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Random Notes for Research Projects

1) I've been rereading Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern books for comfort, and the last time I did that I was really frustrated with the unrelenting dubcon of the 1960s. Yes, I understand that sex scenes had to be done that way until, like, the 80s or whatever, but still. There's actually a couple of lines in "Dragonflight" where F'lar thinks with regret about Lessa being a virgin when their dragons mated and so what he had done wasn't much better than rape--which, yay, hero, glad you got that--but then this becomes a point of romantic obstruction. Also the whole thing with how the Blue and Green dragonriders "have to be" gay that's incredibly awkward subtext because of McCaffrey's incredibly problematic view of homosexuality.

2) I worked on and sent off edits for my fanfiction and book history essay that's coming out in September (!). The reviewer wanted me to remove the bit about fanzines-as-samizdats, which is simultaneously a common, unexamined, and problematic view, which is to say that people argue that fanzines aren't samizdats because they aren't political and there aren't ramifications about their publishing. Except this is contrary to a long-held view about maintaining fan anonymity even of historical work where people used their real names because they didn't ever think they would get "published" (even if a zine has 1000 copies) that 1) emphasizes that whole public/private divide in a gendered way, and 2) ignores anxiety about doxxing. So basically fandom isn't dangerous until it's dangerous.

I'm still mentally sorting that one out.

2a) All of the anxiety about fan anonymity, from print zines to kink memes.


( 5 comments — Add your .02 )
Feb. 9th, 2017 09:20 pm (UTC)
I think one thing that's hard for people to get now is that even if a zine had 1000 copies, they were being sold to such a closed circle of people, through other zines, so it felt intimate even if you didn't know everyone. No one had any reason to out anybody, and you couldn't do it without outing yourself as a zine reader, so if it ever happened, I don't think anyone knew about it. Nobody ever thought then that there would be an online to put fanfic on. And in the early days of the internet, with fanfic on web sites, most people didn't realize how searchable the net would become.

I still remember being in early Live Journal fandom, and the shock when people started outing fanfic writers (including me) because they were mad at you for writing the wrong otp or whatever. And the people who would take other fans' vids and stories and hand them to actors at cons, when just a few years ago people were losing their web sites to DMC notices.

It's really changed my perception of fandom. I remember one of the people who got her vids handed to actors without her permission said basically that you think that the person who's going to get you sued and ruin your time in fandom is going to be a production company person or lawyer or something, but in reality it's going to be the fan sitting next to you. Now you have to keep that in mind the whole time.
Feb. 10th, 2017 01:02 am (UTC)
I can see the closed community aspect, and how it's also reflected in the zines themselves. One of the things that struck me a few years ago after Ficgate was people advocating for going back to zines as a "true" closed community. But then, you have fanzines, or "fan books" as they are called now, being funded through Kickstarter, and there's a Steve/Bucky one that just got funded for over $80k by 2000 people. Which, dude.

I like your point about the anxieties shifting from producers to fans a lot. It's been interesting to me watching semi-regular site purges shift to closed comms to avoid that, and then a reluctant acceptance of fan behavior--I'm thinking of Outlander fandom in particular because Diana Gabaldon used to be crazypants about going after fan writers, but with the tv show either she gave up on it or they straight-up told her not to do it, because now she never refers to it at all@

Edited at 2017-02-10 01:02 am (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2017 02:44 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's really changed. Making more than a little seed money off a zine used to be something you tried to avoid, and it was pretty easy to avoid since it was so expensive to produce them.
Feb. 9th, 2017 11:50 pm (UTC)
Yeahhhh, Pern. I didn't think much of the problematic elements when I first read them as a pre-teen. Now they're something of a guilty pleasure because on the one hand, holy shit, Anne, what were you thinking?? And on the other hand TELEPATHIC DRAGONS SIGN ME UP. It's interesting the way her writing progressed over the decades. Her later heroines are so different from poor Lessa and Brekke; they enjoy sex without being evil! Her portrayal of gay men is still ... yeah. :\ She tried. (IIR, she never had any gay women in her books. At least, I can't think of a single example in all her 'verses.)
Feb. 10th, 2017 12:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think she had any lesbian characters. Apparently her son has been trying to write more diverse characters, but....I tried reading his books and couldn't do it, and got through his collaborations with Anne painfully. Which is kind of why the canon kinda closes with All the Weyrs of Pern for me.

But also, apparently Menolly was the character she wrote as most like herself, but also she based some of Robinton on her brother, which makes the Robinton/Menolly dynamic of White Dragon really fucking weird?????? Also gross(er).
( 5 comments — Add your .02 )

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