THURSDAY FAN FICTION REPORT - 11/5/98
[Previous report was for 11/3/98]
A little commentary to begin with tonight on an aspect of Xena fan fiction I've been sad to see taking a downhill spiral as of late - the use of disclaimers. Disclaimers are very useful in fan fiction as a means of warning readers against things they may find troubling or distasteful in stories. I particularly support their use when a story includes instances of extreme violence, child abuse or rape since exposure to that can be potentially traumatic to people who've had similar experiences. Bards in this fandom have been using disclaimers almost since they first started writing fanfic. Recently, however, I've been noticing a trend where these disclaimers seem to be getting more and more confrontational - at times just blatantly offensive.
In the early days of XWP fanfic I think a lot of Xenites decided to give stories they wouldn't normally read a chance because these had gotten good word of mouth or because they respected the bard - so they would go to the story, read it and in many cases they would find themselves enjoying a type of fiction they thought they wouldn't like, in the process they would also often find themselves challenged to rethink long-held views, they would find themselves understanding lifestyles and choices and feelings that had previously seemed alien to them. That's a good thing folks. Art and literature have a tremendous power to influence BUT only when you don't scare or discourage your audience away even before they've had a chance to experience what you're offering. In those early days of the fandom the disclaimers were sometimes long-winded but usually when that was the case they tended to be more humorous than insulting - these days too frequently they're just plain insulting. I have little doubt that if this had been the case from the very beginning of the fandom a lot of those folks whose view of the world has been expanded a bit by Xena fanfic would not have been as likely to give those stories a chance. It's disheartening to think that new readers these days may be turning away from stories that may otherwise make quite an impression on them - or may be going into those stories with their defenses already firmly in place - because of a disclaimer. It's not a problem just with one particularly type of fiction either but with ALL of them - I've seen insulting disclaimers in the alt. fanfic, in the general stuff, in the Joxer stories, in the very vanilla-type fiction and the erotica. REALLY not a good thing for the Xenaverse I think and I encourage those of you who are bards to think about those disclaimers before writing them.
Just as an aside - this little treatise wasn't prompted by any single story out there. It's something I've been meaning to mention for a while and which I was just motivated to include tonight after a private discussion with friends. Xenites have always been a classy bunch folks so lets make sure we show that class in disclaimers too ;-)
While on the subject - a while back a Xenite named Cat wrote a number of very simple, to the point disclaimers that she made freely available over the Web for bards to use. If you need a disclaimer for your story or just want to get an idea of what to write make sure to take a look at Cat's available at this URL: http://ausxip.com/fanfic2/disclaimers.html
I'm including a special section tonight for my fellow VOYAGER fans AND a XWP FANFIC ART section listing new French FANFIC ART! This is an all alt. report.
THE DUNE by WordWarior
One of the premier talents in the business brings us a terrific new story that finds the warrior and bard desperately trying to survive after pursuing an assassin into the desolate wasteland known as the Sahara. It's an ordeal that will push them to their physical limits even as it draws them closer than ever - moving them toward a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship. A seemingly simple tale at first, this quickly turns into a complex character piece driven by WordWarior's unique ability to imbue her fiction with meaning and depth. The dialogue in this story is particularly well done - clever and insightful, it both drives the plot and helps to mold the characterizations. A first-class effort by a very skilled storyteller, this one comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - 13 pgs.
THE LAST SCROLL by Silea
A moving testament to the power of love and one very special partnership as a soul longs to be reunited with its other half. A nicely written first effort from a new bard. - 2 pgs.
A WARLORD'S VENGEANCE by Marion D Tuttle
Part 2 is now available. Xena and the Amazons suspect all may not be right when a warlord demands the presence of the true Amazon Queen before he'll sign a peace treaty. In this second part the warrior and bard deal with Gabrielle's family while the Amazons investigate a threat to their queen. Good tie-in with a first season episode along with some nicely emotional moments. - 11 pgs.
THE AMAZONS OF DAHOMEY by Susan Smith
Chapter 19 is now available. A sequel to Susan's outstanding THE CHARIOTEER, this story continues where that one left off, following Xena and Gabrielle as they join a caravan on their way out of the Kingdom of Har back toward Greece. The two are reveling in the new freedom of their relationship unaware that fate is about to interfere once again throwing Gabrielle and a young Amazon initiate into the midst of deadly power play and leaving a desperate Xena looking for her soulmate in a land full of strangers all with agendas of their own. In this latest chapter a desperate Gabrielle watches as her beloved warrior is used by angry gods. This story again displays Susan's impressive ability to develop suspenseful, engrossing plots around an equally well-crafted Xena/Gab relationship. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [unfinished] - 4 pgs.
"Etrange Etreinte" by Slasher
Inspired by the French round robin story ETRANGE ÉTREINTE written by several members of the French Xena mailing list.
SPECIAL SECTION - STAR TREK VOYAGER FAN FICTION:
JUST BETWEEN MEMORIES by G.L. Dartt
The ninth installment in G.L.'s JUST BETWEEN series, MEMORIES is possibly the most moving and most emotionally compelling entry in that series to date. It grips you with that first sentence and will keep you riveted until the last one. It begins with an anguished Seven on her way to Sickbay after learning of an accident on the Bridge...an accident which has critically injured the captain of Voyager. After a very delicate operation Janeway escapes death but the woman that survives is a very different one from the partner Seven has been sharing her life with - she's a Starfleet captain with no memory of the past three years...or the Borg that seems so utterly crushed by her indifference. Determined to get her life back to normal, Janeway sets out to regain the past three years by reading her logs only to find chronicled there the story of a love so deep it moves her beyond anything she's ever known, motivating her to try to rediscover that connection with a young woman whose pain she finds herself desperately wanting to take away. A classic romance with some very effective mystery elements thrown in, MEMORIES spotlights G.L.'s exceptional skills with characterization as she redefines the Janeway/Seven relationship and explores new facets of these characters. Beautifully written and edited, this story stands out in a series that could not get any better. A superb offering that gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!! - 46 pgs.
Reviews of all other entries in G.L.'s JUST BETWEEN series are available on my SPECIAL REPORTS page at: http://lunacyreviews.com/special.htm
For those of you reading this post who are not familiar with the term alternative (alt.), it refers to ADULT stories that add a romantic element to the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, depicting them as more than just friends.