yourlibrarian: SamDeanLibrary-gray_light (SPN-SamDeanLibrary-gray_light)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian posting in [community profile] sim_studies
I've mentioned in my personal blog that I think 2009 is the year when fan fiction has become, if not a mainstream pastime, at least a term understood by many in the media and requiring less explanation in the press. What interests me though, is how this term is being re-interpreted by a wider audience to become, less about actual fan fiction, than about what the speaker sees as related issues. In some cases we may agree with them, in others, the usage seems a little nebulous.

For example, this blurb in the L.A. Times discusses trailer vids as part of the "fan fiction universe." While I personally feel trailer vids aren't nearly as similar to fanfic as, say, AU vids, or commentary vids that do interesting things with POV, I would agree with the title which slots creative fan work in visual form along with its written form. In a similar vein, Jon Stewart's use of the term to describe FOX news' creative reinterpretation of facts, grasps the spirit of fanfic (even though I doubt much political fanfic has actually tread that particular ground).

On the other hand, this post about the accurate imagineering of a car seems to be using the title to describe creative speculation. While this certainly describes some forms of fanfic, it's a bit of a stretch to apply it to car design specifically. More importantly, while fanfic is certainly speculative, this seems to put a certain emphasis on anticipating canon which seems to be very typically male to me – as if the purpose of fic is to guess (correctly) where canon will go and "winning" if one guesses right.

Whereas it seems to me that most fanfic I read seems to take a very different POV about canon, in exploring areas it's not expected to go, or reworking areas where it's been. Whether with characters or storylines, the fanfic focuses on reopening doors that have been closed off, or blazes new trails, sometimes ones where the creators were unable or unwilling to go.

All of which is to say, in what ways do we see the wider media grasping the elements of fan fiction in its more traditional sense, and where is it being broadened or applied in rather different ways?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-25 06:44 pm (UTC)
hl: X-Files' I WANT TO BELIEVE poster (iwanttobelieve)
From: [personal profile] hl
Uhm, I would really hesitate to call any fan activity like anticipating canon 'male'. In HP fandom, most of the authors who were writing year six, seventh, etc, fanfic, before the book came out were women--because most authors were women. I don't see anything male in trying to anticipate canon--most of my earlier participation in fandom was comprised of canon discussion and speculation, and I'm a girl. (Woman, I guess.)

I really don't think one can generalize and say that fanfic always threads new ground. I would say that in many fandoms, that's actually rarely the case. One fanfic opens a possible storyline and then a million and two explore that possibility until it's mined out, and the same happens when canon opens a new path. But I would also hesitate to say that fanfic (or fandom) in general dedicates to rewrite the same things over and over--I find that that changes depending the particular fandom, and probably changes with time, too.

But I see that I'm not helpful at all, because by not wanting to generalize, one can hardly analyse stuff. Oh, well.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-27 02:08 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
The same kind of car-inspired artist who might try to guess at the unreleased new 'canon' model will also be drawing new concepts of their own, second guessing Jaguar in exactly the ways you suggest make up the core of fanfic. If he was able to come close, it was surely because of significant experience trying to reverse engineer the Jaguar signature look in his own concepts, much the way fanfic writers who try to write their own stories in someone else's universe first have to figure out how canon works in that universe.

In engineering school, several of my more automotively inspired classmates had a sketchpad constantly at hand for drawing car concepts. It was not altogether very different from the high school classmates who had a sketchpad for drawing anime characters.

Suggesting that men have different ways of interacting with their fandoms than women is not novel ground, but pointing out specific ways without understanding the fandom can be perilous.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-27 02:55 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
I'm not saying that fanfic is reverse engineering. I'm saying that reverse engineering canon is the vital first step that comes before fanfic. (In the engineering world, reverse engineering is never an end in itself)

And I meant perilous to actually coming to an understanding of how people work.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-27 03:28 pm (UTC)
hl: Drawing of Ada Lovelace as a young child, reading a Calculus book (Default)
From: [personal profile] hl
I meant perilous to actually coming to an understanding of how people work.

I agree.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-27 05:54 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Well, as [personal profile] hl points out, the end goals of fanfic are not unified. Sometimes, it's about speculating about canon. Sometimes it's about contradicting a point of canon. Sometimes it's about telling stories canon can't or won't. Sometimes it's about retelling stories canon already has. I don't want to privilege any of these goals, so I find that trying to compare automotive concept drawings to fanfic in terms of ends is too abstract a question to be answerable.


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