike Ford would have done with that.

#157 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:01 AM:

V'z nffhzvat gung'f gur zbeny pbzcebzvfngvba lbh fcrnx bs. Snpghny? Pnabavpny? Pbhyq lbh rynobengr?

Zbeny: BX, vs V'z n fhcre-evpu pbjneq jub pna'g qrny jvgu zbqrea yvsr, jung'f gur nafjre? V xabj--vafgrnq bs ohvyqvat n tngrq pbzzhavgl, V'z tbvat gb gnxr zl xvqf gb yvir fbzrjurer jurer gurl pna'g trg zbqrea zrqvpny pner. Naq gb ercynpr gur pevccyvat srne bs zbqrea yvsr gung V srry, V'z tbvat gb vafgvyy va gurz n pevccyvat srne bs gur Zbafgref gung Yvir va gur Jbbqf.

Snpghny: V nz abg va snpg fher jung xvaq bs erfbheprf vg gnxrf gb znvagnva n 19-gu praghel yvsrfglyr, ohg V'yy org vg'f zber guna n pbhcyr uhaqerq nperf bs qrprag snezynaq naq n ohapu bs furrc.

Lbh'er gelvat gb gryy zr gung ab fgenccvat snezobl unf rire tbggra gur vqrn gung ur bhtug gb jnvg oruvaq gur jbbqfurq jvgu na nkr jura Gubfr Jr Qba'g Fcrnx Bs znxr bar bs gurve yvgyr sbenlf? Be gung abar bs gurz jvyy qb fb abj gung n oyvaq puvpx, sbe urnira'f fnxr, znantrq gb xvyy bar?

Pnabavpny: Gurl'ir orra yvivat gurer sbe ng yrnfg, jung, 18-20 lrnef? Naq lrg gurl fgvyy unir pbggba snoevp (pbggba qbrfa'g tebj va CN), cncre rabhtu gb znxr cnegl qrpbengvbaf bs, zrgny sbe gur oynpxfzvgu...

Va snpg vg jbhyq cebonoyl pbyyncfr zhpu fbbare, orpnhfr ng gur raq bs gur zbivr rirelbar xabjf gung GJQFB pna or sbhtug naq xvyyrq—ol n oyvaq tvey, ab yrff.

Lrnu, frr nobir.

Nabgure ivrjcbvag: vg'f na nyyrtbel. Sbe jung, V jvyy yrnir nf na rkrepvfr sbe gur ernqre.

Jung ohtf zr vf gung vg qbrfa'g jbex nf na nyyrtbel.

Qbrf nalbar ernyyl guvax gur Ryqref jrer fhccbfrq gb or gur urebrf, be gung gurve ybat-ntb qrpvfvba vf fhccbegrq ol gur zbivr?

V qhaab nobhg gur ureb cneg, ohg V fbeg bs ernq gur yvggyr ovg ng gur irel raq nf orvat n inyvqngvba bs gurve qrpvfvba--gur ovg jurer Jnyxre fnlf fbzrguvat nobhg "Abnu'f qrngu pna nyybj hf gb pbagvahr urer" naq nyy gur Ryqref tb nybat jvgu vg. Creuncf gung'f n synjrq ernqvat.

I should probably add that the reason The Village makes me so mad is that I really, really want to like it. As a matter of fact, I do like it. Which is paradoxical, I know.

#158 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:02 AM:

V'z nffhzvat gung'f gur zbeny pbzcebzvfngvba lbh fcrnx bs. Snpghny? Pnabavpny? Pbhyq lbh rynobengr?

Zbeny: BX, vs V'z n fhcre-evpu pbjneq jub pna'g qrny jvgu zbqrea yvsr, jung'f gur nafjre? V xabj--vafgrnq bs ohvyqvat n tngrq pbzzhavgl, V'z tbvat gb gnxr zl xvqf gb yvir fbzrjurer jurer gurl pna'g trg zbqrea zrqvpny pner. Naq gb ercynpr gur pevccyvat srne bs zbqrea yvsr gung V srry, V'z tbvat gb vafgvyy va gurz n pevccyvat srne bs gur Zbafgref gung Yvir va gur Jbbqf.

Snpghny: V nz abg va snpg fher jung xvaq bs erfbheprf vg gnxrf gb znvagnva n 19-gu praghel yvsrfglyr, ohg V'yy org vg'f zber guna n pbhcyr uhaqerq nperf bs qrprag snezynaq naq n ohapu bs furrc.

Lbh'er gelvat gb gryy zr gung ab fgenccvat snezobl unf rire tbggra gur vqrn gung ur bhtug gb jnvg oruvaq gur jbbqfurq jvgu na nkr jura Gubfr Jr Qba'g Fcrnx Bs znxr bar bs gurve yvgyr sbenlf? Be gung abar bs gurz jvyy qb fb abj gung n oyvaq puvpx, sbe urnira'f fnxr, znantrq gb xvyy bar?

Pnabavpny: Gurl'ir orra yvivat gurer sbe ng yrnfg, jung, 18-20 lrnef? Naq lrg gurl fgvyy unir pbggba snoevp (pbggba qbrfa'g tebj va CN), cncre rabhtu gb znxr cnegl qrpbengvbaf bs, zrgny sbe gur oynpxfzvgu...

Va snpg vg jbhyq cebonoyl pbyyncfr zhpu fbbare, orpnhfr ng gur raq bs gur zbivr rirelbar xabjf gung GJQFB pna or sbhtug naq xvyyrq—ol n oyvaq tvey, ab yrff.

Lrnu, frr nobir.

Nabgure ivrjcbvag: vg'f na nyyrtbel. Sbe jung, V jvyy yrnir nf na rkrepvfr sbe gur ernqre.

Jung ohtf zr vf gung vg qbrfa'g jbex nf na nyyrtbel.

Qbrf nalbar ernyyl guvax gur Ryqref jrer fhccbfrq gb or gur urebrf, be gung gurve ybat-ntb qrpvfvba vf fhccbegrq ol gur zbivr?

V qhaab nobhg gur ureb cneg, ohg V fbeg bs ernq gur yvggyr ovg ng gur irel raq nf orvat n inyvqngvba bs gurve qrpvfvba--gur ovg jurer Jnyxre fnlf fbzrguvat nobhg "Abnu'f qrngu pna nyybj hf gb pbagvahr urer" naq nyy gur Ryqref tb nybat jvgu vg. Creuncf gung'f n synjrq ernqvat.

I should probably add that the reason The Village makes me so mad is that I really, really want to like it. As a matter of fact, I do like it. Which is paradoxical, I know.

#159 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:16 AM:

Patrick @ 149... Good stories aren't so common that I feel I can afford to reject them just because their authors happen to say dopey things about my subculture.

I should add to my earlier comment on the subject that, if they say dopey (or worse) things about my subculture, their stories will probably reflect a lack of understanding about what makes that kind of story work. Thus my avoiding them. There are too few hours in one day, and there are stories created by the subculture itself that also deserve my time. And my beer money, even though I don't drink beer. That's just my opinion, and its logic may be flawed. Hand over the crow, and on second thought I will have some of that beer, if only to wash down the taste of feathers.

#160 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:16 AM:

Ah, bugger. Can one of my long posts above (156 or 157), and this one, be deleted?

#161 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 09:49 AM:

Regarding looking for good fanfiction - the flipside of finding good authors on FF.net and checking out their favorites is something that took me a while to figure out.

Don't waste your time checking links on a website where the stories aren't up to your standards*. Sucky writers never link to good writers.

Maybe that should have been obvious, but it took me an embarrassingly long time to spot the pattern. It isn't that the links will vary from good to sucky on a sucky writer's page. That would make sense--you're still learning, you might not really know skill when you see it, or you link to your pals who are at your level in a show of solidarity. It doesn't seem to happen that way. If I think a writer is terrible, I'll think every single link on their site leads to a terrible writer, too. If they link to an archive I've never heard of, the standards on that archive are sometimes quite low as well.

*When I first realized this, my standards were really, really low. It is possible that some of the writers whose stories are okay but not excellent might link to excellent writers, but the ones who didn't make the cut even with my low standards of five years ago? No.

I feel a bit bad for saying this since I might be mediocre as a writer if I ever wrote anything. It feels a bit like kicking the defenseless.

#162 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 10:19 AM:

Serge, I understood what you meant. I like SM Stirling's work, or did, before I got to "know" him, his politics, and his endearing forum behavior, over at Charlie Stross's place. Now I find myself almost picking it up at Borders, and then realizing -- again -- that every word is going to resonate with who I now know is writing it.

And I put it back down.

Even though, before I had that irritating personal knowledge, I would happily have read everything he wrote, based on the Nantucket series, which I still enjoy greatly. Although come to think of it, I haven't dug it out of the cache for a couple of years. I hope I still enjoy it.

Anyway -- I'm not leading a boycott, and I'm certainly not thinking of telling anyone they "should" avoid his work, but it most certainly influences my reading choices.

#163 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 10:36 AM:

Michael Roberts... That's why I don't try to find out what someone's politics are, especially actors. Of course, when I do find out and those turn out to be in my corner of the political spectrum (if I may mix my metaphors), it makes me like them even more.

#164 ::: Mags ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 11:44 AM:

Serge @#125: Mags... Did anyone ever do a crossover between Jane Austen and Lovecraft?

Not that I'm aware of, but I'm not well-read in the fandom anymore; I'm really more familiar with the published stuff as I am sent most of the books to be reviewed on my blog.

Lizzy the Vampire Slayer has already been mentioned. I'm sure there are other werewolf/vampire crossovers floating around, but Lovecraft specifically? Doubtful, but wouldn't that be fun?

The atmosphere in the Austen fandom for fanfic is "if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all," so there is a severe lack of quality control. The only q.c. that is imposed is by one site that limits stories to the Regency time period, no crossovers, and the prose must be fairly clean as to spelling and grammar. Of course, one can certainly have a very bad story that is perfectly spelled and punctuated, so I don't know how well that works, really.

#165 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 12:14 PM:

So I google "lizzy the vampire slayer" and find comedy gold, not to mention a RANDALL GARRETT - Austen crossover.
Bliss at lunchtime.

#166 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 12:35 PM:

Bruce 150: Well put, sir! I also had to deal with a problem not unlike the HJO character in The Sixth Sense, though of course not as dramatic...I became Wiccan in part to learn how to stop some of it and channel other bits into fiction. Horrific visions (not hallucinations) are still part of my life, but I can handle them now. Mostly.

Carrie 157: Jung ohtf zr vf gung vg qbrfa'g jbex nf na nyyrtbel.

Lbh qba'g guvax fb? Nhgubevgl svtherf perngr na vzntvanel rarzl nf na rkphfr sbe trggvat gur crbcyr gb tb nybat jvgu n gehyl uner-oenvarq (naq qrrcyl vzzbeny, sbe znal bs gur ernfbaf lbh pvgr) vqrn, naq rira jura riragf cebir gung gurve uner-oenvarq vqrn vf n pbzcyrgr qvfnfgre, vagrecerg vg nf n fhpprff naq erfbyir gb "fgnl gur pbhefr"? Frrzf yvxr n cerggl jryy-pbafgehpgrq nyyrtbel gb zr!

Vg'f shaal; V nterr jvgu nyy lbhe pevgvpvfzf bs gur zbivr, ohg V yvxr vg. Ohg gura, fb qb lbh!

#167 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 12:40 PM:

Am I the only one who's half-tempted to start talking ROT13 at cons? Not all the time; just a few words and phrases here and there, like 'lrf', 'ab', 'shaal' (which is great because you can say it while laughing), and 'V nterr'?

Probably I am. Oh well.

#168 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Emma #164: A Lord Darcy-Elizabeth Bennet meeting? with Master Sean involved? WHERE???

#169 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 01:04 PM:

#166: Don't do that in New England. It upsets the shoggoths.

#170 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 01:59 PM:

Fragano, at http://www.austen.com/derby/homcf.htm. Sorry about the no link; something is making my pc "you cannot link here".

It's an unusual collection of fan fic. Go down to Thaumaturgy at Pemberley. I can't promise Master Sean, I haven't read it yet -- unfortunately we had, shall I say, a major cockup here at work and my lunch was deferred. I hope it's good, 'cause I'm salivating.

Lizzy the vampire slayer is also here. Size of a novel!

#171 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:02 PM:

Lbh qba'g guvax fb? Nhgubevgl svtherf perngr na vzntvanel rarzl nf na rkphfr sbe trggvat gur crbcyr gb tb nybat jvgu n gehyl uner-oenvarq (naq qrrcyl vzzbeny, sbe znal bs gur ernfbaf lbh pvgr) vqrn, naq rira jura riragf cebir gung gurve uner-oenvarq vqrn vf n pbzcyrgr qvfnfgre, vagrecerg vg nf n fhpprff naq erfbyir gb "fgnl gur pbhefr"? Frrzf yvxr n cerggl jryy-pbafgehpgrq nyyrtbel gb zr!

Does the fact that I had literally never thought of that comparison make it a bad film, or does it just point to me being politically dense? :) And if that's what he was aiming at, what does Ivy's trip stand for?

It's funny; I agree with all your criticisms of the movie, but I like it. But then, so do you!

I cannot tell you how much it irks me. :) Here's this awful, bad movie packed full of morally bankrupt characters and Mary Sues...and yet I like it. Gah.

#172 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 161

I'm not terribly concerned about a writer or artist's politics; I've known too many I respected whose politics were, at best, ill-considered. To pick on Stirling a little further, I've known about his politics for some time, and it didn't stop me from reading his books as soon as they came out.* But his behavior on Charlie Stross' site, especially to me, was a little more than I could stomach, and it has affected my reading of his books. I haven't read the last two published yet, and I don't think I will.

* I agree that the "Ocean of Time" trilogy is the best thing he's done, outside of the first volumes of "The General" he wrote based on David Drake's outline.

#173 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Carrie 170: Does the fact that I had literally never thought of that comparison make it a bad film, or does it just point to me being politically dense? :)

Like the allegory itself, it can point to many things. Some other examples include: Xopher is good at reading allegory into movies; the movie functions on multiple levels and you were too irritated by its flaws to get to the allegorical part; MNS meant it to fool people who weren't already thinking the way he does into thinking it was "just a movie;" many other possibilities.

I was just giving one example there. An allegory is a handle to which many blades can be fit: for another example, it could be a simpler allegory for overprotective parents in general...parents today sometimes protect their kids to the kids' extreme disadvantage, symbolized in the movie by gur qnzntr ynpx bs zrqvpny pner qvq gb Vil naq Abnu, ol gur ynggre'f npghny qrngu, naq ol Yhpvhf' arne rfpncr.

And if that's what he was aiming at, what does Ivy's trip stand for?

V qhaab. Gur Nzrevpna crbcyr svanyyl ernyvmvat gung gurl unir gb trg bhg, ohg abg dhvgr orvat fher ubj gb qb vg? Va guvf ernqvat Vil (nf n oyvaq ohg fzneg crefba) flzobyvmrf ZAF' ivrj (VZB na bireyl bcgvzvfgvp bar) bs gur Nzrevpna crbcyr, pyrneyl. Vg'f abg urnil-unaqrq rabhtu gung lbh pna or fher jung ur zrnag ol vg, juvpu vf bar guvat V yvxr nobhg vg!

#174 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 02:39 PM:

That was a really interesting point about British vs USian attitudes towards SF, especially since it seems to overlap with the period in which the sciences, however pure, were culturally outranked by the classics. Did that help? Was everyone writing in the vulgar already one-down and willing to work with the genres? It was, after all, the golden age of mysteries, too.

I have been cogitating on the theory that 'in SF, things really work' and I don't think it's quite accurate. I would say that SF has a theory, usually conscious, of how things work; but some of those theories are transparently dumb, and much non-SF also has a theory.

As an example of dumb conscious theories, the common congeries of 'hard SF' that knows what alloy the rivets are, but has spaceflight that would probably be fungible with unlimited free energy, and (what I like least) has a theory of how society works that boils down to Indomitable Will of the Goodlooking.

As an example of non-SF with a plausible theory of how the world works, Balzac. Or Trollope (most of the Trollopes!). Lewis Thomas. Montaigne!

#175 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:35 PM:

re 152: Lewis's rep was not enhanced by his SF/fantasy stuff. From what I gather the general academic opinion was that he should have been finding something better to do with his time. OTOH I also gather that the "greasy kid stuff" stigma didn't obtain over there.

Is this the point where I mention that a large chunk of late 20th century fantasy is Tolkien fanfic with the names filed off?

#176 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:40 PM:

Xopher #18:

Thanks! I did not know about the 'thine' before a vowel rule, but I see it now. I would assume that it applies to words that start with a vowel sound, as well, such as 'thine honor'.

Yeah, the verb cojugations tend to trip me up, i.e. do, doth, dost. If I stop and think about it, I usually select the correct form, but my initial responsive choice is often wrong.

But, hey, this is one of the benefits of masquerading as an Internet Jerk. I point out others mistakes and others point out mine. It seems to be an effective method of education.

#177 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 03:44 PM:

Emma: It's an unusual collection of fan fic.

And that page is just one of six in the archive index! Think of how much more unusual a collection it is all together. :) (Disclaimer: there is of course a lot of really really bad fic there, too. Though at least the PG-13 maximum rating means there should be no bad sex scenes, which IME puts the DWG ahead of a lot of other fanfic archives of its size right there.)

LtVS starts here, for the curious.

#178 ::: Mags ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 04:45 PM:

Looking over that page, it's loaded with inside-joke type things, I'll warn you. I think they're less prevalent now...we used to get up to a lot of silly hijinx back in the day.

#179 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 08:21 PM:

Sorry. To clarify, by Lewis' SF works, I meant the Perelandra books, not the children's books. The Perelandra trilogy wasn't rejected out of hand for SFnality, so much as for preachery.

Virginia Woolf was quite willing to praise Stapledon, as is Doris Lessing (topicality!)

I'm finding myself more and more drawn to the idea that the British disdain for SF derives from America.

AH scenario: suppose America never enters WWI, but remains neutral. The European War doesn't end in November 1918, but drags on till 1919, to be ended by successful socialist revolutions. The UK becomes a republic -- the Second Commonwealth? and the ILP takes over. Maxton is the first `Lord Protector', with the Fabians, and other Leftist types hanging around, being put in government positions. This gives Wells, Stapledon, etc., official patronage. Along with the Futurists in Italy, who escape the lure of Fascism, the Dutch De Stijl and the Russian Constructivists, with French Cubists tagging along, they create the European Socialist Artform -- Science Fiction. In multiple media (novels, paintings, plays, operas, comics/BDs, etc.,) they describe the future of the European Revolution, and so-on. Thus, SF (of a New Wave tinge) becomes the house-style of 1920s Europe, and on into the mid-20th century. MacDiarmid writes long SF poems, etc.

Meanwhile, in the US, ties with the European Republics are cut off -- too subversive. The Americans take a very reactionary stance, both in terms of visual arts (Provincialism) and literature. However, a lurid pulp market springs up, one making Gernsback look highbrow. Because of the rift between the US and Europe, American prejudices don't reach Europe, and vice versa. SF splits into two unconnected streams, each developing in parallel.

Churchill, of course, cannot carry on as a politician in the (former) UK, and nor can he write on politics -- the British socialist Gestapo won't allow it. (Well, Gestapo they wouldn't be. But he'd be marginalised, certainly.) So, employing a taste for the populist, he starts writing fiction. What does he write? Well, along with C S Lewis and JRR Tolkien, he takes the fight to the socialists, in their `own' genre. He writes SF epics, about a glorious Britain, restored to monarchy (or whatever, the details can come later.)

#180 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 08:55 PM:

Serge, #162, I'm having the same kind of response to the political signs. I pass a house that's always seemed nice and they have a sign up for the bigot! I'm not sure I wanted to know that.

#181 ::: Betsey Langan ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2007, 11:58 PM:

Jenny Islander @151: In other news, Betsey Langan, do you have relatives in Alaska or around Puget Sound? Or, going the other way, in Ireland?

The family is Irish originally, yes, but I don't know what generation emigrated or from where in Ireland. (My grandparents were born in the Edgewater Park section of the Bronx.) There are no relatives that I know of in Alaska or the Pacific North-wet, but I'm sure there are branches I know not of :)

#182 ::: platedlizard ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 12:18 AM:

#92 tavella

Thanks, now I just got to go find her website. (too lazy to do it tonight, though). If she writes mostly for Smallville/DCU I probably won't be reading any of it, mostly because I don't follow those fandoms. Right now I'm rather obsessed with anime/magna fandoms for whatever reason, when it comes to fanfiction.

On the other hand, that's the sort of thing I like to have bookmarked as needed.

#183 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 01:44 AM:

Sea Wasp and Brenda Clough collaborated on rec.arts.sf.fandom on the beginning of a Jane Austen / Terminator crossover fic. The title was Pride and Extreme Prejudice. People were clamoring for them to do a whole novel, but that doesn't look likely.

#184 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 02:41 AM:

Just got this from someone on my LJ flist -- J.K. Rowling is now slashing her own characters! "Cool," says I.

#185 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 07:32 AM:

David @ #183: I wouldn't call it 'slashing' since it is canon (and the subtext is there in book seven, with a very light hand).

#186 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 09:21 AM:

"Slash" is one of the fandom terms that has multiple meanings. Most of the HP fandom folks I know define slash as a same-gender relationship. Harry/Hermoine is not slash, to them, but Dumbledore/Grindelwald would be.

(The other fandom term that I know that has wildly varying meanings is "smarm" which is a truly bizarre can of worms.)

#187 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 10:13 AM:

R.M. Koske @ #185: Mm. I've known of this usage, but it makes me really uncomfortable. I can see using a special term to refer to non-canonical relationships with non-canonical sexuality in fanfic, which is how I first encountered it. Using the special term to refer to canonical non-het relationships when there is none such for het relationships makes me itch.

What can I say? Heteronormativity bugs me deeply enough I have to make a bit of a fuss when I encounter it.

#188 ::: Kirilaw ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 11:05 AM:

Mary Dell #141:

Just for the record, that bit at the end of the Handmaid's Tale that you object to is a movie thing, and doesn't come from the book. I can't speak to the rest of the logical inconsistencies, since it's been a while since I saw the movie, but that I remember, because it outraged me.

#189 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 01:02 PM:

Since I know at least a few folks who are still working through the DVDs of Buffy, I've put spoilers for Buffy as well as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows under the rot13.
Renatus @186 -
Yes, I absolutely agree that heteronormativity is icky. But I'm not necessarily being prescriptive here, just attempting to be descriptive. And you're right. I can't read the minds of the people doing the labelling, and they could be meaning non-canonical same-sex relationships when they use the term. HP fandom might choose to not call it slash anymore from now on. (Oddly, I don't play anywhere where there are canonical homosexual relationships, and my Google-fu isn't strong enough to quickly find any where I can see their terminology.)

My problem is that I have an extremely strong aversion to bothering to label relationships as canonical or non-canonical in the first place. I know that literary fandoms have a long tradition of labeling any non-canonical relationship slash, but I think that label is pretty useless, and it is never made for heterosexual relationships in the fandoms I read. Ohssl/Fcvxr (Buffy fandom), slash or no? Mulder/Scully? For Harry Potter, what about Frirehf/Yvyl? In those cases, the label you use could constitute a pretty big spoiler. You also have to decide what to do with older stories when a previously non-canonical relationships becomes suddenly canonical. Then there are the border cases in Buffy, like Jvyybj/Knaqre and Snvgu/Knaqre. For media fandom in particular that distinction is not useful at all. So that's a usage of "slash" that bugs me.

It might make your feel better to know that in places that allow homosexual stories (speaking of heteronormativity) there may be a trend to swtich to simply listing the parties involved and/or using labels like "M/M" and "M/F."

I always thought that "het" was the special label for heterosexual relationships. Or is it that it is so close to the root word and the homosexual term is so oblique that makes you itch?

#190 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2007, 11:13 PM:

R.M. Koske, if you're interested in reading an SF book on how the rest of humanity accept other genders and the world they're on doesn't, see Melissa Scott's Shadowman. There was supposed to be a sequel, but it looks like not, now.

#191 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 12:32 AM:

"het" is obvious enough, and I understand where "slash" comes from, but I haven't figured out where "gen" is from. "generic"? "genre"? Neither seems to fit.

#192 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 02:27 AM:

todd,

but I haven't figured out where "gen" is from. "generic"? "genre"?

i always thought of it as "general audience," i.e. "rated g."

#193 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 07:16 AM:

#189, Marilee -

Ooh, thanks. *makes a note of it*

#194 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 08:49 AM:

Looking at the Rowling revelation, it is consistent with the book. I'm not sure that it's hinted at, as such, but there is room for it.

I wouldn't have been surprised at there being some activity hinted at a bit more--Ron and Hermione, for instance. Given that reticence, I don't really expect anything specific.

#195 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 09:56 AM:

Keir@153: How do you see Lord of the Flies as SF? The point of Brave New World et al. is the consequences of going in a direction some people tell us is good; LotF is simply a castaway story, like Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson en masse, without the polymaths, and with insufficiently-socialized characters, all of which are known right now -- the story does not require a change to happen before the plot can.

I am fascinated by the variable opinions regarding Stirling. I gave up on the Nantucket series because I considered his polymaths too improbable (given all the other improbabilities) and his plot too manipulated (or even didactic). I quit a few pages into the post-electricity series, despite a recommendation I trusted, because the initial characters were so clichedly cardboard I couldn't stand going on. I don't know anything about Stirling personally (beyond comments here suggesting that I'm happier that way); I just don't find his writing convincing. (I \think/ it was Stirling that Mike was talking about when snickering over the idea of accurate archery on horseback (rapid-fire, in odd postures) as being a poor translation of a partisan with a machine gun and a jeep.

#196 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 04:46 PM:

R.M. Koske @ #188: First, a little disclaimer--most of what I know about fanfic terms is secondhand through friends heavily involved in fandom. I'm a fan of a lot of stuff, but not really into most fandoms, if that makes sense. Some of my knowledge of terminology might be out of date compared to what's actually being used right now.

Working backwards...

I always thought that "het" was the special label for heterosexual relationships. Or is it that it is so close to the root word and the homosexual term is so oblique that makes you itch?

Ooh, in this case I was using 'het' as a shorthand for heterosexual and not as it's used by fandom. Apologies for that confusion.

I do recall seeing 'het' used as a label recently, but mostly I've seen heterosexual relationships not called anything special. Stories with heterosexual pairings were just stories with relationships/a particular pairing; stories with homosexual pairings were slash. I've come to associate the term rather unfortunately with wildly out of character pairings (thank you, HP fandom and your bizarre Harry/Draco obsession), which makes it put my teeth on edge even more when someone uses 'slash' to refer to a canonical homosexual relationship.

Err, to answer the question directly, the obliqueness of the term 'slash' bothers me, yes, but it bothers me more that the homosexual relationship stories tend to be the ones specially labeled, and even if the heterosexual relationship stories were also labeled, I don't see much point in labeling them with more than the pairing.

It might make your feel better to know that in places that allow homosexual stories (speaking of heteronormativity)

That strange sound you just heard was me choking on my supper!

there may be a trend to swtich to simply listing the parties involved and/or using labels like "M/M" and "M/F."

That does make me feel better, yes, and it pleases me when I see fanfic writers (or fanartists, for that matter) do so.

My problem is that I have an extremely strong aversion to bothering to label relationships as canonical or non-canonical in the first place.

I don't read much fanfic, but I see what you mean. I use 'canonical' and 'non-canonical' to mean 'what the author wrote/said about their text that makes sense with the actual words written down' and 'things other people have written/said about the text'. Still problematic, I know...

As for works with canonical homosexual relationships--HP now, as we've come to find out (and I am pleased that the subtext I saw and talked about with others was intentional), but also Elizabeth Bear's Carnival. Two of Carnival's main characters are male and in a relationship. I follow Bear's LJ, and a while back a reviewer called the book 'slash' because of aforementioned relationship. The term wasn't used derogatorily, but Bear got rather tetchy about it for many of the same reasons the term makes me itch. Relevant post here.

I hope all of that made sense--it's almost midnight here and I wore myself out on a walk today, so I might have gotten a little oblique myself...!

#197 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 05:12 PM:

CHip @ 194

Stirling's writing is a guilty pleasure for me; I know it's not especially good writing*, but it fills a need that, long ago, was filled by pulp adventures.

Also, up until the last couple of years, I was still giving him a lot of leeway for some of the things he did in the first two Draka novels**. "Conquistador" did that in; I'm not a fan of feudal apologists, and that book protested just a little too damn much that feudalism wasn't really a good idea, just what was needed in that situation.

The Mary-Sueness‡ of his writing is part of the appeal, I think; it's wish-fulfillment; basically non-graphic comic books† or part of the pulp genre.

* Although the prose is at least well-crafted, unlike other well-respected writers in the field.
** It may be that falling in love with the Draka and trying to make them the good guys was what did him in, in the long run.
‡ Mary-Suetude?
† Not "graphic novels", notice.

#198 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 05:22 PM:

Bruce @ 196

I get that same sort of feeling with Ringo. Some of his is decent, but a lot of it is teenage-boys-with-weapons type Mary-Sueness. I gave up on the Posleen books when they'd been 'fighting' for ten years with only the aliens learning anything from the experience. Not to mention the 'Whaaa' moments where it was clear to me that he hadn't thought through some of his premises.

#199 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 05:57 PM:

P J @ 197

I never did get into Ringo, and I probably wouldn't have been interested in Stirling but for the first Draka book. He created a whole nation of Mary-Sues on steroids and then said, "Oh, by the way, these are the evil ones" and then showed them doing the most horrific things, to prove his point. Then he had the Draka take out a few Nazi SS Übermenschen just to drive home the point and break the end of the nail off. See, I'm a sucker for someone who's willing to show real evil, rather than have the good Mary-Sues able to beat up the bad Mary-Sues just because they're the good ones. Villains like Blofeld annoy me, because we know what real evil is; we read about it the news all the time.

#200 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 06:35 PM:

LotF is set after the nuclear apocalypse. This alone wouldn't make it SF, per se, but along with the fact that the plane that they crash land in is instantly recognisable as not-1950's-tech, I'm quite happy to say that LotF is SF, or at least is in a sympathetic manner.

I think the near future setting is important, because it plays to the `thin veneer of civilisation' theme, showing us that even advanced technology really doesn't make a difference to human nature.

The parallels between the nuclear conflagration engulfing Europe at the start of the book and (a) the boys' early fire-making experiments and (b) the final scenes of the book are pretty obvious, and serve to make the point that our technological advancement doesn't matter, people are still people.

Technology is described quite effectively in LotF, and plays a key thematic role -- Piggy's glasses, the fire, the atomic bombs, etc.

The near-futureness of it isn't required; the same basic story could have been set in any time period from ancient Greece on, and it is hard for us to think of the 1960's as the near future, but it is integral to that particular telling of the story that we see both the near future and the far past, and that human nature is remarkably similar in both.

#201 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2007, 07:18 PM:

Renatus, #195:
...the obliqueness of the term 'slash' bothers me, yes, but it bothers me more that the homosexual relationship stories tend to be the ones specially labeled, and even if the heterosexual relationship stories were also labeled, I don't see much point in labeling them with more than the pairing.

One thing that occurs to me as we talk about this is that labels are very much determined by the norms of the group. I went wandering to look for what Queer as Folk fandom calls their pairings, and you know what? In an archive that's exclusively QAF, they don't label them anything, because if you're there, you know that QAF pairings are male/male. So it could be that I'm thinking that the het label gets used more than it really does, because I play in a lot of slash and slash-friendly places, when it doesn't get used that often elsewhere. Norms again. (I'm really glad you and I got into this discussion. I don't like it when I don't notice things like that.)

As long as there are explicit stories (and truthfully, that's what I'm talking about here, the really porny tab-A-slot-B stuff) I'm thinking there are going to be labels on the genders of the folks involved on multi-fandom sites. Because if you're looking for porn, you want to know if it will hit your kink. Labels with only pairing...I want to argue that won't work, but I have no idea why I think it won't. It is certainly the trend in many of my single-fandom places. So that could be the perfect solution. You just have to know that Fred's a girl and Lindsay and Angel are boys. :)

I went to read Bear's comments, and I think I see what you and Bear are getting at. Part of my trouble is that I'm being a bit blinded by my own fannish reading habits lately. I mentioned on another thread that I started out reading fic while using no discrimination for quality whatsoever. None. And there's some eye-bleeding stuff out there.* I discovered slash about same the time I started vetting for quality. So my memories of het are that it is the stuff that the really immature writers write - impossibly sweet and soppy and happily-ever-after-with-babies-even-if-he's-a-vampire. No real conflict, no real strong female characters, cardboard male characters, sex makes everything okay, et cetera, et cetera. So I assume slash is automatically more interesting than het, because the quality of the slash I've read is a world above the het.

When Bear says "That relationship certainly isn't any more fraught than several of the het relationships I've written," she makes me wanna go read her het. Fraught? Her het is fraught? Sign me up. I care about the genders of the romantic pairing when I read because the genders are a marker for interesting characters.**


Your definitions of canonical and non-canonical match mine, but my sticking point is this: why do we need a label for relationships to indicate their canonical status? The idea that "slash" means non-canonical seems pretty widespread***, and I just don't get it. If you know the source, you don't need a label to tell you a pairing is canonical or not. If you don't know the source, you either don't care (see above, re: porn) or you do care and labeling something as canonical or non-canonical is a spoiler.

Am I making the same argument you are about the pointlessness of labels? I think I might be. Except your point has bigotry instead of spoilers as the ultimate evil of using the labels. (If you ever want to cause wankery on a fanfiction forum, start a discussion about which labels and warnings are needed.)


*Reading bad fanfiction is what made me start being discriminating in my reading at all. I would read whatever crap I got my hands on in professional fiction, too. It was just harder to find the really bad stuff there.

**There's horrific same-sex stuff out there that does exactly the same thing, down to male couples having babies either through adoption or, yes, pregnancy. But I've figured out how to weed that out. Now I need to go back and learn where to find the good het stories.

***I know that it isn't just an idea, that is the definition of the word in some places and some times. But still. Why?

#202 ::: Maygra ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 11:30 AM:

Renatus @195 & RM Koske at 200:

There's some truth to the idea that "slash" was used as a label/warning at one point, but I'd say in fandoms where slash is prevalent or at least equal to gen and het submissions, any more it's as much advertising as anything -- and in some fandoms apologizing for it not being slash is becoming both a slightly amusing and a little worrying commonality. I'm very much a slash fan and read het very rarely, although I'm more likely to read gen.

One problem with the using of pairings only is that it works fine if you are familiar with the fandom but if you are new and just starting to poke around, it can be a little confusing when people fail to note the *fandom* of a story as well as a pairing. I suppose their assuming everyone reading them will already know. But I've tripped my way into fandoms by fic alone without ever having seen or read source.(Something I'm prone to rectifying quickly).

I think RM Koske is right to point out there are "norms" in fandom. Unfortunately, those norms don't always translate across all fandoms.

#203 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 12:05 PM:

#196 The Mary-Sueness of his writing is part of the appeal

I thought it was the Hot Lesbians(tm) ...

#204 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Another not-usually-named-as-sf UK novel is Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbon, though the sfnal touches can be easily missed. Videophones and references to a war with Venezuela, if I remember.
This may have been discussed on some other ML thread.
-Barbara

#205 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Barbara Gordon #203: Is that the same Cold Comfort Farm as the movie with Kate Beckinsale? I love that movie, and there doesn't seem to be anything skiffyish in it. Haven't read the book, though I've been meaning to for, oh, eight or nine years now.

#206 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:17 PM:

204: Me too, all of it.

Me and my then-boyfriend rented that one time. For weeks thereafter I had only to say "There have always been Starkadders..." to get him to laugh his fool head off. Me too, of course.

#207 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2007, 06:20 PM:

I saw something nasty in the woodshed...

#208 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 05:28 AM:

R.M. Koske @ #200: Fraught? Her het is fraught? Sign me up.

Her everything is fraught. She's brilliant at fraught--and it's actual fraughtness, not 'endlessly beat the reader over the head with a stick of suffering'. It's wonderful.

why do we need a label for relationships to indicate their canonical status?

I think we are making the same argument about the pointlessness of labels. I don't think we need labels defining the canonness or non-canonness of relationships--just that terms like 'slash' are uncomfortably othering.

Er, heh. I have a feeling I'm going to talk myself into a circle if I go any further, so I'll leave it at "Yes, I agree!" and move on.

Maygra @ #201: and in some fandoms apologizing for it not being slash is becoming both a slightly amusing and a little worrying commonality.

I've seen that with fanart/fanartists, and I also found it slightly amusing and a little worrying. Putting something on a pedestal is as othering as deingrating it.

#209 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 10:05 PM:

Keir: are you speaking of the book or the movie? The book makes an offhand reference to an atom bomb, and doesn't give any details about the plane in the first ~20 pages; the movie (which I last saw 35 years ago) may have played differently.

Barbara: can you give a location (i.e., percentage through the book) for any of those stfnal touches in Cold Comfort Farm? I have no recollection of any of them; the most futuristic thing is that her boyfriend owns an airplane, which is not surprising for the date and social class.

#210 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 11:24 PM:

Quotes about the plane in the book LotF:

``There was that pilot, but he wasn't in the passenger tube, he was up in the cabin in front.''
-- Piggy to Ralph.

``He must have flown off after he dropped us. He couldn't land here, not in a plane with wheels.''
--Ralph to Piggy.
``When we were coming down I looked through one of them windows. I saw the other part of the plane. There were flames coming out of it.''
-- Piggy to Ralph.

(In my edition, over the first three pages.)

My reading of this is that the plane had a detachable passenger compartment, that could be dropped off separately. I am unaware of any planes used for passenger service in 1954 that had detachable passenger compartments, putting this sequence into the near future, I think.

#211 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 11:51 PM:

Cold Comfort Farm, Penguin 1978 edition:

p.6: NOTE: The action of the story takes place in the near future.

p.11: the annual epidemic of the influenza or Spanish Plague

p.20: the slums of Mayfair

p.30: indeed, since the aerial routes and the well-organized road routes had appropriated three-quarters of the passengers who used to make their journeys by train, the remaining railway companies had fallen into a settled melancholy

p.129: Claud twisted the television dial and amused himself by studying Flora's fair, pensive face. ... She could not look at him, because public telephones were not fitted with television dials.

p.161: Claud, who had served in the Anglo-Nicaraguan wars of '46,

p.208: The papers arrived by air-mail at noon next day. They were dropped neatly into the great field by the air-postman

None of this turned up in the Beckinsale film, which I think was done as a period piece c.1932 when the book was published. There've been a couple of other adaptations, I think one other film and a radio version, and I don't know if those took it as future or past.
-Barbara

#212 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2007, 11:58 PM:

Keir, I noticed that about the plane in Lord of the Flies, too, and assumed it was meant to indicate a future setting, and that the children were being evacuated as with WWII, only now (bigger, faster war?) by plane rather than ship and train.
-Barbara

#213 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 04:08 AM:

I got into Mr. Stirling's novels via the first Nantucket book because, eerily enough, I had been playing around with a nearly identical scenario since I was in high school mumblety years ago. I was drawn in from the first page. He paints with words. I liked his protagonists immediately and didn't find them Sueish in the least. Maybe I was primed by the sheer wonder of somebody else having had my weird ideas, but I still can't think of a Sue in the book. The protagonists all make mistakes and/or have personal shortcomings and there are repercussions from same. I then plunged into Peshawar Lancers, enjoyed it immensely, and was disappointed not to get a sequel. Dies the Fire picks up another thought problem I played with occasionally and develops it in an incredible direction. I may have a bias from belonging to the Stirling fan group on Yahoo--Mr. Stirling drops in frequently, so we get all kinds of sneak peeks and extra details. He has said quite frankly that he had to stack the deck in the protagonists' favor or the story would've been nasty, brutish, and short. He redeems himself, I think, by having the characters take note of their incredible luck and react according to their natures. (And at least one of the explanations that they come up with may, judging from the latest volume, be near the mark!) Then we have the Lords of Creation series, which is sort of the Sensible Person's planetary romance.

While I don't think that any of the above have Mary Sues, I do think you can spot the character Mr. Stirling falls most in love with over the course of each series. Just look for the one who ends up with the brave, good-looking refugee who has noble blood and a tragic past.

You can get an idea of how big a grain of salt you will need for this post from this: I haven't read the Draka series and I don't plan to start. I read for escape. I know about evil people already. Even the relatively brief scenes from the baddies' viewpoints in the above series tended to make me ill. The Draka are supposed to be completely understandable, sympathetic, and nevertheless utterly evil. And I have a retentive memory for the printed word. No thanks, not wanting that in my brain meats.

#214 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 08:47 PM:

Serge @125:

Esther Friesner did a Lovecraftian Austenesque story for F&SF a few years ago, though I don't remember whether it was closely modeled on a specific Austen novel.

#215 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Jim Henry @ 213... Thanks for the tip.

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