2011 Moments in Fandom

For your reference and mine, here is last year’s Moments in Fandom post.

Your main fandom of the year?

I’ve felt very out of step with fandoms this year. That’s not an indictment, or anything particularly bad. Part of what defines fandom is the relationship I have with other fans of that property or canon. And my closest friends and I have not shared many fandoms this year. These things come and go, and part of being a good friend is learning enough about what they love so that I can appreciate their joy, even if I don’t share it.

The other reason I’ve felt somewhat removed from fandom this year is my new and very firmly held policy of not reading forums, comments, or sites devoted to intellectual properties I love. No comics news sites, no fan sites for Fringe, no entertainment news. For one thing, I don’t have the time. For another, my friends tell me if anything really important-to-me is going on. For a third, reading those things makes me feel frustrated and angry and as though I lack control over a thing I love. Why? Because I do lack control over what happens in comics and tv shows and books I love. This fact doesn’t bother me in the slightest, as long as I stay away from sites on the internet.

The tl;dr is, I don’t have a huge fandom this year because I stopped participating in fannish communities. And I’m almost okay with that.

Your favorite film you watched this year?

My favorite fillms from 2011 are Hanna and Sucker Punch. Both feature teenage girls killing people. Both were clearly co-written by various portions of my id, with fifteen-year-old me along for a consultation. If you want to know way too much about me, watch those two movies some Friday night..

Your favorite book read this year?

Nonfiction: Cleopatra A Life, by Stacy Schiff

Oh, I did love this book. Schiff’s work does that thing I love, makes the people in history perfectly comprehensible within their context. I love writing like this. Besides which, I’m using the book as the basis, sort of, for a historical AU work of fiction.

Fiction: An Artificial Night, by Seanan McGuire

This is the third of McGuire’s October Daye series of urban fantasy books. Toby Daye is the avatar of many things I love in fiction. She is a private detective, she is a failed knight looking for atonement, she lies to herself while telling herself the absolute truth as she understands it. (That last is a real trick, one I don’t recommend.) She is not overtly self-destructive except … except she keeps ending up in situations where her life is on the line. In some other series or genres, that would simply be a convention of the plot. Not in these books. McGuire is good enough to make it clear that Toby isn’t precisely certain whether she deserves to live or die. She wants to live, yes, very much so.

But has she earned the right?

Different people can find themselves asking that question — “do I have the right to remain alive?” — for different reasons. It’s not, for instance, a question I ever found myself asking. Whatever shitty-stupid things I did, I never questioned my basic right to exist. What An Artificial Night does, slowly, skillfully, with an inexorable logic, is explore how and why people can get to that place. To that darkness of the soul where a person feels that they must earn the most basic human rights.

What McGuire makes very clear is that such darkness is, as the title says, an artificial night. It’s a thing sentient creatures do to each other. And how Toby gets involved, and what happens next, and how the book ends, had me reading the book at blinding speed with my hand covering my mouth in horror.

Your favorite tv show of the year?

My favorite tv show is still Fringe. Which is still amusing to me, considering how much I disliked the pilot episode. (I still dislike the pilot.) But this is a wonderfully subversive little show, with strange gender politics, stunningly good acting, and great found-family dynamics. Plot? Who cares about the plot?

Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

I have, of course, been hearing about Shadowunit for a while. Some authors whose work I like, a genre I like, etc. But the world is full of amazing things and people I will never get around to, and I hadn’t gotten to this one until this year. The availability of the stories in ebook form, on my Nook, did the trick. I dislike reading books on my computer, and avoid it when I can.

If you like stories about screwed-up people who are trying to be heroes, and you like the surrounding plots to be crime drama, then this is the story series for you.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

I had to stop reading comics journalism and blogging. I’m not sure if that’s even really a disappointment, but it is a thing. I don’t have the fortitude for the comments, for one thing. For another, reading comics journalism makes me feel horribly pessimistic about comics.

When I don’t read the interviews and articles, I like the comics just fine. Go figure.

Your fiction boyfriend of the year?

Thor, from the summer Marvel movie Thor. Chris Hemsworth is a pretty, pretty man, and did a fabulous job playing Thor.

Your fiction girlfriend of the year?

Y’know, we once again have the problem that my favorite characters are not ones I want to date. I mean, specifically. I take all the traits in women I should not date and lust after them from afar. Very afar. In fiction. So, that said, I think I have a crush on Velma “Velveteen” Martinez, of Seanan McGuire’s Velveteen Vs. Everything series of short stories. Her story makes me glad that my four-issue miniseries about evil corporations who take in teenagers with superpowers and train them for their own ends masquerading as the public good has never seen the light of day. Because this is so much better.

Your biggest squee moment of the year?

It hasn’t been a squee year. It’s been a year of measured accomplishments and small joys. I loved many things in comics, for instance, yet intensely disliked other things. I have read many good books and watched tv shows I enjoy. Yet — yet see point one, above. There hasn’t been a lot of squeeing, largely because I don’t particularly have folks to share those things with. Fringe in an exception. I do have squee-partners for Fringe.

The most missed of your old fandoms?

The thing I most missed this year was the gloriously immediate feedback of writing fanfiction and RP. I work around this by sending things to my friends demanding that they read stuff for me. 🙂

Your biggest fan anticipations for the coming year?

If all works out the way I hope, I’m going to spend a lot of time in the coming year at various conventions talking about Chicks Dig Comics. My biggest fannish anticipation is to be meeting and talking with some of the people who’ve contributed to that book.

Here’s the thing. I co-edited this book because comics always are the fandom of my heart. I professionally edited the book because I am a fan. Getting a chance to say thank you to the contributors is going to be the high point of my fannish year.

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