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Posts Tagged ‘linkage’

art in context

First, go read this article, about an experiment the Washington Post conducted on the D.C. Metro.

No, really — go read it. The entire thing, if you can, and watch the video clips. There’s some good stuff in there. Not just the incident they staged, but the variety of things they learned from it.

Have you done that? Okay. Then come inside the cut. I want to discuss this, but not out in the open, where people will be tempted to read my comments before they’ve read the article.


and one more . . .

. . . because oh holy jeebus is this one funny to me, and probably to about three others of you. (Three who maybe haven’t seen it already, that is. Certain others of you probably saw this two years ago, when it was originally posted.)


I cannot for the life of me decide what would be an appropriate icon for my love of Elizabethan stuff. All I know is, I don’t have it, so I will have to make do with Maleficent, because I like her.

also, linkage

Two things that need sharin’ —

Eragon sporked. Book, not movie. In case you’re like me and want to know enough about the book to talk about its shortcomings without actually having to, y’know, read the book. I know that site is not aimed at saying good things about it, but still, it’s a sad state of affairs when the most positive thing I can find to say at the end is, “hey, Saphira’s a nice name.”

Everyone in “Hands of Fate: The Next Generation Legacy” needs to read this. Including the comments. Or at least the one about the badger.

post of random linkage

Memento players in particular might be entertained by news of the International Alchemy Conference, billed as “the largest gathering of alchemists in 500 years.” Order of Purification, anybody? Let me know if they have a giant argument that results in one half going one way and the other half going another; it means we’ll have the Philosopher’s Stone in approximately 650 years.

(Either that, or Nicholas is calling them all together to let them know they can stop trying.)

(And hey look, it gave me an excuse to use my Memento icon!)

In totally non-Memento non-alchemy news, pandas! Click for cuteness. And be sure to scroll down for the rest of the pictures.


World Fantasy was good. Got to see (read: stay with) Khet; got to socialize with many
friends from previous cons and make some new ones. The con itself wasn’t the best I’ve ever
been to — thin programming, too heavily focused on the topic du jour (the Robert E. Howard
Centennial), and most of the panels I went to were okay at best — but that’s only one of the
reasons I go, and not even the most important one, so I’m not upset.

Voted this afternoon. Most of my time was spent waiting for them to figure out what to do
with the two women in front of me who had both moved and therefore needed to jump through
administrative hoops. Link of interest: the Vote
by Mail Project
is pushing the model of voting Oregon uses, which appears to be vastly
preferable on every front you can imagine. Worth taking a look at.

Also, started wading through my school e-mail that had built up over the weekend, and found
I’ve made it through the first round of cuts for my Collins course proposal. Now I have a
half-hour interview/presentation to go through, with some adjustments to be made to my
syllabus. Not sure when I’ll have the time to prep for that between now and Thursday, but I’d
better find some, as it appears I stand an actual chance of getting this through.

beet pulp, Russian countertenors, and election theft

I have a handful of links to get rid of. Don’t expect anything resembling a coherent theme to the topics of this post.

First and most serious: mounting proof that the 2004 presidential election was stolen. It’s long. Read it all. Cringe at the number of federal laws that were broken, let alone the rest of the shady, non-kosher polling practices.

Now, to cheer you up: the hazards of beet pulp. Don’t drink anything while you’re reading it.

Brave New Words. The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction has a publication date, at last.

Hey, Khet? I think you have some competition.

And, in conclusion, I give you Vitas. Watch a smirking little girly-man jump three octaves as if he hasn’t noticed that men aren’t supposed to be sopranos. (Countertenors weird me out a little.) If the smirk doesn’t entertain you enough — or if it does — then try the music video version, where in he’s a smirking little fish-boy instead. Then go watch him sing “Lucia di Lammermoor” — you know, that piece the female opera singer performs in The Fifth Element. Cracktastical, I tell you, and I’ve only watched a few of the videos so far.

That will do for now.

Grant Morrison on Batman

It’s a little odd, reading these things when I’m not actually a follower of most comic books, let alone Batman and the rest of the superhero crowd, but Grant Morrison has some fascinating things to say about his current work on that title. Even when I don’t know half of what he’s talking about, it’s very intriguing, seeing how he approaches the task of integrating his ideas into the existing material while doing something new. Anyway, I figured the comics fans among my readers who hadn’t already come across this article . . . okay, are probably few in number, but for them, I wanted to provide the link.

lengthy thoughts on fanfic

If you aren’t aware of the Great Cassandra Claire Fandom Implosion, I won’t inflict my own summary on you. This post will be sufficiently prefaced by saying that the million and one analyses and responses to that situation have sparked me to lay out my own thoughts on fanfiction. This will take a while, so you might want to get a snack first.

Point #1: Fanfic is illegal. Got that? This is the opinion of several people whose legal knowledge I trust, though I’m interested in learning about it for myself, and hope to sit in on a class this semester that will cover those kinds of topics. But you’re borrowing someone’s intellectual property when you write fanfic, and even if you don’t make money from doing so, it’s still against the law. This point is often missed by people who can’t be bothered to pay attention.

Point #2: Having said that, any number of writers (both in print and media) are okay with you writing fanfic. It may be illegal, but it isn’t worth anybody’s time and money to sue you; a cease & desist letter tends to suffice when someone gets upset. And frankly, fanfic is a way for readers/viewers to engage more deeply with a story, and can even serve as a kind of grass-roots publicity, so just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. This point is often missed by people who feel persecuted when you tell them how the law works.

Point #3: The only thing that differentiates what we call fanfic from works such as Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is intellectual property law. Stop and think about it for a moment: they are the same thing. They just fall on one side or the other of the legal divide. In both cases, one writer is taking someone else’s story and doing something with it. Maybe the story’s a fairy tale and doesn’t have a specific author; maybe it was written four hundred years ago and the author’s long dead. Doesn’t matter. You’re still engaging in the same activity. The difference is your legal right to do it. Nothing prevents a work of fanfic from being as clever and witty as R&GAD, but the world tends to pass moral judgment on the former, and not on the latter. This point is often missed by those who want to claim that all fanfic is trash, but Stoppard’s okay.

Point #4: Moving into the realm of opinion, I feel that it’s good manners to respect the creator’s wishes with regards to their intellectual property. If they don’t mind fanfic, go for it. If they do mind, then be polite and stay away. If they don’t mind fanfic but they object to certain kinds (frex, their underage characters having sex), then write about other things. Is there any force that can stop you from writing whatever you want? The same forces that can stop you from writing fanfic at all, which is to say that it probably won’t happen (see point #2). But just because the author is willing to let you climb the fence and swim in her backyard pool doesn’t mean you should pee in it.

Point #5: There is also a difference between fanfiction and plagiarism. The categories are fuzzy ones, of course, existing on a continuum. The small amount of fanfiction I ever wrote was generally of the sort where it took place in a world created by someone else, but involved my own original characters, perhaps with cameos by canon characters. I tended to be more interested in the possibilities of the setting than anything else. Other people write mostly about canon characters, perhaps with a Mary Sue or less irritating original addition. Maybe they cross one fandom with another, producing a Buffy/Highlander crossfic about the two groups of Watchers being the same. Maybe they allude to other fics. Maybe they even quote things. You hit the “plagiarism” line when you’re Cassandra Claire, lifting not just characters, not just quotes, but extensive lines and scenes from other sources and not attributing them (then basking in the praise of people who say your ideas are so original and you write so well). I haven’t followed that whole debate in full (I’m not sure any human being can, and I’ve not really tried, though I’m anthropologically fascinated by it), but what I have read included enough side-by-side textual analysis to persuade me that she did indeed rip off Pamela Dean and other writers far above and beyond what gets winked at in the illegal activity called fanfiction.

Point #6: If you’re writing fanfiction to improve your craft, it will help you — up to a point. You can refine your prose, dialogue, pacing, etc. as much in a fanfic story as anywhere else (provided, of course, that your dialogue isn’t stolen wholesale). But it won’t do much to help you develop characters, settings, and other large-scale elements of the craft. Its inherent intertextuality may get in the way of you learning to write a story that stands on its own. If your eventual goal is a writing career, there’s nothing wrong with fanfic in principle, but there will come a time when you’ll be better served devoting that time and energy to original work. And fanfic publication probably won’t help you sell your own work, with two exceptions: one being work-for-hire media properties (where it may indeed net you a contract, if that’s what you really want to do), and the other being (again) Cassandra Claire, who has landed a novel deal, apparently at least in part on the strength of her fanfic writing. (This, as you might guess, is a source of much of the brouhaha, and I fully expect to see the blogosphere descend on her first book like a pack of rabid weasels, waiting to catch her if she’s plagiarized again.)

Point #7: How do I feel about this relative to my own position? As I said, I used to write a little fanfic, but not much; mostly I wanted to chase my own ideas. I haven’t written any in years, though my mind will occasionally play with it for amusement. If Doppelganger fanfic or something based on a later book of mine starts appearing on the web, I will be flattered by the attention, and I’ll probably let it go unless somebody tries to make money off it. I will not, however, read it, partially because I could subsequently stir up trouble if I later wrote something that resembled said fic, and partially because it would weird me out, watching someone else write about my characters. (No offense to y’all, but you’d probably get them wrong, relative to what’s in my head. It’s the nature of the beast. We don’t see them the same way.)

Point #8: Hmmmm . . . I think I’ve hit everything I wanted to say for the moment, though I may return to this at a later date. Fanfic is a huge and complicated subject, with many byways I don’t find particularly intelligent or attractive, but I issue no blanket condemnations against it. Just the occasional specific one, against specific acts of idiocy.