Sweet Trouble

Rants, raves, book reviews and one girl's thoughts on life, the universe and everything.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Fan Fiction Free For All

What is Fan Fiction you ask? It is a strange phenomena that has been sweeping conventions for years and has reached new levels of accessability on that strange beast known as the world wide web. Fan Fiction, of Fan Fic, is just what it sounds like. They are stories, novels, vignettes and songs based on licensed characters from movies, books, comics and television shows. All are written for fun and not for profit, and usually have disclaimers to that effect in their forward so that whoever owns said licensed property won't feel the need to hunt down the author and sue them.

If you are a fan of ANYTHING, chances are there are fics out there for you to read. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. Some of it is better than the source material it is based on, and in others the only thing you will recognize are the names. Still, if you can't wait till Episode III, or hate what Devin's done to Dick, or happen to be pining for a Scooby Gang reunion...well, its out there and it is free!

One of the best places to start is www.fanfiction.net, they have a little bit of everything. Now, I've heard from authors that it isn't always a friendly place to post, but for readers that isn't a problem. Once you've gotten your feet wet you can try searching for specific terms on google or yahoo. Before you get away from me and trying to search out some obscure A-Team or Night Rider fan fic to recapture the glory days of childhood, let me warn you about one thing. There are some terms you need to know before you go plunging into this bizarre land of never aired tales. The most important thing to keep an eye out for is "Slash" fiction. You may see it written as m/f, m/m, or f/f. Those m's and f's stand for males and females, folks, and the slashes...well, are usually indicative of AT LEAST a pg-13 rating. If male on male stuff bugs ya, well, I warned you here first. Funny how that Batman and Robin thing goes a bit past being a father and son relationship in certain authors hands.

Another term, one less frightening if equally confusing, that you might run across is "shipper." The is usually a term that an author will apply to themselves. Say you have a Farscape fan who roots, not for Aeryn and John, but a more unusual pairing like Aeryn and Crais (or John and Crais.) They would be a "shipper," which is a strange mangling of relationship that I've only seen crop up in Fan Fic circles. There are whole websites devoted to "shippers" in various fandoms. Batman and Wonder Woman have them, heck, even the Admiral and Col. Mackenzie from JAG have them.

Curious yet? You should be. All of this and more is at the tip of your fingers. If FanFiction.net is too overwhelming for you, I have included links to my favorites in a new link section to the right. Happy Hunting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Reading Aloud!

I apparently have a passion for books. Aside from my initial post everything has been fairly book oriented. I keep meaning to give a review for the latest Battelstar Galactica, or Justice League Unlimited, but everything keeps coming back to books.

I am currently engrossed in Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook. It is fascinating! He has a very nice website as well: http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/ If there any children in your life, please check this out.

I'll be back soon with more scinitlating remarks on popular literature, but not till I finish this wonderful book.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Princess vs the Mediator

Meg Cabot, of Princess Diary fame, has written about more than Princess Mia. Her geeky girl turned royalty series captured the imagination of many a tween (and Disney studios.) Surprisingly, these admitedly fun books aren't her best work! Protaganist Princess Mia is like fluffy pink cotton candy when compared to the rich chocolate mousse of the lead characters in the Mediator and 1-800-Where-R-You series. Or maybe those ladies are more like Ruby Tuesday's Chocolate Tall Cake, that glorious connfection of devil's food cake and chocolate mousse topped with caramel, ice cream, oreos, fudge sauce and whipped cream. Mmmm.

But I digress. In any case, I think it is a shame that Cabot's most famous novels aren't actually her best. If you have a teenager in your life who enjoys a good read, be sure to give her a copy of Cabot's Teen Idol, or All-American Girl. Each of these stand-alone novels feature spunky everyman characters. Of course in this case they are everywoman, which, in my opinion is all the better. Don't hesitate to read these gems yourself. I've found more and more that there are great literary treasures to be found in the young adult and teenage sections of your local bookstore or libary. If you aren't quite brave enough to venture into the kiddie sections, never fear! Meg has made forays into adult lit, too. Look for Boy Meets Girl, or Every Boy's Got one in the big girl's romance sections.

Since you are reading this blog on a computer in the first place, you may also be interested in Meg's message board, co-moderated by another great author, Tamora Pierce. http://www.sheroescentral.com/ and sister site http://www.sheroesfans.com/ are all about grrl power, and offer discussion forums for fans of the books, as well as empowering tidbits and facts about women through the ages.

I haveto admit that I have not yet read any of the adult books I've listed here. They are on my "to read list," but will have to wait. Right now I'm head to Ruby Tuesday's for a Chocolate Tall Cake. Mmmm.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

T is for "Times, they are a Changin'"

I read a book this weekend. Not a exactly an unusual event in our household, to be sure. I'm not going to put it, or any of it's many sequel's up on my list because it is the kind of book that has already reached market awareness. You won't need my help to find it, heck, there are probably little paperback versions at your local grocery store.

The book was "A is for Alibi," the first of Sue Grafton's Alphabet Murders. Back in early December my Grandmother gave me F-R of the series. She likes to give away her books when she has finished them, and I usually like any book I don't have to buy myself. It is a good system for both of us. I only got around to hunting down book "A" on my last trip to the library, thinking that I should make the most of things and start at the begining. The book iself was quite surprising: the heroine was not terrible likeable, the mystery was only sort of interesting, the sideplot was filler and I guessed whodunit barely a third of the way into the book. I even guessed one of three very mild twists. On top of all of that the whole thing is very dated.

"A is for Alibi" was published in the mid-eighties, and it is very apparent. Great chunks of narrative are spent on the heroine's forwarding of phone calls, checking messages and getting sources to look up information for her. In this era of internet peole search and cell phones it all seems quite preposterous and just a little bit aggravating. All of this left me with three thoughtsdirectly concerning the books: the first was "do I really want to slog through 25 more of these?" followed rapidly by "but I already have so many of them, it seems a waste not to." Then I began to wonder "surely they must get better to be so popular" which I know isn't quite true, after all, look at success of John Grisham's books or The DaVinci Code which are all written toward the lowest common demoninator.

My other thoughts had more do with society, rather than directly with the books. We've all heard about the gently old folks who experienced so much in their lifetimes. Our great-grandparents who adapted to cars and televisions, airplanes and men on the moon. Well, I've got news for you...that is going to be us! If I can read a book that was written when I was in middle-school and it feels like itwas written in the stone ages, then that is a major clue that times, they are a changin'! Start making a list of things that you've seen adapted in just the past fifteen years and you will see what I mean.

I just hope I never hear myslf say "Well, in my day, I had to read the whole book in print. I even turned the pages by hand...as I was walking both ways to school. In the snow. Uphill."