owlmoose: (hp - a few words)
Lady Business is once again a finalist for the Best Fanzine Hugo!!

Thank you, so so much, to everyone who reads us and supports our work and who nominated us. And heartfelt congrats to most of our fellow finalists!

The whole ballot is really pretty amazing this year. Not a single white dude in the Best Novel category, and many other categories are similarly diverse. I have a lot of great and exciting things to read and watch! And many of my favorites got the nod. Basically, this is the happiest I've been about the Hugos in awhile, and that is a very good thing.

Congrats to everyone whose work was nominated! As I said on Twitter, I am humbled to be in your company.
owlmoose: (quote - questions)
I have returned! Yet another successful FogCon: in the books. Probably jamming two days into one post is too much, but no matter how much I tell myself I can wait for tomorrow to write about today, the fact is I'm very unlikely to do it.

My first panel of the day might also have been the best of the con, and certainly the one that I heard the most people talking about over the rest of the weekend. It was entitled "When Do You Pick Up A Blaster?" and was about revolution: how revolution is depicted in speculative fiction, what fiction gets right and wrong, what can we learn about real-life uprisings from fictional ones, and what is, or should be, the tipping point for the decision to use violence as a tool. One of the panelists, guest of honor Ayize Jama-Everett, suggested that there are types of violence other than physical, namely social and economic violence, and said that the "objective of violence is free the colonized mind from the colonizer. How you define violence is an interesting topic -- another panelist said that he doesn't consider property damage, like bombing empty buildings and shattering store windows, to be the same thing as violence, and although I'm not convinced I agree, it's an interesting point. (Or going back to the previous point, you could consider it a form of economic violence against the property owners). To cover the discussion property would take better notes than I took, but a few other points I wanted to consider: a definition of revolution as when the unimaginable becomes commonplace; the suggestion that you should be willing to risk dying before you risk killing; that you lose something when you fight, even when you win (sometimes it's worth it, but take the costs into considerations); revolution will always take longer than you think it will. As you might imagine, I got a lot to think about here, and took more notes than during any other panel. Lots of discussion centered around the Black Panther Party, and although I'm going to save most of my book recs for another post, I wanted to make note of one here: Black Against Empire, a recent history of the Black Panthers.

Lunch was the annual FogCon banquet, where I sat with friends old and new and chatted about a number of things -- for one, I ran into a fellow Dragon Age fan, and then we decided to stop boring the rest of the table to death and talk about the Hugos instead. Then my afternoon consisted of two guest of honor events. First was an interview with the other guest of honor, Delia Sherman, who talked about her writing process and her stories. After that, Ayize Jama-Everett gave his GoH presentation, a conversation with Afrofuturist Lonny Brooks. The theme of the talk was Jama-Everett asking Brooks to help him imagine a future that isn't bleak. A challenging project in these times, but I think also a worthy one. Some of Brooks's ideas included looking at Peter Diamandis and his thoughts on abundance, platform cooperativism (a worker-centric alternative to the so-called sharing economy promoted by companies like Airbnb and Uber), and diverse communities that celebrate difference rather than fighting against it or practicing separatism.

After dinner -- I crashed an event for members of a writing message board, and had a great chat with a doctor from Illinois whose name I unfortunately cannot remember -- was my one panel of the con, "Between the Pixie and the Crone: Middle Aged Women in Speculative Fiction". Other members of the panel included the aforementioned GoH Delia Sherman and the always-entertaining Ellen Klages, so that was not intimidating at all. Unrelated in any way to the panelists (they were all great), the discussion got tense in a couple of places, which I think is a risk with any panel on a topic that deals in a trope about women at a con that tries to be feminist -- it's going to hit too close to home for some people, feel completely off the mark to others, and it's easy to fall into talking stereotypes. But overall I think it went pretty well. Folks seemed engaged, asked good questions and made good recommendations, and almost no one left before the end, which are all positives, and I got to make most of the points I had planned, including a comment about not falling into the trap of defining all women by their relationship to motherhood, even including women who are mothers, which got a little "whoop!" from someone in the crowd. Last up was a panel on podcasting, which focused almost exclusively on fiction podcasts and never even got to fannish pop culture reviews, although I did get to rec Black Tapes and found a few new shows to look up. Afterwards I wandered by the bar, where I hung out for a little bit before bedtime.

Today I took it a little easier, as I usually try to do on the last day of the con. The first panel of the morning was the guest of honor reading, which I always try to attend and almost never disappoints. I was completely sucked in by Ayize Jama-Everett's reading and bought all three of his books (the only other time that's happened was all the way back in FogCon2, after Nalo Hopkinson read from The Chaos). For lunch I walked over to the farmer's market with [personal profile] forestofglory, and after I went one last panel on how to write dystopian fiction in the age of alternative facts. The panelists agreed that, for all the stories where false information is commonplace and fed to people by the government, no one ever saw coming that we would impose the world of wrong facts on ourselves, without a repressive regime forcing us into it. The discussion was mostly about real-world information bubbles and info overload, less about fiction, but it was still interesting. As usual in this type of conversation, I walked away convinced that librarians are more necessary than ever, and I need to do a better job of turning my information literacy skills into political activism.

Next up: WisCon! Two and a half months away, and I can hardly wait.
owlmoose: (lost - sawyer)
It's actually now the end of Day 2, but last night I was out and about and doing stuff, and I haven't had many opportunities to sit down and take some notes. Much much good stuff has happened today, too, but I want to keep this shortish as I need to get to bed soon, so for now I'll limit myself to yesterday.

Yesterday I went to four events. First up was a panel that ended up more of a round table discussion on how games of all kinds are changing. It's a pretty broad topic, but we still managed to hit the three major types of games -- tabletop (meaning board and card games), role-playing games, and videogames -- and many current trends in gaming, both good and bad. Topics included the role of Kickstarter (great for board games and card games, perhaps less suited to videogames), the rise of co-op board games and how that might relate to the popularity of Pokemon GO, and the ways in which gaming relates to learning, such as this research on virtual reality games as a potential treatment for dementia.

The next panel I attended was entitled "Looking Forward/Looking in the Mirror", regarding the ways in which stories about the future inevitably reflect the time in which they were written. The panelists freely admitted that this question has a different weight to it than it would have in early November, and there was some speculation about how speculative fiction written in the next year or so might change. One panelist freely admitted that she has much less interest in writing dark futures right now, to the point that she's trying to revise story to give it a more hopeful ending. There was quite a bit of talk about Arrival, and the ways in which it sometimes feels like we're living in a dystopia right now (to quote Debbie Notkin, "Get me out of this bad Harry Turtledove novel!"

Next up was dinner with [personal profile] forestofglory and Robyn, a writer who we'd sat next to during the previous panel. After that we went to our last formal panel of the night -- which Robyn happened to be on, although we'd already been planning on it -- which was about writing across genres. Discussion began with the question of why we have so many sub-genres in speculative fiction anyway; marketing is the obvious answer, although some panelists also talked about the value of knowing what to expect from a book before you open it. Sometimes you want a new and exciting experience from a story, but sometimes you want predictability, and ultimately there's nothing wrong with that. Of course, this brought us to one of the inherent dangers of cross-genre writing, because when readers doesn't get the experience they were expecting, the resulting disappointment can affect book sales and reviews. The panelists, who were all pro authors, each brought up various examples from their own experiences, some causing more trouble than others. Someone in the audience asked why genre bending seems to be more of an issue with speculative fiction than other genres, and after some discussion we all came up with an intriguing theory: other genres of fiction (mystery, thriller, romance, etc.) tend to be defined by their plot structures, while speculative fiction genres are defined by their elements (spaceships, wizards, being set in the future...) but can follow almost any structure. I suspect this makes specfic highly flexible but also gives the writer more places to "go wrong" in terms of reader expectations. In the end, the panelists concluded that you can't be too worried about those expectations -- write the story that calls to you, and worry about how to sell or market it later. Lots and lots of book recs out of this one.

Last but never least: ConTention, the annual tradition where a bunch of con attendees get together and argue for an hour and fifteen minutes. This year's debates included some oldies but goodies (Star Wars vs. Star Trek, privacy vs. safety) and some newer ones (The Force Awakens vs. Rogue One, what's the scariest Dr. Who monster, can WorldCon survive if it continues to be primarily based in North America).

And now it's late (and soon to be even later, yay Daylight Saving Time), so I'll come back with today's report tomorrow.
owlmoose: (da - brosca)
The Dragon Age Kiss Battle got so little participation the last time I ran one, in 2015, that I didn't do it last year, and no one asked where it was. So maybe I should just assume that the time for this game has come and gone... and yet, I also feel like it could be the perfect thing for a tough time, to have some no-pressure, light-weight fandom fun.

So I throw it out to the masses. If I ran a Dragon Age kiss battle (here's the 2012 edition, for anyone who's not familiar), would you play? Would you create, leave prompts, and encourage others to do the same? My biggest concern is actually prompts; so few people left prompts in 2015, and without prompts there's no game.

Let me know your thoughts! And if your honest thought is "sorry, no one cares about that any more", I genuinely want to know. Thanks.
owlmoose: (yahtzee - out of context)
Using the same template as last year.

Your main fandom of the year?
Gotta be Critical Role (see below).

Your favorite film watched this year?
The new Ghostbusters. Arrival was objectively a better movie, and I have more fannish attachment to Civil War, but no other movie was quite as much fun.

Your favorite book read this year?
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan, the fourth book in the Lady Isabella Trent series. I love the directions this story took, and the way the ending has set up the final book in the series. I also need to give a nod to the last Temeraire book, for providing a satisfying and surprising end to one of my favorites series of all time.

Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?
If I'm being honest, probably Hamilton again.

Your favorite TV show of the year?
Either the final season of Agent Carter (sniff) or the most recent season of Orphan Black, which returned to form after a slightly off third year. Honorable mentions: Luke Cage, the current half season of Agents of SHIELD, Top Chef season 13.

Your favorite video game of the year?
I haven't played many games this year. The only one that really sticks with me is Solstice, which I mentioned in my mid-year roundup, the new game from the makers of Cinders.

Your best new fandom discovery of the year?
I think you already all know the answer to this one: Critical Role. My first new fandom in the last couple of years, I spent the second half of 2016 watching the series, then re-watching it (I caught up to the most recent episode and then re-watched it a couple of days ago), wrote a handful of stories, and basically became completely consumed. A part of me is glad that the rewatch is over so I can have my life back. A part of me wants to go back and start all over again, again.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?
US presidential election season finale Agent Carter not being renewed for a third season. :(

Your fandom boyfriend of the year?
Matthew Mercer. Is it weird for your fandom boyfriend to be a real person? But it's true -- Matt's performance on Critical Role, both as DM and as a large percentage of the cast, is a huge part of the show's appeal to me.

Your fandom girlfriend of the year?
Peggy Carter, forever.

Your biggest squee moment of the year?
"Anything can happen in the woods..." (Spoilers for Critical Role Ep. 72)

The most missed of your old fandoms?
Oh, I don't know, all of them? I feel very out of touch with fandom right now. But at least lately, I suppose I'm most disconnected from Dragon Age. Maybe it's the lack of new content, and also I basically quit all my replays when I started spending all my free time on Critical Role instead. Now that the catch-up project is over, I hope to get back to that.

The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to?
I never did get started in Supergirl or Star Wars, despite my interest. Solstice might have some possibilities, too.

Your biggest fan anticipations for the coming year?
Star Wars: Episode 8. The final Lady Isabella Trent book, and the last of the new N.K. Jemisin trilogy. The Defenders on Netflix.

Imzy?

Aug. 25th, 2016 10:09 am
owlmoose: (owl)
I joined yesterday, mostly to snap up my name and look around. Who else is there? How do you find people? Also I have invites, although I imagine that everyone who wants to be there has already joined by now. But if not, and you'd like one, let me know!

I gather it's based on Reddit structurally, which is an interesting idea for a community-based site, although I still think I like the DW-type platform better. Especially the ability to have an individual journal, instead of having to create a "community" for yourself (although I gather the personal journal aspect is coming?). Anyway, we'll see what happens. If it ends up being a viable replacement for Tumblr, I'm all for it.
owlmoose: (cats - teacup)
I ended up being too busy attending WorldCon (and staying up late hanging out in the evenings) to have much time to write about WorldCon. Now it's our last night and I'm full of so much to say that I don't know where to start. I attended so many great panels and readings (and a few duds), reconnected with a few people and met a ton more, and basically had the best time I have ever had at a con entirely because of the people. It seems clear that the way to fix the feelings of social isolation I sometimes deal with at cons is to know people. Talk to people, get introduced to people, and spend a good amount of time hanging out with people I already know. In this case, having [personal profile] renay, [personal profile] justira, and [personal profile] seimaisin as my social center gave me a comfort zone, and the opportunity to be introduced to more people helped me make more connections -- and hopefully lasting ones. I want to talk more about specific panels and events, but that will be better served by a fresher brain, so I'll leave it for now.

If you've followed the news at all, or follow me on Twitter, you already know that Lady Business did not win the Hugo award for Best Fanzine. File 770 is a deserving winner with an amazing community and a long history in fandom, and its editor, Mike Glyer (who also won Best Fanwriter), did amazing work last year to track and report on the developing Hugo controversy, among everything else that goes on. Really, it's an honor to have taken a strong second place (as borne out by the stats), especially in our first year on the ballot. The ceremony was excellent, both entertaining and well-run -- and fortunately Fanzine was pretty early in the program, so we were able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the show! And then we had an awesome night, making the rounds of the parties, including George R. R. Martin's legendary Hugo Losers Party. (After File 770's win was announced, we literally turned to each other and said "now we can go to the Losers Party!") Even if we're never nominated again (although I do hope we will be), the experiences we had last night will be with me always. If you were there to be a part of it, thank you. And to everyone who voted for us and supported us in so many ways, THANK YOU.

Although next year's Helsinki WorldCon is probably out of my reach, I am delighted that San Jose, CA won its bid to host in 2018. Barring some catastrophic event or schedule conflict, I will be there, and I hope to get the chance to form such wonderful community bonds again. Come if you can! I'd love to see you there.
owlmoose: (star wars - han woohoo)
My connecting flight yesterday was delayed, so I didn't get into the Kansas City airport until after midnight, and it was almost 1am by the time I got to the hotel. Fortunately, my roommates had already arrived and checked in, so all I needed to do was crash. Unfortunately, it was too early for me to try and sleep (given the two hour time difference), so I slept poorly. While I was in go mode at the con, things were fine, but I started fading around 10pm and decided to head back. So I'm now in my hotel room, kicking back and checking in.

There are a ton of interesting sounding panels and readings at this con, way more than I know I'll be able to attend. So I'm picking and choosing as I go, based partly on my own whims and partly on what other people are doing. This is the first time I've ever really come to a con with a group ([personal profile] renay, [personal profile] justira, and [profile] ecthroi), and it's a different experience than being mostly on my own. I think I prefer it, although it's also good that we generally each feel comfortable going off on my own -- and of course I know other people here, the most exciting being that I finally met [personal profile] seimaisin for the first time today!!

Some other highlights: a reading by Courtney Schaffer, whose work I wasn't familiar with before but will certainly be looking for now; a panel about the definition of fan writing, which ended up being mostly about fanfic; the "Bad Boy Woobie" panel, lead by Mark Oshiro, a fun and awesome conversation about who gets to be woobified and why; another fanfic panel, this one about the relationship between fanfiction and pro writers (which can be summed up as excellent panelists, wrong moderator); a live recording of the Ditch Diggers podcast, which is about the business of writing and today featured a panel of three agents answering questions with a hilarious Dungeons & Dragons framing (seriously, go look it up when it's available); and one last great panel, on LGBTQIA representation in media, with a focus on lesser discussed identities such as asexuality, non-binary genders, and polyamory.

Obviously none of this does any of these panels justice, so hopefully I'll be able to get back with more details later. But for now, time to crash. See you tomorrow, MidAmeriCon 2, hopefully with brighter eyes and a bushier tail.
owlmoose: (heroes - hiro jump)
I'm basically all packed, except for things that will be sitting on chargers until it's time to leave, but don't need to head for the airport for over two hours.

I signed up for a free trial of YouTube Red so that I could download Critical Role episodes to watch on the plane. What even is my life?

So excited to see people soon! So ready to escape into con world for a few days. I've needed this getaway from the real world for awhile now, and I'm so happy it's finally almost here.

I'll be around on and off, probably mostly on Twitter, but watch this space for updates, too.

If you're not at the con, have a glorious week and weekend! If you are, see you there!!
owlmoose: (star trek - bones and sulu)
Given my interest in copyright and fair use in fandom, it was probably inevitable that I would write something about the new guidelines for Star Trek fan filmmakers that CBS and Paramount published recently. My post about it is up on [community profile] ladybusiness, here.
owlmoose: (hp - a few words)
WisCon actually ended yesterday, but between travel and tiredness I didn't get the chance to write about it. I definitely want to, though, because I wrapped things up with my favorite panel of the entire con -- Rethinking the "Gift Economy" for Fanworks. The panelists led a fantastic conversation on the history of the gift economy, the limitations of the model, the differences between fanfic (where many people recoil from even the idea of monetary gain) and fanart (which gets bought and sold all the time). There's an expectation that professional genre artists create fanart, especially in the world of comics (it's even expected that you'll have fanart in your portfolio), whereas it's only recently become acceptable for a pro writer to admit to writing fanfiction (except for official tie-in novels). We talked about all kinds of things, from the presumption that capitalism is the default economic model (newsflash: it's not!), to the relationship between IP holders and fans, to the backlash fans (especially female writers) can get for going pro, to the growing popularity of Patreon for fan creators, and how expectations change in male-dominated corners of fandom. I could seriously have spent another two hours in that room, talking with those people, and I hope to see the conversation continue in other venues. The Twitter tag is, as usual, excellent.

Things started winding down after that. I packed, checked out, and then dropped by the Sign Out, which is a tradition of setting up tables for creators to sign their work. Because I neglected to bring anything, and didn't want to buy a ton of books to lug back, I decided to mostly skip it. Naomi Kritzer was signing cat pictures, and those I couldn't resist. After one last meal with [tumblr.com profile] pierceaholic and [tumblr.com profile] magnetsorwhatever, it was off to the airport and back to real life.

To sum up... I don't know that I can really sum up. To say that I enjoyed myself, that I found the panels thought-proking and energizing, that I emerged with a sense of having rediscovered my people, would be an understatement. And yet I did have my moments of newbie angst -- feeling like an outsider, the fear of breaking into a group that already coalesced long before I arrived in the room. Multiple times, I thought of going up to someone and saying hello to someone, to complement them on their work, or something they said on a panel, or to renew an acquaintance from FogCon, and then didn't. A con is a tough place to be a social introvert, especially when you want to be with people but aren't sure where to start. Fortunately, I knew enough people there who were able to introduce me to other people, and I came out feeling both like I'd made a couple of new friends, and like I've laid the groundwork for next time.

Because there will definitely be a next time. I'm already hoping to make next year work, and although I can't promise that I'll become an every-year attendee (if nothing else, BMC reunion is also often on Memorial Day weekend), I certainly hope to do my best. This is a community I would like to be a part of, and that's worth some effort.
owlmoose: (quote - i can fix this)
Maybe the world doesn't need another post on this year's Hugo Awards, especially since Barry Deutsch already said much of what I've been thinking, but I feel compelled to share some thoughts anyway.

The 2016 Hugo Award finalists were announced today, and unfortunately -- but not unsurprisingly -- the Rabid Puppies ran away with them, to the tune of around 80% of the nominations (I can't get a direct link to the post to work, but the comparison to the slates should be at or near the top of the blog). This result, after a record-shattering 4,000 nominations came in, dispels three claims that have been part of the Hugo conversation lately:

1. The problem will be fixed if more people nominate -- a larger nomination pool makes it harder for a small voting bloc to game the system. I used to believe this myself, and I was moderately hopeful that getting people who signed up last year to vote against the Puppies to nominate would blunt the effects of a slate. Now, though, I'd say the evidence against that theory is pretty strong (although we won't know until the long lists come out in August). When you have a straight winner-take-all voting system, and the pool of potential nominees is this large, it doesn't take much of a bloc to overwhelm the legitimate nominations.

2. The Puppies are in this to see that popular authors writing quality works get nominated, as opposite to "authors who buddy up to the social justice warriors" (I feel dirty just typing that out). Considering that I have never heard of most of the authors on their list (except for a few big names, clearly nominated as cover), I don't see how anyone can make that argument with a straight face anymore.

3. Another argument that no one can make with a straight face: the Puppies are in this to keep political, "message fiction" from being nominated. A simple look at the Related Work and Short Story categories puts the lie to that assertion. (But look with caution. One of the titles in Related Work actually caused me to curse in chat, multiple times, which [personal profile] renay can tell you is something I only do at times of great duress.)

So, yeah. That happened. And it sucks, especially to have my hopes about the larger nomination pool dashed. But here we are, again, and what should we do about it? In the long term, obviously, WorldCon needs to pass E Pluribus Hugo, the change to the nomination rules that seems most likely to make a difference. I understand that the analysis of last year's voting data suggests that it would have blunted the effects of the slates but not removed them entirely, but it's better than nothing, and I think it's worth giving it a shot to see how it works. As for how we deal with this year, I have two thoughts.

First, on how to vote. Like last year, everyone is going to make their own decision on how to proceed, and there's no right or wrong way to do it. Last year, I voted almost entirely anti-slate; the only Puppy nominees I put above No Award were in the Dramatic Presentation categories and Editor-Long Form, the former because those categories rather removed from fandom politics (and some of their choices were on my own nomination ballot) and the second because good people convinced me that some of the editors were worthy of my vote. I think that was the correct choice last year, because we needed to make a strong statement that slates are wrong, and that opposition to diversity is wrong.

But this year, I think I'm going to take a softer line, and consider more of the slate-listed items. The aforementioned cover, of course -- enough people have spoken highly of Seveneves and the Sandman story, for example, and I'm a big fan of Lois McMaster Bujold -- and anything else that folks can convince me is worth my time. Why am I less inclined to sit this one out? For one, it's more obvious which of the choices are cover and which are [the loathsome troll who will go unnamed here] rewarding himself and his cronies. For another, we already tried the hard-line No Award strategy, and it didn't stop [LTWWGUH] from running a slate yet again. So now I feel like the better choice is pretending he doesn't exist. He's going to claim victory no matter what we do, so I prefer taking the path which gives me more satisfaction. And this year, that means looking at the works and judging them by my own standards. (And in some cases, the title or the person's name will provide more than sufficient data to make that judgement.)

Second, one of the reasons I got involved in this whole Hugo thing to start with was the hope of discovering new works and authors for me to get excited about. There's a few things to get excited about on this list, but not nearly enough. Last year, the Hugo long list provided some of that, but why should we wait? There's nothing to say that we can't share our nomination lists and get excited about things we love now. So, as an antidote to all this angry-making business, I propose that we do just that. Someday later this week, I'll kick it off with a list, and I hope those of you who nominated will share your lists with me, as much as you feel comfortable. And then we can get back to having some fun talking about the works we love, because isn't that what fandom is about, in the end?
owlmoose: (cats - lexi innocent)
Bought my tickets to Madison for WisCon, whee! I'll be arriving on Thursday afternoon, leaving Monday afternoon.

I also looked over the program listing, indicated interest for way more panels than I'll actually be able to attend, even put my hand up to be on a couple (and am thinking about a couple more).

If you'll be there, let me know, and we can plan some adventures. :)
owlmoose: (Default)
Turns out it's difficult to spend a whole lot of time documenting your con experience when you're busy participating in the con experience! ;) So, no real-time updates today, but both of my panels went really well, I think -- we got good discussion going, and I feel like I made useful contributions, and people said complementary things afterwards. I also hung out with [profile] forestsofglory, had dinner with friends, and played a game of Pandemic with Jed (which we lost, badly), and dropped by [livejournal.com profile] zahraa and [livejournal.com profile] zyxwvut's room party, and have just generally enjoyed chatting with people and listening in to good conversations. Now I am winding down before sleep, getting ready for the long full-con day tomorrow. My active participation parts are done, so now I get to go be in the audience for the rest of the weekend. I kind of wish my panels had been spread out better, but on the other hand it's nice to just relax, too.
owlmoose: (lady business - kj)
I posted a mini-rant on this subject to Twitter last month, but apparently I decided that wasn't sufficient:

The Tyranny of "Do It Yourself!"

As discussions about representation in media continue to grow and gain traction around the Internets and through different corners of fandom, we start seeing a lot of repetition: the same unhelpful arguments being made again and again. One of the responses I see a lot, and that I find among the most tiresome, boils down to this: "Stop complaining that other people aren't making the media you want, and just do it yourself!"

I first encountered this response in media fandom, as a pushback against people who wanted to see more content for an unusual pairing, and/or more diversity in romantic pairings (more femslash, more pairings involving people of color, etc.). It was frustrating there, but it's even more pervasive in the wider SF/F fandom, and follows many of the same patterns. And although I don't want to say that this is the very worst response to calls for diversity -- there are a lot of contenders for that title -- it's certainly up there.


Check it out!
owlmoose: (cats - teacup)
So remember the old days, when we used to write about other people's posts in our own spaces rather than just reblogging everything, maybe with commentary, maybe with a few thoughts hidden in the tags? I miss those days, so here I am, being the change I want to see.

This post about Tumblr and people's issues* with it was making the rounds a little while ago, and it struck a nerve with me. I don't disagree with the original poster's complaint, exactly -- there often is something dysfunctional about the way people interact on Tumblr, and that detracts from my enjoyment of both the site and of fandom as a whole. But it seems to me that the OP has cause and effect exactly backwards. Tumblr isn't a personal journaling site that people are treating like a public forum. Tumblr is a public forum that people are treating like a personal journaling site. Tumblr is a broadcast medium, specifically designed to promote the sharing of content as quickly as possible to as many people as possible. It is not meant for private conversation or personal journaling, so folks shouldn't be surprised when trying to use it that way is a disappointing experience.

I feel like I've been beating this drum a lot, especially since the end of Tumblr comments (and was there ever a more clear sign that Tumblr doesn't want to be a conversation platform than their decision to take away commenting?), and you might fairly ask why I care. It's purely selfish in the end -- I think fandom would be a better place if we would accept Tumblr's limitations and use it for the type of content and interaction that does work well there -- sharing multimedia, links, memes, and other short-form content. As far as I'm concerned, Tumblr works best when you treat it like Twitter writ large. No one expects Twitter to host personal conversations. No one expects an unlocked Tweet to be private. No one expects to avoid spoilers or negative commentary about characters they like. No one expects Twitter to serve as a long-form archive. And yet these are all complains that I hear about Tumblr on a regular basis. The secret to happiness is setting proper expectations, and the way to do that as a Tumblr user is to embrace the site for what it is, rather than fighting the interface to make it into something that it isn't, and was never meant to be.

I get the desire to have your entire community living on a single site. But the days of One Platform to Rule Them All are long behind us, if that particular beast ever even existed. Is it more trouble to go to Twitter for news and links, Tumblr for images and memes, Dreamwidth for meta and discussion, AO3 for fic? Maybe so, but I find that playing to the strengths of each site is making me happier overall. If that means I drift away from some elements of my fandom community, so be it -- I miss some people who I don't see nearly as much as I used to, but I hope to enjoy the time I do spend interacting with them all the more.

*Linking to a reblog because the OP deleted the post. The respondent here words things more strongly than I would have, but as you might guess I largely agree. The fact that the OP can delete but the reblogs live on forever is a whole other can of worms with Tumblr's design, but getting into that would be a different post.
owlmoose: (da - anora)
Hi! Thanks for signing up for this exchange, and for taking on my prompts. Before I get into specifics, first I want to encourage you to follow your own muse. I have a few do-not-wants, but consider everything else I say as guidelines or suggestions. I want you to write, draw, and/or create whatever is most inspiring to you -- if you do that, I'm sure I will love it.

But in case you do want more details, here are some thoughts and ideas:

General likes and preferences, including the things I'd really rather not see. )

Prompt specifics. )

Thanks again! I'm really looking forward to seeing whatever you create. :)
owlmoose: (hepburn)
Thanks to the reminder from [personal profile] umadoshi that More Joy Day is coming, on Thursday, January 14th. It's an idea that's beautiful in its simplicity: on More Joy Day, perform one action that's intended to put more joy into the world. From last year's post:

Remember, even a small act is all that's needed. A call to a friend you haven't talked to in awhile, flowers for a neighbor, letting someone in front of you in line, leaving a happy comment on someone's fic or vid or podcast or graphic, sharing a pic!spam of joyful moments on your journal, giving someone a compliment, planting a tree, or taking a moment to smile at someone else as you walk by them.


I participated in this last year by writing a happy flashfic -- one that made me smile, made other people smile, and it even made the characters happy. I'll try to do the same this year, but even if I have to content myself with something smaller, that will be enough.

I've been thinking for awhile now that I would like 2016 to be a year where I focus on the positive, both in fandom and on the internet generally. I tend to be an optimist by my nature: someone who tries to focus on the bright side of things, to find reasons to like things even when they're flawed. Between the election year and my continued employment uncertainty, there are enough stressful things in my life without making the Internet yet another source of it. Of course, this doesn't mean never saying anything critical ever -- that's neither realistic nor something I would actually want, since casting a critical eye on media is half the fun of fandom, for me. But I want to be more mindful of what I'm putting out in the world. More Joy Year? It certainly can't hurt to try.
owlmoose: (cats - lexi innocent)
I haven't seen these making the rounds really, so I'm answering the same questions as last year (plus adding in one about videogames, which was sorely lacking in the past).

Your main fandom of the year?
Even split between Dragon Age and Marvel.

Your favorite film watched this year?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- yes, really. I need to see it again. Mad Max: Fury Road is probably an objectively better film, but nothing made me happier than watching a new good Star Wars movie.

Your favorite book read this year?
Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Runners-up include Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear and Black Wolves by Kate Elliott.

Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?
I started trying to research this question, then realized that the answer is obvious: Hamilton.

Your favorite TV show of the year?
Agent Carter just nudges out Jessica Jones and Supergirl. Agents of SHIELD was also really good this year.

Your favorite video game of the year?
Broken Age. Also, the Dragon Age DLCs Jaws of Hakkon and Trespasser, which significantly improved the Inquisition experience as a whole.

Your best new fandom discovery of the year?
I haven't gotten into a new fandom in awhile. But Star Wars and Supergirl are both nudging at me a little bit -- we'll see whether anything comes of either. It was nice to rediscover how much I enjoy the Star Wars and Superman universes.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?
Avengers: Age of Ultron. I was able to mostly enjoy the movie as I was watching it, but the further distant I get, the more I'm bothered by its many flaws. If the film franchise keeps drifting this far from my interests, I may start focusing on the MCU TV shows, which were much stronger than the movies this year (even given my ambivalence toward Daredevil).

Your fandom boyfriend of the year?
No one in particular? I did write rather a lot about Alistair from Dragon Age, though.

Your fandom girlfriend of the year?
Peggy Carter. Close second: Kara Zor-El Danvers.

Your biggest squee moment of the year?
The opening chords of the Star Wars theme, ringing out in a darkened movie theater.

The most missed of your old fandoms?
I found myself thinking about Final Fantasy XII a lot this year, in part because of the word about an impending HD remake.

The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to?
As I mentioned, Star Wars and Supergirl (particularly Kara/James) are both tapping at my mindspace. All it wants is a strong plot bunny.

Your biggest fan anticipations for the coming year?
Attending my first WisCon in May!

In terms of media: Season 2 of Agent Carter. Luke Cage. Captain America: Civil War (although the anticipation there is tinged with more than a little dread). The next season of Orphan Black. Star Wars: Rogue One. The sequel to Court of Fives by Kate Elliott, which I think is supposed to come out in 2016. I'm sure there are other books I'm anticipating, but I don't follow upcoming releases closely enough to know what they are offhand. Solstice, which is the new game from the makers of Cinders -- I know a lot of folks have played this already, but I kept forgetting to pre-order and now it's too late. Maybe Kingdom Hearts 3 will appear next year? We can only hope.

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