melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2010-11-12 05:58 pm

love, awesome, and sparkles

1. I refuse to write, or post, or even start, a dear yuletide letter when nominations aren't even open yet. Sorry! (Well, I did do the relevant astronomical calculations, but that doesn't count.)

I have gone through and figured out what I'm offering, though. Since the time is significantly shorter this year, I decided I'm only offering fandoms that make me go "Ooh, yes! I want an excuse to reread/rewatch that in a hurry!" (as opposed to the usual criterion, which is "Ooh, I wish that had more fic, I bet I could acquire canon by the deadline." As a result, I'm only offering somewhere around 115 fandoms this time (depending on how the final list handles duplicates.)

2. A couple of days ago I got my sign-ups and induction stuff to be an AO3 tag wrangler. Which, yay? But I thought they weren't signing anyone up until after yuletide? And in fact wrangling is closed until after yuletide? So other than read through the docs, I am not sure what I am supposed to be doing about my new tag wrangler status. Other than continuing to lurk the chatroom, obvs. (Oh, AO3, your communication skills at the moment are so inspiring.)

3. I don't know how helpful this will be, but the long-running rift between two segments of fandom (with other segments chiming in from the sidelines) which has suddenly broken off the scabs and started bleeding again, hurts. I see it in a split down fandom communities; down my own circle of friends; and down my own self. So, I want to do this, if only for myself; and I would love to see other people do it, too; I don't know if it will help heal the rift, but it might help some of us across it.

I am a fan, I am a geek. I have always been. You may, reading this journal or my comments, get the impression that I am a slash fan and/or a media fan - and I will admit, my primary allegiance is to that community. But that's not all I am. That is the last, and in some ways the least, of my fannish IDs. What else am I? Well, in roughly chronological order:

I am a fan of genre fiction.

I have a collection of Stratemeyer Syndicate novels that fills its own bookshelf and started when I was six. I still kind of can't decide whether I want to be Kristy or Mary Ann or Claudia. Any summary that ends with "and they solve crime" is going to be good, I can tell. I trace my line back to three generations of Edgar Rice Burroughs collectors. I can discuss science fiction literature from the pre-Golden Age to slipstream with aplomb. I know the Lester Dent Master Plot by heart. I have wanted to be a writer of cheap pulp novels since I was approximately four, and I still hold as the greatest betrayal of my life my first grade teacher taking away my paper (on which I was telling the story of my special animal, KB, and his mission to help lonely toy koalas in America find their way back home to Australia) after I had only been writing it for an hour.

I own approximately 1000 paperback novels, and I sort them obsessively. I volunteer at a library just to be closer to the books. Somewhere in my heart of hearts, I believe that to be a published author is greater than anything else one can achieve in life, and that to be an illustrator of books is the highest art there is. The first online community I ever got active in was for people who wanted to write genre novels.

I am a math, science, and tech geek.

There exists a photo of me, age three, wearing a T-shirt with Pascal's triangle on it. My first programming language was LOGO, after I was taught how to get to the flipside, age 8. I was that kid who got to go in early to set up all the computers in the elementary school lab. I was a mathlete. I was in chess club. I got to sit out of the lessons in programming class in order to help design the school's first Web site. I wrote Pong and a snake program for the TI-82. I went to secret NSA math camp for six years, and once won the campwide math contest at math camp.

At college I did college bowl, I was the only person in the Creative Writing house working on a BS degree, I did my sociology term paper on the Open Source movement, I use Linux (and Windows) command line regularly, I know how to make explosives and nerve gases with common everyday chemicals, I build, fix, and upgrade my own computers, I read academic journals for fun, and someday I *am* going to learn to solder well enough to do motherboards; I use matrix algebra and calculus and special relativity all the time in my daily life; I still get all the jokes in XKCD.

I am a science fiction fan.

For a long time I would have denied this strongly (and futilely), but when I was 11 I was snowed out for a week and the only thing to watch on TV was Star Trek: TOS reruns, and after that, it was a lost cause. I can't recite all the TOS episodes in order any more, but if you name one, I can give you a plot summary and the season it was in. I have four boxes of Star Trek tie-in novels. And an entire bookcase of Star Wars tie-in novels, not to mention the three rubbermaid tubs of assorted merchandise that I need to e-mail Thomas Atkinson about taking off my hands already (don't worry, I'm not getting rid of the collection, the three tubs is just a small slice of it.)

My parents were fine with all this, as they bonded over McCoy's Doctor Who and went on dates to see Star Trek movies. Rimmer and Lister and Cat will live on forever. I sat up special to see the Doctor Who TV movie when it first came on; I sat up special to see the ST:TNG finale; ST:VOY was the first show I ever watched, every week, from the beginning. I waited in line to see the ANH re-release; I waited in line in costume to see Revenge of the Sith; oh, old, bitter Carrie Fisher, why do you make my heart leap?. I used to scan down the TV Guide alphabetical listings looking for anything that began with "Star". A life goal since I was 14 was to go to a sci-fi con; when I finally managed to, over ten years later, it still felt like coming home (--when you go there they have to let you in.)

I am a comics fan.

Okay, mainstream superhero stuff has never been the main thrust of my comics fandoming, but that was mostly due to access. The pile of old Archie Digests and funny animal comics from the '70s that I found in my Grandma's basement and took home before my uncle found out they were still there was well-thumbed before I hit middle school, and still will be. I wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist before I wanted to be a writer; I learned to read out of old Peanuts collections and I can name every character who appeared in Doonesbury before the time-skip and I own every Calvin and Hobbes collection and I have read The Smithsonian Book of Newspaper Comics so many times I can open to favorite pages just by feel; Pogo and Krazy Kat and Terry and the Pirates and Alley Oop and Prince Valiant and BC (which used to be counter-culture before Hart drank the kool-aid) and Blondie may years never wither her and so many others are part of the fabric of life; and it is a crime, a crime against art, I tell you, that Barnaby is still out of print.

But I'm also a webcomics fan. I was reading webcomics obsessively when there were so few, you could hope to read them all, when going through the archives meant reading four different strips at once so you could read one while the others were loading down the 56k modem connection. I once wrote in to the advice column on User Friendly; this username began on the Keenspot forums, for the "Name Dave's Cat" contest, where I am user number 736, and my first fanfic was written on the CRFH boards; and the official Agnostica website still links to my fanpage; I was a charter member of Keenspot Premium. These days, I'm more involved in making webcomics than reading them (shoutout for interrobangstudios.com, where some of the crew are guests at Anime USA this weekend), as part of a webcomics studio that's actually been running a steady profit for almost two years, but I still keep a list of several dozen that I catch up with every month or two.

And, hey, it's not that I'm not a mainstream comics fan. I have a longbox, and it's full (I'm not allowed to own more than one longbox); it might have more Milestone in it than Marvel, and more random indy comics and small presses than either, but what's wrong with that, really? I have a shelf of tpbs and I can still tell you anything you want to know about all the Robins or the history of the X-Men or who the original Human Torch was. I was a member of scans_daily before scans_daily was cool. I put in my time hanging out in the Friendly Local Comic Store.

I am an anime/manga fan.

The first fanvids I ever saw were a VHS tape of the vid show from Otakon 1996 - the ones I remember were Dragonball Z to Triangle Man and Ranma 1/2 to I'm Gonna Be, but they'd probably stick in your mind, too, yeah? I was solemnly inducted into the anime sleepovers club in high school, and given the ceremonial name of Mink. Some of my best RL friends were involved in organizing some of the first otaku cons in the US, and through them I can still claim all kinds of otaku bnf connections, should I so desire. I am a volunteer chaperone for the local teenage anime club.

Name a manga or anime that was widely circulated in the US in translation in the 20th century, and I have probably seen at least some of it (unless it involves giant mecha. I still don't see the point of giant mecha,) though lately I've found that, as in many other things, if left to my own devices my tastes in Japanese media lean toward the old, the obscure, the off-kilter, and the just plain awful. Lately I've reacquired a source for recently US-released tankobon, and right now am really, really hoping Kingyo Used Books vol. 1 does well enough that I can keep getting it in English, even though it's really dangerous in terms of making me want to go out and buy fifteen other manga. Also, it is a crime against art that Billy Puck is so thoroughly out of print.

I am a media fan and a slash fan.

But then you allk new all that already. I got involved in media fandom through Harry Potter in late 2002, but the weird thing about media fandom is that, surprisingly quickly, it became more about the people than the medium. I'd never been a fan-in-isolation (but then, growing up in a family of geeks means you really can't be) but this was the first time I'd connected with people through fandom, as opposed to just hanging out with fans because at least we shared a vocabulary, or turning existing friends into fans without their consent.

And the other thing about media fandom: it didn't try to stop me from being any of the above. Media fandom loves writers, and it loves genre writers, and it doesn't care what genre. Romance? Sf? Mystery? Adventure? YA? GLBT? Historical? Serial? A serial YA GLBT SF historical mystery adventure romance? Bring it on! Media fandom understood, and respected, geekdom; a significant fraction of us are geeks, and those that aren't, generally consider geekhood to be an honor they are sadly deprived of. Media fandom was all about the SF; they weren't limited to SF, but they loved it, and they weren't stuck-up about "quality" or "popularity", either; I could use my SF vocabulary and worldview in media fandom without getting blank looks, without running into the pitfalls I hit being a young woman of questionable taste in the SF community. I could be a comics fan and a webocomics fan in media fandom; people wrote webcomics, people overlapped, people understood about the benefits of the serial form on the internet, there are even people here who know what Barnaby is. And, yes, I could be a manga/anime fan in media fandom; I could read Naruto and Ranma and Eroica and Weiss Kreuz and Sailor Moon and Hetalia fanfic without ever leaving the media fandom community; I could use fangirl Japanese gleefully and draw bad anime-influenced art and get if anything fewer rolled eyes than among my anime friends. I could go to a slash con, turn off *all* the filters, and be not only safe, but accepted. I could be all I am here.


...wow, I totally didn't intend that to be the effect, but I am kind of filled with love and awesome and sparkles now after writing that. Love and awesome and sparkles to all fans everywhere, regardless of what kind of fans you are!

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