Branching to other fandoms

Cheating on Star Trek???

In response to Blog Prompt #8,  my main participation in other fandoms is in reading or in viewing. I know of fan fiction works in any number of other fandoms (they’re all over fanfiction.net), but I don’t find myself participating in them. Rather, I step back and mostly leave it to the professionals.

Hobbit/LOTR

But not completely, as I’ve recently done some informal beta reading of some Bilbo/Thorin slash in the Hobbit universe.

Thorin meets Bilbo
Thorin meets Bilbo

In all honesty, I’m not so sure how I feel about it. I like my friend’s work, and I think it’s respectful and true to the characters. The voices seem authentic, even if the actions seem less so. Slash doesn’t make me squeamish, but I think this may bug me a tad as these are characters I read about when I was very young (as in, if memory serves, eight years old). Also knowing enough of Tolkein’s motivations – he had wanted to write a boy’s adventure story and he’s not much for female characters. Hence there are a lot of guys.

It makes me wonder if the times had been different, if we wouldn’t see slash arising from classic war pictures. E. g. Stalag 17 or The Great Escape or The Longest Day. Some of this may be why I’m so drawn to developing and realizing historical crossovers, e. g. Concord and Day of the Dead.

Does it inspire me? I’ve been checking out Game of Thrones a bit recently, and that, coupled with listening to Jane Austen’s Emma on podcast, is starting to creep into the language and speech patterns I use for some characters, particularly for Vulcans. I often have major issues with writing Vulcans unless I logically impair them somehow. But giving them Regency speech patterns seems to be assisting with that. I don’t know if that’s inspiration for me. Perhaps a more descriptive term would be a paradigm shift. So maybe I’ll finally get better at writing standard-form Vulcans, and will give them more dialogue than just saying that something is logical or fascinating.

Why Haven’t I Leaped?

The only other fandom where I was actually inspired to write anything (but never finished it, alas), is Quantum Leap.

Cover of Quantum Leap#10, art by C. Winston Taylor
Cover of Quantum Leap#10, art by C. Winston Taylor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beyond enjoying the show, I did start to write a story, about a stockbroker at the time of the 1987 crash. I recall the guy was African-American and his name was Jordan something or other (like Gordon Gekko, huh) and was called Jordo. He was going to find his happy ending by quitting and taking up with the woman who worked at the local coffee shop, if I am remembering it all correctly.

I was never inspired to finish it, although I did create the HG Wells stories as a kind of anti-Quantum Leap. The idea is to be where people (almost like Sam and Al) try to improve the future by ‘fixing’ the past.

I decided that the idea is, ultimately, an arrogant one. What if the fixing screwed everything else up, making it even worse?

But as for the actual fandom story, no, it died a long, long time ago and was never revived. I’m not even so sure why I selected the main A story for it, but I know I was keeping with their canon, which puts Beckett’s leaps into about 1953 to 2010 or so. But truly, the 1987 crash was not that compelling a news flash, at least not for this sort of drama.

Upshot

I’m a fan of any number of works. I’ll watch James Bond films on a rainy day, or the Planet of the Apes movies, or Star Wars. I don’t run to turn off Doctor Who or Red Dwarf. I still love everything I’ve seen of Peter Jackson’s take on the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, even though I’ve watched much of it multiple times.

But none of them move me to write, or at least to finish. And none of them have inspired me to such creativity as Trek does.

I guess this is just the universe that speaks to me the most, and the best, and the clearest. This is the one that tells me to write.

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14 thoughts on “Branching to other fandoms”

  1. Awesome answer! It’s fascinating to me, being a member of other fandoms, how Star Trek in particular has a bunch of authors who do only Trek. It’s actually sort of unique in that sense. (Though, fanfiction.net is probably one of the worst places in the universe to go looking for good stories in other fandoms. 😉 )

    1. Aw, thanks.

      There’s definitely a quality gap there, oy. I get a lot better and more comprehensive constructive criticism at Ad Astra, that’s for sure, than there. But golly – there are tons of works on things like Naruto (huh?), Gossip Girl, etc.

      I suspect the Trekverse holds our attentions so well because it’s rather sprawling, and it’s been around for over 4 1/2 decades. Hence there’s tons to write, plus there are tons of gaps to fill. A lot of fan fic, as you know, is gap-filling in nature. No Romulan War? Hell, we’ll just write one!

  2. An interiguing answer Jespah,
    It is strange that while I like QL as well,
    I’ve never felt the urge to write any fan fiction for it.
    I must get around to answering this Blog prompt soon.

    1. I think there’s a lot of overlap between the QL and Trek fan bases. It’s probably one of the reasons why Scott Bakula was hired in the first place. Looking forward to seeing your response!

  3. *blush* I think the friend messing with your Tolkien childhood heroes is me 🙂 I really appreciate all your support, and I understand how reading slash involving characters you’ve read about as a child can be a bit… uncomfortable. Maybe if I had read about them in my early years, I wouldn’t have been able to write that. But for me Tolkien came along when I was already a young adult. Even so, the idea of Thorin and Bilbo being more than just friends seemed yucky at first to me, but then I read a few good pieces of fan fiction and got converted.

    1. It’s definitely grown on me (and yeah, I was thinking about you when I initially blogged this). I do think it’s me, though, having read these books as a child. But it’s also Tolkein, who barely wrote anyone with sexuality of any sort. I know it was another time, and The Hobbit in particular was written for kids, but it does seem … weird … for so many nonsexual characters to be around. Then again, Winnie the Pooh suffers similarly; the only character who seems to have sexuality/love or anything grownup is Kanga, as she’s a mother. No mention, of course, of how or why she is one. And Roo has no father to speak of.

      My God, I’m now psychoanalyzing childhood favorites. Stay tuned as I rip apart The Wizard of Oz. 😉

      1. Hey, nothing wrong with that :))

        Yeah, it is strange for people in Middle-Earth to be that disinterested. On the bright side, it leaves fan fic writers room to explore. It can feel a bit disconcerting that there’s very little canon information to go on, but that also means we get to do more creative work, which is good. And well, with so few women around, who’s to say that alternatives wouldn’t be considered?

        1. Most definitely. Hell, Arwen/Aragorn is essentially a footnote in canon. I think Peter Jackson and his team are pretty damned amazing in that they’ve made the whole thing resonate with today’s audiences. Tauriel aside (as she’s an obvious, “hey, he’s not gay, girls!” love interest for Kili), the expansion they’ve done absolutely enhances the originals and drags them, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. Professional fan fiction, that.

          1. I agree entirely! I see a lot of Tolkienites whining about Peter Jackson’s movies. I absolutely think that he improves upon the original, enhancing the good and doing away with the not-so-hot. And, to me, this is most obvious in the Hobbit movies, which simply have a better story than the book – the characters have actual motivations that we can relate to and they are people that we can care about. People also whine about how they can’t tell the dwarves apart. Well, they don’t each get to deliver memorable speeches, but at least they look differently and they have different backgrounds/weapons/preoccupations. There was not much more than names and hood colors in the book.

          2. Oh yeah, the book. I do remember FIli and Kili and of course Thorin in the book. After that, I don’t think I remember anyone – and I reread all of the books a few years ago! The only other bit that I enjoyed was the tie-back where, on Balin’s grave, in LOTR-FOTR it says Balin, son of Fundi and that’s (correct me if I’m wrong) Gimli’s father. So that is how he learns his father is dead, and Moria has been overrun.

            Tolkein really suffered from having too many characters and not enough differentiation.

          3. Actually, no – God, I feel like such a nerd right now – Gimli’s father is Gloin, who’s also in the Company. Gloin is actually Balin’s cousin, which also makes Balin Gimli’s cousin. As the Fellowship goes into Moria, Gimli refers to Balin as “my cousin Balin”.

            I’d read the Hobbit book a few years before seeing the movie and the one detail that I had conveniently forgotten was that Thorin and his cute nephews die at the end. I enthusiastically picked it up again after seeing the movie. Imagine my surprise when I got to that part. After all the hype about the line of Durin not being so easily broken, I discover that the Professor has actually killed all of them off. Great. That makes a lot of sense.

          4. So the memorable guys were killed off? Eek, chalk it up to another round of Tolkein knowing when to do the wrong thing.

            Don’t get me wrong; he (generally) wrote beautifully and the world-building is astounding, but he never seemed to meet an action sequence or a romance that he wouldn’t relegate to footnotes, in favor of endless weird poems and songs.

  4. An intriguing answer jespah. I’ve never ventured beyond Trek for my fan fiction kicks it has to be said. I think a large part of it is that even in my Trek fan fiction I don’t normally go near the canon character reads unless it’s high quality stuff particularly if it is TOS a show I never wholly saw. So in that case it is a matter of reading materials from say Steff, Gatekeeper or Lil black dog writing. As for the TNG era and DS9 and VOY I’m not so interested in reading their stories that did not make it to screen, unless perhaps it is exploring what happens next after the series finished. But to my own mind, the fact that there is so much potential for that time frame is not limited to canon characters but to the development of OC characters and crews. Therefore, I prefer OC characters fully realised and quality like. The ENT is a different kettle of fish. It didn’t get the love it should have during its run so it deserves love now it is over. Also there’s so much of its story that is untold – the Romulan War not least of all, making it a rich vein of storytelling. In a way, it is akin to TOS in that all of its promise can be better realised in prose with character exploration and ramifications played out.

    I guess this is the thing about Trek, it isn’t limited to writing about canon characters alone or to various shipdoms. It can be about new directions, new characters and these creations do not necessarily face the Mary-Sue shout down that appears on reading to happen in other fandoms. It may just be a matter of finding a particularly safe niche that allows people to explore OC creations in other fandoms. Other fandoms don’t quite inspire me to write OC stuff partly because they seem limited to their canon characters. So for example, Lost is about the Losties (Jack, Kate and Sawyer) not about unnamed beach bum hanging around in the background. Likewise, Orphan Black and Person of Interest, compelling shows for me but not inspiring in that sense. Likewise, Doctor Who. I enjoy the adventures but never feel like writing a fan fiction based on it (maybe, just maybe the new Doctor may inspire something).

    I think the likes of Star Wars has the potential to have this kind of exploration but there doesn’t seem to be the same host of OC universe about it and of course until recent it has laboured under the mass of canon from published works too. I’ve seen computer games spawn fan fictions and RPGs and that does intrigue save for the fact that I don’t play computer games. SO once again I return to the safety and rich potential of Trek. Safe harbours perhaps.

    Mind, there is just a possibility of Firefly verse potentials. In a way, my civvies (Tabatha Chase and Beks Knight) are contenders that sort of take inspiration from the likes of Firefly. So maybe that’s something to check out…

    1. Hmmm maybe maybe. It’s funny; on the bus coming home tonight, two crew-type guys (probably Boston College students) were talking about how there should be a story about Alex Trebek of Jeopardy fame going against Pat Sajak (Wheel of Fortune) as archenemies, or possibly working together to fight crime. And now I’ve suddenly got Game Show fan fiction on the brain.

      The world is one seriously wacky place. Thanks for the comment!

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