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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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this is about some stories
children of dune - leto 1
This is vaguely in relation to the culture shock thing I was having in dS, but also something I was pondering due to the ten million or so conversations in there in community influence.

Meta, to me, is mental fanfic of a kind--you take the ideas (characters) and work out a reason for interaction (plot), then use what you have read (canon) to hold it together. Occasionally other people's theories as well (fanon). In a very loose way. I am not good at it, because I don't read it often enough to get into the flow of ideas (ie, I am not part of the fandom of meta). I am an interpretive community of one (tm cathexys), so to speak. I have no idea how to generalize outside myself as a.) wow, bad idea, b.) no, seriously, bad idea and c.) I can't explain the ocean.

That's why I can't explain this.

For me, community plays a key role in pretty much everything, from how I view the text, read the text, discuss the text, to how I argue against the text. Depending on time, place, the state of caffeine in my bloodstream, and whether I've had this argument before, it can influence how I interpret the text via fanfic. It's not so much agreement by majority, though I won't lie, majority is freaking influential both consciously and unconsciously. Leather pants fic hit every freaking fandom for a reason, no matter how strange. Every. Fandom. Has Leather Pants fic.

That's community influence. Leather pants.

So that long lead in to this: I'm weirded out that I got hit, extremely hard, in that epic way fic does when you just live and die on it and want to rec it everywhere and talk about it with everyone, by two fic that I ran across that was linked from a rec page but did not say "Also, this is going to be that one fic you have been looking for" which I find unfair. And I'm not at all sure why. Because for me, as a rule, I require both personal input (god that was good) combined with community involvement (and everything that entails).

It's not that I've loved every fanfic that broke fandom. But I don't tend to collapse over fic when there is a total lack of any kind of community context. A fic usually hits for me in this particular way because it's fantastic, because it is being discussed (so I can indulge myself), and because it speaks to the fannish community in the text in some way, in whatever arguments the community is having over whatever. Like thete1's Past Grief (apocafic, an evil Superman, debates over good and evil and his actions and/or lack of actions in the text, blah blah blah), or samdonne's Cowboys fics (Sheppard's motivation, personality, right and wrong, limits of family and friendship, the list goes on), and etcetera.

So I was really surprised to find two dS stories that had that effect when I don't have community context to work with or against, or heck, have anything to work period since I'm not part of the community either at the time of writing or technically, right now. I have to think there's some universal theme going on that they are speaking to in a very big way, but for fanfic, for me, they shouldn't without context.

And because I'm sure someone wants to know, below cut are the fics in question.

Gladly Beyond by glossing

Surviving by lalejandra

You know, this is far too much meta in two weeks. I need to return to porn now.

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I didn't understand the culture shock post (I mean, I didn't understand what you meant, not "understand" like I didn't understand how you could think that), but I think I sort of understand this one.

But I'm curious. Why does fanfic need to (well, or why did you previously think it needed to) exist within the context of fandom discussion and overall fandom themes in order for it to hit you as being that powerful? Does original fic? This is not a rhetorical question or a "how can you think that way" -- I'm honestly just curious. I find fic all the time that, with no fandom context or even other context, just blows me away, makes me want to hug it and keep it and make everyone I know sit down and read it right now. Grace's "Life (Sometimes it Washes Over Me" in SGA, for instance, which I read long before I was involved in the fandom.

Also, re: the leather pants fic (and this is almost certainly irrelevant, since it was just an example and I get what you mean by it), I'm thinking that the reason every fandom has leather pants fic is because there are so many people who dig leather pants, and leather pants mean something in the broader societal context, not because of a specifically fandom community influence. I would think of a fandom community influence being responsible for things like the prevalence of, say, bottom!John in SGA fic, or puppy!Sam in SPN fic, not the existence of them.

Am I making sense? I don't know. I think I need coffee.

Because fanfic is part of the community and the ones I have that specific type of reaction to are because of community. I've read pro novels and short stories that totally blow my mind, but that's apples and oranges.

Part of the fun of fanfic isn't just the story--there's a meta value to it that attracts me as well. Without the community/meta component, it's closer to being original fiction than fanfic for me. That doesn't make it lesser or anything, but in that case, I don't react as a fan, just as a reader. The double hit of fan + reader are what I like best about reading fanfic.

You know, there's just such an amazing amount of outstanding fic in DS that there's a lot that does stand on its own merits. It's been interesting to come to the fandom more recently, because it is still so very active, and the conversations about old fics will still happen in, for example, ds_recsredux.

I do love Lalejandra's fic, too. I think The One for me is rattlecatcher's All the Comforts of Home. There is a "fic that broke fandom" in DS, but when I read it I couldn't buy the character motivations so it just didn't work for me.

You know, this is far too much meta in two weeks. I need to return to porn now.

Not a bad thing! May I suggest these and these. :-)

Email me the title? *curious* Of that fic?

I'm still going through the ones I read and liked and was confused by to mark for re-reading later. Getting more adapted to first person is helping a little (I'm just not used to it), but I think basically consistent exposure is going to do the rest.

Messaged you.

Yes, way more 1st person than most fandoms! But as others have said, their voices are so distinct there's not that much difference between 1st person an tight POV 3rd in this fandom.

22.2 percent of the fic I've read so far is first person, actually. I need to redo the equations to be sure. That is a *lot*.


I would guesstimate that ~15% of the fics on my DS recs pages are 1st person, if that many. I'm pulling that out of my bum, though, not being as scarily organized as you are. :-)

Oh, also, have you seen AuKestrel's POV post? Interesting to chew on.

After you get tired of porn, of course. La, la, la ...

It's interesting reading how your experience with the community reaction to a fic influences and deepens your own reaction to reading that fic (if I read your post correctly), because for me I think I have the opposite reaction. I often read lots of fic in fandom-of-one isolation (like you're doing now) when I first get into a fandom, and then when I run out of fic I start following meta comms or reading authors' ljs. So when I first read The End of the Road, I read it in isolation, having no idea of the ending. After suffering through the GIANT HEARTBREAK of it, I started coming across posts later where people felt exactly the same way I did! They had the same reading experience! They even wrote smart meta about it! These were my people!

So for me, fandom meta about fic acts as a reinforcer of my own sense of belonging in fandom. Reading fic, and then reading meta about that fic, deepens my relationship with fandom, but really doesn't affect my own reading experience (if I chance to read some meta before I read the fic).

I can love a fic to distraction without having meta-level thoughts on what it's saying, if that makes sense. That's why I love the community aspect and what makes fanfic a completely different animal for me than original fic. If a fic hits while I'm in the fandom and I read along with everyone, and critical mass is reached in people who are reading teh same way, or nearly that I am, that addresses both fanon or fannish themes as well as source themes and sometimes even universal themes--that's like a drug. It's the one thing original fic reading cannot give me.

Maybe the stories work because direct and conscious involvement with the community isn't always entirely necessary? I guess I mean that having mainlined the episodes and read an astonishing amount of fanfic in a dizzyingly short period of time might be enough to earn your Obsessive Fan Merit Badge. The episodes give you the text and the fanfic is a distillation and concentration of community fandom since the beginning the show. This might be enough involvment and context for a story which deals with characters and themes in a more universal way.

And leather pants, hmmm...now I'm trying to imagine Nero Wolfe in leather pants...

*looks at log* 269 and counting at this point, not including re-reads. I am totally an obsessive fan. I glut. And I'm not even hitting the AUs or theme groups yet!

Everyone looks good in leather pants. That is a Law. At least, in fanfic they do.

OMG, I've done the same in all my fandoms. I started reading SGA fic before ever watching the show (I was a bit of an SG-1 purist) and just couldn't stop - hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of fics for hours and hours and hours - my eyes were bleeding and not just from the bad fic. And when I finally did watch the show I was all "So, where are the penguins?"

Hee! When I came to SGA, there was only one season, and I'd read like, *one* fic, so I watched the season in three days and then hit ship_recs when she was still around and went about it categorically.

It is an *awesome* high.

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