The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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something's lost in translation
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Until now, I didn't realize there was such a sharp demarcation between fandom pre-livejournal and now.

I'm having a moment, and it's very weird, and I'm not sure I can explain it without sounding like I'm having a close and personal experience with some sort of hallucinogen. It's not fanon or tone or even style, except it's all of those things, and it's the underlying set of base assumptions that feel like I'm reading in a foreign language.

One hundred fifty something stories and it's--okay, five million years ago in SV, I was talking to this chick who had been writing since the beginning of time and there was this fic and a flamewar going on, which normally I'd go into but not relevant except for the fact I might not have ever gotten on the subject except flamewar, so we were talking about anything else, and I asked about this fic.

I have no idea how to explain how off-balance I am. But trying.

It was a Smallville fic, and it felt wrong to me, and by that I do not mean bad. I mean, I walked out of a perfectly good fic feeling like this: we were watching the same show. Exactly. And we were in the same fandom! Except in completely parallel universes that were exactly the same except her color blue was my azure, does that make sense? I could not connect with it at all, and that was the year 2002 where I met this fic so you see I remember very vividly that strange sense of disorientation, because at that point I had read everything that was posted to SSA so it's not like I didn't know my fandom. Yes, I even read the really bad stuff. I was a glutton for punishment. I'd read things that I still try too block from my memory, and for that matter, have, but I'd never read a fic in my fandom, in my pairing, that was good, that had nothing wrong with it, that I did not understand.

So far in Due South, proportionally speaking, I'm hitting ten percent where I'm not disoriented, and this is after I reduced my sampling size to authors I've read in at least two fandoms and at least once wanted to marry. It is not helping.

To return to my charming anecdote (the SV fic of strangeness, you don't have to scroll back up now), the person I spoke to gave me this long explanation that I don't even remember all that well (would that I did), but I came out of it with the vague idea it was Some Kind of Convention of Slash That I Did Not Know, Not Being a Slasher of the Old School You Poor First Slash Fandom Person or something, which is in retrospect kind of patronizing, but I could be misremembering that, since you know, 2002.

However, recent experience suggests she was kind of right, at least in the fact that the disassociated feeling is actually not a fluke and not the result of reading in a different fandom after SGA monogamy.

It's very, very disconcerting.

ETA: People, if I knew what this feeling was called, I would be explaining without analogies. I'd reduce it to a sentence.

I don't know about POV difference -- that would depend on specifically what you meant by it. Lots and lots of little things are different, but mainly I would call it authorial/viewer perspective. And maybe a grounding in our fannish history?

Also, DS fen have a higher average age than other fandoms. On aingeal8c's last fandom demographics poll there was only one person under 18 and a handful under 21 when I last looked at it (this out of hundreds of people responding). So maybe this is all down to getting older? *g*

Edited at 2008-07-05 06:48 am (UTC)

Oh, the getting older bit might be it entirely. Some type of experience/generational viewpoint variation in thinking that is expressed in the writing style. Two of those three authors I was talking about? Are older. The other two variables that might be causing the difference in the group's style of writing are profession and how intellectual the writer is. Some professions require a cleaner, tighter way of organizing thoughts than other professions do.

.......I can only give an example: When I was reading Gundam Wing, I ran across some work by an author who was in computer science. She wrote well, but her fic was so different than what everyone else was writing, it was a little jarring. I really had to shift how I thought in order to read how she thought. I loved her fic, because her writing style was unique. However, if everyone wrote like that, I know I would have gotten bored and left the fandom earlier. I simply didn't think the same way she did. It was satisfying to read her stories, because I was absorbing another viewpoint, but if that had been my whole diet, I would have starved because I could only read so much of that kind of fic. It wasn't a problem in the Gundam Wing fandom, because she was the only one with that style.

Partly, the difference in her writing style was due to the increased knowledge she was able to weave into her stories because of the field she was in. But....the other difference was due to how she thought. She was very intellectual, and she was somewhat isolated from the day to day interact with common people, and she wove that into her writing as well. It broke my heart, sometimes, to get through the fic, but it COMPLETELY suited the character of Hero, who was an extremely isolated character. The isolation that appeared in her writing wasn't just due to her being in academia (I don't really consider academia to be isolated at all), it was more....due to her own personality. She talked about it a little in her preface. SO, I guess a fourth factor is how isolated the author is.

I had fun with this discussion- night guys! It's a good thing other people have journals, I never seem to post in my own. Happy Fourth of July. *waves to seperis*

.........last comment (really). When the author talked about how isolated she felt, she talked about her inability to feel emotions that other people did, and how she couldn't connect with other people. There is some data coming out that greater numbers of people in each successive generation are experiencing this phenomena. You see a milder effect in the younger generations as a whole, in that they seem to have less empathy than previous generations did. Or, at least, that is how it seems to the older generations. Sometimes when interviewed the younger generation will say they notice some sort of lack in themselves, but despite not having it, they are still content/happy. Maybe this is also showing up in the writing style?

I would guess that you're onto something big here; as the world gets more and more crowded both literally (population) and figuratively (communications advances that enlarge the pool that one thinks of as "their tribe", whether that be net-friends in other countries or celebrity gossip), the actual day-to-day FTF interactions can get attenuated to the point of meaninglessness. And I can't see how that wouldn't have some profound effects on what started coming across through the fiction of successive generations. If you feel more connected to Britney Spears or the half of your flist that's in Finland, you're not going to have as much of yourself left over for worrying about the shopkeepers on your street who would have made up most of a previous generation's circle of connections. I get to worrying that we're nearly to the point where we're going to forget how to interact long enough to breed, not that that might not necessarily make this a kind of self-correcting problem... :)