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Is professionally-published Fan Fiction the next victim of Betteridge's Law of Headlines?

Rachel Edidin asks: "Publishers Are Warming to Fan Fiction, But Can It Go Mainstream?"

Literary publishing’s uneasy relationship with fan fiction has been complicated by the realization that fandom is a huge potential market—one stocked with both prolific authors and enthusiastic readers. But tapping that market is a dilemma few publishers seem quite prepared to engage.

DragonCon parts with Ed Kramer

DragonCon has separated from its founder, Ed Kramer, who has been awaiting trial for sex crimes involving minors, and who received a large annual payout from the event. His continued financial interest in the event has been controversial for some time. Cory 4

My Own Private Westeros: hand-made scale model of Game of Thrones map

[Click to enlarge]. Mikeal is making an incredibly labor-intensive scale model of the Game of Thrones Westeros map, and you can watch him build it at his tumblr: myownprivatewesteros.tumblr.com. 3D-printed castle models, walls of putty, hand-painted rivers and hills. This guy is serious.

(Thanks, Tom Osborn)

Bronies and ultra-cult fandom

In a Wired report on the Brony Thank You Fund -- a project of My Little Pony fans, AKA Bronies, that used a homemade commercial to raise money for toys for the children of military servicepeople -- delves into the unlikely Brony fandom. It gets interesting when Wired's Angela Watercutter talks with an expert who describes Bronies as part of a new "ultra-cult" era:

Charles Soukup, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Northern Colorado, said that in today’s cultural landscape — where heretofore “cult” topics like science fiction and comic books have become mainstream entertainment — brony-ing up might be the best option for creating a unique identity and nerding out.

“It appears we are moving toward the ultra-cult era in which media consumers discover extremely unexpected and obscure media texts to cultivate uniqueness and distinctiveness for their mediated identities,” Soukup said in an email to Wired. “Bronies are a kind of perfect storm of this new ultra-cult media consumption as they combine an intense unexpectedness (adult male fans of television programs designed for little girls) with the status afforded arbiters discovering undiscovered or under-the-radar media products.”

But My Little Pony fans likely won’t stay under the radar much longer, and twenty-something female scientists might be the beginning.

Bronies’ TV Spot Shows Changing Face of My Little Pony Herd

Starlog Magazine: Crazy movie rumors before the Internet

Mike Ryan has a fun article about Starlog magazine in The Huffington Post.

"Starlog" was a glorious publication. In the mid-1980s, at a small-town newsstand in mid-Missouri, I had my first experience with "Starlog." This particular newsstand often carried back issues of comic books (most often "The Flash," for whatever reason), but one day I discovered a box full of "Starlog" magazines from the late '70s and early '80s that were practically being given away. Darth Vader himself was on one of the covers; I just had to own these.

Ryan spent the day at the library going through Starlog magazine and pulled some choice tidbits:

April 1979: As for why Chewbacca doesn't receive a medal at the end of "Star Wars," this is as good of an explanation as any other.

I think the reason the wook [sic] didn't get a medal was because Princess Leia simply isn't that tall. He could have received his after the ceremony.

April 1979: In an interview with Mark Hamill, he gives us an early view of the grumpy Harrison Ford we would all come to love. (Of course, it's hard to blame Ford in this situation.)

The problem was that we had been booked on a Sunday morning financial show. This guy was only interested in how the picture affected 20th Century Fox's stock, and to him we were just three dumbbell actors who got a lucky break. He finished up by saying, "I don't want to put you on edge or anything, but let me sum up by saying that it's certainly not Ingmar Bergman." I looked over at Harrison, and I could see the veins on his neck popping out.

June 1979: Author Harlan Ellison is not a fan of Mark Hamill.

Mr. Hamill's confusion about my attitude toward the little film in which he appeared is touching. Equally touching is his understanding of the unimportance of his opinions; would that have more of us had the sense and nobility to perceive our limitations. Since Mr, Hamill is, by his own admission, one who does not read books, I take it as a gesture of magnanimity not to further ridicule him: As a functional illiterate, Mr. Hamill does a good enough job on himself.

'Starlog' Magazine: Crazy Movie Rumors Before The Internet

Game of Thrones cosplay: a most excellent Daenerys Targaryen (photo)

Larger sizes here. Boing Boing reader jojo.edtan's Flickr stream is full of wonderful photographs of cosplayers, and he shared a bunch of great shots from the recent PAX Prime convention in our Boing Boing Flickr pool. Here's a "Game of Thrones" cosplayer, as the character Daenerys Targaryen. I'm afraid we don't know the name of the cosplayer herself, but I'll update the post if/when someone identifies her! More of jojo.edtan's Pax Prime shots here; more Game of Thrones cosplayers at that event here. Check out this one incredible shot of a cosplayer as courtesan Fiora Cavazza, a character from Assassin's Creed 3.

Can fandom change society? PBS video


[Video Link] PBS has been making great videos about online culture. This one about fandom is especiall good.

Before the mass media, people actively engaged with culture through storytelling and expanding well-known tales. Modern fan culture connects to this historical tradition, and has become a force that challenges social norms and accepted behavior. Whether the issue is gender, sexuality, subversiveness, or even intellectual property law, fans participate in communities that allow them to think outside of what is possible in more mainstream scenarios. "Fannish" behavior has become its own grassroots way of altering our society and culture, and a means of actively experiencing one's own culture. In a sense, fans have changed from the faceless adoring masses, to people who are proud of their identity and are stretching the boundaries of what is considered "normal."

Can Fandom Change Society? | Off Book | PBS

Vintage train fan excited about rare vintage train is the new "Double Rainbow" (video)

[Video Link] Double rainbow, all the way. Oh my god. (via Newley Purnell)

Update: CNN's Jeanne Moos uncovered the even funnier story behind "Double Trainbow," here. And the original it lovingly parodies, by "foamer" and excitable railfan Mark McDonough, is below. His YouTube channel is a thing of beauty.

Read the rest

Japanese "Lolita fashion" anime subculture in Mexico

REUTERS/Daniel Becerrill

Above, Alin Nava (C) stands in a checkout line at a supermarket in Monterrey April 5, 2012. Nava, 25, is dressed in the so-called "Lolita" fashion style (ロリータ・ファッション Rorīta fasshon), a fashion subculture from Japan influenced by clothing from the Victorian or Rococo eras. The basic style consists of a blouse, petticoat, bloomers, bell-shaped skirt and knee-high socks. Nava is the co-founder of the "Lolitas Paradise" club in Monterrey and for members of the club, the Lolita style is not only a fashion statement but also a way to express their loyalty, friendship, tolerance and unity.

Read the rest

Two fine young ladies cosplaying "Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt" anime (photo)

These women are fans of the Japanese television series "Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt" (which, by the way, is coming soon to the US on DVD). Photographed at the Vancouver Fan Expo #7, April 2012, by Jazman. He has more wonderful shots in this Flickr set. (via BB Flickr Pool)

Gender-swap Justice League at WonderCon (Nerd pr0n!)

[Video Link]

Boing Boing pal Mark Day shot the video above, and explains,

Gender-swapping Justice League members Batma'am, Superma'am, Lady Green Lantern, Female Flash, PlasticGirl, PowerBoy and more (at 1:26) plus a vast assortment of other costumes and cosplay at WonderCon -- ComicCon's Bay Area baby brother.

UPDATED: Tolkien estate censors badge that contains the word "Tolkien"

Update: I was wrong. Writing on behalf of the Tolkien estate, Steven Maier, partner at the Oxford law firm of Manches LLP, says, "Zazzle has confirmed that it took down the link of its own accord, because its content management department came across the product and deemed it to be potentially infringing."


Not content to censor a book that combines literary criticism and fiction by including JRR Tolkien as a character, the Tolkien estate has shut down Adam Rakunas, who makes and gives away buttons that have the word Tolkien on them:

Back in the late 2009, I got into a Twitter conversation with Madeline Ashby about geek culture, fandom, and a bunch of stuff like that. Madeline wrote, "While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion." I thought this was an excellent encapsulation of the divide in SF/F/Whatever fandom, and thus took to Zazzle to make little buttons with her quote. I bought a bunch, handed them out at a few conventions, then I had a kid and promptly forgot all about it.

Until today, when Zazzle emailed me to say they were pulling the buttons for intellectual property right infringement.

And guess who complained about their rights being infringed?

I've tried to come up with something more to say about this, but I'm too angry and confused and tired to say anything more than I did in the title of this post. Have fun milking your dad's stuff, Christopher Tolkien!

The Tolkien estate has long had a censorious bent -- a writer I admire was forced to put a series of books that in no way infringed upon Tolkien's copyrights out of print because the estate threatened to make her publisher's life a living nightmare (not naming names, because the writer has chosen not to go public with the story). The professional descendants making millions off a long-dead writer have become a serious impediment to living, working writers -- and readers. If this isn't the greatest proof that extending copyright in scope and duration screws living creators and impedes the creation of new works, I don't know what is.

The JRR Tolkien Estate Can Go Fuck Itself (via Futurismic)

South Park cosplay

long-beach-comic-con.5568510.87.jpg

LA Weekly reporter and former BB guestblogger Liz Ohanesian says,

I was at Long Beach Comic Con last weekend. Funny thing is that we don't usually see much in the way of South Park cosplayers, but, this time, there were two guys dressed as Terrance and Phillip. They did a good job.
Liz's report is here, with lots of great photos.

Big Lebowski rewritten as a work of Shakespeare

"The knave abideth." Sweet baby Jesus, the attention to detail in this sucker is just mindblowing! What a thing of beauty. Here's the carpet-staining scene:
shakespearepicture.jpg WOO: Rise, and speak wisely, man--but hark; I see thy rug, as woven i'the Orient, A treasure from abroad. I like it not. I'll stain it thus; ever thus to deadbeats.

[He stains the rug]

THE KNAVE: Sir, prithee nay!

BLANCHE: Now thou seest what happens, Lebowski, when the agreements of honourable business stand compromised. If thou wouldst treat money as water, flowing as the gentle rain from heaven, why, then thou knowest water begets water; it will be a watery grave your rug, drowned in the weeping brook. Pray remember, Lebowski.

THE KNAVE: Thou err'st; no man calls me Lebowski. Yet thou art man; neither spirit damned nor wandering shadow, thou art solid flesh, man of woman born. Hear rightly, man!--for thou hast got the wrong man. I am the Knave, man; Knave in nature as in name.

BLANCHE: Thy name is Lebowski.

Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, by Adam Bertocci (thanks, chris arkenberg, PLEASE PLEASE let this end up as a live stage performance for yea, verily I should like to see it)

Science fiction fandom is 80 today

80 years ago today, the first ever science fiction fan group, the Scienceers, met for the first time at organization president Warren Fitzgerald's apartment in Harlem (Fitzgerald, the first-ever big name fan, was black). Happy 80th, fandom!
Our thanks to Rob Hansen, author of the formidable history of British fandom Then, for reminding us of this anniversary. Says Rob, "I've always been fascinated that the first president of that first US fan group--indeed, the world's first fan group--was a black guy, Warren Fitzgerald, and that they held their early meetings at his home in Harlem. I'm amazed this doesn't seem to be widely known." Rob also points out that Fitzgerald was one of the founders of the American Rocket Society.

All that aside, it would be nice to establish December 11 as the official anniversary date of the formation of SF fandom. And certainly it's a more pleasant thing to associate with December 11 than the assassination of Byzantine emperor Nikephoros II in 969, the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936, or the arrest of Bernard Madoff in 2008. Go, fandom, may you always be creative, unconventional, and neurodiverse.

Happy 80th anniversary, SF fandom