Skip to main content

Flipping Between Victorian Lit and Fanfiction

I think as we observe our reading selves, we learn a bit about what kind of reader we are.

I'm a shitty reader. I read in order to have read. What can I say? I like checking things off lists, even if they're lists that only exist in the Ethereal Space Around Alice's Head and not fun real ones I get to draw lines through.

And this is why fanfic is maybe the most relaxing and enjoyable thing I read. Reading fanfic is not impressive in the least. It's an activity that one probably isn't supposed to admit to people, but I've been doing it so long that that social acceptability filter didn't attach properly, and here we are.

The thing about fanfic is that yes, it's one of the lowest forms of writing, if not the lowest. And bad fanfic is the worst thing you'll ever see, because it (presumably, since you chose to read it) involves characters you love, and when they're written terribly, something inside you screams. 'WHY ARE THEY DOING THAT; SHE WOULD NEVER DO THAT. DEAR GOD, MAKE IT STOP.'

Because this kind of adverse reaction can happen, fanfiction is a tricky genre to navigate. If you stumble upon an author who's really, really amazingly excellent, then you can ask them for recs, and then those people for recs, and so on and so on until you've established a nice Well-Written Fanfiction path from which you never need stray. But otherwise you just blindly walk into a minefield of bad grammar, incorrect characterization, and script-format pieces, all profoundly terrible.

I write this because, due to the trickiness and general pitfalls, I'm not a frequent reader of fanfiction. And there is of course the added necessity of characters you care about so much you want to read internet-written stories about them. Because Life Is Busy, I don't find these characters often. But last week, I found Doctor Who and River Song, and now I'm thoroughly immersed in fanfic and it's wonderful. Good writing is swell, and I will giggle with happiness when I find a particularly well-put-together phrase. But do I stay up until 2:30 in the morning reading George Eliot? No. I stay up until 2:30 reading about River Song and the Doctor making out in the Tardis. 

I end with a fanvid that should at the very least convince your that Professor River Song, archaeologist and space traveler, is one of the most kickass female characters ever. And she's apparently played by That Lady from ER! Oh, and her first episode takes place in a library, so BEHOLD, BOOKISH PEOPLE (which would be all of you, as this is, of course, a book blog). This show should be watched.


Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.

You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:

We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.

INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Yes, Frances Willard was as gay as Oscar Wilde. But in a lady-way.

Yup. We're gonna do it. We're gonna talk about Frances Willard and gayness. Look, it's not a major part of her life, and it's definitely not the main thing she should be remembered for, but the fact that a line is being put out that she was totally straight is complete hogwash and it upsets me.

The thing is, I get when people say it's anachronistic to put the cultural concept of "gayness" onto a person from a century other than the 20th/21st. I get that. And usually agree with it. But Frances Willard is one of the gayest people in history. I have zero problem labeling her with that. The fact that she didn't have the language to describe what she was experiencing is upsetting, but she managed to have a seemingly full and satisfying life anyway, so I am happy for her.

And for people annoyed when gay people say that someone from the past was gay, here's the thing: When you're completely whitewashed from history, it is a matter of TOTAL DELIGHT wh…