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December 15th, 2014 04:56 pm - Saving the World and So On
1.

Leave Us Time To Waste (5457 words) by melannen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pacific Rim (2013)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Newton Geiszler/Hermann Gottlieb, Raleigh Becket & Mako Mori, Newton Geiszler/Kaiju
Characters: Newton Geiszler, Hermann Gottlieb, Tendo Choi, Raleigh Becket, Mako Mori
Additional Tags: Aliens make them not have sex, Post-Canon, Drift Side Effects, Platonic Relationships, Sleepy/Unconscious Sex, Dubious Consent
Summary:

One of the side-effects of Drifting is that Drift partners are no longer capable of being sexually attracted to each other. At all. Dr. Newton Geiszler is not happy about this.

Look, look, I finished a fic!


2. For the talky meme, [personal profile] alasse_irena asked for: Tell me something (or somethings, if you like) you would like to see more of in the fantasy genre.

Well, first, I have a confession to make: I don't read a lot of fantasy these days. (And don't watch much TV or movies, either.) There are a lot of fantasy novels I read back in the day that are still very dear to my heart, but in the last twelve months, I have read a total of six grown-up fantasy novels for grown-ups - if reading a five-book series about Edwardian vampires and one book about She-Hulk counts. (If you add in kids' novels and comics it's a little better but not much.) So it's possible they're already doing all the things I like and I just haven't noticed... but hey, when did not knowing what I'm talking about ever stop me?

My first version of this post was going to be "things fantasy novels could do to make me more likely to read them", but that really quickly turned into "reasons I enjoy fanfic more than published novels". Which was actually really interesting to write out, but not really the question I wanted to answer here, so I may post it later (I do still have slots open for the last week of meme....)

So instead I am going to talk about one thing that I would like to see less of in all the stories I consume, but especially in fantasy novels: the good guys only winning because they find the Cheat Codes of Destiny.

Or, explained at much greater length... )

Also I would like more diversity in characters and worldbuilding, obviously. And less heteronormativity and gender essentialism. And for it to be exactly like fanfic in every way. And more Capital Letters of Emphasis, obviously.

But mostly I would like a ban on using Cheat Codes of Destiny to take out the Assholes In Charge, and more of whatever we come up with instead.

(27 comments | Reply)


May 27th, 2014 06:16 pm - How to graph the spread of a Tumblr post
A while back, I posted a graph on Tumblr illustrating the spread of my most popular post ever via reblogs (it's currently at almost 4500 notes, which is just weird. why, tumblr).

Several people have asked for instructions on how to do the reblog graph, so here they are. I realize this is a post that's all about tumblr but I'm posting on DW. That's because while Tumblr is *great* for virality, I still refuse to use it for long or complicated text posts, at which it is terrible.

This isn't necessarily the best way, but it's the way I can do it at work, with no expertise, without downloading any software. (If you want to play with really powerful network graphs, download the open source package Gephi - as a bonus its sample data set is a network chart of Les Miserables characters!) But Gephi is hard. Here's how to do it with just Notepad, Paint, and Google.

As my example, I decided to use a post from someone who is authentically popular on the internet, unlike me - friend and artist Kevin Bolk of Interrobang Studios. Specifically, his Sexy Astrophysicists Art Card Set (As of a mid-April 2014 when I started writing this post). I've made the Google Fusion link public if you want to play without starting from scratch: kbonetwork.

Here's how to start from scratch:

Step I: Acquire and clean the data )

Step II:Make a spreadsheet )

Step III: Load the data into Fusion Tables )

Step IV: Make the graph )

Step V: Share )

Result:
network graph of sexy astrophysicists

If you try this and have issues, drop a comment to this post, and I'll do my best to answer.

(12 comments | Reply)


September 20th, 2013 08:47 pm - Oolon Colluphid Was Right
So. Uh. I've been digging around in my old-wips files some more, and meanwhile I was trying to write Grantaire, and I remembered that this existed and was very close to finished? It is mostly very very old, and very, very, very silly - and I would have bet that I'd never post SGA fic again - but I accidentally finished it, so, um, why not.

Oolon Colluphid Was Right (1060 words) by melannen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Rodney McKay/John Sheppard
Characters: Rodney McKay, Teyla Emmagan, John Sheppard, Ronon Dex
Additional Tags: Imprisonment, Communication, Languages and Linguistics, Cultural References, Rampant Geekery, Codes & Ciphers, Self-Indulgent, The Author Regrets Nothing
Summary:

The Stargates' universal translation effect can sometimes make secret communication in enemy territory difficult. Luckily, Rodney has a plan.


(Reply)


November 12th, 2010 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 am a math, science, and tech geek. )

I am a science fiction fan. )

I am a comics fan. )

I am an anime/manga fan. )

I am a media fan and a slash fan. )


...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!

(27 comments | Reply)


September 9th, 2010 09:17 pm
Hi all! I am working on a Fanlore entry (I figured it was past time), and am running into the fact that terms that I thought were established don't seem to give Google results for anyone but, um, me. Pretty much.

So, I thought I'd try a poll. :D

Poll #4330 On terminology
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 74


When I am talking about the novels, animated series, comics, web extras, role-playing games, audio dramas, and so on that are authorized by a particular fandom's owners but are not part of main canon, I call them:

View Answers

extracanonical
11 (14.9%)

paracanon/paracanonical
11 (14.9%)

secondary canon
25 (33.8%)

"tie-ins", duh
51 (68.9%)

semi-canon
11 (14.9%)

S-canon
0 (0.0%)

just plain non-canonical
9 (12.2%)

Better than canon, usually
5 (6.8%)

Expanded Universe/Extended Universe/EU
37 (50.0%)

gray canon
4 (5.4%)

authorized fanfic, or something else involving the word 'fan'
14 (18.9%)

Different terms in different fandoms, and I'll go into detail below
12 (16.2%)

I don't.
6 (8.1%)

Other
7 (9.5%)

I am going to talk about this in a comment.
6 (8.1%)

This concept needs a fanlore entry of its own.

View Answers

Yes
59 (100.0%)

No
0 (0.0%)

If there's a fannish term I use a lot, and a few of my friends do, and I really find it useful, but hardly anybody else uses it, I should:

View Answers

Try to avoid using it on Fanlore and similar places
4 (7.5%)

Use it on fanlore, and hope somebody else decides to make an entry for it eventually
9 (17.0%)

Make an entry for it (or add it to the relevant entry) in hopes that it will become more widespread
40 (75.5%)



ETA: I am also interested in whether people include things like interview canon and behind-the-scenes extras, drafts and outlines and subtitles, things someone involved with the production once said informally, prop canon, and merchandise packaging under the same umbrella as authorized media tie-ins, or consider them a different level of canon, and whether different terms include different things to them. But I couldn't figure out how to phrase it as a poll question in a way that wasn't overcomplicated.

People are invited to add comments expanding on this!

(59 comments | Reply)


June 20th, 2010 05:33 am - Fandom, Copyright and Copyleft
This is the handout I wrote for Sunday's panel on fandom and copyright. I am posting it here because it is fifteen freaking pages long and I hope some people will read along on their netbooks and I don't need as many paper copies. But people not at con-txt are welcome to enjoy.

This is html-converted using OpenOffice; I apologize if it's ugly, I cheated because it's, um, 5:30 AM the day of the panel and I haven't slept yet. If you would rather download a .doc file, click this link: Copyleft and Copyright Handout.

Fandom, Copyright and Copyleft: The Basics of Intellectual Property for Fans )

(16 comments | Reply)


February 22nd, 2010 03:08 pm - Wulf and Eadwacer
So, a long, long time ago, before I had an online journal or interacted with fandom in any way, back before Wikipedia ruled the internets, I used to post on Everything2, which is a wikipedia competitor with a very different structure, ethos, and culture. (As much as I do like the Wiki system, I wish more sites used an E2 framework instead - I think it would've worked really well for fanlore, for ex., with its emphasis on multiple voices and automatic flow.)

Anyway, one of the things I posted there, over eight years ago (!!!), was an attempted translation of the Old English poem Wulf and Eadwacer into poetic Modern English. I'm no Anglo-Saxon scholar, but I go through phases of reading lots of early English poetry and poking at the language, so it may be a bad translation, but I like the poem, and I like my version better than any of the other translations I've found, and I have nothing at all staked on it being a good translation, so critique it all you want. (I am, oddly, very fragile when it comes to criticism of my fiction - I can get scared into writing nothing for months even by *effusively good* feedback - but have a very thick skin about my poetry - say whatever you want about it, it won't change what the poem means to me.)

So there's this translation, that's been sitting pretty much ignored on a website that's been slowly dwindling in readership, until [personal profile] shanaqui with her riddles on [community profile] poetry inspired me to look it up again and repost my Wulf and Eadwacer there.

And what should I discover but that someone has quoted my translation in an academic paper, as far as I can tell from Google pretty much in full, and published it in the journal "Language and Literature" only this month.

I am trying to articulate why this pisses me off so much. Given that I generally approve of fair use and quotation and derivative/transformative work with or without permission, and am pretty radically anti-intellectual-property in general, and strongly support acafandom in using internet postings in published papers, I ought to just be happy that somebody (somebody who I rather admire as a writer and scholar) has noticed my un-expert little translation and thought it worth talking about.

But, well, what pisses me off? Is that the journal's publisher wants 25 dollars from me in exchange for the privilege of looking for only 24 hours at the article about my work that they published without even notifying me.

<I>That</i> pisses me the hell off (pardon my Anglo-Saxon. And Old French.) Cue rant. )

Short version: if Transformative Works and Cultures was pay-only, I would be a lot less supportive of it, that's for darn sure.

(I tend to think that fanacademia, even beyond TWC, tends to be fairly good about freely sharing info - even when papers are published behind pay-only, it's been fairly easy for me to get copies for free - but that might be because accumulated fanmeta rep has gotten *me* inside several locked walls of access that I don't even see any more.)

(Also, said fan network has already gotten me a copy of the paper about Wulf and Eadwacer that discusses me. I am now officially recorded in the ongoing conversation of Western Thought as "Melannen, a kind of 'groupie' for wit and wisdom" --- I'll take it! Could be worse. Also, my e2 post is "not exactly post-structural exegesis," but rather "a crude recommendation" to "make the empty room exciting with your own furnishings". Hmm, you know, I don't have any titles on my DW journal pages yet... :D But seriously folks, it's a reasonably good paper which is doing pretty much the same thing I tried to do in my e2 post but better - the quotes are actually a compliment, because I'm the only one of six translators - including Burton Raffel - he actually discusses at any length whatsoever. Even if he is baffled by the internets and the way learnings happen there. And he got the date of publication of the E2 entry wrong by five years somehow. And altered my translation in a fairly significant way without, apparently, noticing.)


...er. Speaking of the value of a public domain, last weekend I was at Farpoint - my first ever sci-fi con! - and spent most of the time trying to pretend it was con.txt, which meant hanging around the do-it-yourself panel rooms and figuring out how to talk about fanfic in them without outright admitting I'm a fanfic writer. (Panels I either gave or attended: Writing SF Erotica, DIY Social, SF Worldbuilding, Webcomics 101, Sex and SciFi, Not Everyone's a Pro, Copyright/Copywrong, Convention Sales for Creative Types, and Sherlock Holmes. I want to talk more about the con later, but this post is going to be long enough already.)

One of the coolest ones I attended was The Copyright, Copywrong panel, which was recorded and is available as a podcast. )
...anyway it also features me as "person in audience who wouldn't stop talking". Hear! Me attempt to talk to Marc Okrand without getting squee all over him! Hear! Me slip slash discussion in under the radar by casually mentioning the OTW without explaining what it is! Hear! Me get scolded for talking too much and not letting other people participate! Hear! Me completely fail to mention Interrobang Studios, which is ostensibly why I was at the con!


(and for the record, if I was not so lazy I would officially put all of my work under a creative commons share-alike license, the share-alike being most important and the attribution being least.)

Current Mood:: [mood icon] amused

(30 comments | Reply)


January 18th, 2010 02:04 am - More Science!
So first! Apparently the poll numbers about most slashers being queer struck a chord with people. (yay!)

As a result I have acquired numbers for several more polls now, with no effort on my part!

four more polls with numbers on slashers' sexuality )

Also! I have been corresponding in email with Anne Kustritz ([livejournal.com profile] theorynut, she who wrote the 2003 paper that Wikipedia cites. She wrote that paper while working on her Master's, has since gotten her doctorate, and wishes it to be known that I was far kinder to her 2003 paper than she is to it. Her doctoral dissertation was titled "Productive (Cyber) Public Space: Slash Fan Fiction's Multiple Imaginary," and it used an actual, rigorous ethnographic survey to argue, among other things, that, er, THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS IDENTIFY AS QUEER.

The diss isn't published (yet), or freely downloadable, but you can read some of the front matter of the dissertation. She was also kind enough to send me both a full copy of her dissertation and the numbers for the two polls cited in the 2003 paper, and give me permission to post about it all! And I had a wonderful write-up, but then my stupid computer crashed and DW didn't save the draft and it is far too late to write it up again coherently! I will try to do justice to it soon, but I cannot guarantee it, because there's this job-type-thingy I am starting tomorrow afternoon at short notice, and I will probably not be online much as a result.

(Which also means that I will probably be very, very slow at both modding and answering comments for awhile: be warned. But have fun without me!)

Here is the short, short version of that post. )

Anyway! That in no way does justice to the data, but it's what you're getting, because I sleep now and don't know when I'll be back.

(31 comments | Reply)


January 16th, 2010 03:46 pm - Science, y'all.
ETA early morning jan 18: a short follow-up with more poll numbers + things /ETA

I was going to wait and post this later, with a much more elaborate stastistical work-up, population variables and meta-analysis - because I think it's interesting in its own right - but the ongoing conversation I'm seeing, and the extremely clear result I'm getting, is making me think it's more important to get the facts out there, than to make them pretty.

So: Are slashers straight?

I spent an afternoon and evening finding all of the polls & surveys of slash demographics I could that included a question on sexuality. Some I already had bookmarked, some I found through google, delicious, and following citations in academic papers. I'm sure there are more out there, and if you have links to more more polls I would love to add their data to my analysis. But you know what? The results of the ones I've found are pretty consistent, across a large range of survey population. And it is, to be quite honest, not the result I was expecting, even as a slasher who does not herself identify as straight, and is used to finding people like her in fandom.

Are slashers straight?

Over half of slashers self-identify as somewhere on the spectrum of lgbqqa. )

So, over 9 polls, in a variety of slash subfandoms from the late-teens yaoi set to the mid-thirties meta fans set, dates ranging over 7 years. Only onetwo polls had less than 50% queer participants, and that wasone of them the earliest one, and even they were at 37% and 47%. The median percent of queer participants was 59.7%, and the mean was 61.5% 60.8%.

SO when people say things like "slash fans are appropriating queer experience", what THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER hear is either "you aren't queer enough, your queer identity isn't real" or "male voices are the only ones qualified to speak for the queer community."

I think the question of how queer women can appropriate queer men's identity, and the damage that can be done when gay men speaking about themselves are drowned out by women, are valid discussion topics, and worth addressing. That is not a conversation that is going to happen as long as THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER, are being erased from the discussion. fyi.

And SO when people say things like "slash is a legitimate way for straight women to express their sexuality", what THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER hear is either "you aren't queer enough, your queer identity isn't relevant" or "straight voices are the only ones qualified to speak for the slash community".

I think the question of how straight women's sexuality interacts with queer sexuality, and the ways straight women's sexuality defines slash, are valid discussion topics, and worth addressing. That is not a conversation that is going to happen as long as THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER, are being erased from the discussion. fyi.

Can I say that one more time? I like saying it. Science makes me happy.

THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS IDENTIFY AS QUEER.

ETA: People in comments have pointed out math errors that change the numbers slightly: I've added corrections in the relevant places. The conclusions still stand, however (for now.)

ETA 2 early morning jan 18: a short follow-up with more poll numbers + things /ETA 2

Current Music:: mc hawking - what we need more of is science

(263 comments | Reply)


May 11th, 2009 12:29 am - Mother's Day!
Hello to new subscribers! And everybody else! I will getting to all the online stuff I need to be doing soon, I swear. I've been offline all weekend, more than I was planning to be, and I am *so* behind.

By which I mean, [personal profile] stellar_dust and I went to see the new Star Trek movie with Mom yesterday!

From here on in, there may be spoilers in cuts and comments on this entry. !! I haven't been reading anyone elses' reaction posts, but if you posted it in the last two days, chances are I have it open it a tab to read as soon as this goes up.

To start with, I liked the movie. It was a good movie! It was fun! It was laugh-out-loud funny in many places! The characters were great, the characterization was great, the actors all did either a great job mimicking the originals or a better job than the originals. It was deeply geeky and full of glee and was clearly made by somebody who loved Star Trek and thinks Kirk and Spock are doing it.

And now I am going to be one of the people in that Onion video and list all the things that were wrong with it. )

Also, Spock is still totally a mind-slut.

ANYWAY. It was a fun movie. If you have any interest in Star Trek, or SF action flicks, or both, it's probably worth seeing. It has a lot more Leonard Nimoy in it than I was expecting, and plenty of old!Trek outtakes, and a lot of fun non-ST-specific sci-fi summer movie stuff. They considerately made it officially AU, so I don't have to be angry about the way it ruined canon. And it has rekindled my love of the real Star Trek.

... by which I mean the fanfic and the early Bantam and Pocket Books novels. If you know them at all, you may have noticed up in the cut there that I kind of live in the world of the books (and the animated series). C'thia! Rihannsu! Klingon Chess! Captain April's cardigans! The clone of Captain Kirk who the female Romulan Commander won in a duel and dragged off to dress up as her frilly delicate boytoy! That one where they all turn into mermaids! That one where they all get genderswapped and girl!Kirk is totally about two seconds from sleeping with Captain Kang before Spock interrupts! The fact that T'hy'la totally means 'soulbond', no, Jim, I don't care how many footnotes you write denying it.

You know what I'm talkin' about.

Anyway, now I'm working on putting together a packet of e-books that people who like the new movie should read. You know, 'Star Trek the Gay High School AU: the Original Version'. Here's my preliminary list, any suggestions to add? )

Am tempted to make a Dreamwidth community [community profile] starry_sea, specifically for the sort of Star Trek fans who know what "Starry Sea" is a quotation from. To which I could upload e-books and host discussions about things like the Ruling Queen and T'hy'la and Spockanalia and David Gerrold and stuff.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 13


Should I do it?

View Answers

Yes!
7 (53.8%)

no.
0 (0.0%)

I have no idea what you're talking about. But it sounds fascinating.
4 (30.8%)

Spockanalia had ticky boxes.
2 (15.4%)

(Wow, there's like twelve new DW communites with "Star Trek" in their interests since Thursday.)

(31 comments | Reply)


May 5th, 2009 07:09 pm - Here there be dragons. At least if you make it all the way to Temeraire.
Last night I dreamed about Lord Peter Wimsey buying pot. I think it was a direct result of being trapped in a small room with both Harriet *and* Diana Villiers. Luckily, he had Elmo to back him up.

...right, no more reading crossovers before bed.

And before you ask, no, I have not yet found any crossovers with Diana and Harriet. Or Lord Peter and Elmo. Though if you know of any, let me know.

I have been reading a lot of crossovers, though. Because [personal profile] damned_colonial mentioned on [community profile] age_of_sail that they needed someone to take over recc'ing AoS crossovers, and saying that around me is like saying to my roommate's cat, "Hey, Yzma, someone needs to eat that piece of paper on the carpet!"

So, yes, I have been looking at AoS crossovers. Because I am a sucker for crossovers. Way back in 2004, when I was just starting to be polyfannish, I was getting into PotC and XF at the same time, and reading Austen and Aubrey/Maturin, and I was like "Oooh, why isn't there an MSR Regency AU?"

(I did start to write one. But then I started wondering if the only way to explain Mulder's first name was to give his family Quaker connections, so I started looking into whether he could have a Quaker parent and still be a peer, or at least a wealthy landowner in high standing with the Crown, and what I learned is that the people who do British history on [livejournal.com profile] little_details don't even know who George Fox was, much less William Penn. Then I realized that what was going to be a silly crackfic would require figuring out how to write a romance between the disgraced bluestocking crypto-Catholic daughter of a Navy captain and an American Quaker aristocrat who was secretly a spy, and decided this might be a bit much. I did ponder changing the names and trying to sell it as an original romance and seeing if anyone would notice. Especially if I left in the crashed saucer. And the giant squid.)

Anyway, I never did find the Regency AU, but [personal profile] stellar_dust did find me a crossover with the Aubreyad, in which Mulder somehow ended up injured, disoriented, and in Dr. Maturin's cabin on the HMS Surprise. (This isn't as unlikely as it seems, given Mulder's tendency to take stupid risks in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle.) I tried to find it for the crossover recs post. Google was unhelpful. Searching my LJ and e-mail were unhelpful. It pre-dates when I started keeping bookmarks. I vaguely remember it being on a specialty archive, which means it was probably in the un-indexed 'deep web', assuming it's even still up.

So. This is when I sailed off the edge of the map, mate )

ANYWAY.

/me goes back to looking for that story where Mary Bennett helps build a Zeppelin.

(this is why we need an Archive of Everything. Where we own the damn servers. And there is full-text search. Or at least really good tagging & folksonomy.)

(13 comments | Reply)


April 14th, 2009 09:51 am - Leverage
So I just watched Leverage. (It was an accident! It's only half a season, it's totally possible to accidentally watch half a season. And we'll leave off the vast amount of frustration involved in figuring out how to get the TNT streaming video to work. And in finding the list of episodes in original intended order. It was completely and totally an accident1.)

And the most interesting thing about this experience is: when I saw the first shot of the team, I was *completely* wrong about which character was which - I thought Nate was Eliot, Eliot was Alec, Alec was Nate, Sophie was Parker and Parker was Sophie.

This is interesting because I had just read through most of [profile] brown_betty's Leverage recs list, so you'd think I'd know which of the characters was black and which had long hair and which was freaky-pale blond and which was a brunette. But no. I had it not only wrong, but pretty much backward. (For the record, best as I can reconstruct: I thought Hardison looked vaguely like Justin Long, Eliot was the stocky, buttoned-up type, Parker looked like a grown-up River, and Sophie vaguely like Cordelia, only shorter, grown-up and more authentically blonde. Nate was just this shadowy, Tracer Bullet-like figure off in a corner somewhere. Yeah, I was a BIT WRONG. Oh, and Sterling was young and lanky.)

This could be just me. I am also the person who managed to get through two entire Harry Potter books thinking Malfoy had dark hair and remained convinced that Director Skinner was black even after watching several episodes of the X-Files with him in them, including the one where he's wearing nothing but Y-fronts. And I know that in my own writing, fan and otherwise, there tends to be almost no physical description of characters at all, unless I make a special effort to put it in. But I went back and re-read some of the same fic, and no, there really wasn't anything I was missing.

I was thinking about this especially in light of [personal profile] zvi's recent post about skin color in fic, which interestingly managed to be inspired by a Leverage fic and *still* not spoil me for the skin color of the characters. Obviously, what I was noticing isn't just race, but is there a tendency for fic writers of a certain style and feel to simply leave out all the character description, or to leave out certain kinds? Is it something I manage to self-select for when I'm just starting a fandom? (I went back to that recs list and pulled out a couple more stories, and a couple of them would have made it very clear who was who.)

Anyway, Leverage is amazing and fun. More first reaction to Leverage under the cut )

...also, Leverage didn't hit the embarassment squick once, even though it seemed like the sort of show that would. I think it's because they're all so completely in control so much of the time, and I trust the characters and the narrative to take care of it, whatever it is.


1 Why it was Leverage I accidentally watched when I have Merlin, Torchwood, a bunch of Doctor Who and Stargate and Bones and House, and Highlander and Due South and Naruto all queued up to watch? When I was little, turning the TV on was a privilege you only got when everything else was taken care of. So now I'm a grown-up, it seems to work the same way: I can only watch shows two ways, either as a major treat to get when I've accomplished a lot, or by accident. All those other shows have been built up into something major. So I watched Leverage by accident instead.

(22 comments | Reply)


September 11th, 2008 12:04 am
I'm now nearly at the end of dS season one, and Fraser is still cute and Diefenbaker is still amazing and Ray is still Ray (and the Riv's cigarette lighter is totally a very young baby TARDIS) -- but.

The thing is, if there's one thing that's a recurring theme in this show's universe, it's that you've got to treat everybody like people. White, black, hispanic, Chinese, young kids and old ladies, mentally ill street people, dogs, cars, Mafia dons, rich, poor, in-between, criminals, cops - you have to always treat them as *people* first, and then everything will work out right.

...and then there's women.

Women, apparently, are strange alien creatures whose lives revolve entirely around men but whose actions are unpredictable and whose motivations are incomprehensible. Oh, and if you try to treat them like people rather than women you're walking into a trap and it'll lead to nothing but trouble.

Now I could maybe buy this coming from the main characters - Fraser takes his social clues from Vecchio, and Vecchio is a total douche with women, okay, but the *show itself* buys into this. In the same episode where we're expected to learn that crazy raving guy is wiser than you know and has unexpected depths of character, there'll be a woman wandering in who we're just supposed to throw our hands up at, because, hey, *women*.

I think there were maybe three female characters between the ages of seventeen and sixty in the first 19 episodes who I could buy as actual people. And two of them were strongly coded as Mothers rather than Women.

I stopped to write this before the last few eps because I know from fandom that there's a major *thing* coming up that involves a female character, and I have hopes that said story will be set up in such a way that Our Heroes get themselves screwed *because* they're treating her as a Woman and not a person, and all the more egregious stuff in the earlier eps was setting us up to learn that lesson and learn it hard. But I have a feeling my hopes will be dashed upon the rocks of Sexy Danger.

Even so, I want to like this show, I'm still hoping it improves in later seasons. I get the impression that RayK is capable of having actual relationships with women, unlike RayV, and Thatcher supposedly rocks, although I'm not getting my hopes up about her either. And Elaine, admittedly, did improve once she was convinced that Fraser doesn't go for women, though she's still basically just Designated Self-Insert For Girls.

But I've recently seen a fair amount of criticism of the way several more recent fannish shows of this type have dealt with female characters, and they do have their issues (major ones, sometimes!) but they're all *so* much better than dS. Maybe too many of the female characters do just get jerked around to motivate Our Heroes or dilute the gay UST, but they at least get to be people, too. Sometimes they even get to be people *first*, once in a while.

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August 14th, 2008 09:00 pm - why I keep making_light on my blogroll
So I got linked to The Ball of Kerrimuir, fandom edition1, which led by logical steps to Avram Grumer's Denvention sketchnotes2, which of course led me to Raiders of the Lost Basement3, which referenced Ah, Sweet Idiocy!4, which took me along the primrose path to Mike Resnick's overview of published fan histories, which has me once again wanting to actually work on codifying the history of 21st century fanficdom into something narrative-like and zine-ish5. With lots and lots of cross-references to kerfuffles in fandoms of the past, for maximum schadenfreude. 6 What do you think -- too soon?

Anyway, there was this meme going around about your five fannish crushes, and why they would never work? Here's mine! Only, bonus: I don't give you the names of the characters, you have to *guess*! (It's made easier by the fact that there are at least three correct answers to each of these...)

The sad part is, I considered putting things like 'is an evil megalomaniac' and 'anatomically incompatible' on here, then thought, no, if he was willing I could totally work around that. )

1. "Agent Scully she was there / Standin’ on her head / Provin’ tae a’ the boys an’ girls / Her hair is really red." - alas, the contributions by the Making Light commenters aren't really up to their usual standard. This is not the first time I have been tempted to write up a "Scansion for the completely deaf idiot" guide. (The Master could help with the rhythm!) It's not that hard, folks.

2. I want to get good enough at sketching to do sketch-notes. I have a couple of pre-photography "sketch your vacation" how-to guides, I just haven't *read* them yet.

Also, I really, really want to get to a Worldcon. Because, Worldcon. Anybody up for a roadtrip to Quebec next summer?...

3. The first thing that's going on my new wishlist once Librarything gets collections!!! will be The Book of Lies. Well, no, the first-first thing will be The Book of the Damned. *Then* The Book of Lies. Also, why have I never attempted automatic writing? This seems like the sort of thing I would have tried. Maybe ten-years-ago me and I can work on that, too.

4. At some point, I swear, I will make it to a library that has full Merry's Museum archives on microfilm and write up Algebra for [journalfen.net profile] fandom_wank. Algebra *needs* to be on fandom_wank.

5. By the way, I'm totally going to be working on that psi-fi space opera thingy again for NaNo this year. Because I want to write it, dammit, and I've never really stopped thinking about it since two years ago. So, yeah. Space opera, dammit! Novel-ish-thing!

6. So, a part of me wants to say that a modern fandom history needs to be hypertext web-2.0 with hyperlinks and community authorship and stuff. Another part of me, though, really likes reading long memoirs and historical recreations. I think there really is a need for history-qua-history - a wiki is never going to be more than primary sources once removed; I want my story told with analysis and correlation and storycraft and blatant personal bias; good old dead-white-guy methods, yo!

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February 13th, 2008 09:03 pm - you never forget your first
I am reading through the free e-book PDF of Writing Boldly, an account of the early days of Star Trek 'zine fandom. Here, have some interesting facts from it!
  • Things I thought originated in LJ fandom but actually pre-date ST:
    • The term "fannish", which was used in the first ST 'zine so must have dated back to SF fandom.
    • Tickyboxes. I quote:
      A tradition that Spockanalia carried over from sf fanzines, and which carried over to subsequent Star Trek fanzines, was the check-off list on the last page. The list's introduction stated, "You are receiving Spockanalia because...." A number of possibilities followed. On my issue, the editor checked: "You are in Spock Shock," "We admire you," and "You are totally illogical."
    • Actor RPF. Okay, I knew this had been around from early days, because "Visit to a Weird Planet Revisted" was in one of the New Voyages anthologies, but I didn't realize that "Visit to a Weird Planet" was actually in the first ST 'zine ever (Spockanalia issue 3, while the show was still on the air. Lois McMaster's first published fic was also in that 'zine, btw.)
    • Stupid summary/author's notes from Mary Sue writers aren't an ff.net phenomenon; they actually *predate* the term "Mary Sue": from NCC-1701, 1973:"When I began writing my Star Trek series, I added a character to the crew of the Enterprise. This character is Janine Daniels, an eighteen-year-old with long brown hair—and green eyes. This is how she comes to the Enterprise." (Writing Boldly also contains the full text of the story that originated the term Mary-Sue, from Dec. '73)
  • Ni Var was a Vulcan poetic form that showed up in the first Spockanalia issue, and was apparently used frequently in early Trek fandom, in which one is of two minds about something. The first Ni Var poem is reprinted, and man, it's excellent, as fanpoetry goes, and as poetic forms go, perfect for writing fanpoetry. Given I'm a sucker for Vulcan poetry anyway (ask me about Surak's Last Stave sometime) I wanna write me some Ni Var.
  • Grup 1, the first all-adult ST 'zine, had a naked Spock centerfold.
  • "Pon Farr means never having to say you're sorry", the subtitle of one of the earliest fanfic meta essays (summary: Why We Write Spock Sex) needs to become a fannish catchphrase again. /me is totally still working on a Ponn Farr story.
  • The name Michelle Malkin makes me feel icky even when I'm 99% sure the early 'zine editor was not *that* Michelle Malkin. (Although it would be awesome if it was.)
  • Why don't we have SMOFs anymore?
  • Jacqueline Lichtenberg's Kraith AU, based around the concept that Kirk and Spock are soulbonded but not having sex, started around 1970, has had several hundred people write in it, and is still being written in, which means that it's been ongoing for almost 40 years. Eat that, M7 fans!
  • Damn, I had no idea how many current big-name pros got their starts in Trek 'zines.
...and I'm up to 1975, "A Fragment Out of Time", and slash, and I promised myself when I got to slash I'd stop reading and go do something useful. :P Like OTW work. But man, I'm regretting that I didn't pick up that free copy of Bjo Trimble's memoir at BookThing when I had a chance. I wonder if it's still there...

(Mind you, my reason for not picking it up is that I still haven't even read my copy of "Star Trek Lives", which I should do, only that'd mean digging into the ST book boxes, and that'd mean nothing else getting done for a week, minimum, while I re-read all my old favorites with modern-fandom context.)

ETA: Crossover fanfic in which Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, astrophysicist, comes to Atlantis and then sets up Dr. McKay with his BFF Jon Stewart: y/y/mfy?

Current Music:: Elvis Costello - Everyday I Write The Book
Current Mood:: [mood icon] gloomy

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September 28th, 2007 11:56 pm - I list my fandoms.
If anybody's been wondering what exactly my fandoms are... I've been wondering that too. So I did an experiment. Ever since I got this computer, I've been bookmarking all the fic that I thought was really, really good, in a 'torec' folder. I finally exported it to del.icio.us and got it all tagged by fandom.

Here's the list of all the fandoms with at least three bookmarks. )

...yes, that's over 36 fandoms. And there's at least that many more that only have one or two bookmarks. And yes, "crossover" is my third most common fandom tag. :D

However, while that's probably a pretty good representation of the breadth of my reading, the proportions probably aren't that accurate. Particularly SPN, which is in the lead because it was my new fandom when I started doing this, so I zoomed through it bookmarking everything good. Most of the others are a combination of new fics with just old fics I particularly wanted to re-read, because I did my zooming-through phase already. Also there's some on there where I read all I can find, but that's not much, and even fewer good ones, so the numbers look low.

Current Mood::

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May 29th, 2007 07:10 pm - Well, at least we can say they came for us *first*...
Okay, first there was the fanlib thing, which though stupid, I didn't feel the need to comment on because so many people were doing it better.

But what's going on now? What's going on now has me *angry*.

Summary for people who haven't been watching:
At the height of the fanlib thing few days ago a rumour went around that LJ was being pressured to suspend the journals of people with certain shady interests on their profile pages, and you should change your interest list to protect yourself.

Then, LJ staffers and abuse volunteers eagerly made posts stating in the strongest terms that this was an unfounded rumour, this was not happening, there was no need to worry. The panic died down. People stopped deleting their interests.

Today? LJ started permanently deleting journals and communities with those interests listed.

Then it comes out that a certain vigilante group had been making the complaints, and had been making them repeatedly over a span of time, *just like the rumour stated*, but LJ had been quoting their long-standing policy that only if a crime was actually being committed would they take action.

*THEN*, according to their website, the vigilantes started complaining to LJ's advertisers and getting them to take down their ads to prevent them from being associated with those interests.

Suddenly, LJ claims that listing an illegal activity as an interest now counts as soliciting that illegal activity, and because of their own legal liability, they must permanently remove such journals if reported to them. (and saying it's not their fault! please don't blame them!)

And the LJ insiders who were so strenuously debunking the rumour three days ago are now using those same journals to claim they aren't allowed to comment on internal lj happenings.

If you want a version with names and specifics, there are a lot of link-collecting posts out there already - circling the wagons and whatnot - [livejournal.com profile] catrinella is pretty comprehensive here, or I can throw links in the comments - but I'm not so much pissed off by what is actually happening, as by the way LJ has been handling it, and I haven't seen a clear statement of sequence of events yet.

I'm especially pissed about the threat to their ad revenue. What happened to don't worry, ads won't change anything for paid users, guys?

Meanwhile, I've added 'loitering', 'jaywalking' and 'trespassing' to my interests list. If my journal gets suspended, I have this username at journalfen and gj too; I'll be there.

And I'm finally friending [livejournal.com profile] fanarchive.

(Now, off to go play with [livejournal.com profile] xerahanadu once my rage dies down enough to drive. And I find my car keys.)

Current Mood:: [mood icon] enraged

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April 15th, 2007 01:17 am - yep, it's that time of year again
Hello. I have been having a very dragonish day today. And by "dragonish", of course, I mean hoard-gathering, and by hoard-gathering I mean GEEKY.

[livejournal.com profile] enemy_anime called to say that the comic shop had just acquired a bunch of XF stuff, and did I know if [livejournal.com profile] stellar_dust would be interested?
Three hours later, I brought home a longbox *entirely filled* with XF ... stuff.
Including:
A complete numbered run of the Topps comic, from #-2 to #42, including duplicate copies of -1 and -2, and copies of 1/2, and 0, and including all variant covers, or at least all variants known to me.
Also: Two copies of each of the annuals, three copies of the first digest, Special (omnibus) Editions #1-5 with several duplicates, two copies of the Special Ashcan Edition, the complete Ground Zero miniseries, the "Fight the Future" graphic novel/adaptation/illustrated storybook/whatever the heck it is, Season One adaptations of Pilot, Deep Throat (+Variant cover), Squeeze, Ice, Space, Fire, Beyond the Sea, and Shadows; also Special Numbered Edition copies of #2 and #3, and Special Numbered Editions of #1 to the order of: 069561, 069465-069469 consecutive, and 119478-119481 still in shrink-wrap packaging with what appears to be the same run of Special Numbered Editions of #2.
Also: two issues of "The X-Flies" from Twist and Shout Comics, and "The Axed Files" #1 from Parody Press! Comics (which actually has a fairly awesome cover - too bad the interior art kind of sucks); also 8 issues of the Official X-Files Magazine, 4 TV guides with XF covers, half-a-dozen or so more fannish magazines with XF covers and feature articles, a small amount of various trading-card related ephemera, and two sets of Official X-Files Fan Club membership premiums, still in their original mailing envelopes.

It's nice to be occasionally reassured that there are people out there geekier than you are. (IF this were [livejournal.com profile] stellar_dust's lj, that list would surely be accompanied by offers to send stuff to people; but I am completely incompetent at sending people stuff***, so just rest assured that she will get her sticky little hands on it all eventually, and I am sure she'll share the love then.)

...of course, that's just the stuff I acquired *after* 7 PM.

This morning, I bought 3 Star Wars books (unfortunately I guessed wrong and 2 were duplicates; I need to start carrying a list in my wallet) and 1984 Han and Leia action figures (unfortunately the Leia one seems to have escaped on the way home, but I'm pretty sure she was a duplicate anyway). And those were the *least* geeky things I bought.

I also got a copy of "Tales from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean" (which predates the movie by a good 8 years); Pamela Dean's "The Secret Country" (it was on a table with a *bunch* of HP merchandise, and I did give in to the temptation to ask if there was a relationship between the two, but the people manning the table knew nothing about HP much less fandom; it was a daughter's stuff. Then Mom asked why *I'd* bought it, and I was .. at a loss to explain); the 300th Anniversary Colonial Williamsburg Comic Book (which quite unexpectedly turned out to be an anti-materialism screed); an anthropology monograph on potlatches, and an Infamous Women of History Paper Dolls book.

But wait! I also bought some LPs: the Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack, and a Smothers Brothers album that on reflection I think we may already have, and "Comic Strip Favorites" and also "Batman and other Super Men" by the Revengers, which with track names like "Meet Mr. Solo", "The Man From THRUSH", and "Robin 2" I had high hopes for, but turns out to be just kind of lounge-y sounding remixes of theme music. Plus, the sound quality was pretty bad, although that may be because our record player has finally reached the point where you have to give it a couple good whacks before it'll play.

"Comic Strip Favorites" was actually better, I think - it's also mostly theme tunes, but it has theme tunes like "Alley Oop", "Flash Gordon", "Richard Tracy, Esq.", "Popeye the Sailor Man" and a rather interesting "Superman". It's not good exactly, but it's definitely *weird*, and I actually liked it enough that I was going to try to rip it to share with ya'll, only some industrious person who is much groovier than I has already done so, and it's still available to download from his blog (Alongside a couple of ... interesting '60s Batman-themed albums, and Hogan's Heroes and Get Smart LPs, and many other tuneful things...)

I also bought the Complete Sports Night on DVD. I have no actual *desire* to watch this show - sports shows are pretty much my definition of heck, I can't abide commentators ruining a beautiful contest, and a show *about* sports commentators is *really* hard to sell me on - but it was hard to turn down the complete DVDs of one of the seminal slash fandoms when I could get it for well under $5, like-new condition. At the very least I can toss it on a swap table unless a better purpose for it comes up in the next fourteen months q:

Mom, on the other hand, bought stuffed animals of Sam I Am, Go Dog Go, a Sneetch, Woodstock, and a 4' tall Foghorn Leghorn.

***Yes, I know I still owe some of you guys maps! I'll get them sent out! Soon! I swear!

Current Mood:: [mood icon] awake

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February 24th, 2007 12:27 pm - Help! My slash goggles are stuck!
(Meta for Notcapade)
(And many, many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] siegeofangels and [livejournal.com profile] stellar_dust for readover and reassurance that I am not completely mad. I have learned why people rarely get meta betas: because they are smarter than you are, and won't stop thinking long enough to let you post!)

Or, 'My Thoughts on Yaoi.' Don't read if you don't want to know, guys. )

Whew! Long essay. And I made it all the way to the end without ever using the terms 'patriarchy', 'privilege', 'subversion' or 'objectification'! Go me. There's a lot in there and a *lot* of places I could take it from there - I keep coming up with ways to answer old fannish questions in terms of this theory, which if I were an astrophycist at least would be a point in my favor. And more importantly, maybe, I need to think some more about the ethical implications of using, and glorifying, that particular way of seeing.

But I've been unable to stop thinking about things in terms of slasher's gaze ever since I first found it - which is probably part of the reason I've been quiet on the meta front; I was waiting for a way to talk about what I've been thinking effectively, and to figure out whether it works at all outside my own head. I'm not entirely sure I've succeeded, but I'm desperate for any sort of answer back from the void on this. So, please, feedback, discuss, tell me I'm off my rocker, tell me somebody else came up with all this ten years ago! Or just go off and ponder it all in your hearts for awhile, like I did. I'm just tired of not having anyone else who knows what I'm talking about.

And that's really what fandom's for, after all.

Right?

3/10, ETA: Okay, two weeks later, I think I'm finally caught up on comments here - I'll do my best to be better to keep up with new ones coming in. I'm really sorry it took so long. I have issues, which is neither an apology or an excuse, but at least believe me it wasn't personal. (Except with stellar_dust. That was totally personal, that was :P)

Current Music:: spice girls - sisters are doin' for themselves

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July 3rd, 2006 08:35 pm
So while I was discussing setting up [livejournal.com profile] phile_files, [livejournal.com profile] stellar_dust asked if there was a directory of fandom newsletters. I haven't found one yet. Does anybody know of such a thing? If not, I'm tempted to go spend an evening trying to compile one.

Current Mood:: [mood icon] head-achey
Current Music:: rivers of babylon

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