salinea: Two woman dancing together "dance with me" (dance with me)
First! Did I ever got around to plugging [community profile] comics_reviews_etc and [ profile] comicsmod? Comics_reviews_etc, modded by the lovely [personal profile] bethbethbeth is a community for discussions and reviews of comics issues for people craving meta and discussions (where has all the meta gone?); and comicsmod is a comics anon meme. They both look pretty neat!!

Second, short meta/rant I wrote on tumblr about the events regarding Daken at the end of Remender's Uncanny X-Force
spoilers for UXF's final )

And third, I wrote a review for the first six issues of All New X-Men over on [community profile] comics_reviews_etc
salinea: the Huntress brooding (sad)
Another meta on tumblr I'm reblogging, about the ending of Journey into Mystery from a meta perspective:

spoilers, duh. )
salinea: Daken <3 Bullseyes. In a bloody and gorey way, you know. (hatesex)
and it was the closest thing to meta I wrote in years so I thought I might as well repost it here:

cleromancy asked: this isn't an assumption so much as something you've explicitly stated, but you're really into fucked up/self destructive relationship dynamics, romantically and otherwise; i'm actually pretty interested in your thoughts on why that appeals to you in fiction, also your thoughts on jealousy/possessiveness of the self-destructive type? :D

Why it appeals to me… oh boy, you’re in for a novel.

I think there are three big axis that make me mainly intrigued by fucked up relationships: power, self-destruction & deconstruction/liminality.

Read more... )
salinea: (grrr)
- I kind of don't know where to post my fannish thoughts anymore. Tumblr? Communities? My journal? Crossposting the same thing to all of them as if they were all that good or important? >_> Perhaps I should meta about this for metamarchofmonth.

- Fucking asshole on saying they were glad spoilers for A song of ice and fire: Tyrion killed that "lying bitch".FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU.

- I have a new haircut. I should get my hair cut more often. At least every six months instead of year. Bet I'd save money on hair care products.

- Did I ever mention my new cooking plates? I have them. Yay food that i cook! I was so sick of microwave fare.
salinea: (chagall)
Lately it feels like more and more people are leaving LJ. It's been getting to me a lot. I really hate this. I hate people saying they're leaving and deleting their journals, I hate realising that people have just vanished out and not updated their journals for months or years, too. It feels like most of the life out of LJ (or DW for that matter) has been extinguished, I don't think I see enthusiasm much anymore elsewhere than in kink memes and other forms of anonymous memes (which frankly, I was never very fond of). I think a big part of it is, fandom has spread itself in other places, across different dimensions. Tumblr is great for fanart, gifs and more stream of consciousness squeeing (despite how much I hate the tumblr interface as well as the way people socialize on it and that is A WHOLE FUCKING LOT, and the more I use tumblr - I made an account a couple of months ago - the more I hate it :p); more in depth text based meta, reviews etc. are on various blogs, I guess. Fics are more simple to post on archives. Recs are handled via delicious (yes, despite the last debacle). And - what I miss most - the networking and befriending people based upon fandom, I guess maybe it's happening elsewhere too, on facebook or twitter or somewhere else I don't know about. But, and it's funny, that was one thing I used to criticise LJ for - the way it was mixing a whole lot of different things in the same place, the way it made us have to jungle all those things at the same time, the intersection of those spheres - which was sometimes unwieldy - but in retrospect feels like it was very productive in social interaction. Conversations bouncing from one journal to another, filled with ideas and joy and depth and silliness and resonance - when's the last I've seen that?

These days it doesn't feel like we get much into great conversations anymore. I dunno, maybe it happens elsewhere that what I pay attention to. I've been through a lot of fandoms - maybe too many - and at the same time I've always refused to follow the bandwagon of the next Big Fandom everyone else was following unless I was, you know, genuinely interesting in that big fandom (and most often I wasn't so much, instead I was more into skipping to another media/genre altogether!), which doesn't help keeping ties. And the biggest problem, I've really sucked about keeping my journal lively either, and I've deeply sucked at keeping lively conversation with others on their journals as well. Oh, I've done a lot of perfunctionary updating, so to speak, quick, shallow comments; and silly memes and I've tried to keep talking about fannish stuff - but... I haven't put in it a lot of myself into it. Big part of that was just depression, and not knowing how to deal with situation in life. I don't want to talk about this much. I don't like talking about it. It feels too shameful, and too vulnerable, and too embarrassing all at the same time. And as far as commenting, I have felt way too out of my depth as well as too numb often enough to have anything to say to people. And I always try to escape spirals of self loathing the same way, with avoidance and escapism; which hasn't ended very profitable for social interaction.

But I still treasure all those things. The friendships I have here - brittle and narrow though some of them may be - and the potential for fannish interactions. I depend on it so much. Maybe that is where I err wrong. Of course, things fall apart. Of course, people drift apart - that's not even a specifically fannish thing. Of course, people jump into the newest thing, and sometimes the newest thing isn't the newest fandom, or the newest kind of fanwork exchange, or the newest meme - sometimes it's the newest platform. What do you gonna do. Heh, it's not like I'm unlikely to jump onto the newest thing when it is to my taste, either.

Not sure where I am going with that. I guess I'd just like to have a reason to be hopeful about fannish networking, here or elsewhere, in a way that isn't just about clinging after past glories. Tell me there is some?
salinea: (smug)
Sooo... if I had one resolution last year, it was to make review of series I was watching as I go; and I did that pretty systematically for anime series; and kind of not at all for Live-action TV shows; and books as always but limited by the fact I haven't read much this whole year... and since writing review, with my Muse down to lalaland, wherever Muses go when they aren't demanding fics from ficcers, has been my main fandom activity lately, I was kind of wondering how much it was appreciated and how to improve them (and hopefully the number of comments I get on them ;))

Poll time! )
salinea: (Default)
[Poll #1266990]

Also, what exactly would you put behind "unhealthy"? Is there some kinds of unhealthy which you are willing to ship and others which you draw the lines at (which ones, and why)? Don't hesitate to give some examples!

ETA: this is mostly due to the fact that some of the comments on this post by [ profile] meganbmoore made me wonder if I was the only one.
salinea: (Default)
I've been thinking about intent and interpretation, in communication and art especially, seeing a lot of things popping on my friendlist and journal related to the same thing.

Writer's intent is why people like [ profile] thecorbie think there might be a case against fanfics.

Intent is something that might be or might not be gotten, with a responsability that may or may not be rested on the writer, as per [ profile] mithrigil's question here.

Intent is what shippers who ship a non canonical pairing are entirely disregarding when they ship still, as per [ profile] a_white_rain criticizes here. (NB: spoilers for Avatar the last airbender's final at this link)

Intent of deconstructing the "Nice Guy" was probably part of what Dr Horrible was about, as [ profile] curtana points out here, but which I've seen a lot of people misinterpret as a genuine nice guy whose manpain is oh-so-tragic. (NB: spoilers for Dr Horriblle at this link)

Intent is what doesn't really matter when people say they hadn't mean to be racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, ableist, elitist... if this is what is read by the people who have the best reason to complain of it. Intent, there, is only a way to claim their own priviledge, very often.

In terms of information, when we communicate, there is
1/ what we mean to say, what we intent
2/ what is actually said, in words, in text, in ink on the page, lines on the paper
3/ what is heard and understood by other people, how they interprete it, text and subtext - which is of course as multiple as there is different people.

2/ the text does not have intrasec meaning. There is a platonician ideas tied to it, of pure meaning, of true message. Information is only information because it's interpretated by someone with a brain and there is always always variations, minsinterpretation of intent within it. Because context is something that always infer on the interpretation, and nobody's got exactly the same context at the same time.

1/ intent I think doesn't matter all that much. In our culture, perhaps because of its moral value under Christianism, intent tends to be extremely valued in terms of responsability. However intent is something way to fickle to judge by : first because we don't know other people's intent, we just have to trust their word for it (in which there is yet another pitfall of misinterpretation), second because people may not know their own intent entirely, third because regardless of intent harms can be done as a result in any case. Also, for all of that, it is rude and disrespectful to presume of someone else's intent. It also shifts any discussion of blame from discussion of action/text to discussing a person themselves, which is offensive and often results in wank much more quickly as a result.

So we're left with interpretation.

Are all interpretation equal? Are some more legitimate than others? What makes one interpretation more legitimate than any other? And who's to blame for possible unfortunate (racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, classist, elititist, etc.) interpretations?

For all that all interpretations are in parts subjective, I don't think they are all equal. If you've spent any time in fandom, you'll have noticed that some extremely extravagant interpretations are sometimes brandied (with or without seriousness). For all its subjectivity, any interpretation is still based on the text, so there are criteria to judged how acurate to the text it is. (No, I'm not going to go at length about the tools to judge that accuracy.)

However the nature of an interpretation also matters. Not all kinds of interpretation pretend to accuracy. Some are merely humouristic (crackful parodies and the like) for example.

Narrative interpretations as in fanfics are also something very different. They don't usually pretend to accuracy (since they're obviously not the original author). Narrative interpretation's legitimacy is based on its own artistic worth. Is it a compelling interpretation. Does it lend itself to a complex, rich, aesthetically-worthy story? This is what gives a fanfic, as interpretation, its legitimacy - the sheer richness of a culture of narrative dialogue and artistic creation.

Likewise with shipping. Historically the biggest backlash against specific non canonical ships (Harmony in Harry Potter and Zutara in Avatar the last airbender) have been because some of their shippers were pretending to some kind of accuracy. I don't think there's anything wrong in itself to make the pro Zuko/Katara interpretation [ profile] a_white_rain mentions in the link above, however if such an interpretation is done while saying it is more accurate than any other interpretation there is a problem.

Of course some fanfics do work as criticical interpretations - only done in narrative form. They function as a meta commentary pointing out gaps in the text, or exploiting specific themes. (Some works as a commentary of other fanfics too! Ongoing dialogue that it is). When that is done, accuracy becomes again a criteria.

So what about the moral responsability? Who's to blame for dodgy interpretations? Well if an interpretation pretends to accuracy, and can judged as mostly accurate in consideration of the text, then the responsability sides more on the author's side. If an intepretation pretends to accuracy, but is mostly not accurate with the text, then the responsability is more on the side of the reader. If the interpretation doesn't pretend to accuracy, the author's responsability wasn't ever called in question in the first place.

This is not taking context in consideration, and context matters, does it ever.

First, I've been talking about what an interpretation pretends or does not pretend, but that pretension isn't always made explicit. That is to say, for example, most fanfic writers know they are not pretending to accuracy and know that most of their readers used to fanfics know this as well so they don't usually bother spelling it out. Which, I think, is in parts why outsiders seem to be much more worried about misinterpretation due to fanfics and mistaking the writer's intent for the fanfic. However a lot of fanfics do have a tradition of disclaimer, usually done in terms of "therse characters and settings are not mine". Close enough for me but I haven't been an outsider for a long time.

Second, of course, there's how context infers any unfortunate interpretation. Having a story where a lesbian dies and her girlfriend goes crazy isn't in itself homophobic. It is because there's a history of the very same trope being used overwhelmingly any time lesbian characters are featured, and because of the history of institutionalized homophobia that has been going for a long time in Western culture. So in terms of responsability the quest is, is the context from which the text originated is similar enough to the one from which this interpretation is done? At least it seems to me that this way that can work.

Done now. I hope that wasn't too anvilicious.
salinea: (Default)
I knew I shouldn't have gotten involved in that new fanfic thread on Ran's Board. I knew it. Fuck. Getting pissed off now.
salinea: (Default)
Usually when your interest in a fandom turns sour, why is that?

[Poll #1213954]

Drop a comment if you have anything to add!

Meta call

5 Jun 2008 02:34 am
salinea: (Default)
Meme ganked from [ profile] flo_nelja

I feel like writing meta, but I'm entirely too tired lazy to pick a single subject and coherently analyse it.

SO. Throw a fannish topic at me, and I will ramble about it! Hopefully in an entertaining way.
salinea: (Default)
Still from Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, interview of R. Scott Bakker, about the Prince of Nothing epic fantasy series which I reviewed here.

- The genre exhibits a strong (albeit recent) tradition for subverting gender stereotypes by presenting worlds in which strong, independent female characters are plausible or even expected. Yet your world is as patriarchal as the reality that inspired it. I expect that this theme makes up for a good part of the discussions you have about your creation, possibly detracting from what you actually want to talk about. Is it difficult to resist the temptation to put something like a bad-ass tomboy warrior-princess with snappy dialogue and a heart of gold into the books?

First, let me say that I think I should be called out on the carpet on this issue, simply because I cover some pretty troubling ground. I certainly don’t believe in "quota characterization," either to be politically correct or to broaden the "gender appeal" of my books. Leave this for the after-school specials. I also don’t think that depiction automatically equals endorsement. The question that people should be asking, it seems to me, is one of whether I reinforce negative gender stereotypes or problematize them. If the books provide enough grist to argue this question, then the answer, it seems to me, automatically becomes the latter.

But the fact remains that a lot of people get hung up on my female characters: On the one hand, I self-consciously chose the harlot, the waif, and the harridan for my female characters, yet some seem to think a kind of unconscious moral defect chose them for me. If so, it would be a truly colossal coincidence that I would happen to pick the three misogynic types - I mean, isn’t it obvious that I’m up to something critical? On the other hand, I wanted my fantasy world to be realistic, to temper our yearning for premodern times with a good look at how ugly things got, particularly in times of war. When bad things happen to my female characters, it’s the circumstances that are being criticized, not the characters themselves!

But people get hunches while they read, and once they do, confirmation bias goes to work (and this is simply one among many reasons why we always buy our own bullshit), and the text, I think, possesses more than enough ambiguities for people spin any number of self-validating interpretations. It’s when they insist their interpretation is the only interpretation, or even worse, that it captures what’s really going on in my bean, that I become baffled.

Now, I'd argue with the form of the question (it's arguable whether it's a genre convention "to subvert gender stereotypes by presenting worlds in which strong, independent female characters are plausible"...), but the subject of females characters in that series is certainly interesting.

For those who haven't read it, the world presented is indeed inescapably gritty and brutally violent, especially against women and there's a strong sense of realism to it.

Of the three characters that Bakker mentions, though, I'd say that only Esmenet, the "harlot", is a real success, she's the only one that can be seen as sympathetic and strong, and her story is compelling. The two others serve more as plot device than anything IMHO. The "harridan" doesn't even have a PoV and is intensely creepy (not that creepiness is exceptionnal in those books ^^), and the "waif", Serwë, is victimised, shallow and stupid enough that despite the sympathy I felt for what she lived through, I would never say I found her interesting as a character.
I do agree about Bakker's point about "problematizing", which is worthy enough, although in this case one should also take into consideration the context of the genre, because if every story is one of gritty realism, then the problematization may be more of a reinforcement than he would think.
Then there's the issue which he fails to mention, which is the treatment of sex and sexuality, and of the bad guys of the setting utilisation of sex in extremely creepy way, and how it relates to his treatment of gender.

salinea: (Default)
The OTW :
I support it. I think it's kickass and the right way to handle the issue. It's proactive in giving us some tools to fight against the way mainstream society does and will opress/marginalize/hinder fandom and way better than the ostrich strategy. Some of the criticisms against it are fair, of course, but I think the potential good totally outweight the bad sides.

On the other hand, all the meta about the OTW is BORING AS HELL. Seriously, can we get back to some interesting meta, now*? I miss when reading [ profile] metafandom was fun :(

* okay, you can have some OTW meta too, just try to have some other kinds of (fun!) meta as well
salinea: (Default)
Pat from Pat's Fantasy Hotlist (yes, the same who called Priviledge of the Sword chick lit ^^), re-posted a bit of an interview he did of Hal Duncan (who wrote Vellum and Ink - I reviewed Vellum over there - ETA: Hal Duncan also has a blog which you can check out) which really cracked me up :

Previous depictions of homosexual characters in fantasy/scifi books have always been somewhat clumsy and didn't ring true. And yet, instead of trying to get readers to "accept" it, you just went ahead and put Jack and Puck's relationship as a central storyline throughout both volumes. Was that intentional from the beginning? INK contains graphic sex scenes between the two, and I was wondering what sort of responses those sequences generated among readers and critics?

One of my pet hates is the fetishisation you get in certain types of fantasy, particularly vampire fiction, I have to say, where gay equals frilly shirts, sensitive pouts and lingering looks with doe-eyes. Man, at least slash is subversive in applying that aesthetic to straight characters, and at least slash has the guts to get down and dirty. That stuff is just softcore boy-on-boy goth porn. Even when it's not so deeply fetishised, there still seems to be a tendency to stereotype gays as refined rather than rough, fey rather than fiery, cats rather than dogs.

The second problem with gay characters in genre fiction is that they're generally marginalised as subsidiary characters, which smacks of PC tokenism. Yeah, so your heroine has a Gay Best Friend; big deal. So your team of heroes has a tagalong queer; I'm not impressed.

The last problem is that even when you get a fully-fledged protagonist they're generally just not genre enough. By which I mean, the writer feels the need to show that it's "normal" to be gay, so the characters are rendered in a Realist mode rather than as Romantic heroes. They're intelligent, sensitive portraits of gays as "just like everyone else". Bollocks to that. The fetishised gays are annoying. The marginalised gays are frustrating. But the normalised gays are just plain dull. I want a gay character who blows shit up. I want a gay James Bond, a gay Jerry Cornelius, a gay Superman, a gay Indiana Jones, a gay Clint Eastwood in Where Eagles Dare. Achilles wasn't normal. He was an uberfag, dragging Hector's body ten times round the gates of Troy for killing his boyfriend. Now that's what I call a hissy fit!

I see what he means about the first criticism (which one also finds in slash when people speak about "feminization" (sic) of characters), and I think the second exists in a few novels but not that many. I'm not sure I remember any instances of the third in genre fiction, but that may be because of the inherent blandness of such a character type. I actually think that there's a lot of interesting stories dealing with queer themes generally speaking in SFF but that's just IMHO.

It really amuses me when he says slash at least had the guts to get down and dirty ^_^ (I compared his work to specific kind of slash when I did my own review).

salinea: (Default)
There's a whole discussion that happened last week on Ran's Board which my friends from there most probably know all about, but about which I'd be curious to have some other opinions. (BTW, I use the nickname "Stranger" in those forums).

It all started with a post about Kushner's novel Priviledge of the Sword started by Pat, who beyond his activity on that forum also manages a Fantasy blog, which I think has a pretty good reputation.

Anyway, one of the thing that caught my eye was that Pat, among other things, called Priviledge of the Sword "chick lit through and through". Other people gave good or bad opinions about that novel or Kushner's novels generally speaking. Ran, notably, denied that it was Chick Lit, whereas Calibandar called it "the girliest books I've laid my hands on in recent years".

Discussions about the "male-ness" or the "girly-ness" of specific books is something I have seen often, and which I may have sometimes made use of myself, even though I don't like it, to refer to some hard-to-define aesthetics. So I started a thread about that subject, using Pat's thread as an example, in which I asked a lot of questions to people : Chick Lit, What is it? Why isn't there any Boy's Lit?

I had two agendas with this thread : pointing out the sexism in calling some books Chick Lit in order to dismiss their quality, and questionning which specific images and idiosyncracies were associated with which gender and why. The thread saw much more discussions about the first point, both in agreement and disagreement, although some people did good effort to answer my second point as well. The discussion grew in some points somewhat heated and even wanky, but wasn't uninteresting.

A certain amount of people did agree that "Chick Lit" described a specific genre of book about female protagonists in urban, modern setting with an irreverant tone and some sexual situations, that such a genre had nothing to do with Kushner's writing. Some people also agreed that Chick Lit wasn't a good name for such a genre because it described what kind of market the genre is aimed at instead of the content of the books; and because it can cause confusion about other books, like Kushner's. Although lots of people still disagreed about that, so I'd hardly call it a consensus.

Last part of this little debate, Pat's eventually posted his final review of Priviledge of the Sword at his blog yesterday. Unsurprizingly, he was still mostly negative about it, but also persisted in calling it "Fantasy chick lit" and "one of the 'girliest' novels [he's] ever read", moreover he extrapolated this description by saying :

"There's a very "girly" approach to the narrative. It focuses on undying/forbidden love, corny romance, flowers, jewelry, gowns, fabrics, and an inordinate amount of emo moments. For crying out loud, the characters shed more tears in this book than bridesmaids at a wedding! There is only so much crying one can take, after all. In addition, the emo male characters are not authentic."

You'd think he was talking about about badfanfics ^^ I'm not entirely surprised by this reading because earlier at Ran's Board, I'd seen ErrantBard, who appeared quite sane otherwise, say about Swordspoint :

what I would say classify it as "chick-lit" in my mind is, from memory:
  • Flowers and effeminate looking men with open shirts on the cover, first
  • Prominence of homosexuality in the relationships
  • Pure love
  • Invincible yet sensible, fragile, honourable hero.
  • Insufferable whiny useless support characters you're supposed to pity rather than wish dead, for some reason
  • A plot revolving around the feelings some people have for each other.

  • A number of which terms had me raise my eyebrow in regard of Swordspoint. But hey! People read books are see different things in it. It happens.

    It makes sense that a certain lack of sensitivity about specific genres that one doesn't like mean that one blurs the distinction between those genres. Thus romance, mannerpunk, and Chich Lit elements are all confused and equally dismissed as if they were equivalent although to anyone looking into those seriously it's obvious they're very far from being the same. The fact that all these different elements are, for some reason, associated with female taste and female writing is of course what makes such confusion problematic and sexist.

    The thing that really makes me angry there is that several people as well as Pat have defended their use of the term by saying "what is so bad about works written by women that cater to what women want to read?" even though they're very obviously using the word "Chick Lit" or "girly" to dismiss and criticize a specific type of writing : "corny romance", "inordinate amount of emo moments", "the emo male characters are not authentic."
    That's not the description of a genre of writing that one doesn't like but that's still considered as legit. That's a description of bad writing, through and through. A bad writing that is typified as female.

    Now, while I'm still infuriated about the structural sexism of such use of terms, I'm also still curious about which elements are associated with specific genders and why.
    salinea: Magneto going *?* (wtf)
    So I'm reading, which is a big and quality board about roleplaying games, and someone raises the idea of "Harlequin Romance... the RPG" as a possible licenced RPG to touch a previously untapped market. So I miggle in the discussion, and mention my view about the similarities between RPGs and fanfics, and freeform RPGs within the fandom community, and their potential as a RPG market. It's an interesting discussion.
    Then there's this guy that comes and mentions the game he publishes, HeartQuest, which a game meant to simulate the Shoujo manga genre. Cool. Very fitting to the discussion. I google quickly the game (because I didn't know it before, does any of you guys do?) and find a blurb description (very cute) and a list of the writers :

    Written by: Michael Hopcroft, Robert Pool, Dimitri Ashling, Ewen Cluney, Robert Boyd, Robert Bain, Ismael Alvarez, Travis Johnson, and Douglas Larke.

    Hum? I think. I'm not sure about Travis and Ewen because I'm not that good with American names, but all of the others are very, very male names. That's an overwhelming majority (at least) of male writers to write a RPG to simulate the Shoujo genre.
    So in the discussion I mention I'm surprised by that, and the guy asks me why, so I elaborate.

    Why should that shock you? It isn't like all shoujo stuff is written by women, nor is it's audience all young girls (despite being marketed to them). Just like the fact that all romance novels aren't written by women either.

    Well, that not all shoujo is written by women or read by women is all well and good, and what percent of it is written and read by women? I'd be surprised if there wasn't a very big majority of women involved there, but I could be wrong, I only have my personnal experience to judge by.

    I assume you've done market researches about that game? That you have some data about Shoujo audience in the US? The profile of people more likely to be interrested into that kind of game? With this game, I assume you're trying to tap onto shoujo readers (that's why you mention the next ed in manga form, no?)
    I'm a shoujo reader. I'd especially kill for a game that'd let me play an unholy alliance of Shoujo Kakumei Utena and Princess Tutu complete with meta-narrative tools and fairy tale on crack ambiance. I'd probably also love to play X1999 RPG.

    However I also remember a French amateur RPG which was called "Lycéenne" which was plain horrible. Shoujo seen by males and full of ill-adviced stereotypes at its worst. So I'm suspicious. And I'm Roleplayer so I know how sexist the average RPG scene can be, so I'm doubly suspicious. If I see a long list of male names as authors, I get even more suspicious. Doesn't seem like something for me. Seems like something for guys who are already into RPG and who wants to play shoujo for exoticism's sake, the kind who think Hina Love is a shoujo.

    I don't know anything about the game, as I told you, I just googled it. And that's my first impression. Maybe I'm not typical of the market you're trying to touch either

    Then the guy gets angry :

    I find charges of sexism against my products made by someone who has not read them to be incredibly offensive. While the HeartQuest line was written before I owned the company, I still stand behind them 100%. I also find charges that they weren't written by knowledgeable individuals to not only be offensive but you are also veering into personal attack territory because at least two of the authors are members of this very board.

    As a publisher I take allegations against my products very seriously and I strongly suggest that you rescind your comments, as they are based out of a lack of knowledge of the books. I do welcome anyone checking out the HeartQuest line but I find your comments to be ill-formed and offensive to both myself and the individuals who wrote these books.

    I tell him he missed the point.

    So he starts getting on how shoujo is totally not about women, and gender is irrelevant about discussion on RPG adaptations of Shoujo.

    I don't see that shoujo or romantic fiction as being a gender issue. I don't think one gender "gets it" more than another, any more than I think that is the case for any other genre. Saying otherwise does a great disservice to those individuals, male or female, who are interested in those sorts of things.

    And that's where we are.

    Apart from the part where he's trying very hard to intimidate me, I find his exhuberant outrage very funny.
    salinea: (Default)
    While browsing, today, I happened onto a link to this essay on Why do fanboys hate fanfics, especially slash and This is Our Garden. We Like It.. The article fits in a context of several commentaries a few weeks ago about the exclusion of the female experience of fandom by the majorly male fandom - some of which I saw at the time, some of which I missed.

    [ profile] cupidsbow's essay How Fanfictions makes us Poor which I already linked to was part of it too, I think.

    Anyway, there's a lot of stuff on these discussions that made me angry as a woman against the systemicized sexism in fandom... but there's also something about the issue of gendered fandoms that really upsets me.

    I've spent a majority of my "fandom life" within male dominated fandoms - first generalist Science Fiction newsgroup then Roleplaying Games clubs and forums. The kind of places where women make about 10 to 20% at most of the overall population. I've had to suffer to a lot of sexism, outright misogyny and sexual teasing. I went along with it because I wanted into the fandom and I didn't know anywhere else to get it and also because I'd been ostracized and bullied enough previously that the attention as the token girl and object of sexist and sexual jokes seemed actually an improvement.

    Later on, I found some previously more mixed fandoms. ASOIAF has got, I think, about 40% of women at Ran's board. The part of Buffy's fandom I frequented, Masq's awesome ATPoBtVS had, I believe, a majority of women with a very significant male presence as well.

    But it's only when I joined the Clamp's Tokyo Babylon/X's fandom in 2004 on Livejournal that I really found myself within female dominated fandoms. Fanfics as a fandom is extremely majorly made of women, I don't think men make more than 5% of it. In many ways the resulting dynamic rather surprised me. There's a lot I enjoyed from it. The welcome of feminist and queer-friendly values for one, and the warmth of people. No more dissing the female SF writers, or fantasy as a whole, or other ridiculous stuff.

    There's also some things I disliked, such as the frowning upon any kind of disagreement/non positive comments, and all the things people sometime characterize as the "Cult of Nice". I'm not sure I'm so much more a fan of the Cult of Mean either, which is often horribly self-entitled, but I love debate, and I love getting helpful constructive criticism, and sometimes I'm being an ass in a discussion and I need someone to point it out to me politely (after which I can cool off then appologize). I also miss a bit of the obsessive mapping out details and powers and worldbuiling elements and stuff. Actually screw this, because people do it just as compulsively in female fandom, what I do miss is obsessive symbolical and thematic analysis which seems to catter to specific fandoms regardless of the gender makeover. What I do occasionnaly miss in female fandom is the way people don't seem to get the inherent kicking-ass awesomeness of ninja and pirates (unless talking of Jack Sparrow I s'pose) and Kung-Fu Jesus and heroin-pissing dinosaurs*

    So when I get annoyed with that side of fanfic fandom and want a little bit of the other side I miss, I get back to lurking at, say, the board, where I can see someone explaining his dilemna about one of his player telling him "No bitches at the table"

    Insert visual of me face palming.

    Lately it feels like I've seen more and more people talking in terms of fangirls and fanboys. The categories were new to me, but apparently they come with specific, different stereotypes where the fanboy is your everyday Dork and the fangirl squeals a lot about characters/actors being hotties. I've seen at least one person say she wouldn't like to identify as a fangirl but that it was okay for the fanboy because the stereotype had somewhat mellowed and become more hype and cool since big geeks like Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith and Tarantino started taking over Hollywood or something whereas the fangirl stereotype was still depraciated as hell which rather rejoined the whole point of the essay I mentionned at the start of this post.

    But behind this I also get the impression that it's true to people. That women and men are whole different brands of fen, that they want something radically different from the text, that they play differently with the toys. That they don't fit in the same sandbox.

    I'm not a fangirl. I'm certainly not a fanboy either. I'm a fan. Period.

    I'm a fan who likes fanfics and roleplaying games, obsessive symbolical analysis, sociological meta, compulsive reviews of details and powers and worldbuilding stuff, and occasionnaly even fanart and fanvids and of course, the books/shows/texts too. It's all one for me.

    It's not that I disaprove of what the essay talks about, about the whole fact that women said 'it's a big internet', took their stuff and the toys given by the text, and used them to play with it in their very own female space. I think that's really cool and proactive and awesome.

    It's the fact that what I'd like to call my garden would be a place with equal parts of male and female point of views and welcome them all - just for the sake of diversity. (And gays, and non Americans, and gender queers, and Blacks, and people who don't have always a very correct syntax, and, and, and, too)

    There's the question of whether it'd be even possible. If being just an even fraction of "regular" fandom would mean that the female part be co-opted and the female experience of fandom end up marginalized as it's once more 'All about the boy'.

    I'd like to believe that it is. I've known places on the internet that were at least a little bit like this. That doesn't mean that they should not be female spaces as well...

    But I'd really love to belong, myself, to a non-gendered fandom. I think that's the place where I'd be the more at ease.

    Is that a bad thing to want?

    * this is an obscure reference to the Role Playing Game Exalted which has canonically dinosaurs who eat Opium and pisses Heroin. It's a lucrative business. Exalted isalso an awesome game where homsexuality, gender queerness, bestiality, incest, and reincarnated magical bonds are all canon. It's a bit like the Harry Potter fandom of roleplaying games that way.

    ETA: -- Spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire - A Storm of Swords in the comments --
    salinea: (Default)
    I had a long week end. 1st of May is Labour Day and a Holiday in France, and my work had given us the Monday free to make a "bridge" (not a free, free day, it's a free day among a specific number of free day we're supposed to have anyway); and I'm depressed because I didn't manage to do anything much during this time.

    I went to the movie theater, though. We went to see "Life of Others" which was really, really good. Though I found it was slightly self-indulgent in parts, and I was a little bit uneasy about the thing about women, but overall a great movie.

    By the way, the Earthsea movie was just as bad as expected. I didn't hate watching it as much as I should have because I read the books so long ago I was half remembering throughout without being able to compare, and because I love watching animation even when it's subpar, but it was really not that great.

    And Sunday, I missed out Bog's game because I was trapped at a friend's house by a thunderstorm, but we finished watching all of Slayers : Next, which was great. (I'm in Xelloss withdrawal as I speak ^^)

    While looking for Slayers fic to remedy to my withdrawal, funnily enough, I found a Snupin fic by [ profile] amanuensis1 (of all people), and an mpreg fic at that, and I loved it, and I'm not a big mpreg lover.
    Here it is : Random drabble
    Read it and then don't kill me.

    And I tried writing, but I don't think I managed to write more than two lines in one specific fic. No very much inspired.
    I've been looking at all files of half-finished fics too. It's amazing the number of started-never-finished fics I have out there. (well not amazing, I s'ppose, but given how ot prolific I am...). I even found a Kotori fic that looked finished, and a Salazar/Godric preslash fic. And lots of other stuff I never finished... it's a bit depressing.

    I didn't even manage to clean a bit. My sink is getting so dirty molds have civilizations building skyscrappers in it. I shall not mention my bathroom.

    Otherwise I've been reading The Princess Bride. Wached the movies many times, but had never read the book before. It's pretty good. I like... how he talks about the way we look back at stories from our childhood. How they become mythical, you know. Filled with some sort of glamour and meaningfulness, but then if you look back at them later on, they're often not that much (or they are, sometimes, but you have to squint a little bit ^^) I've got books like that, of course. Well I had the Last Unicorn, except not the book, the movie, except not even that. I had a postcard of the movie, with the castle and the redbull and the unicorn and the big wave with little tiny unicorns on it. It belonged to m sister. I don't know - don't remember - if I actually watched the movie when I was little, but probably not. Even though I was obsessed with that postcard, with the story I wove from it. I was drawing unicorns everywhere (i know, not that's outstanding from a little girl), and to this day I feel this is part of the reason why I got into fantasy, science fiction, and mythology, and everything (it was much later when I was a teenager that I actually watched the Last Unicorn and realized I hadn't dreamed the whole thing! before nobody else had even heard of it, and TLU? doesn't even need squinting). There's also all these cartoons I used to watch younger (we ha some real good cartoons in the 80's in France, mostly Japanese and a couple of Franco-Japanese ones), stuff like the Mysterious Golden Cities, and Ulysse 31 (space opera + greek mythology, two great tastes that go well together), and Les Mondes Engloutis, and Cobra (not the one from GI Joe), and many others. Loved these stuff, growing up.
    What was your own mythic story when you were growing up? The one that still fills you with nostalgia?

    It also got me thinking (okay, this is going very very far from The Princess Bride), about one trope I've always loved, the one about the relationship between a young kid and an ambiguous adult figure, one who's half a mentor or a protector, and half an ennemy. You get that in the Mysterious Golden Cities, with Mendoza (who's one of the most kick ass ambiguous character from a children's cartoon ♥) and Esteban, and you got that in that Japanese cartoon version of Treasure Island (I don't remember if it was as strong in the book) with Long John Silver and Jim. And I was wondering how it related with the Snape/Harry ship. Because it's not relationships I particulary wish to sexualize, generally speaking, but I do find them pariculary fascinating, and I remember really loving them as a kid. I wonder, is it at least a little bit of a trope, generally speaking? Does it play a role about why I like Snarry (when I do like it)? Anyone has any imput about these kinds of relationships (wether sexualized or not)? (ASOIAF gets that in a way, with Arya and her various unsavory protectors : Jaqen H'Gar and Sandor Clegane, and Yoren a little bit. Arya really got a "boy's story", I think, I love that about her).

    Anyway, to go back to the Princess Bride, I loved how the book played - even more than the movie - with the way we interprete things that we read. There's something very fanficcy about it. Take the good parts, and write around the missing ones, y'know. Except of course the aesthetics are very different.

    There were some stuff I didn't like in the book, but they were mostly the stuff I didn't like in the movie, except in a way even more disturbing in reading them. You know, Buttercup's general uselessness. Part of the parody, but still get me meh. Did love the additionnal background about most characters though.

    Oh, and, last Changelings : the Lost soon to be released cover. I'm so excited!
    salinea: (Default)
    (See the last 2 or 3 [ profile] metafandom editions if you wonder what i'm talking about)

    The more I think about, the more I think that the categories of het, slash and gen, as categories, are mostly useless. In fact, I never actually included them in any fic I've posted myself (the information is usually contained in the "Characters/Pairings" line).

    If we want categies denoting genres/focus, "Romance", "Drama", "Action/Adventure", "Character exploration", "Smut", etc. make much better descriptors, as well as some kind of descriptions about how the story stands vis-a-vis to canon (A/U, post-canon, missing scenes, just-like-a-canon-episode, retcon/canon-fix...)

    I also think the issue is that we're thinking of these categories as mutually exclusive. What is gen cannot be het, what is het cannot be slash, what is slash cannot be gen. Which is bollocks. There's nothing saying a story couldn't focus on both a canon-like-plot and a non-canon Romance! Nor is there anything saying that a story can't be focussed on two couples, one het, one slash.

    But yeah, people want to be warned against the pairings they dislike, in every cases, so warning for pairings all the time should be the best behaviour.

    ETA : Okay, so non-exhaustive list of genres I can think of right now

    - Romance / Smut (probably handier to merge them)
    - Plot driven stories (with subcategories for things like action/adventure, mystery/investigation, war-stories, intrigue, Sci-fi...)
    - Noromo relationships (a fic which focus on a relationship which is not explored as romantic, whether it's family, friends, partners, colleagues or people who hate each others)
    - Character study (any fic which is about exploring a character's personnality, or their reaction to something)
    - Comedy / Humour (need I specify?)
    - World exploration (for fics that want to expand that little obscure corner of canon)
    - Surrealism / Fairy Tale / Dreamscape (because I'm not sure where else this kind of stories fit)

    any suggestions/criticisms?
    salinea: (Default)
    Have you ever been 'converted' to a pairing by a fanfic?

    What fanfiction was it? (yay, rec)

    In what circumstances did it happen? (were you already in the fandom, were you a newcommer to the fandom and that was the first fic that settled your taste, did the fic bring you into the fandom? etc.)

    How did you find this fanfic? (big list of recs, personnal rec from a friend, a bit of a random event? etc.)

    How much of a convert did you become (biggest OTP, one of your favourite ships, just one ship among others? etc.)

    Do you still love this fanfic just as much, or did you tastes change once you were into the ship?

    Has the opposite ever happened to you, has a fanfiction succeeded to repulse you from a pairing on a permanent basis (don't link to it! that could be considered wanky ^^ unless that was the objective of the fic, of course)
    salinea: (Default)
    I've been following [ profile] aubrem's very interesting lattest discussion about decentralisation with attention (LJ's tracking device rocks mightily, I cannot say that too many times ♥). Being both a Snape/Lupin OTPist and a very big fan of dark fictions, I feel, of course, concerned.

    cut for lengthy reasonning )

    A Poll is there under the cut )
    salinea: (Default)
    So I often see people complaining of the lack of proper words for the female genitalia while writing porn, and there was that post wondering whether one should forbid the use of the word 'cunt'.

    I have a solution :

    You only need to stop using the word "cock" in male porn. From now on, only ever use words like "Prick" and "Dick" which can also used as an insult, just like "Cunt". That way, and there will be the same problem for everyone and both gender can be equal.

    (okay, why does the fact "Ass/Arse" is also an insult has never stopped anyone from using it in fics?)

    Oh, and random question of a non native English speaker : Why is "sex" never used to describe genitalia in porn (when fitting) in English? Is that a word you just never use to describe genitialias? Is it because it's too vague and not gender-specific?
    salinea: (Default)
    So I was reading today a great many posts and essays about writing sex and the nature of slash, and that was reminding me of something I wanted to say about what I liked in fanfics (slashy or not, though always of the transgressive kind) which was non-romantic sex, or sex as metaphor, and which is, in great part, why I love the kind of fanfics and pairings that I love.

    By sex without romance, I mean a great deal of stories that explore situations that are sexualized,without there being a couple in the most classic sense of the word,where there may be 'love' by the wide definition of the term but not something that is necessarily romantic love with all the tropes, roles and assumptions that go with it, or when, if there is indeed romantic love, it is associated with feelings supposedly contrary to it - such as hatred.

    Antagonistic pairings are popular. In a way, it is a popular trope in and of itself. However, the majority of Antagonistic stories are more likely to be focussed on the star crossed lovers theme, on transforming such a relationship into romance, than into exploring the relationship as hatred, as rivalry, as a power struggle through sexual means - which is more accurately what I mean though borders may be blurry.

    Beyond hatesex and hate/love pairings, there are other ships that meet for me that button. Just today [ profile] bramblyhedge was talking about her love for boss/employee relationship, a relationship where it is also usually considered improper to sexualize. Another obvious case is incestuous pairings - of which I don't have many but I do have some. In some cases (though less often) cross gen may apply, and even friendship sex (though because it's such an obvious fodder for romance in slash fanfics it must be written with the specific purpose of not crossing that boundary at least for one of the two character - and that's how I love me James/Sirius).

    My point is that sex is a rather wide spectrum of interacting with people. In a way, we are consciously or unconsciously sexually aware of everyone we meet. It's got little relevance to how many people we actually want to fuck, but it is nonetheless there. Because sex is, as this, an almost universal subtext of all relationship it can be used as the form through which to explore any relationship whatsoever. Which is where I reach the idea of sex as metaphor for the action of being in an intense relationship, even if the relationship isn't by nature romantic.

    Sex is handy as such because it's performative. If you click to a non romantic relationship, familial, friendship, enmity etc. and want to explore it, you can build scenarii to make it into a story where it reaches a climax, where the relationship is consumed, yes. However such scenarii can feel incomplete, or too little intense, or overly cumbersome. Fact is we have very few rituals that express the intensity of relationships as strongly as sex does. Nobody doubts that sex expresses something strongly (no matter how casual it may be!) because it takes you, body and mind, to a different place of interacting ... while declaration of eternal friendship lack a certain something.

    There are other solutions, still. And actually a lot of these solutions are used by fandom while still through the shippers goggles : such as the saving each others' life trope, hurt/comfort, sacrifice, self sacrifice and killing.

    But even with these alternatives, sex is still a favourite of lots of people. It may accompany a story in a wonderful way.

    And, this is something I was realizing as I was reading the first links about the writing sex... these are the kind of sex scenes that I like. Not necessarily the non romantic ones (though I do love them in general); but the sex scenes that tell a story, that are an intraseque part of the narrative and where something happens through them. I don't care for PWP - gratuitous sex - but I don't mind a story which is only comprised of sex as long as the sex actually is a story, where something happens through it which leads to a little more than an orgasm. This, I find mightily hot.


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