hradzka: (cameron's head)
[personal profile] hradzka
I asked for a bunch of gen recs because I wanted to see what folks were reading, and liked. I also wanted to see what people thought of as being major categories of gen. I was very curious to see what the categories would wind up being; I'm very much a casefic kind of guy, myself, and fandom has gotten so huge that there are large parts of it I really know almost nothing about. So I wondered if folks would list types of genfic I wouldn't know.

What I didn't expect was to find surprising differences among people about what they see as gen. Betty recommended the NC-17 slashfest "All the Stars Look Down," which I am never going to stop poking gentle fun of her for (and some quite good ones that were gen, but I didn't know the fandoms and the one that I thought best worked was the MENTALIST one), and [personal profile] watersword recommended Life in the Twenty-First Century," which doesn't come off as gen at all to me because it's so much about a character puzzling out his sexual identity. It's interesting to see these differences of opinion. I think it's a reflection of fandom getting slashier and more sexual (and more ideological, as well); a surprising amount of stuff that doesn't focus on details of characters getting laid goes into how characters *feel* about sex.

Some other recs are gen to me, but not the stuff that sets me alight. [personal profile] resolute recommended the Vorkosigan story Domestic Affairs, which is a fine example of a gen story that includes a romantic relationship, but it's not the thing I crave. By contrast, the Chalion story A Clear Glass Window, At a Sea Dawn is pretty borderline; it has a sex scene but the focus is clearly on one person's reaction to it rather than a relationship developing from it. So it's an interesting tightly-focused bit of genslash, or slashy gen. The stuff I tend to go nuts over is stories like Swamp-Adder's rec of The Bloody Revenge of Jefferson Hope, by qikiqtarjuaq, which is basically *exactly* the kind of thing I was looking for. I'll keep going through the recs and reading various things.

Curious note: the I SPY fic that was recced there is quite good. It's only the second in that fandom I've run across, and I liked the other as well. Hmmm.

Going back to the ideological fanfic: it's becoming much more common of late, and it's interesting to see that the flaws are changing. I recall occasional ideological fics in years gone by, and when they fell short it was usually because they were didactic and preachy, like bad STAR TREK episodes. You still get some of those, but what I find more interesting these days are the folks who use their stories to try to unpack the proverbial invisible knapsack, or create a characters-of-color-heavy universe, and err on the side of identifying their characters with the authors' and the presumed audience's own progressive views. "The Third Student," a very well-done classic Holmes story, is a great example of this; it takes up a Holmes adventure from the perspective of a marginalized minority character, an Indian student, but then it goes past this by making the student a keen and sympathetic observer of the tortured English homosexuals around him. I think I would have found the story more convincing if the main character had *not* been so enlightened. (N.K. Jemisin does something similar in her wonderful original story "The Effluent Engine," which is a great caper in which 19th-century Haiti has not only advanced steampunk technology, but widespread gay marriage.)

Another question: from what I've seen, the vast majority of RPF appears to be slash. RPF fans: is there gen? What is it like? What kind of fandoms is it in? Actors, athletes, musicians, what?

The categories I've seen in the discussion so far that I think really are common tropes are casefic, character study, fix-it fic, inverse, curtainfic, AU, and toy-breaking. Do these pop up in RPF gen?

Date: 2012-01-26 06:39 pm (UTC)
morineko: Hikaru Amano from Nadesico (Default)
From: [personal profile] morineko
RPF gen in baseball fandom: within the LJ/DW fandom, I've seen very few gen fics. Most were character studies, and one was a humor fic in the style of other humor fics written by (mostly) male fans on mainstream baseball blogs. (Examples of the latter here and here --actually there are tons more at Viva El Birdos but they really should have created a "Fics" section, you cannot find them easily)

Date: 2012-01-26 08:33 pm (UTC)
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rydra_wong
I think it's a reflection of fandom getting slashier and more sexual (and more ideological, as well); a surprising amount of stuff that doesn't focus on details of characters getting laid goes into how characters *feel* about sex.

Or you could argue that it's about fandom getting less slashy/relationshippy, in that there's a desire for fics that deal with sexuality without being about "Get X and Y together".

Plus you have a lot of people who've argued very cogently that hey, LGBTQ life is not all about teh hawtt sex. So you have comms like [community profile] queerlygen.

And it's an interesting question how to class fics like that -- I mean, if any mention of sex or sexual orientation makes something non-gen, then they're non-gen. But OTOH, there are fics in that category which don't have a pairing, or can't be considered to be "about" that pairing in any significant sense.

Date: 2012-01-26 10:58 pm (UTC)
jamethiel: Figs, with one fig in front cut in half and showing a red centre (Figs)
From: [personal profile] jamethiel
Hmmm. If I can be crass and rec my own work? King's Daughter, Golden Girl is gen. due South. It's prior to a canon relationship, so that's foreshadowed, but it's very much a character piece.

It's interesting. I've got another work, which although it doesn't feature any relationships, as such, I wouldn't call it gen. Largely because of the tensions involved between the characters. (That's Lustre of the Firmament)

Date: 2012-01-27 08:53 pm (UTC)
grey_bard: (Default)
From: [personal profile] grey_bard
There's actually large amounts of RPF gen humor, but generally written by people who don't take RPF very seriously or consider themselves RPF ficcers. Often they're crossovers with fictional universes.

As witness all the Harry Potter fics where Harry works in government for the Ministry of Magic and deals with RL British politicians, the fics where Ari from Entourage has wacky agenting adventures agenting for RL movie stars, the every fictional character ever appears on Top Gear fics (guilty as charged, yeah, I wrote one), the Lady Gaga is crazy and randomly shows up in a fictional or RPF fandom and causes mayhem, the random Mythbusters crossovers and so on.

I, er, know this because it's the only flavor of RPF for living people that floats my boat. (headdesk) And yet I say I don't like RPF when really I mean I don't like serious RPF that deals with people's private lives.

ETA: And if you want any recs, I'll go out and dig some up.
Edited Date: 2012-01-27 08:55 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-28 10:55 am (UTC)
saraht: "...legwork" (Default)
From: [personal profile] saraht
(1) C'mon, you are smart enough not to fall into the sloppy thinking of defining "ideological fic" as "fic espousing an ideology I disagree with, or at least note as different from the mainstream." If you think all those schmaltzy Buffy/Spike fics weren't doing ideological work, you weren't paying attention.

(2) I think I would have found the story more convincing if the main character had *not* been so enlightened.

A big problem with this in fanfic is that you cannot presume that your audience is capable of sorting out opinions expressed by a character/narrator from opinions held by the author without massive, massive signaling. I just saw a "Sherlock-bashing" tag on one of my stories on delicious (gen, by the way) which I can only presume was inspired by the fact that the narrator gets only a limited and negative glimpse of Sherlock's behavior and, as a result, isn't terribly sympathetic to him. But, you know, I don't hate Sherlock and I don't think he deserves the fate he got in that story. It was just (among other things) an exploration of the impression Sherlock might give to someone who knows him primarily as Mycroft's difficult brother (rather than vice versa, as in canon). So narrative POV gets confounded with authorial POV.

This is obviously even more of an issue when dealing with hot-button topics. Last year for Remix I did a Holmes-POV story which had him going to a Chinese opium den. In the structure of the story, I couldn't avoid dealing with the proprietors, and, yes, I think Holmes would see them through the lens of one set of Victorian stereotypes, so I couldn't avoid that, either. All I could do was offer the counterbalance of Holmes at least noting that they didn't seem to like him, and possibly they had cause. But I was braced for someone who has just figured out that there can be STEREOTYPES! ON THE INTERNET!!! to complain about the "othering" and "exoticization" and such. Because obviously I must believe in those stereotypes, or at least be perpetuating them thoughtlessly, otherwise how could they possibly be in the story? (Note: I'm all for that work being done, but I find it exhausting to have to be patient when grown adults tackle social-justice issues with the nuance and thoughtfulness of the average college freshman.) I think this, plus the fact that it's honestly no fun to write characters being REPELLENT rather than merely evil or scary (sociopaths? sure! religious bigots? uggggh), tends to curtail what would in many circumstances be a more realistic depiction of a character's POV.

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