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#952 Looking for books at the bookstore: How well the computer knows me

Posted by BR60103 on 22 October 2014 - 02:55 AM

I went into the big Canadian bookstore chain today and used their computer to check on Mrs. Bradshaw's Handbook -- upcoming from Terry Pratchett.  The screen points out 3 other books you might like.  Today it was 2 editions of Raising Steam by that same Pratchett and Cast in Flame.



#134 Tower of God

Posted by michelle on 04 September 2013 - 02:27 AM

I mentioned briefly that when I’m stressed and short on concentration, I read manga. I prefer it to anime in part because I control the speed of intake, and I can skip the parts that don’t personally interest me; yes, I know you can fast forward over those parts, but fast forwarding inevitably means I forward too far and then I have to back it up and then it becomes an exercise in Xeno’s video.


One of the things I’ve been reading is Tower of God, written & drawn by S.I.U. (which stands for Slave in Utero). It’s a Korean webtoon, hosted by (published by?) Naver, the Korean Google equivalent. Naver pays the writer, and the writer produces one chapter/issue/segment a week; the comic itself is free to read.


If you can read Korean, and I can’t.


If you can’t, there are a number of different scanlation groups that translate. The group that does the most complete job (in terms of special effects & general commentary) can be found at (and I believe may have started) Batoto.com.


I skipped it for a long time, because the description made it seem like a shounen battle manga, and while I’ve enjoyed those from time to time, that wasn’t quite what I was in the mood for. (For some reason, I have no problems with, say, horror manga.)


But this meant there was about two “seasons” worth of Tower of God when I did start reading it, which is about 150 chapters. 


What I like about Tower of God is the characterization. I find the world more interesting than I thought I would, and I find the writing both hilarious in places and very dark in others. The Batoto forums have a very active group of posters - but so very many of the discussions break down to one of two things:


The guy I like will kick the butt of the guy you like EVERY TIME because REASONS YOU IDIOT.




This chapter sucks. This comic sucks now. It used to be good, but it’s now Naruto.


Both of these contain bonus cursing and increasing levels of hyperbole.


Since I’m interested in some of the structural elements, and the what-ifs of character observations, and the very (very) large cast of characters, I have tried to make everyone I know read this series so that I can talk to them about it. But...that hasn’t worked with Tower of God the way it worked with Name of the Wind.


And I thought: I want my West readers to read this because I think they would like it - or at least they wouldn’t be totally put off by the cast of characters and the shifts between them. And I think I could have some of those discussions with them >.>


The most recent chapter was released while I was at the Worldcon. I had a great time, but I’m a bit of an introvert in that constant socialization requires a lot of mental energy. Parts of the chapter made me exceptionally, hugely happy.


It’s not that I don’t like battles. I loved the first Anak/Ran battle because every element of it was completely in character for both participants. But I also like the small moments, or the ones I consider sweet; it’s the balance between these and the humor that really make the entire thing go for me.




Posted by Aquilegia on 17 July 2016 - 06:07 AM

I seem to remember something about how the borders between the fiefs were supposed to be narrow, but could be surprisingly deep. i am sure that geography is not exactly as precise as we might wish. At least at the borders, certainly towards the interior. Isn't that part of the point of the towers, to keep things fixed in the real world, not some alternate reality.


Anyhow, here is my charmingly imprecise and rather messy map of how I think the fiefs look in terms of the rest of the city.


How the rest of the city looks, well, I can't quite pin that down. i have a list of stuff that has been mentioned in the books, and I have tried to make some kind of order out of it. but I think that it is impossible. I have chosen to think that because everything is given through Kaylin's point of view, and she is not terribly good at geography, it's appropriate.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Elantra.jpg

#1309 Requested Cut Scenes (Meralonne/Anduvin)

Posted by michelle on 01 April 2015 - 12:05 AM

Michelle, some folks are asking for a link or a re-posting of the old Meralonne/Anduvin cut scene from Sea of Sorrows in the "war-formerly-book-6..." thread. Someone offered to post it, but I don't know if you'd prefer to post it instead? (I'm punting this decision to you, ahahaha...)  I have only a paper print out--and no way to scan it--but drza44 has an e-copy apparently, if you need it.  ;-)


A. I have NO objections to it being posted. (Arg. I typed this quickly and read it over and MISSED THE LACK OF THE IMPORTANT WORD. Yes. This is what my life has been like recently. This is the 2nd edit)


B. I apparently agreed to write a guest blot post. I am on attempt 3 and 3.5k words of not-useful attempts 1 and 2.


C. I have to cut 20k words total from the current first draft of Cast in Honor which in theory should be in my editor’s hands Right Now (I’m 15k through that 20k)




D. I can go back and look for it in my own e-archives, but my versioning is not very good for earlier books >.<. (ETA: which will not be done immediately because the blog post is also due pretty much Right Now). Or someone who has it can post it.




E. I have about 20kish words that I cut from Oracle which I will post on my web-site and

F. about 11k words that I cut from Cast in Honor which I will also post on my web-site


once I actually finish these two pressing emergencies >.>

#1258 Evolution of Characters/plot/story over time

Posted by RTJ on 27 February 2015 - 03:29 PM

It's been interesting to reflect on how things have changed over time. I find myself doing this having read Hunters Death over the weekend combined with some things Michelle has said in the past about the character of Jewel on the old yahoo group forums.


  • Jewel was never envisioned as being the major character she is now. This from a comment Michelle had made of the old forums. But, I don't see how Jewel could be other than she is now. Someone has to fill the roll of a Sen Adept kind of character, someone who can stand toe to toe with Allasakar and it can't be Cellerient, Viandaran, Illaraphaniel or Ariane. It might have been someone from the south, a Voyani for example, but Jewel makes more sense, IMHO.
  • Sor na Shannon met the Winter Queen on the Winter road at the height of Winter and Ariane didn't kill her!? Ariane even had her Host with her.
  • Meralonne couldn't defeat Sor Na Shannon either! And yet, he is one of the four riders? Yes, I know he killed her in the battle of the coliseum, but after she was distracted. 
  • Meralonne lost his shield to a Duke of the hells. We now know that a Duke isn't the second most powerful echelon within the hells, there are Firstborn Princes such as Darronatos. It was also mentioned the loosing the shield and replacing it would be a matter of months, fifteen years later he still doesn't have a shield. How can the riders be perceived as such a danger to Allasakar if one of them can't defeat a Duke, let alone a Prince, of the hells?

I think if Illaraphaniel met Sor na Shannon as we know and see/perceive him now, she'd be a goner. It's interesting to look at the second time Illaraphaniel met a Duke in battle and how he fared better even minus his shield than he did the first time.It's interesting to wonder if the evolution of these characters has been intentional or an artifact of the changing landscape of the story?


Have other's noticed a similar thing? Perhaps about different characters?

#841 Essalieyan Calendar

Posted by Tchula on 08 September 2014 - 03:46 AM

A long time ago in the yahoo list group, one of our members posted this list of months with explanations from Michelle.  I dug through my old emails and found it. (Thanks, Heather Joy Boyer!) Hope it helps.  I know I found it interesting!


The Essalieyan Calendar by Michelle Sagara West


There are thirteen months in this calendar and they are completely regular months, consisting of four 7 day weeks.

Veral: 1st month. This month, named after Veralaan the founder, has 28 or 29 days.  Historically, there are more weddings during the month of Veral than during any other month; it's considered auspicious.  Veral is the first month of spring.  Although the Hunter Lords do not realize the significance of the named month, it is during Veral that the Sacred Hunt occurs.  The first day of the month is the Spring Equinox.


Fabril: 2nd month. 28 days. Named after the first of the Maker-born to grace the pre-salvation Empire with his artifacts and knowledge.  Died a martyr to the league of Wizards (which later became the Hand, or the Dark Hand as it was more colloquially called), which is why he has earned a place in the folklore.  The sword of Fabril rests upon the hip of the Justice-born King--for of the items Fabril fashioned, only two survived--and the rod is at the side of the Wisdom-born King.  Both items demand their due.


Morel: 3rd month. 28 days. Named after the legendary (this is this world's version of Arthur) hero who rode in to the darkness of Allasakar at a time when the Gods walked the world.  The actual name rendered in Essalieyanese is Moorelas; the Old Weston is Morrel, sometimes Moirel.  Whatever his name, he rode three times against the God; the third time, he did not return--but the stronghold of Allasakar was discovered and breached.


Lattan: 4th month. 28 days. Beginning of the 2nd week (the 8th) is the Summer Solstice--and the opening ceremonies of the King's Challenge.  Lattan is the old Weston word for High Summer (Weston is the language at the base of Essalieyanese). Originally, Lattan was a specific time--the Summer Solstice; it was one of two points during the year in which new and old worlds intersected; they still intersect so now, for those who will not walk the Oracle's path. Contemporary usage has lost all meaning of the more significant event. [editor's note: The Dominion's Festival of the Sun occurs at the Summer Solstice.]


Seril: 5th month. 28 days.


Emperal: 6th month. 28 days. This is actually the Old Weston name of the month; it is not clear that it was meant to refer to the King or the Emperor of one of the Weston states, although that is clearly the tone of the word.  The 10 days of The Gathering, and the coronation (if there is to be one) take place on the 15th to the 24th of Emperal.  If not, Advent is celebrated here, on the morn of the 28th--as the kings rise at last to the throne they were born to.


Wittan: 7th month. 28 days.  The beginning of the third week is the Autumnal Equinox. There are many festivals during the month of Wittan, but most of these are observed by followers of the Mother in Averalaan itself.  Outside of Averalaan, Wittan is probably the most celebrated month in the year--it's the month of the harvest, with all that that signifies. This is the second most popular time of the year for marriages, although this is mostly in the outlying regions.  If the Kings tour (at one point it was part of a ceremony), it will be at the very beginning of Wittan, after the Advent.  If this is the year of a coronation, the Kings will tour, with their queens; that part of tradition has not, and will not, be eradicated.  Root of the word is unclear.


Aeral: 8th month. 28 days.  Root of this word is heavily debated. Heavily debated (scholars do this sort of thing and enjoy it, and no one else cares one way or the other, so as long as the scholar is sponsored they can do as they please). The word is not Old Weston, although it takes a Weston form. The profferred explanation that is given the widest credence is that the word comes from the title Aeiria, which would be one of the titles given to the Queen of the Hidden Court. Since no scholar in his right mind believes in the hidden court, debate continues.


Maran: 9th month. 28 days.


Scaral: 10th month. 28 days. The beginning of the 4th week is the Winter Solstice.  This is named, as in Lattan, after the Old Weston word, scarran, which refers to the darkest point of intersection between the old/new worlds.  Again, the conjunction occurs for those who know how to invoke its use; the line between the old and the new breaks at this point--but perhaps to a more dangerous locale. [Ed.: The Dominion's Festival of the Moon occurs at the winter solstice.]


Misteral. 11th month. 28 days.


Corvil. 12th month. 28 days.


Henden. 13th month. 28 days.  The origins of this month are argued vociferously among members of the Order of Knowledge. One side says that it is the modernized version of Horenden, Old Weston for Hand--the symbol of the League of Wizards; the other side claims that it is actually a southern term, meaning "the thing that is hidden but on the verge of stepping out." During this month, the more ceremonial among the Essalieyanese (which does not include most merchants) begin the Averalaan version of Lent. In the first week, they do not partake in any of the more traditional forms of entertainment; in the second, they do not wear certain colors, in the third, they do not eat certain foods. Then, there is one day of respite (the Mothersday) before they launch into the Six Dark Days.

#810 Reference

Posted by Ehtiar on 24 August 2014 - 12:15 AM

Okay, I have to hold my hand up here and say I do keep reading Hamilton's books. But, to be fair I don't hate them, I found they've slipped from "buy when they come out" to "get around to them eventually" because to a certain extent after this long I'm still somewhat invested in the characters and curious to see just where she takes them, and if she's actually going to get an editor again. Maybe part of it is also a certain sense of slow-motion, watch the bus crashing?


There's still interest in the characters, and some of the world ideas are nice, and curiosity about expanding areas of background trivia... And I find I tend to steam through books so fast, I'm willing to put up with not-great stuff for the moments of "neat" contained in them.


If I just can't get to grips with a book or series, I will walk away. But if it's a series that started fairly well, and I want to see where the story (and characters) go, then I'll find it has to become incredibly dire for me to give up. Even if I know that by the end of it I'll be somewhat disappointed.

#806 Reference

Posted by michelle on 22 August 2014 - 06:18 PM

I don’t have a good list, because I have them listed in general racial notes, and they’re often buried, but:




Gold: normal/content. 

Red: angry.  

Orange: that shade in between which means what it pretty much implies. 

Blue: resignation and acceptance in a particular context.

Grey:  Despair.




Green:  happy, calm, neutral.

Blue:  Anger/fear

Purple: grief, deep grief

Brown:  Approval

Gold:  Surprise

Violet:  dominant desire/possessiveness.

Pale/Sky Blue:  Desire


Gold:  Normal, content

Red:  Death.

Orange:  as in the Leontine case, the irritation in the middle, which is not always death.

White/platinum:  Ancient magic. (Sanabalis in Cast in Fury; Arkon)

Copper: Sadness (Bellusdeo in Peril)


I don’t have a list for the Aerians, which is ... bad. >.<.


And yes, I kind of avoid the book threads because if people want to talk about things they really didn’t like, they can. I mean, they can do it anywhere, but - if they do it there, they don’t run the risk of hurting my feelings.

#485 TV Tropes has a Chronicles of Elantra page..

Posted by Ehtiar on 25 October 2013 - 08:44 PM

Oh yes of course. TVTropes is just so damn fun to wander around. I have to admit, there have been a couple of times late at night I think "Oh, I just want to check something up before I shut down the pc..." and look up some trope or media item there, and next thing I know it's an hour later and I've got half a dozen tabs of assorted tropes and wotnot opened...


At least you can be relieved that the TVTrope pages for your book series are generally neutral or slightly positive. There are some that can be really quite scathing (if still amusing) in how they identify some tropes and elements in the work of authors.



In regards to children and parents with some form of fame/celebrity (as it were) I think the classic line has to be from somewhere in the Vorkosigan saga: 

"Did growing up and seeing your parents on tv change the way you thought about them?"

"No. It changed the way I thought about tv and what it showed me...."

#237 Currently reading.................

Posted by michelle on 13 September 2013 - 12:56 AM

I cannot watch somene crack the spine to a book on purpose. It makes my skin crawl. 


I think I screamed. We went to dinner about half an hour later than we’d planned. He did point out that he didn’t do this to my books; I pointed out that this was obvious because he was, oh, still alive.


So - right there with you.

#1543 Cast in Honour...question...Lady

Posted by michelle on 29 November 2015 - 07:20 PM

Elizabeth is correct - The Lady has a specific meaning for Barrani, even Nightshade :). It’s the Consort.

#1510 Crying

Posted by SometimesKate on 12 October 2015 - 05:49 PM

I don't cry a lot, or easily, but no matter how many times I've re-read Cast in Shadow (and Cast in Courtlight) I still cry when I read about Steffi and Jade.  I'm not one of those people who cries during Hallmark commercials, and usually if something makes me cry once, it doesn't always happen when I re-read it.  (I don't cry every time I read the end of Goblet of Fire, for instance)   But when Kaylin tells Lord Grammayre what happened, and when she watches Severn carry them, it makes me cry.   Anyone else?

(topic for another thread, but I'm hesitant about spamming the board, but does anyone else wonder about the shadow on Severn, and whether he's going to turn into a villain at some point.  I just don't think he's as good and perfect as he appears.)



Posted by HILDA on 13 September 2015 - 09:38 PM

I just received an email from Amazon that they "were happily letting me know that Cast in Honor book has an earlier delivery date and that I should receive it on November 24 (without any additional charge)". Really. I shouted, then thought about it, and, of course, realized there's still 2 months to go. And it will be early winter. BLAST!!!!

Didn't it just finished? We haven't even had Summer yet. I'm still dreading the 90"s and low 100's of Summer. But better than Winter. YES, I take a Michelle Sagara/West book anytime, anywhere. Hopefully, it will warm the early Winter.

If I did it right, I should also receive the electronic copy. I can read it at night and read it in the light of my tablet 2 months and 2 weeks to go!!!!!

#1480 I attempted to fan art

Posted by Silverthorne on 08 September 2015 - 01:49 AM

I wasn't sure where to put this, so I'm putting it here.  I attempted to sketch everyone's favorite Kialli Lord, Isladar. :D.  I have no idea if this is at all accurate or how anyone else visualizes him, but...eh, creative freedom, right?  I don't know if I'll ever actually finish/refine this, because I can't with arms...but here you go...x_x  *hides*




He's wearing his grumpy face~

#1432 Arianne

Posted by ulmo3 on 16 August 2015 - 12:12 PM

I don't think it's possible for them to be siblings, since Allasakar is, in fact, an actual GOD, and I'm pretty sure the gods don't actually have parentage...they just kind of...are.  Firstborn, like Arianne, on the other hand, are children OF gods.

I think then the Dark Lady of the south is not a first born. I think it's in the Hunters Death when Allasakar hid the Kovasachii from her she said now my brother and I have issues. Dark lady and Arianne are different then. It's just curious we get these tit bits. I hope Michelle writes a series about the ancient days when the gods walked and moorekass rode.

#1427 Arianne

Posted by Tchula on 14 August 2015 - 12:57 PM

Yes, Arianne is the daughter of Mystery.  Her other parent is not known for sure, but I'm guessing it's probably the Mother.  Arianne is tied to seasons, which makes me think of the Mother.

#1425 Arianne

Posted by Tchula on 13 August 2015 - 12:25 AM

My take on it is as follows...


#1336 Eric Flint - Some comments on the Hugos and other SF awards

Posted by michelle on 22 April 2015 - 04:41 PM

I read that - I’ve been reading a lot about the Hugos in the past couple of weeks (feels like longer) - and I think it was really smart.


Mike Stackpole had smart things to say about it (takeaway: he doesn’t win Hugos because he’s not writing the kind of book that wins awards), as did GRRM. 


I find it slightly confusing that people don’t realize why a slate is a bad idea. I find it even more confusing that people somehow assume that winners won because of politics, and not because people actually loved their books/stories. Do I agree with every award given? Well no, of course not. But I don’t assume that it won for some nefarious reason; I assume it won because people liked the book or author. There are award-winners that made me gnash my teeth; there are award winners that made me squeal in joy. 

#1285 About writing and reader expectations

Posted by Ehtiar on 24 March 2015 - 04:44 PM

To throw in an extra here, a nice little article from Tor..

Tor - Protecting What You Love : The Difference between Criticism, Rage, and Villification


Criticism is part of how fandom functions. But there is a substantial difference between thoughtful discussion and hyper-fueled teeth-gnashing destructor mode. And when that sort of festering anger gets leveled at people over making a lukewarm piece of continuity? It’s ugly.
And it’s not what fandom is about.

Full disclosure: We’re all capable of getting a little cranky. When things are dear to you, you want to protect them, and when something bugs you, you want to speak up. So I’m certainly not coming at this from a place of innocence, pretending that I have some special high-ground on the subject. But it is important to talk about what we criticize and how we do it, and remember that while we can’t be perfect people, we can certainly try to keep the water clear.

David Gerrold (who is known for penning the famous Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles,” among other accomplishments) went to Facebook recently to discuss his issues with fans who take creatives to task as “the enemy” when those people don’t handle properties the way they’d like. The point he was trying to make is that creation is a complicated process, and no one sets out to make something horrible. Getting up in arms about this writer or that director as though they’ve personally slighted you and everything that matters to you is not only ridiculous, but simply isn't constructive or productive for either the fan community or the creatives being taken to task. It’s fine not to like things. But it’s wrong to spew vitriol simply because something you normally like is currently not your cuppa tea.

The dividing line between criticism and keyboard-smashing rage is hard for some to parse out. And this is especially true because criticisms can get heated, particularly when the critique is centered on a group of people or subject that is often mistreated by fiction. And the fact is, angry criticism is not automatically bad criticism. Angry criticism might lack clarity on occasion, but that doesn’t make it incorrect by any means. However, the point of criticism is to direct our attention to places where the material might need work or deeper consideration—ways in which it's perpetuating regrettable patterns and stereotypes or contributing to unfortunate trends, or simply falling down on its message and mission as a work of art, whether we're talking about a Batman comic or a Virginia Woolf novel.

And criticism is not out of place in pop culture, no matter what anyone says. If I see one more internet comment telling someone to “relax, it’s just a tv show/movie/book/comic… why can’t you just have fun and stop dissecting everything?” then I’m going to keyboard-rage-smash until the internet turns into all-caps letter soup. See? When other people refuse to engage in a constructive manner and choose to deride helpful discourse, it just creates more anger, and then I'm suddenly becoming Strong Bad.

Just because something is meant to be fun and is intended to be enjoyed by a large percentage of people does not mean that it is above (or below) criticism. In fact, criticism becomes even more relevant when a piece of media enjoys widespread popularity because it then occupies such a substantial space in our culture. Not everyone will get to Berlin and see the Ishtar Gate—hell, they might not even see pictures of it in their history books… but chances are they’ve seen one Star Wars film. Whether or not someone thinks these popular stories deserve deeper treatment is a pointless argument; they exist in our very bones and won’t be removed.

And that’s appropriate because even the most base pop culture is capable of informing us about the world at large. Watching Star Wars opens viewers up to mythological structure and art and symphonic music. Batman comics harken back to film noir and Sherlock Holmes and the Scarlet Pimpernel. The Lord of the Rings can teach us about Viking folklore and World War I and linguistics. Pop culture helps to determine how we access our history, our humanity. Refusing to take it apart the same way we do “high art” is effectively declaring what we enjoy in common society is bankrupt of larger context, and that artistic value only existed in some glorious past. Remember, Shakespeare was writing his day’s equivalent of the blockbuster—he had no qualm with being a pop culture poet.

So, yes: criticism is a good thing in the world of pop culture, and has an important place in fandom at large. Then what exactly is Gerrold upset over?—it’s the keyboard-smashing rage. Rage that typically consists of YOU RUINED XYZ FOREVER AND I HATE YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE SHOULD HATE YOU TOO, YOU ARE BAD YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD. It’s not exactly hard to recognize this as unhelpful. It contributes nothing worthwhile to any kind of discussion, and focuses on one—or several—specific human beings who are the targets of one's ire. There is no constructive point to this; it’s an emotional reaction to having something that you love taken apart and rearranged in ways that seem inauthentic to you. And it’s a perfectly fair emotional reaction to have, of course, because that’s how emotions work. But this argument can get particularly nasty in fandom because fans claim a certain level of ownership over their obsessions. Not literal ownership, mind you, but perhaps a spiritual sort.
We’ve all had that feel, bro. This is not my Superman! That is not my Tolkien! They are not my Avengers!

J.J. Abrams is nothing but lens flare!
Brannon Braga knows nothing!
You are betraying the very soul of that thing I love!

But frankly, the worst case scenario here is simply deciding not to engage with said property until it morphs into something that excites you again. Outside of that, it seems as though the majority of the rage is directed toward the idea that other fans will come to the fold through this new version of your fandom and “not understand” what it’s about. But there are several problems that way of thinking in the first place:

  • There are plenty of already-existing fans who do not share your opinions on the fandoms and things that you love. Just because you may think that the intentions you’re perceiving behind a work are correct doesn’t mean that the guy sitting next to you gives a hill of beans for your thoughts about the human metaphors implicit in Vulcan society. He was only in it for the space guns and cool prosthetics. And the lady sitting across from you was only in it because it was one of the few shows on television that featured people who looked like her. You all have different reasons for being here. You are not the only fan of anything (unless it’s a comic that you created and have never shown to anyone...)
  • Many fans will go back to the thing that you love once they are introduced by way of the Shiny New Version. LOTR book sales rocketed when The Lord of the Rings became a film trilogy. Lots of New Who fans went back to watch classic Doctor Who. The fans who don’t go back into the original material? They’re not the kind of fan you’re likely to see eye-to-eye with anyway. If they do, you get new friends to talk about The Silmarillion with. Everyone wins.
  • Conversely, the love you have for anything is not negated or lessened by it no longer being the most-current and/or popular version.
But maybe none of this is the point. Maybe you’re just upset with the people in charge for creating something that didn’t grab you. To which the answer is simple: Disliking something is fine. Hating a person, a human being you’ve never met, for no reason other than the creative choices they made? Even if they’re weren’t great creative choices? That’s pretty extreme. And openly attacking that human being? That’s unnecessary and damaging to all fandom communities. Choices themselves can be critiqued. But that person was doing their job, trying to make something that they were hoping you’d like. Regardless of how strong your feelings are, they do not deserve that level of fury and contempt directed right at them.

I should mention that this goes in both directions. Creators are fans, too, and sometimes, they don’t take rationally to any manner of criticism. Sometimes they turn around and attack the fan community for not being of one mind with their decisions. In this case, they need to remember that a) they will never get everyone to love the things they make; B) there might be some good points in outside criticism that could be valuable to them going forward; and c) once they step into the role of creator, they are now acting as a professional and should behave professionally toward fans and critics alike. Unless you are being outright harassed or abused, there is no call for deriding people who have opinions on your work. It is the nature of the beast.

We can’t help caring, and it’s all done out of love, some might say. But what we forget is that love isn’t only ever a good thing. Sometimes acting out of love can be destructive.
Fandom can make heroes out of all of us—lead people to start charities, form friendships, fight for change. And if your forays into fandom have led you in that direction, then that love is doing well for you. But if you find yourself maligning others in the effort to express how much you care, in order to prove that the ways in which you care are more or better than anyone else's… then maybe that love isn’t helping you out so much. Maybe it’s time to consider what you’re actually bringing to the table. Claiming ownership over something also means being a caretaker. But your caretaking duties are not to the story itself—they’re to the people in your community.
Because you can’t safeguard stories, really: they’re made up of ideas and ideas are fluid. But you can safeguard people.

Irritation is understandable, of course; the entertainment industry at large is a trend-driven monster and often doses us with much-of-the-same. It feels good to complain sometimes, but it’s not worth anyone’s fury. At best, it is worth our well-considered critique. Our disappointment. Possibly even our dismissal. And none of that amounts to actively trying to hurt another person, regardless of their perceived mistakes. Trolls will do what they do, but no one is going to be fooled into finding their antics relevant or impactful, or smart, or cool. If anything, those “us against them” tactics are far sadder than a failed first season of television, or an over-simplified reboot. It makes it hard for fans with different tastes to unabashedly like what they like, and harder for others to criticize the work in a meaningful way.

So do fandom a favor: save your ire for plotholes and stereotypes and bad movie science. Debate with care and never forget that you are talking to and about other people. Contribute, rather than detract and threaten. And remember that even if you feel a certain amount of ownership over the stories that move you, that doesn’t give you leave to vilify anyone. Fandom should be the best kind of playground, not a never-ending game of King of the Mountain.

#1276 Sir Terry Pratchett

Posted by michelle on 13 March 2015 - 01:46 AM

This was the first thing I saw this morning. 


I know I didn’t know him. I met him twice, through the bookstore. But his books, I knew. I saved them. I saved them because when life was a storm and everything was going wrong and I could find nothing but numbness doing anything else...


Terry Pratchett was there for me. I could open a book. I could read. I could laugh. Or cry. Mostly laugh. I could find a place internally where i wanted to stay. I don’t want my grief to be compared to the grief of his friends and his family, because my grief is selfish, it is entirely for me. it’s the fear - the certainty - that the door to that house has been closed, that the warmth and the hope and the sarcasm and the frustration--all human things -- will never recombine in something new.


But I have everything that he’s written, and his books? They are friends to me. They were there in the worst of my depression. They were there in the best of family time (house full of Pratchett readers, except the younger son), they were like a language of their own. I am so very grateful that Terry Pratchett decided to be a writer. I am grateful that he wrote so many books.


It is wrong and selfish and an act of denial to want so. much. more. 


And yet, human also, and I think he understood people pretty well.