?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile ARX Previous Previous Next Next
No, I don't think the fandom is the problem... - Nothing New Under The Sun
(the ARX acta diurna)
bellatrys
bellatrys
No, I don't think the fandom is the problem...
In the course of the mega-meta-fanfic-rights discussion sparked by the Star Wars amateur tie-in novel, which is still going strong at Making Light, someone named Laura posted this in response to questions of how, really, nonprofit fanfic can hurt authors other than in the feelings.

John Norman has been rather pooh pooh on fan fiction based on his Gor novels. (The prevailing theory from people I've discussed this with is that fan fiction would be able to readily compete with his product based on quality of the fiction produced.) Still, the fandom surrounding his Gor books is a real potential turn off for fen. Knowing what the fen do, I and a number of others are not as willing to just pick up one of his novels to read and buy.

Um. John Norman. That John Norman. The problem is his creepy fans. Uh-huh....

Seriously. John Norman???

(You know, if I refused to read any authors based on the [real or presumable] existence of creeps among their readership, I don't think there's anyone I could read. Not even myself. Name me one fandom that doesn't have its bonkers fans - and that includes every genre, every century. Have you ever been to an English Dept. colloquium? And who really reads or doesn't read books based on who else might be reading them?)

But come on - John Norman!?!?

I'm trying not to make the obvious snark, but wotthehell - The only creepy fan who's offputting readers is John Norman's #1 fan, John Norman...

Full disclosure: I read about a third of one John Norman novel - Dancer of Gor, when it first came out, before throwing it against the wall in disgust, and skimmed through others, while working in the library as a teenager. It was very instrumental in preparing the groundwork for my protofeminist consciousness-raising...

Tags: , , ,

48 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
aberranteyes From: aberranteyes Date: April 27th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
What happens when I try to come up with a response to Laura can best be summed up by the immortal words of the philosopher Horwitz: "I'm tryin' ta think, but nuttin' happens!"
bellatrys From: bellatrys Date: April 27th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

I did think the claim that he's afraid

the ficcers will show him up is pretty likely to be true. I like how even his most avid defenders admit that he gets monotonous, repetetive, and worse the longer the series goes, for the most part.

BUT! We only dislike Gor because we're enslaved to PC! He (and they) KNOW THIS FOR A FACT!!!

(Seriously, doesn't that letter by Gorman seem like it's a hair's breadth away from all-caps screaming? And the personification of SF as "she" - geez louise!)

--I'm roaring inside, though, over the business about California, and planning on digging up whatever I can find about Amadis de Gaul fanon when I get a minute. No wonder it was doomed to be the home of Holy Wood...
oystergal From: oystergal Date: April 27th, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
*chuckle* I saw that. The difference, I think, is that other fandoms have a spectrum of people ranging from fairly sane to genuine nutcases; Gor fandom starts at bizarre and gets worse. I'd be reluctant to try something I'd never read if the only people I've encountered who like it are, um.

Let's put it this way. I know people in the "mainstream" BDSM scene. They think the Gor fen are bonkers.
bellatrys From: bellatrys Date: April 27th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

I guess, but...

I really can't think of too many situations where I found out about authors primarily from their stranger-fans raving about them, as opposed to There it was, on the shelf/Review in PW/friend or relative said "hey, have you read X? Here, borrow it!"

And yes, I have some unconventional friends and acquaintances IRL, but generally the signal-to-noise ratio of "books that I think are good" vs "books that I want my six hours back" has had nothing to do with their conformism or lack thereof. (Speaking of course as someone who would probably be classed in the "wierd fan" category by most non-fen folks and even some of the latter...)

sethg_prime From: sethg_prime Date: April 27th, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
The MIT Science Fiction Society library used to have all the Gor paperbacks on their own shelf, behind a chain, with a card next to them saying "THIS SPACE RESERVED FOR FUTURE DEGRADATION".

In the section of the library devoted to ostensible works of non-fiction, there was also a copy of a book by Mr. Norman called Imaginative Sex.
bellatrys From: bellatrys Date: April 28th, 2006 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Brain. Hurts.

Also, some professional editors will publish anything.
sinboy From: sinboy Date: April 27th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, but what did you think of the Venom Cocks book?
bellatrys From: bellatrys Date: April 27th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

well, I didn't read it, but I *suspect*

that I would agree with matociquala in specific as I do in general with this statement:

Feminism is never an excuse for laughably bad prose.

To which I would add, "forgettably bad prose," because there have been a number of would-be Edifying Feminist Fantasy books that I have read, but can't remember anything about other than the general experience which can be summed up as as much fun as chewing stale bread, and then are the pseudo-feminist ones that weren't quite laughably bad in their prose, but generally-nausea-inducing, foremost in my recollection being the Stardoc series by Viehl, in the gag-want-those-hrs-back way.
lyorn From: lyorn Date: April 27th, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. I read that posting on makinglight too and was howling with laughter.

I read several Gor novels when I was 14 and read everything with a fantasy of SF label I could get my hands on. I stopped because they became insanely repetitive. It was only in my 20s when I understood that Norman took his stories rather seriously -- from the stories I had believed his attitude to be that of a teen fangirl at a smut challenge.

Since than I found that the Gor fandom is amazingly consistent with the letter and spirit of the original work. Everyone who gets scared away from reading Norman by looking at his fans has been done a service by fandom.

You know, if I refused to read any authors based on the [real or presumable] existence of creeps among their readership, I don't think there's anyone I could read.

A few days ago I formulated a law that no fandom without at least one insane fan is worth the bother. It will probably not catch on... (Side note: HP fandom sure has insane fans to spare!)

bellatrys From: bellatrys Date: April 28th, 2006 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Yup

Since than I found that the Gor fandom is amazingly consistent with the letter and spirit of the original work. Everyone who gets scared away from reading Norman by looking at his fans has been done a service by fandom.

I found a Gor board in which incredibly ernst guys were posting huge chunks of Nietzsche side by side with exerpts from Gor novels to show how thoroughly sublimely intellectual they were...

no fandom without at least one insane fan is worth the bother

Heh.
From: anna_wing Date: April 28th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember John Norman's books. Read a couple, howled with laughter, forgot him. He's still alive? Writing? With fans? "Boggle" is too mild a term for what my mind was doing when I read your post. Not to mention my wonderment that anyone would seriously try to argue against fanfiction by saying that John Norman's fans turn people off his books.

Anyway, after reading the Making Light thread, I have come to the conclusion that the entire argument for or against is irrelevant. If the copyright holder is not sending Cease-and-Desist letters, no-one else's opinion matters.
bellatrys From: bellatrys Date: April 28th, 2006 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)

seem to be two sorts of fans

One, the "guy's guy" who like the sword-n-sorcery atmosphere and the idea of loads of Nubilian women lolling around in silk waiting to furnish them pleasure, not too sophisticated taste-wise, thinks that Boris Vallejo is a Great Artist and finds the increasingly-long Randian tracts about the Nature of Women to be annoying rather than inspiring.

The other are the ones who think that Norman is a prose stylist rivaled only, perhaps, by Ann Rice, and his weltanshauung The Truth Of The Ages upon which they model their lives. Some are men, and some are antifeminist women (although some of the latter *claim* to be feminist, and then go on to generic sister-bash, proving they're not) but of the ones writing on the 'net, they seem to be extraordinarly humorless & preachy RL BDSM practitioners - not just bondage practitioners who want a more exotic and aesthetic experience than the incredibly tacky black-leather and latex 20th century sphere, which would be kind of cool. (I don't think people realize how laughably tacky the black plastic and studs stuff really is, esp when you have "Death of Sardanapalus" Gilded Age decadence to compare it to.)

Like Randian Objectivists who think the Middle Ages were all about the Triumph of the Will, Individualism as Embodied In The Warrior Ethos, and turned SCA-only-not-really, because they insist on mixing in fantasy straight from Conan the Barbarian, refusing to hear that no, you can't mix in "Cimmerians" and drow and still be part of the Society for Creative Anachronism and then get kicked out of the Barony and get all pissy about it and rant forever about how they don't care about canon, they have Truth...
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 28th, 2006 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

A service to humanity

"Still, the fandom surrounding his Gor books is a real potential turn off for fen. Knowing what the fen do, I and a number of others are not as willing to just pick up one of his novels to read and buy."

They should get awards for keeping people from reading the 'Gor' (have-to-call-them-books-because-they're-made-of-paper-cut-into-pages-and-bound-in-a-cover) stuff. Heck, I'd sponsor a commemorative medal myself.

Deiseach
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 28th, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I read one of the Gor books way back when, and I used to entertain myself with what I would have done differently if I'd been in the "heroine's" place:

1) Upon waking up and finding myself branded, I would NOT have fainted. I would have reported the incident to the police-- if I thought they would have been sympathetic, and not have simply asked me how drunk or stoned I was.

2) I would have driven to the largest city near me (Baltimore) and stayed there for a few days. It's not easy to kidnap somebody if they're surrounded by other people 24/7.

3) If that failed and I was taken captive, I would have simply laid low and tried to learn the lay of the land, learn the language, and so forth. I would not have done anything to make the slavers restrict my freedom even further.

4) I would have been NICE to my fellow slaves, and not been a bitch like Elinor. They're natives and they can tell me useful things. I'd have also tried to learn as many skills as possible. Youth and beauty only last so long, and if I failed to win my freedom, I didn't want to end up the local equivlent of a plantation field slave.

5) In Captive of Gor, Elinor begs the Amazonian Panther Girls to let her join them, so she can be free again. The leader agrees to do so-- if Elinor beats one of them in a hand-to-hand. Elinor, of course, wusses out and claims she is "too delicate" for that. (She also claims she is too delicate to be beaten.) Screw that nonsense. I'd have agreed and chosen to fight the Amazon nearest me in age and overall physical condition-- and given it my all.

--Architeuthis
bellatrys From: bellatrys Date: April 28th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

btw, about halfway thru Day of the Triffids the other day

I started thinking "Cozy Apocalypse, dammit!"
48 comments or Leave a comment