mindstalk: (Default)
I have no specific memory of when I first heard of the words fanfic, or fan fiction. There must have been a moment, after going to college, but no memory. (Filk I can do: S had tapes, and lent them to me, so that's restricted to a few years, and I can kind of remember borrowing and copying them.)

I can place a very likely upper bound. In the spring of 1998 I discovered "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (there's a story there for another time), coming in with Surprise and Innocence as they aired, and after Becoming, plowing through jtr's videotapes. Some time after that I was on the Buffy mailing list, and was introduced to the Buffy-Xena crossover fanfic "When Hellmouths Collide" (a mere 870K words, which I never finished). I'd also found a trove of Post-Becoming fic, which I am tickled pink to see is still online.

I'd also had my own ficcy ideas, perhaps some Post-Becoming but mostly about Amy the Underused Witch; meanwhile, my friend Liz went and started writing her own Season 3 scripts, I think to the exclusion of watching the actual show.

I had been in online fandoms before then: the Babylon-5 newsgroup, where I coined "battlecrab" for the Shadow vessels; Deryni newsgroup or mailing list (where I helped with the FAQ), Pliocene newsgroup or mailing list; my own fan pages for Vernor Vinge and Steven Brust; adopting a fan page for Robin McKinley; a SF newsgroup in general... but not a blip or hint of memory of fanfic from any of those. Vs. the eruption of fanfic, named or otherwise, from Buffy.

Funnily enough, I grew up reading a fair bit of what I now consider to be essentially, if not legally, fanfic: tie-in novels. Lots of Star Trek novels, back when Paramount gave them a very loose leash and lots of ideas or varieties could be explored (also back when they were more written by women). Some Brian Daley Star Wars tie-ins. The "Jack McKinney" (pseudonym for Brian Daley and another writer) Robotech novels. In fact, despite watching some DS9 later, and bits of other series, "Star Trek" for me is largely the old TOS novels that I read as a child and teen, with mental visuals coming from the covers and whatever my imagination could spin from those.

As for fanfic after Buffy, I don't have a clear memory. I suspect it went into remission for some years, like my interest in (or even memory of) filk. I had my own unwritten ideas, particularly about Hodgell's stories, but I'm not sure when I re-engaged with ficcy fandoms again. Bujold list? IU Anime? I dunno.

Now, of course, it's a fairly decent part of the fiction I read, ranging from tiny drabbles to massive epics, from smut to deep explorations and extrapolations.

Chrono-trivia: FF.net is from 1998, AO3 from 2008. I remember Latin-Sarah talking about AO3 while I was at IU, but didn't realize it was that late.
mindstalk: (Homura)
Yesterday I somehow found a recommendation of a particular Doctor Who fanfic author. I checked out their work and lo, it is good. I read all of their pieces with characters I knew and liked almost all of those. They're all short; by far the longest is a 13,000 word Jack Harkness story spread over four chapters. Some are outright drabbles.

Judoon translation problems http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=42857

why a police box http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=42792

alien view of Earth http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=43183

Captain Jack Harkness joins the TARDIS
http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=43209
http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=43389
"I remembered a line from a story, something about the point of
Winterfest being that, if you were very good and very lucky, you could
grow up to be Grandfather Holly. (Or Father Christmas, or San' Nicalos,
depending on your tradition.)"

Leela and the audio recorder http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=46430

Blon Slitheen egg http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=44989

Vashta/Jenny metabolism http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=46708

Jack and Alonso http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=45542

"Maps Written in Code" http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=48320

Martha/11th/other http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=47140

11th/cooking http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=49024

Rory gets a gift http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=44198

healing the crack http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=45670

regenerations http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=47402
http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=42809

Rory the Roman, and stuff http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=42931

a rescue http://www.whofic.com/viewstory.php?sid=53134

***

Totally unrelated is a Ginny Weasley piece I read today. More of a perspective shifter than a story, but still nice. http://www.tor.com/2016/10/31/women-of-harry-potter-ginny-weasley-is-not-impressed/
mindstalk: (glee)
For various reasons I was browsing AO3 last night, and noticed that there was Always Coming Home fanfic. This was surprising. If you don't know ACH, it's mostly fictional anthropology by Le Guin, of some future, post-post-apocalyptic, Pacific Northwest society, living in harmony with nature and itself and all that. There's a bit of story interleaved through it, of the Condor People re-inventing armies and warfare and how everyone else deals with that, but mostly it's pure 'study', like the appendices to the Lord of the Rings without the LotR itself. Somewhat interesting, though I don't think I ever read it through. Anyway, there's a shortage of characters and conflict, so what do you write fic of?

All of the fics turned out to be one series, linked above. A series crossover with... Slayers. The novel/anime Slayers. Lina Inverse and all. If you asked me to name anime/manga that at least fit the mood of ACH, I'd go with Mushi-shi. Kino no Tabi. YKK. Aria, even. Not Slayers. I'm sure Lina would be considered mentally ill, or "backwards-headed", by the locals.

That, in fact, provides much of the conflict: not so much fighting as talking. The gang turn to be chasing a prophecy/oracle that they needed to get something from the City of Mind, so they're adventuring in the ACH lands, which from their own POV is the far Outlands. (In return, they seem to be from within the Cyst.)

This particularly caught my attention, since the City of Mind... well, so, ACH is mostly about this anarcho-primitivist society, right? For hundreds of pages. But buried somewhere in the book is a few pages, or half a page, not much, about the City of Mind... an AI civilization/network busily exploring and cataloging the universe at a good fraction of the speed of light, and incidentally providing communication/library/satellite services to its an-prim progenitor-cousin humans back on Earth. Rather useful services, in fact: I think the army was dealt with partly by tracking its movements on satellite imagery and using that to run away more effectively. I'm a sucker for robots and AI in general, not to mention Culture-like AI civilizations, but also it was weird that this lovingly described primitivist society is dependent on high tech support they're culturally ill-equipped to even understand, let alone maintain on their own.

Well, Le Guin is famous for a couple of ambiguous utopias (The Dispossessed and "Those Who Walk Away From Omelas"), I guess this can be another one. Embrace the contradictions inherent in the system, or whatever.

As for the fics themselves, I found them pretty engaging. I have seen some Slayers, but I think you might be able to enjoy them even if you don't know much about Slayers or ACH. Seven pieces, not too long -- 2000-6000 words each.
mindstalk: (I do escher)
Hanging out on /r/fanfiction recently, I've run across multiple people who hate 1st person narrators. This baffles me, like "I won't read books by women" or "I won't read books with a girl lead". There are so many great 1st POV books out there, including seminal works of the genre or its penumbra as well as 'literature': Frankenstein, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, the parts of Moby Dick that aren't pure infodump, Amber, Night in the Lonesome October, Vlad Taltos, Book of the New Sun, Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee, Sunshine, Heart of Darkness, the Farseer trilogies, Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Bertie Wooster, Hunger Games, Ancillary series, Black Company, 20,000 Leagues... and multiple high quality fanfics.

(Also my own Nanoha fics but I make no claims for the quality of those.)

Discoveries

2016-May-12, Thursday 20:40
mindstalk: (Homura)
Lightly microwaved cherry tomatoes explode in warm sweetness when you eat them with pasta.

El Goonish Shive is a good webcomic.

A Miracle of Science is still a good webcomic, and unlike EGS it's long over.

A Borrowed Voice is a surprisingly good crack-premise Tolkien fanfic.

A bunch of new Madoka AMVs, which I've added to my list. I'll link to just one. Warning: spoilers for series and Rebellion.

Years ago, I proved the sin(A+B) identity from first principles while lying in bed. I think it took 40 minutes. The impressive part is that I'm usually more of a symbolic/numerical thinker than a visual one, I still slide my fingers to manipulate supply and demand curves, so doing finicky geometry in my head, no paper, was pretty impressive. Last night I thought about it again (and again in bed), and solved it much faster; I think I found a simpler solution, though I can't be sure. Alas, the margins of this blog post... or rather, I've never invested effort in learning how to make pictures on line.

The Renaissance art hallway at the MFA was more interesting than I expected, especially in the half that's largely maiolica.
mindstalk: (Witch)
Speaking of Star Trek novels... I had a thought. Fanfic's reputation is of heavy dominance by women, as both writers and readers. F&SF published authors in general tend to be male, especially in SF. James Nicoll has a f/m tag bean-counting this for various publications.

But what about tie-in stuff? It's basically officially approved (not necessarily canonical) fanfic that's been contracted by a publisher. It's also lower status, which could mean "we let women do it because it's low status" or "it's low status because women do it". So, if I count lots of authors, will I find demographics more like fanfic, original fic, or something in between? I see no point to making a prediction, since I'm about to go count.

Methodology: so there's two variables of interest: number of unique authors of either sex, and books by either sex. I'll give both. For the record, it's easier to count books. If co-authorship was split between a man and a woman I counted it as half for each.

Star Trek novels

Source

Bantam original 1970-1981:
Authors: 3 f, 8 m. Doesn't include the New Voyages collections. f/t 0.375
Books: 4 f, m 9, f/t 0.31. (0.40 if we counted the mostly-female story collections:)
New Voyages: stories authors 8 f, 0 m, f/t 1.0
New Voyages 2: stories authors 8 f, 2 m, f/t 0.8

Wanderer + Archway 1982-1984:
Authors: 1 f, 3 m. f/t 0.25
Books: 0.5 f, 5.5 m. f/t 0.0833

Pocket Books 1979-present:
Authors: 34 f, 45 m. Not counting ST:TMP by Roddenberry. f/t 0.43

So majority male. But what I noticed going down the list is that there's been a huge surge of men in recent books. The most recent 26 books are all by men, and the last one by a woman is Unspoken Truth in 2010. That period contributes ten new male names; before it, the ratio is 34 f, 35 m. f/t 0.49

I picked the 20 year period from 1981 to 2001 as a likely breakpoint. There was apparently some editorial change: most of the books before 2001 are numbered, only the first one after it is.

Authors -2001: 33 f, 25 m, f/t 0.57
So there's been only one new female author since 2001, and 20 male ones.
Authors 2002-: 1 f, 20 m, f/t 0.04
Books -2001: 67.5 f, 42.5 m, f/t 0.61
Books 2002-: 11.5 f, 44.5 m, f/t 0.20

Yeaaahhh, that's a pretty big change.

E-books: Mere Anarchy (2006–07)
Authors: f 1, m 6. f/t 0.14
Books: 1 f, 5 m; f/t 0.17

The Next Generation 1987-present:
Authors -2001: 21 f, 31 m, f/t 0.40
Authors 2002-: 3 f, 11 m, f/t 0.21
Books -2001: 26 f, 59 m, f/t 0.31
Books: 2002-: 4 f, 35 m, f/t 0.10

Deep Space Nine (1993-present)
:

Authors -2001: 11 f, 22 m, f/t 0.333
Authors 2002-: 5 f, 8 m, f/t 0.38
Books -2001: 15.5 f, 23.5 m, f/t 0.40
Books: 2002-: 11.5 f, 19.5 m, f/t 0.37

Not much change here, and better than the other lines in the 2002- period.

Voyager 1995-present:

Authors -2001: 11 f, 12 m, f/t 0.49
Authors 2002-: 2 f, 2 m, f/t 0.50
Books -2001: 19.5 f, 12.5 m, f/t 0.61
Books 2002-: 14 f, 2 m, f/t 0.88
Worth noting that 12 of the later books are "post relaunch" and by two authors.  But, not surprising that the series with a female captain gets -- or is allowed -- more female attention.

Enterprise:

Enterprise starts in 2001 so I'll just count it as one.

Authors: 3 f, 6 m, f/t 0.33
Books: 3.5 f, 14.5 m, f/t 0.19

There's also New Frontier, 21 books by Peter David, and the Titan (2005-) series following Riker, which is 14 books entirely by male authors, and Vanguard (2005-), 9 books by male authors, and Seekers (2014-), 4 books by male authors.

I refuse to do the work to find the set of all the unique authors, but it's easy to combine books for the whole franchise:
Books -2001: 133 f, 152 m, f/t 0.47
Books 2002-: 45.5 f, 169.5 m, f/t 0.21

Babylon-5
from here

Authors 4 f, 7 m, f/t 0.36
Books 6 f, 12 m, f/t 0.333

Doctor Who: Virgin New Adventures Source

The featuring the Doctor list:
Books: 5.5 f, 55.5 m, f/t 0.09

Welp.  And it's just one woman, Kate Orman.  "Featuring Bernice Summerfield" isn't much better, one other woman gets in as a co-author, out of 23 books.

mindstalk: (Mami)
Some articles on democracy (pluralist and feminist) among Syrian Kurds: NYTimes, FT, scribd copy of FT.

If we kept DST all year, or got rid of it.

A Madoka fanfic I'm reading. It's like Starship Troopers or Old Man's War crossed with Madoka crossed with transhumanism and Culture ship Minds. Kyubey said we'd go to the stars, and we did. Many fans think magical girls are potentially immortal, and here they are. I've been enjoying it a lot. Could have used some more editing passes, but generally fun to read, often funny, I'm engaged with the show characters and the original one. Downside: it's longer than Lord of the Rings and still ongoing, last update Oct 6.  I've read 34 chapters out of 44 and am thinking I should pace myself, maybe go read Ancillary Mercy while I still sort of remember what happened in Ancillary Sword.

Funny panel from the Fate/zero manga.

Japan is actually doing quite well per capita: low unemployment, very high employment to working-age-population ratio, inflation is back.  Abenomics, and Keynesianism, works.  GDP is shriking... because the population is, especially the working-age population.

James notes that Heinlein's first story is closer to Dickens' last novel than it is to us.  This will be more interesting when his *last* book is closer to Dickens than to us, but still.

Polio is judged to be even closer to eradication.

Portugal's Left Bloc, a party run by women.

Secret gardens and numinous fantasy

SF written in 1666 by Margaret Cavendish

mindstalk: (Homura)
"The Coin", a Haruhi Suzumiya fanfic. It read like one of the novel translations, or better. From Haruhi's POV. I liked it a lot. Seems a lot shorter than the alleged word count.

There are 11 Elaine Belloc fanfics on AO3. I'm not sure any outright suck, but five in particular stood out to me.

http://archiveofourown.org/works/42834
http://archiveofourown.org/works/1088120?view_adult=true
http://archiveofourown.org/works/2811239
http://archiveofourown.org/works/37140
http://archiveofourown.org/works/76370

They're all pretty short, and I'm too lazy to give additional descriptions. They do tend to a common "Elaine chatting with Lucifer" theme.

Possibly linked before: Speak of the Devil, a Lucifer/Madoka-Rebellion crossover fanfic. I've seen the Madoka series, though not Rebellion. I thought it was pretty good as writing, and as a worked crossover fic, including addressing my metaphysical objections to "how could this even happen".



Not a completed fanfic, more a sketch of ideas: Bishop Jayne.

HP:MOR

2012-Mar-22, Thursday 22:39
mindstalk: (YoukoRaku1)
Guess I'm officially following the Methods of Rationality now. Curse you, Yudkowsky!

I totally understand someone not liking it; I'm not going to go around saying how awesome it is. But my interest has been caught.
mindstalk: (rogue)
I finally took a stab at Homestuck. I went "ehhh".
I finally took a stab at Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. I'm most of the way through. It's not perfect, it's got its moments of smugness, Mary Sueness, character clumsiness, or cultural arrogance. It also has a fair number of clever takes in it, and is full of CS and physics and SF reference I get because I've read the same stuff Eli Yudkowsky has. I'm actually surprised on the SF front, like when I saw the witch named Dorotea Senjak. And Dumbledore having read Lord of the Rings because Muggleborn students *would* compare him to Gandalf was brilliant.

I'll also give some credit for fanfic Harry not being perfect. He's super-rationaist and getting beyond implausible for an 11 year old -- Eli should really have fast-forward to age 15, say, except then he'd lose his take on Quirrel -- and super genius and all, but also pretty *stupid* in some realistic ways.


Anyway, so in the HP universe there's this horrible Azkaban, with Dementor guards, who drive people to depression and insanity. Really horrible and inhumane, and it seems to speak very ill of wizarding society.

Dementors are also called indestructible (outside of Mary Sue fanfic action.) And while the Wikia doesn't confirm this, in the fanfic they erode matter or magic containing them, so Harry's clever plan of encasing one in titanium and concrete and burying it deep beneath the earth would not in fact necessarily work for very long.

So I wonder if Azkaban is a devil's bargain. Not just about cruelty to prisoners, but about bribing indestructible monsters to stay away from society. Its formation might even be a bedrock of magical (or any) civilization, allowing people to live their lives in peace rather than getting attacked by Dementors in the middle of the night at random. But on the subject of Azkaban fanfic Harry's been pure moralist, without a touch of utilitarian dilemma.

Per the concrete, I thought about possible alternatives. Like imprisoning the Dementors and tasking wizards with maintaining the wards. Though if you've got 100+ Dementors and want say 3 shifts of guards it might take a fair chunk of wizarding society to keep them contained. But what price morality, eh?

Then I realized Azkaban could *be* a prison for the Dementors as well, one with prisoners thrown in to keep them happy and not trying to get out...

Fanfics

2012-Mar-06, Tuesday 02:32
mindstalk: (12KMap)
Madoka fanfic. Don't even click if you want to avoid spoilers, which you should.
http://archiveofourown.org/works/176055?collection_id=yurichallenge&view_adult=true
Madoka fanfic. Ditto
http://archiveofourown.org/works/339513?collection_id=yurichallenge2012&view_adult=true

Pern fanfic, Mirrim Searching greenrider girls
http://archiveofourown.org/collections/yuletide2011/works/301552
Pern fanfic, Mirrim/Menolly. Clever fire lizard
http://archiveofourown.org/works/32310
notes on Pern drudges, classism
http://rachelmanija.livejournal.com/804898.html
Pern fanfic, time travel/AU
http://archiveofourown.org/works/30453

Chalion fanfic, Umegat
http://archiveofourown.org/works/299157?collection_id=yuletide2011&view_adult=true

12K fanfic Taiki returns
http://archiveofourown.org/works/299594/chapters/479449

Apropos of nothing, you know who still uses MySpace? Lois Bujold. This bemuses me every time.