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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.


*nods* It's definitely an age thing. I like to think that with queer theory, etc, etc, the community deals with slash tropes in a very different manner.

I think it's because mailing lists are mostly linear in their discussions, whereas livejournal is a radial model. Ideas disseminate in a different manner.

But don't be discouraged! There's some FANTASTIC stuff being written out there at the moment! What are you reading currently?

Oh, I know! And it'snot that it's not good either, because all of it is. But the way I think and read in fandom are just--really dissimilar.

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Bingo. The five block theory. Thank you. I've been trying to work out what is making me feel weird for a *week*. Early fandom + insularity + not much fandom crossover == Very Different Kind of Fandom.

It's not even trope or fluff, and I'm not sure I can make a convincing argument for style, but there *is* the feeling that most of the fic I'm reading comes from a different mindset. Well, and the large numbers of first person pov, which makes an interesting difference in how the narrative is approached.

Do you mean that you're seeing trends toward wildly different characterizations or particular tropes among certain writers or within certain time periods?

Because all of that is entirely true of DS. Canon allows for so many different takes on each character that you can make a case for a LOT of different interpretations. Way more than in any other fandom I've ever seen.

And, not to bring up the Ray Wars, but they DID color how people viewed the Rays for a long, long time. We're finally at a place where it doesn't feel quite so revolutionary to use an "I swing both Rays" or FKV OT3 icon. Which is cool. Tolerance is yay!

But yes, there's definitely old school fic and new school fic. I have a terrible memory for who writes what, but when you get to a point where you're looking for specific types of stories, go to ds_recfinders and ask. There are people there who have been in fandom for eons and have scary-good recall for fic. :)

Edited at 2008-07-05 06:03 am (UTC)

No, not trends. The way authors think. I think harriet_spy said it the way I wanted to; the conventions aren't ones I'm familiar with. In how the writers, and I mean *most* of them, are approaching how they write the stories, how they think.

Yes. That. This is *hard* to articulate!

Wench, are you gonna reveal the story or just drive me mad with curiosity? (If it was something I wrote, I won't be offended, but I'm guessing not since I don't recall a conversation like that.)

I'd have to find the story! I don't even remember hte title--I was actually looking for it to verify I wans't having some kind of weird post-dS-viewing-hangover breakdown. I know it was posted circa 2002-2003ish, though I'm almost sure 2002. And I remember vividly reading it and just feeling very weird.

Oddly, I understand exactly what you're talking about. Pre-lj and post-mailing lists (and list-serv, though I was mostly a confused wandering soul at that point relying on individual web pages and yahoo search) are two really different fandom experiences.

Oh thank God. I was having serious moments where I thought I was, you know, going crazy.

So, you've heard the three wave theory, right? First wave, people write Could-Be-An-Episode stuff; second wave, people write backstories and future stories and characterisation-heavy fic, it's where most BNFs hit big the first time around; third wave people start writing penguin!sex and wingfic and . And this is a process a fandom will go through but it's also a process people themselves go through? You'll have someone who goes through that process in one fandom and then jumps into their next fandom(s) from a third wave point of view from the beginning. (Juls and I crack that we're fifth wave writers. It's funny because it's true.)

So I think that might tie into this. Like, not directly. But, okay, fandoms evolve and *people* evolve similarly in their own path, and so much of fandom has traipsed down that path now and people traipse it faster because a majority of fandom *is* already through it on their personal path and they, you know, therefore have this whole body of fic out there that's getting people used to the third wave stuff.

And--hm.

The other thing is, relatedly, fandom's sorta changed. The way we relate to tropes and characters is somehow fundamentally different. Like, for one thing, the OT3 is a recognised and if not universally followed thing, people don't look at you like you're fucking nuts for suggesting a threesome. Which I gather was not always true? I mean, I've *tried* to find Star Trek: TOS threesome fic and either it didn't exist or my google-fu has failed epically.

So, hm, cognitive dissonance is not necessarily that weird if you're delving into earlier fandoms. Online media fandom's changed a lot from zine fandom and people changed with it, because a whole hell of a lot of zine fandom made that transition just fine. So that'd be why even authors you trust are still throwing you for a loop, though, because their approach has evolved along with fandom.

I do not know if this is a helpful comment or not but, there you go. My rambling thoughts on this topic.

(On a complete tangent, I really fucking hope that the new Trek movie generates not just a movie!fandom, but a resurgence of true old school Trek fic written from the modern perspective by new and old authors alike. Basically I am selfish and, you know, GIMME MY DAMN OT3 FIC, ALREADY! *g*)

Edited at 2008-07-05 06:27 am (UTC)

*curious* What OT3? Madelyn read a ton in STTOS, so she might know of it.

I didn't realize there was such a sharp demarcation between fandom pre-livejournal and now.

It's not just fandom pre-livejournal and now, it's different time periods in fandom. I came to fandom through The X-Files and know exactly what you mean because I experienced this when I started reading The Professionals fanfic. I read a lot of original slash or m/m romance too and there are some books where I just know that they must have been fanfic written during the middle of the eighties whereas other books read like current fanfic with the serial numbers filed off. You can even say whether the person writing it comes from slash or yaoi fandom. That wouldn't be possible if there weren't certain differences.

(For what it's worth, I call it time travel jet lag. *g*)

Hee! Okay, now *that* is cool. And makes sense!

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
Yeah. I totally get that feeling. And I also have no way to articulate it. I came into fandom once it was well and truly on LJ, and when I wander back through archives of older stuff, written in like, the zine days? It's SO different. Yet, it's different in this way that I can't describe. So... Maybe the feeling is not the same, I don't know, because I can't describe it. But it's weird. I mean, I can tell if I'm reading "old fic" or "new fic", but I couldn't tell you the difference. :\

So yeah. No idea if it's the same thing or not, but. *shrug*

No, you are expressing the exact feeling. Thank God. I am not alone.

I thought I had a bunch of posts about old-skool vs contemporary, but apparently I don't tag very well so I have trouble finding them. Or maybe they're all in cathexys's lj and I have just mentally appropriated them. But I do think this post about wave theory is at least tangentially related, especially since nigaeli brought up a version of wave theory above.

(Oh, and a post about what freaks me out about DS fiction. I'm starting to think I won't ever have to post to lj again, I can just... recycle myself. And doesn't that sound icky.)

*fascinated* Claustrophobia. That's--hmm. I like that.

Then again, keep in mind, I spent a lot of season four thinking RayK woudl be a lot happier if he broke with sanity and became a serial killer, so what do I know.

...which actually comes around to what you said (now you are looking at me funny, but wait!) about claustrophobia. I think that word encompasses what's making me so jumpy. The strictures built around the writing of the pairing are very specific and feel like a sonnet or a haiku, like the entire fandom is a specific literary format.

And actually, not just that pairing. With a few exceptions, every pairing written by a slash writer I'm familiar with (which are a lot), have that same feeling of working inside a set of very strict rules.

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I'm weird, aren't I.

Just... when I'm writing, I don't read fanfic in the same fandom (because I need to keep the soruce in my head, and concentrate solely on my take on it, without getting distracted by trying to differentiate it from Everyone Else's Take On The Same Characters/Show/Situations) and I think I missed the memo about fandoms having (or ending up with) a "house style".

*thoughtful* Hmm. Reading you in SV, I was never disoriented. In fact, in any of your fic. In fact, I can ciick around in Yuletide and not hit a strong feeling of disorientation. Just--here, in this fandom, everything feels a color spectrum off. Now that there is all this data? I'm kind of getting a kick out of it.

i had this exact same experience upon trying dim-sum for the first time. by every objective evaluation, it was food: everybody else was eating it. it came on dishes. they charged you for it. it even looked familiar. but when you put it in your mouth?

WHOOOOO NOT EXPECTING THAT.

not that it was wrong or bad - in fact, had it tasted BAD, it would have been easier to acclimate oneself to. i could have rationalized: this is bad food, ergo i do not like it. but no, in fact, it was just... weird. and therefore disturbing on a seriously fundamental level.

i'm pretty sure you're not hallucinating, anyway. my point. :)

Ooh. Snow lobster. I remember this. It was not bad. But it felt very weird. And wrong. Even though it was tasty, it *felt wrong*. Yes. That.

I'd say there's definitely a disconnect, and why I've never done more than dabble in most of the big Old Skool Fandoms. Even if I like the show and the characters, a lot of the older fic is based on ideas about storytelling, sexuality and romance that I don't quite relate to.

However, I came across most of it in my early days here. I can imagine that going backward must be a little unsettling.

Also, Due South is especially weird, as I'd say it sits right in the middle between old and new, as a show and as a fandom.