hradzka: (tony stark)
OK, y'all, here is the situation: 14-year-old girl, longtime friend of the family and of me, is totally into THE AVENGERS and *especially* into Captain America. She likes that he's polite, old-fashioned, and a butt-kicker, and she has apologetically confessed to even liking Cap's hair, which notion she was sure that I would find weird and incomprehensible. She finds Cap inspiring enough to try writing a couple of poems about him. She draws, and has asked me to choose a good picture of Captain America so she can try to draw from it, though she specifically requested that it not be a picture of Cap shirtless.

As you may be able to tell, she's at a point where there are vague stirrings but she is not particularly comfortable with sex. That's all fine. My problem is that she is a 14-year-old girl, and I am a grown-ass man, and Captain America fanfic (like AVENGERS fanfic in general) is full of porn. Even if she were into that, it would be horrifyingly inappropriate for me to send her recs of it (for reference: see again "*14-year-old girl*" and "*grown-ass man*"). The Pit of Voles doesn't stock porn, but the AVENGERS recs I've seen have all been of fic on LJ, DW, or AO3, and I don't have time to weed through the dross at FF.net to find good stories, so that doesn't work. (EDIT: I was considering bowdlerizing a few stories, but no, that really wouldn't work, either. I'm going through AO3 with character and content filters on ATM.)

So I would be very grateful if anyone could please pass on some gen or at least non-pornographic Captain America recs, fanart included.

Also, I'm not as close to her 16-year-old sister (oddly, given that the 16-year-old and I have *remarkably* similar personalities, we mainly communicate through the 14-year-old), but can report that she is into Thor, so if anybody has some extra for Thor that'd be well appreciated too.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
And it's interesting. A lot of stuff doesn't work for me, which is okay and was expected, but one reason I asked folks to provide current recs is because I wanted to see to what degree my sense of what fandom was writing was more or less representative. I was surprised to find that it was a lot more representative than I'd expected, in terms of the kind of things folks are writing. I didn't see any *kind* of fiction that struck me as really new. The surprise comes because, in my nineteen-odd years in fandom, I've seen fanfic change quite a bit. When I started, fanfic was mostly gen; you had slash and porn, but it was much less common and was confined to dedicated forums, which was still an increase for that stuff over earlier years. RPF used to be completely anathema, but then became accepted and wildly common (my sense is that it really took off with bandom, because it would be hard to write anything but, but I don't know LOTR fandom at all and I know RPF was *huge* over there, so that might've been where the change occurred -- timelines, anybody?). Fandoms used to start off writing the more gen stuff, and then start to collect more porn and slash as they grew older, whereas now folks come home from the theater and start a kink meme. Fandom used to just write about the pretty white boys, and now fandom still mostly writes about the pretty white boys but there are chromatic challenges and more calls for representation from fans of color. And so on.

Lately, though, I haven't seen fanfic change as much. The change I keep expecting to see is more female-character-focused fic, but while there's been more in recent years it's still lagged behind what I've been thinking I'd see, given feminist fandom's increasing activism. To me, the biggest change in recent years is the increasing prominence of flashfic, with kink memes. But that doesn't seem to have changed the type of things that folks are writing so much as it's changed length. The recent popularity of texting fic is interesting, but I don't know how much of a change it represents. With tumblr, fannish activity has changed -- the popularity of fannish memes is a new kind of fannish activity all its own -- but this still hasn't changed the kinds of stories folks seem to be writing. Fanfic is wildly popular, and it's in more places than ever, but I don't know if it's still changing. Or if it's on a path to being subsumed by something else.

So is fanfiction in stasis? What do y'all think?
hradzka: Crixus, from SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND, labeled "Hello, my name is Crixus. I'm your woobie." (crixus woobie)
TWILIGHT fanfic author turns to originals, writes BDSM novels that catch fire among Manhattan mommy set.

Michele Yogel devoured all 1,200- plus hot-andheavy pages of the “Fifty Shades” trilogy in less than two weeks.

“I couldn’t put it down,” admits Yogel, 33, who shooed away mom friends at her son’s school pickup because she didn’t want to be distracted from her reading.

“I’d be sitting on my couch at 7 a.m. with my two kids while they’re watching cartoons and drinking milk, and I’d be reading it on the Kindle app on my phone,” she says.

Which wouldn’t be a big deal —except for this Upper East Side mom was engrossed in a triple-X novel about a 27-year-old billionaire, Christian Grey, who seduces college grad Anastasia Steele and trains her to become his submissive sex slave.

“The last book I read was ‘The Help,’ ” says Yogel. “You know ... normal, mainstream stuff.”

“Fifty Shades,” an erotica trilogy dubbed“mommy porn” by some, is rapidly becoming a cult hit among Manhattan women, who are exchanging well-worn paperback copies and excited whispers about the book’s “red room of pain” (a sex playroom) while meeting at Fred’s at Barneys or parent-teacher conference nights at school.

It’s like “Twilight” for the grown-up set. Except, you know, with lots of sex instead of vampires and abstinence.


I cannot decide which of the above sentences is my favorite. (No, actually, I can. But it's not one of those sentences. It's this one, from deeper in the article: "The second and third books explore Grey and Steele’s deepening bond as they find true love outside the constraints of a BDSM contract, with a few plot points like an attempted kidnapping and lots of private-jet travel (don’t fret, the sex barely misses a beat).")

The author, E.L. James, is from the UK, works as a tv executive, and has two teen sons. The books are "Fifty Shades of Grey," "Fifty Shades Darker," and "Fifty Shades Freed;" they're published as e-books and print on demand by what the article describes as "a small Australian publishing house." Has anybody optioned "The Captive Prince" yet?
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
OK, continuing the gen meta: one reason I prefer gen and am grumpied by the ever-increasing amount of slash is that I want more from my story than most slash stories give me. I have a lot of least favorite kind of stories, but one of them is the story in which characters have issues that are caused/summed up by the fact that they are not fucking, and then there is a lot of YEARNING and FEELINGS, and then there is fucking and everyone is happy. Too often, the answer to the question, "why didn't they just get to the fucking earlier?" is "because then we couldn't have the YEARNING and FEELINGS."

So give me some recs of slash that doesn't do that! Plotty slash, in particular.
hradzka: (cameron's head)
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?
hradzka: (plane)
On Twitter, and Tumblr, Gail Simone has called for attention to be paid to the Arkh Project. This turns out to be a Twitter account ( http://www.twitter.com/@thearkhproject ) and a Tumblr ( http://thearkhproject.tumblr.com ) and (of course) an IndieGoGo fundraising page that looks a lot like but is not a Kickstarter ( http://www.indiegogo.com/The-Arkh-Project ) for a proposed fantasy video game. As for why Gail Simone was calling attention to it, the reason is in their FAQ:

This game is not the game to watch if you would like to see a lot of cis straight white characters. This game isn’t the one to play if you want to see one or two queer people or one or two brown people to spice up the variety.

Those games exist already. For the latter, many companies are coming out with the resident token brown person, the resident token queer.

The point of this game is to show that we’re tired of being tokens. We want to be the main characters, the supporting characters, the focus. This story is about the marginalized, the fetishized, and the tokenized.


This got my attention. Because I know a lot of people who REALLY VERY MUCH WOULD WANT something like this, or at least would be very happy to know it was out there. I'd be very curious to see what the reception and sales of such a game would be like, and how such a game would affect the marketplace, but being a straight white guy who doesn't play much in the way of video games, I am not the target audience. Still, I know that hunger is there. So my first thought was of all the people I knew who would be happy about this.

My second thought was of DUDEBRO II.

I've posted about DUDEBRO II before. In December 2009, on the NeoGAF forums, one member confessed to having rented Imagine: Babyz Fashion, and finding it a really enjoyable gaming experience. Gaming forums being what they are, his masculinity and sexuality were immediately impugned, to which he replied, "So, I'm a pedophile because I don't want to play Dudebro, My Shit is Fucked Up So I Got to Shoot/Slice You II: It's Straight-Up Dawg Time?" Immediately, of course, everybody on the forum realized that what they wanted more than anything in life was *to actually play just such a game.*

And so it began: they photoshopped box art, wrote cut scenes, designed characters, started programming, and began to make it as a freeware top-down shooter.

I checked on the Dudebro folks intermittently for a while. They had a lot of talented people working on that project. Really talented. Great character design, appallingly sophomoric macho humor, and horrible, horrible puns, straightforward action concept.

And it's been vaporware since 2009.

So I thought, "Wait a minute. Can the Arkh Project people actually do this?"

And then I started Googling, and things began to get squirrelly.

Read more... )

gen recs!

Jan. 23rd, 2012 10:20 pm
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Ahoy all! I'll be looking at doing some more gen and meta, as folks have suggested. Let's start with some recs. Name me some good genfic! Any fandom, any size, but try to keep it relatively recent fic -- the kind of gen that folks are writing now. What's the best gen you've read lately?

Also, [personal profile] rydra_wong suggested a meta discussion of the types of genfic. That's actually had me scratching my head a bit, because I haven't really thought about types of genfic at all. There's casefic, and then there's, er. I suppose one could split things out by the classic Heinlein/Hubbard story types -- ie, the slash and het would be "Boy Meets Girl [or Boy]," then gen would encompass "The Little Tailor" and "The Man Who Learned Better." But that doesn't really work, either.

(As I've noted in the past, the story I tend to write over and over again is "The Man [or Woman] who Learned Better.")
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
  • I am reading Stephen King's latest book because the opening chapters were fun and intriguing. That ended after the sample ended and I am halfway through and it is godawful boring. Somebody tell me why writers telling stories about a guy travelling in time to a more halcyon day always, always, *always* have that halcyon day be the time when the writers themselves were children? Because I think they're not looking back at the society so much as they are wishing they didn't have to be adults anymore.


  • On the gun-nut front, the Fast and Furious scandal is really appalling me. I have been meaning to write commentary on it for ages. Matthew Hoy sums up my feelings on Holder's performance pretty well.


  • Writing for Yuletide! My assignment is progressing pretty well, if by "pretty well" you mean it was supposed to be plotless fluff and is suddenly developing a plot. Dammit. Yes, it's me, you're surprised. I will try to write a bunch of Yuletide stories this year if I can. I did five my first year, four the second, and three last year. I want to reverse that trend.


  • Aftermath of Jenny/Vastra fic: it's done well in hits, less well in the comments and recs department. I'll try posting to some other communities and see if it gets a little more traction that way, but I think it may just be that the combination of femslash and casefic just doesn't do it for fandom. Or maybe readers didn't like it as much as I did! Which happens, too. I'm kind of tempted to write a sequel. Maybe someday.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
When replying to comments, AO3 now reloads the page and kicks me up to the top, forcing me to scroll down to comments again, etc.

This'll be a pain in the ass for Yuletide. Anybody else have this happen, or just me?

ETA: Oh, crap, it's even worse. It not only kicks you back to the top and forces you to open comments again, it kicks you back to *the first chapter,* even if you're answering to comments in chapter three. Ugh.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Glad folks are liking the story so far. Part two goes up Monday, and the final installment a week after that. The story is complete and the last part is in final beta, so no worries about being left hanging -- I don't post multi-part stories until they're complete, but I do like to take a little time in between posting chapters. Wouldn't have been a week ordinarily, but I've been working on and off this one for a while, and my betas have been fiendishly busy (as have I), so a week gives some breathing room. (Also, while writing this I would *literally* hear the DOCTOR WHO closing credit music when the cliffhangers kicked in, so a week felt right.) Reaction has been modest in amount, but positive, which is pretty much what I expected.

I've been kind of surprised for a long time about the relative lack of activity in Jenny/Vastra fandom. When the characters debuted, there was MASSIVE fannish interest, huge amounts of enthusiasm, the community started right away, there was fan art, a fan site, petitions for their own series... but from what I can tell, most of the serious activity was on the fan art side, and there wasn't a really huge amount of that. The fic, in particular, never really materialized. Searching on Teaspoon and an Open Mind brings up a grand total of two stories. The fic community on LJ has a good membership, but doesn't have nearly the activity the characters deserve and that the enthusiasm over them would predict. Maybe it's that they're women. Maybe it's that they're (canonical) femslash, so fandom can't write fifty million first-time fics. Maybe it's that the characters really scream out for casefic, which fandom doesn't do these days as much as flashfic and porn. I don't know, and I'd welcome theories, as well as suggestions for how to get people to write more. Because *I want to read this fic too,* dammit.

Anyway, I wrote it because I loved the characters, I love casefic, and I want to show what can be done if you give Jenny and Vastra casefic to play in. That's another reason for posting weekly -- I want people to get used to new Jenny/Vastra, and maybe inspired to write more casefic.

Hey, I can dream.
hradzka: (pointy teeth)
In 1959, the most popular television genre in America was the Western.

TIME magazine's cover story for March 30 of that year gives you an idea of the scope of the domination. Of the ten shows leading the ratings in the previous week, eight were Westerns. Of all the shows on TV (around 114 by my count) that weren't news that season, says TIME, 35 were Westerns. That’s more than thirty percent.Read more... )
hradzka: (cameron undone)
Copyright discussions are hot and heavy in fandom again. As always, there is contention, which means plenty of folks wind up being surprised and annoyed when the simple act of explaining their point of view does not make the other person immediately agree. This makes these arguments like pretty much everything else in life where people have diametrically opposed self-interests. Complicating matters, of course, is that fandom has its own mores regarding transformative and derivative works based on stuff that belongs to other people. And fannish mores, to complicate matters, shift: pornography was once shunned in fanfic; now it’s the driving engine. And so on.

What’s most interesting about this to me is that as new mores are developed and adopted, different communities adopt different standards. Today, for example, I came across a fascinating flamewar among makers of replica props that revolved around identical property issues.

Read more... )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Anybody know if there are size issues on AO3 icons? File size, I mean. I created a pseud specifically for in-character Yuletide replies, but the icon refuses to display despite multiple upload attempts and I have no idea what the problem is.

Unrelated bleg: any of my Israeli peeps know where I can pick up the Leonard Cohen tribute album "Shir Zar?" It was a free download, but the links no longer work.
hradzka: (unfair to batgirl)
For a while now, I've been doing some thinking about the Bechdel Test, mostly as a background process. For those who haven't heard of it, the Bechdel Test was created by Liz Wallace and immortalized (with credit and by permission) by Wallace's friend, cartoonist Alison Bechdel. Wallace's rule is to not watch a movie unless it contains 1) two women 2) who have a conversation 3) that's not about a man. It's a simple test, and movies and TV fail it often.

If the test itself has a failure, it's that whether something passes or fails it is as far as the discussion usually goes. On those occasions that a conversation does turn to why a work fails the Bechdel Test, there are basically two ways that conversation can go. It can turn into an activist discussion of sexism and society, or it can turn into a discussion of the mechanics of writing. There have been a lot of the former, but there haven't been all that many of the latter. And while I don't want to interrupt any of the former, I think the latter conversation is worth having, too.

Read more... )
hradzka: (cameron screw you)
The new trend on humor sites: making fun of fans who paid to get their picture taken with celebrities: with Luke Perry, here, and with Summer Glau, here. Both collections were taken at Dragon*Con, and apparently came from Froggy's Photos, which does event photography at conventions. I don't know if a Froggy's employee put 'em on the humor sites, or if they got lifted from Froggy's flickr account, which now appears to have been deleted.

...y'know, I have never been the kind of dude who wanted to fork over cash to get my picture taken with celebrities, especially actors (who mostly bore me), but if I were I think I'd be pretty pissed off that the company that got paid to take my picture chucked 'em up online so folks could make fun of me. And, y'know, I'd be very much less inclined to give money to the company that did it. Which probably wouldn't make the actors who get money to pose with fans very happy with the company, either.

Did Froggy's Photos just shoot themselves in the foot, or get shot in the foot? Could even be a dirty trick by a competitor...
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Question: is it possible to reset a password on fanlore?

I ask because I don't remember getting an account there, but there's an account belonging to somebody there who goes by hradzka and I've only ever run across one other person on the entire internet who uses that username. I use a password manager, and I don't have a fanlore password stored in it. It doesn't link my DW to that account by OpenID, and if I try to use my LJ to login via OpenID, I get an error. If there is a way to reset one's password, I can't find it in the FAQ.

Suggestions?

ETA: Had to email the committee, and they had to do some kludging, but it's fixed.
hradzka: "Trust me, I know what I'm doing." (sledge hammer!)
Puttering around today, I found some notes I'd made for a con panel ages ago on the history of fanfic, and thought folks might find it interesting.

Fanfic, of course, originally meant something completely different: as FANCYCLOPEDIA I (1944) notes, "fan fiction" in those days wasn't characterized by its authorship or place of publication, but by its content. "Fan fiction" wasn't just written or published by fans, it was *about* fans or fandom -- in 2010 terms, a cross between RPF and crack. In terms of what the first fanfic was, you can make a lot of arguments. I've seen folks argue for THE AENEID (as ODYSSEY fanfic, which I think is a stretch) and THE DIVINE COMEDY (as a Virgil fanboy self-insertion, also a stretch), and but I don't think you really start seeing good protofanfic until about the fifteenth century. A strong case can be made (and has been) that the first identifiable work of fanfic is "The Seige of Thebes," by John Lydgate. It was written around 1420-1422, and it's CANTERBURY TALES fanfic.

Read more... )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Today at the grocery store I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt that read, "I <3 J2."

I immediately thought, "Oh Jesus Christ RPF is fucking everywhere."

(The odd thing is that I really doubt it was *that* J2, but I have no idea what J2 it could possibly be.)
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Sure, it's gone by the wayside in recent years, but we should take a moment to remember that XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS fandom used to observe July 22 as International Über Day! This date commemorates the first public posting in XENA fandom of an Über fic. That fic was "The Hitch Hiker," by Bongo Bear. As Xena fandom archive WHOOSH! notes,

The first recorded attempt at a true ÜberXena in the Xenaverse was a non-web posted never completed serial short story called "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" by Miss and Aisa, which was released on a private mailing list in early June 1997. The first completed ÜberXena was a western by Della Street, called "Toward the Sunset", which was posted on a private list on June 14, 1997. The first complete ÜberXena posted publicly (which was written almost simultaneous to Street's western), was "The Hitch Hiker", by Bongo Bear. It was posted on July 22, 1997. This date was the official date the world was first exposed to ÜberXena, and we call it International Über Day to honor that event. We also salute Bongo Bear for publicly posting "The Hitch Hiker" and initiating one of the most exciting and creative movements within all of fan fiction culture.


So there you go! It's International Über Day! Commemorate it in the manner of your choosing. Maybe a story about your favorite characters being soulmated or something. Congrats and best wishes to you, Bongo Bear, wherever you are.
hradzka: "Trust me, I know what I'm doing." (sledge hammer!)
A friend recently started a blog to record her thoughts on J-pop and dramas (note to self: finish watching K-drama CAPITAL SCANDAL, because it was pretty awesome and had neat historical guns in it!), and by means of this hipped me to something you guys might find of interest. Quoth my friend:

I watched this a long time ago with my friend who is, really, a fujoshi. ... People who call themselves fujoshi delight in it all. I do like this description: Fujoshi enjoy imagining what it would be like if male characters from manga and anime, and occasionally real-life male performers as well, loved each other.

I happen to really like BL (boy's love) manga, and I've seen Junjo Romantica about 10 times, but I probably don't fall in the category of fujoshi. Perhaps my like is too passive, I just enjoy reading a different flavor of love stories.

Still, we both really enjoyed the sadly short Fujoshi Deka, starring Shinohara Mai as a policewoman and closet fujoshi, with Takahashi Hitomi as her mentor. Shinohara, as the italicized line above shows, imagined BL relationships everywhere, and based all of her crime-solving theories on them. Sadly, most of the time, the truth was much more mundane, but she more often than not was right about the villain.


Yes, that's right: there is a Japanese TV show about a cop who solves crimes WITH THE POWER OF HER SLASH GOGGLES.

(Honesty compels me to report that it is only five episodes long, but I think you folks might be interested in checking it out anyway.)

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