hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Ganked from everybody:

I was thinking you should tell me about stories you think I should write. I mean, if you could sit me down for a day or whatever and say, "I want you to write this story for me," what would that story be?

I'm not actually promising to *write* any of these, mind you, but it's fun anyway. And who knows if I'll be inspired!

I have multiple original stories and a fic on the burner. So, I almost certainly won't write anything suggested, but it'd be fun to see what folks want!
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
I am an extraordinarily negative person, and I have a huge list of things I hate, both in fan and in professional fiction. Interestingly, there's not a lot of overlap in terms of things I hate between the two. Fan and pro fiction have different crutches, and thus when they irritate me they do so for very different reasons. I gripe a lot about fanfic, so today I am going to bitch about something I hate more than almost anything in professional writing: the Bullshit Reversal.

Read more... )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
A friend came over the other night and we watched a few episodes of BABYLON 5. She'd seen later episodes, but had missed the earlier ones. I was a HUGE junkie for B5 back in the day, and so we watched four episodes from the first season over the course of the evening. (For the record: "Midnight on the Firing Line," "Parliament of Dreams," "And the Sky Full of Stars," and "Signs and Portents.")

Back in the day, you were either a B5 person or a DS9 person. I was a B5 person. I *liked* DS9, mind you, but Paramount money and guaranteed viewership was behind it, so it had more resources. B5 was the little show that could. And it was ambitious as hell, despite the fact that in its first season it sometimes appeared to have a budget of roughly thirty-five cents. Long-term arcs are standard fare on TV today, but they were out of the ordinary on SFTV, and B5 took long-term planning to a level that no television series had ever attempted. And they haven't, since. Shows like THE WIRE and THE SOPRANOS take a different, looser approach, and shows like LOST inevitably fall apart because it's really just tap-dancing until the next angle, the next gimmick. In some ways, B5 is less wondrous than it was at its peak, because we've seen so many running and recurring plotlines on SFTV. It's become the norm. But there is something that B5 did that has *not* been picked up nearly as much: its use of foreshadowing and repeated imagery. Characters called shots five years in advance. Scenes called back on scenes from previous seasons in ways that you wouldn't notice unless you'd been watching the whole time. The only show I've seen since that played with that kind of thematic reverberation to anywhere near that degree was THE WIRE. You really don't see it on mainstream SFTV, maybe because producers are more interested in going straight to the well.

I wish some showrunners would do more stuff like that. But it would be hard to do something like B5 again. I saw JMS in person a number of times during the show's run, and I was at a con in about year four or five when somebody cued up a pitch videotape that JMS and Doug Netter had put together when first trying to sell the show. Everybody in that room had seen JMS in person a bunch, too, and when the camera cut to him on the promotional footage there were audible gasps. Because he looked so much younger than everyone was used to, it was *scary.* Running BABYLON 5 had visibly aged JMS about fifteen years, in five.
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: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
I figure I'll do a few political posts from time to time this election year, just so all my lefty buddies in these parts know what the righties are thinking.

At the moment, there's considerable unhappiness with the candidates left. Mitt Romney has an accomplished resume and knows how to sort out problems, but he will literally say *anything* to get elected and conservatives don't trust him. Santorum has a consistent ideology, with which I strongly disagree; even people more socially conservative than I am dislike the fact that he has no compunctions about using gov power to compel his ends, rather than leave folks alone. Ron Paul, who's rumored to be suborning Romney delegates to vote for him on their *second* ballot, has ridiculous foreign policy ideas and has no compunctions against sidling up to lunacy if the lunatics'll give him money. And Gingrich, while The Smartest Guy in the Race, is unfortunately a narcissist.

Lots of folks are grumbling about a brokered convention. But who would step forward? Discontented righties have discussed it, and we think we've got a winner. Here, folks, is my chosen candidate for 2012.

Read more... )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
So the "I surrender!" meme wherein you have someone assign you a basic premise to turn into a TV show is going around again. I have a theory that [personal profile] marina is basically my opposite fan creature -- we are in fandom for opposite reasons! She is all about the FEELINGS whereas I hate feelings! She is here for the porn and I am bored by it! Naturally, I asked her to hit me up.

Naturally, she assigned me GIGOLOS IN SPACE.

JUPITER FOUR! Dubcon ahoy. )
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 ( ) and a Tumblr ( ) and (of course) an IndieGoGo fundraising page that looks a lot like but is not a Kickstarter ( ) 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 do believe you have a wound too. I do believe it is both specific to you and common to everyone. I do believe it is the thing about you that must be hidden and protected, it is the thing that must be tap danced over five shows a day, it is the thing that won’t be interesting to other people if revealed. It is the thing that makes you weak and pathetic. It is the thing that truly, truly, truly makes loving you impossible. It is your secret, even from yourself. But it is the thing that wants to live.

-- Charlie Kaufman, 30 September 2011, speech for The BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters’ Lecture Series.

hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
OK, it's taken me a while to get pics sorted, but here you go. PICTURES OF THE HOUSE.

hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
A few links from my Twitter feed for you guys:

  • Remember the bit in LIVE AND LET DIE where James Bond runs across the backs of crocodiles? That was the 5th take (video).

  • Magicians confront the challenge of keeping tricks secret in the age of the internet.

  • An executive presides over 80% stock drop, gets $10.9m pension and $4.5m consulting gig for former employer. That employer? The New York Times.

  • German Doctor Who fangirl builds her own TARDIS (video). Brilliant part: it's foldable and she can transport it singlehanded.

  • …I really wish Vermin Supreme (video) were in the Republican debates. Or the Democratic debates, next time they're held. Especially given that a change of administration basically turns political arguments into Bizarro World. Washington Monthly is now warning that if Republicans retake the White House and Congress, they will kill the filibuster! Wasn't Kevin Drum telling me just a little while ago how essential killing the filibuster was?

  • On reading Boswell's LIFE OF JOHNSON, I had looked in vain some years ago to try to find out what the hell the Cock Lane Ghost was. Now I know!
hradzka: (lobo sam)
So I may be eyeing my Republican primary absentee ballot in despair (DRAFT MITCH DANIELS), but lemme just give you guys a tip: C-SPAN usually sticks cameras inside the Iowa caucuses, and if it's going to be anything like previous election years, it'll be the goofiest people-watching you've done in ages. I'm curious to see how the Reps shake out versus the Dems; my favorite caucus moment to date was watching a lonely young Dennis Kucinich supporter wander forlornly from one bunch of caucusing Iowans to the next, looking for some way, any way, to get even one delegate for his man. This year I am guessing that the Ron Paul nutjobs are the ones to watch. They are basically the equivalent of the McGovernites, in that they are *kind of obsessed with their guy,* and Paul's organization has had a hell of a lot of practice in running things. Paul's guys have the fervor, and Romney's have the money, so they're the ones to watch.

One thing the Ron Paul newsletter thing has cleared up for me was a minor mystery. The magnificently batshit gun-nut ideological novel UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, by John Ross, spends a lot of time on the erosion of various liberties in America. One way it does this is by having one major character go out of the country in the early sixties and return in the nineties to have the hero obligingly infodump him on how Everything Is Different Now, from gun laws to police seizures of cash to pharmaceutical restrictions. It's an effective bit of culture shock, and Ross does a good job playing up civil liberty concerns. Except part of that scene has the hero ranting about magnetic code strips implanted in US bills to track the flow of cash. It's just way-out-there nutbar stuff, and I always wondered where the hell it came from. Well, the current election cycle cleared my question up, because *just such a nutbar conspiracy theory was mentioned in Ron Paul's political newsletter.* My guess is John Ross was a subscriber.

It's a footnote of a footnote of a footnote, but when I read that solicitation letter it was like a lightbulb went off over my head. "Ohhhhhhhh, so *that's* why."
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
As previously stated, I wrote one story for Yuletide this year. That story was...


"My Master's Secret Mission," for LeBibish, in the I DREAM OF JEANNIE fandom!

If you haven't seen I DREAM OF JEANNIE, there are two things you need to know about it:

1) It is about a D/s relationship between a guy and God, and *God is the sub.*

2) It is about a D/s relationship in which the top is deep in the closet and the bottom COULD NOT BE ANY MORE OUT OF IT.

The premise of the show is that an honest-to-goodness genie (played by Barbara Eden) is rescued from a long imprisonment in her bottle by straight-laced astronaut Tony Nelson (played by Larry Hagman), when he crash-lands on a deserted island. Alarmed at being abruptly saddled with a drop-dead gorgeous blonde who calls him "Master," he sets her free, whereupon Jeannie's first action is to tuck her bottle into his gear so she can follow him home and *top the hell out of him from the bottom.* It is basically the second-kinkiest show of the 1960s after BATMAN '66, and that's only because BATMAN '66 was basically straight-up Victorian bondage porn.

I DREAM OF JEANNIE is full of astounding double-entendres (asked in one episode if she loves Tony, Jeannie cheerfully replies, "Heels over head!"), character humor (Eden is a *brilliant* comic actress, who takes a bizarre character and makes her loveable and real) and slapstick (Hagman is a marvelous straight man and brilliant at pratfalls), but it's also amazingly heartfelt. Eden gets to show most of the emotion in the series, because Hagman's Tony is so guarded and reserved -- but when Hagman lets Tony's guard down, and lets uncertainty and emotion show, it's just wonderful work.

The other major characters from the show are Tony's fellow astronaut Roger Healey, who is annoyed that his buddy's chief use of Jeannie is to save money on food when she could be blinking up gold and making them rich, and Colonel Alfred E. Bellows, the psychiatrist monitoring the astronauts, whose chief job is to walk straight-faced into absurd situations that can only be explained by Tony being eccentric, deranged, or sexually deviant, and then to relentlessly ask Tony to please explain what exactly is going on. At the time of airing, Colonel Bellows probably came off as thinking Tony was mentally unstable; watching it nowadays, at least half the time you get the impression that Colonel Bellows is wondering if Tony's gay.

The show is *amazingly* bizarre, and watching it is a little like falling into a parallel universe. You kind of hate yourself at first, and then you wind up loving it. I did, anyway.

LeBibish asked for a story involving culture shock, maybe something involving Jeannie's family. I kicked that around, trying to figure out how to make that an IDoJ story, and then figured the hook was work: Tony believes in work as an ennobling force, but Jeannie sees work as something painful and horrific to be avoided if at all possible. I think it came out pretty well. I tend to write tight third person, but I decided the best way to write this one would be first person, and the *funniest* way to write first person would be to try to pull off a Jeannie POV. It was an interesting voice challenge to pull off, and I'm really gratified that a lot of comments and recs said that I really got Jeannie's voice. I kind of wish the big showdown had gone on longer, but I also think Jeannie would have elided it, so it didn't turn out too badly.

Also, FWIW, my annual Yuletide statistics post is here, on the LJ Yuletide comm.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
I only had time to write one Yuletide story this year. This makes me really unhappy; I look forward to Yuletide every year because it's so much fun to write for, but this month I closed on my house, and moved stuff, and began working on getting the new place in order, and did stuff for a research project, and and and.

Maybe it's because I couldn't be as much a part of it that Yuletide feels a little different to me this year. There weren't as many stories and fandoms that really sent me, for some reason, and some of even the really good didn't work for me as well as they might have. I know that I'm a bit of an odd duck; in the terminology of John Rogers of LEVERAGE and BLUE BEETLE fame, I tend to like Clever while fandom at large tends to produce more Squee. To me, this somehow seemed a bit like a Squee-heavy year.

I'll do my annual Yuletide stats post later; for now, here are some pre-reveal recs.

Read more... )
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: "Trust me, I know what I'm doing." (sledge hammer!)
I have been running around a little lately, but I have some worthwhile news to share: I am a homeowner.

Details and some mention of financials below cut. )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Holy crap. Just looked and saw that Dragon*Con hotels are almost all sold out for 2012. I'm going to look around; anybody interested in doing a hotel room share? Could get a quad at the Westin, if anybody is doing track paneling stuff and thinking about a room party...
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Dear Yule Goat,

I'm pretty much a genfic guy. Light romance is okay, especially if it's funny, but for the most part I'm the farthest thing possible from a relationshipper. I don't want characters to get smooshed together; I want to watch them interact. I'm not a big fan of pure romance, and I really don't want porn. My big thing is that I like seeing the characters relate as friends. This applies even if they're in a romantic relationship -- grand falling-in-love stuff bores me, particularly if it's emotionally fraught, but the quiet day-to-day of characters doing things puts a smile on my face. I love plot, but I definitely don't mind lightly plotted fic if it's fun to read.

These are the fandoms I'm requesting this year! )
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)

November 2014



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The collected poems from my descent into madness year spent writing daily poems are now available from Lulu as the cheapest 330-page book they would let me make ($16.20). If that's too pricey, you can also get it from Lulu as a free download, or just click on the "a poem every day" tag to read them here. But if you did buy one, that'd be awesome.

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