Currently browsing tag

Star Trek

[QUOTE] From Homophobia, heteronormativity, and slash fan fiction | April S. Callis | Transformative Works and Cultures

Social science research has pointed to a gradual lessening of both homophobia and heteronormativity in the United States since the 1970s. That this lessening is mirrored in K/S fan fiction points to the utility of fan fiction as a lens through which to study society. While writers of slash fan fiction might be, on the whole, more accepting of nonheterosexuality than their nonslash-writing peers, these individuals are still clearly influenced by normative cultural expectations. Therefore, a study of slash fan fiction across the decades could also point to changes in how sexual identity is understood, how roles within relationships should be articulated, or even in our understanding of what is sexually pleasurable. Thus, studying changing US norms of gender and sexuality through slash fan fiction is a fruitful—dare I say logical—endeavor.

Homophobia, heteronormativity, and slash fan fiction | April S. Callis | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2dnmWHi

[QUOTE] From Casey Fiesler, Everything I Need To Know I Learned from Fandom: How Existing Social Norms Can Help Shape the Next Generation of User-Generated Content, p173

The idea of fan cultures, or “fandoms,” cultivating fan fiction writers began at the earliest in the 1920s with societies dedicated to Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes, but took off in the late 1960s with the advent of Star Trek fanzines. The negative stereotype of“fans today is that of obsessed geeks, like “Trekkies, who love nothing more than to watch the same installments over and over…” However, this represents a core misunderstanding of what it is to be a fan: that is, to have the“ability to transform personal reaction into social interaction, spectatorial culture into participatory culture… not by being a regular viewer of a particular program but by translating that viewing into some kind of cultural activity.” Henry Jenkins, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and expert on fan culture, likens fan fiction to the story of The Velveteen Rabbit: that the investment in something is what gives it a meaning rather than any intrinsic merits or economic value. For fans who invest in a television show, book, or movie, that investment sparks production, and reading or viewing sparks writing, until the two are inseparable. They are not watching the same thing over and over, but rather are creating something new instead.

Casey Fiesler, Everything I Need To Know I Learned from Fandom: How Existing Social Norms Can Help Shape the Next Generation of User-Generated Content, p735

Update: Now with link to an open access version of the paper and correct page, apologies for the typo.

[META] completelysane: On a slightly related note – this! The Fan Phenomena series by Intellect Books is out – or at least some of them. They take an academic approach to fandom but are designed to be accessible to the average reader, and discuss fandom, cosplay, new media, and pop culture. I helped work on these – very briefly. Other titles not pictured (because I gave the postcards to comic shops) are Batman and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Twin Peaks and Buffy are out now, with the others coming soon. You can order them from Intellect, the University of Chicago, or Amazon.

completelysane: On a slightly related note – this! The Fan Phenomena series by Intellect Books is out – or at least some of them. They take an academic approach to fandom but are designed to be accessible to the average reader, and discuss fandom, cosplay, new media, and pop culture. I helped work on these – very briefly. Other titles not pictured (because I gave the postcards to comic shops) are Batman and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Twin Peaks and Buffy are out now, with the others coming soon. You can order them from Intellect, the University of Chicago, or Amazon.

[META] Worldcon, Not Just Literature

This is the second in a series of posts by Emma England on fannish issues surrounding Worldcon, the longest running science fiction and fantasy convention in the world. Emma is the 2014 Worldcon academic track organizer and is currently researching the history of conventions. The first post introduced Worldcon; this post debunks the myth that “traditional” conventions are only about literature.

Fan history is a disparate venture, with fans and scholars often limiting their explorations to that which interests them, as everyone does. A result of this is that many (but by no means all) people believe that media fans have never been welcome at Worldcon and that media was never a part of it as a traditional con. There may be a predominance of literature Guests of Honor, but the historical records prove that film and TV are part of Worldcon history (with comics getting their first dedicated panel in 1966). Worldcon is part of media fandom history. Some significant examples demonstrate this:

  • There was a screening of The Lost World followed by a Masquerade Party (costuming, early cosplay) at Denvention I, the 3rd Worldcon, in Denver, 1941.
  • The Day The Earth Stood Still had an advanced screening for attendees of Nolacon I, the 9th Worldcon in New Orleans, 1951.
  • Star Trek screenings were included on the Tricon program at the 24th Worldcon in Cleveland, 1966.
  • Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, gave a talk entitled “To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before” at Baycon, the 26th Worldcon in Oakland, 1968. In the program book there is a full-page ad “from Roddenberry” thanking Worldcon attendees for their support of Star Trek. Amusingly, there is also a quarter-page ad claiming “SPOCK is a bad lay.” With the words: “This ad was sponsored by the committee to nominate Patrick McGoohan and ‘The Prisoner’ for a HUGO.”
  • Ray Harryhausen, the groundbreaking Visual Effects Designer, was a Guest of Honor at Conspiracy ’87, the 45th Worldcon at Brighton, England, 1987.
  • Roger Corman, the famous horror movie director, was a Guest of Honor at L.A. Con III, Anaheim, 1996.
  • J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, was Special Guest at Bucconeer, the 56th Worldcon in Baltimore, 1998 and the following Worldcon, Aussiecon Three in 1999 in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Frankie Thomas, the actor in the early science fiction series Space Cadet, was Special Guest at L.A. Con IV, Anaheim 2006.

Additionally, the Hugo Awards have given awards for Best Dramatic Presentation, in various formats, every year since 1958 (except 1964 and 1966). Winners have included episodes of The Twilight Zone, Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica (reimagining) and movies such as A Clockwork Orange, Star Wars, and Inception.

It is also worth noting that Worldcon has, in most programs throughout its history, included plays, ballets, bands, and numerous other art forms based around science fiction and fantasy.

If Worldcon has historically included media, why is there an apparent separation in contemporary fandoms and fan analysis? Why did Star Trek fans start their own conventions, with many claiming that they no longer felt welcome at Worldcon and other traditional cons and club meetings? A common answer is “gender and snobbery,” but there are alternative answers, although these are not mutually exclusive. Reasons for the separation may include the idea that types of fannish activities are valued differently; a critical mass of fans for one specific show/author/medium leads to a separation (as well as Star Trek conventions, Tolkien, comics etc had their own meetings and events) to maintain pre-existing diversity of the original event while enabling more focused activities around the new fandom; and some fans are more interested in going to conventions only of their specific subject.

Whatever the reasons are for the seeming separation of fandoms, it is true today that it is possible to be in a fandom for one specific TV show, book series, comics franchise, and so on without having much, if anything, to do with other fandoms. In reality, however, it is rare that fans only enjoy one text, or even type of work. Few fans are only interested in reading books or watching movies.

A challenge for Worldcon today is what direction to take the convention in: should organizers expand and overtly reach out to fans who would not normally attend a traditional con and who may bring their own “non-traditional” fan practices and (fan-)demographics; should Worldcon stick with the current attendees and format, thereby maintaining traditions; or is there a middle way that encourages media fan attendance by acknowledging the traditions of Worldcon and, perhaps, media’s place within it?

Currently, site-selection is in progress for Worldcon 2015 and the three options could be seen as representing different approaches to the challenge of identity and the marketing of Worldcon. This challenge will be discussed in the next post in this series.

[QUOTE] From Henry Jenkins, Fans, Gamers, and Bloggers, p72

When I try to explain slash to non-fans, I often reference that moment in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan where Spock is dying and Kirk stands there, a wall of glass separating the two longtime buddies.

Both of them are reaching out towards each other, their hands pressed hard against the glass, trying to establish physical contact. They both have so much they want to say and so little time to say it. Spock calls Kirk his friend, the fullest expression of their feelings anywhere in the series. Almost everyone who watches the scene feels the passion the two men share, the hunger for something more than what they are allowed. And, I tell my nonfan listeners, slash is what happens when you take away the glass. The glass, for me, is often more social than physical; the glass represents those aspects of traditional masculinity which prevent emotional expressiveness or physical intimacy between men, which block the possibility of true male friendship. Slash is what happens when you take away those barriers and imagine what a new kind of male friendship might look like. One of the most exciting things about slash is that it teaches us how to recognize the signs of emotional caring beneath all the masks by which traditional male culture seeks to repress or hide those feelings.

Crosspost: fanhackers.tumblr.com/post/44417837544/when-i-try-to-explain-slash-to-non-fans-i-often

[REQUEST] Question: J.J. Abrams on Women & Star Trek

This may be a bit too out there, but I’ve been trying to find a throw-away statement by J.J. Abrams regarding the relationship of Star Trek and female fans. I saw it on my flist, but can’t find it again, nor by googling. It was something to the effect of “we put a birth into the reboot in order to appeal to women”? Context is that I’ve been reading on early Star Trek zine history and the split between “media” and “SFF fandom”, and it would be deliciously ironic (and, lbr, tears-inducing) to contrast Abram’s utter cluelessness/erasure with the actual history of Trek fandom. If that quote exists and I didn’t just hallucinate it all!