Friday, April 22, 2011

Standing on the Shoulders of Giant Books

On a visit to Borders today I found some interesting things related to fandom and copyright.

The first was in the introduction to a book about "mashup literature" such as "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" . It followed the trend of combining classic figures and grotesque monsters. If I can remember the title and find it on Amazon one of these days, I'll link you. The important part is that the editor talked about fan fiction and doujinshi, and how lax copyright laws in countries such as Japan and Germany allow the arts to flourish as compared to places with stronger copyright laws (such as America). Citation needed, but, still. Interesting.

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The novel How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe contains a scene where Linus Skywalker, son of Luke, goes back in time to try to kill his father. He's tired of always existing in Luke's shadow. (Keep in mind that this is in no way a Star Wars novel. I'm pretty sure it also never uses Luke's full name.) The author advises Linus to change his name.

I think this would be much more interesting than what's currently going on with Ben Skywalker in Fate of the Jedi.

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I picked up Invasion by Mercedes Lackey (and someone else) because it a picture of a giant bird on it. Next thing I know I'm reading the little blurb on the cover, which unfortunately does not exist on the Amazon edition. The blurb said, "Inspired by the MMORPG City of Heroes".  I flip through to the introduction and find that the characters are based on the authors' characters in the game. I don't know enough about the world to be able to tell how close to the novel it is.

But think about that for a second. This woman is such a successful author that publishers will sell the stuff she writes about her RPG characters. I'm sure it's just as good as her other stuff. But still.

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In unrelated news, Club Jade reports that Drew Karpyshyn is going to pen a TOR-tie-in called Revan. It will be of course about our favorite player character from KoTOR.  The Exile will also appear. Especially after Jaden Kor was established as a rather dull human male, I'm not all that excited about canon even touching other player characters. That and Karpyshyn writes some really notably unremarkable Mass Effect novels.

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On a less bitter note, I'm currently playing Portal 2 and it is wonderful. A full review will probably come later when I finish it. Until then, I leave you with "Without the imminent threat of death, is it even science?"

11 comments:

  1. Borders is closing down in Australia. It's depressing. Borders is the best shop for books! It's like heaven. I can't believe it's closing down. WHERE WILL WE GO TO BUY BOOKS? (I know there are other book shops out there, but seriously. Borders is awesome. Sadface. D:)

    Also, that sounds quite interesting.
    That book about "Linus Skywalker" intrigues me. So, would it be classed as fan fiction or not?

    I thoroughly enjoyed Karpyshyn's Darth Bane books, but you say he didn't do a very good job with Mass Effect? I thought he was an excellent writer.

    Portal 2? Awesome! I really want to play the first game... and then the second. I will, one day. (Did you know that Hui the Brave was once threatened by talking baskets?)

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  2. They're closing down a lot of their stores here as well. It's a pity. I like to think that chain bookstores going bankrupt means that independent ones will become more prevalent, instead of simply that fewer and fewer people are reading.

    Nah, I don't think it would be. It would be classed under parody. I think the Linus character only appears very briefly, but since I haven't read the whole book (yet) I can't be sure.

    Personally, I read the first chapter or so of the ME books and didn't think they were entertaining enough to purchase. But that's just my opinion. I actually didn't realize he was the one who did Darth Bane too. Huh. He's a real fandom-crosser. XD

    Portal games are so good. :3 (Oh yes! But Kang the Mad chased them off.)

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  3. You know, I actually didn't know that different countries have different copyright laws. That's sort of weird, considering the international nature of literature. One would assume they'd all agree on a standard.

    I am kind of curious about the reasons behind this new and bizarre trend of classic + grotesque, but I suppose it has something to do with the general growing interest in zombies. (Which I also find puzzling, but whatever.)

    Annnnything would be better than Fate of the Jedi. I actually have my own idea for a crazy AU involving Ben, which you will either find amusing, or groan at. But I'm going to write it anyway.

    ...So Invasion is basically fanfiction? Well, if she can do it, you can, too.

    Ewwwwwww Revan novel. I must band with you in saying I think this is a terrible idea. Most of the appeal of the Revan character (and Exile, by extension) lies in how malleable it is, how much you can form it to your liking. Having Revan and Exile canonized as bland action protagonists a la Jaden Korr would just be...awful. But, I guess that's what the fandom is for.

    But yes, let us look to Portal 2 to console our writing woes. I have to hurry up and finish it so I don't have to worry about spoilers any more.

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  4. Yep. The individual governments take care of copyright laws for their country--or sometimes for their language. (I think.) Remember the LotR novel that got published in Russia, but then there was a hassle when they tried to translate it into English?

    About all I had to say about the appeal of zombies was said a couple blog posts ago. Besides that I'm not really into them myself so am content to leave it at "it's a trend". "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" was funny because it was novel how ridiculous it was.

    Oh dear. What are you going to write about Ben? Anything's better than the Luke/Mara rehash currently going on.

    Well, I don't know how much of Invasion is written using a world similar to the MMO's. The authors just made original characters out of their fan characters--which of course is no rare thing on deviantArt.

    Totally agreed about Revan. I just sortof ignore the canon portrayals.

    Yes, I look forward to being able to discuss when we've both finished it.

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  5. I tried to post my comment and there was an error. The ONE TIME I don't create a back-up of a long comment, I need one. RAGE! D:<
    I am going to attempt to write it again...

    Well, I certainly hope you’re right.
    And what’s with this new “ebook” trend that’s going on? Give me one good reasons why I would rather read my books online! It just takes away the whole “storybook” feel, y’know? Plus, it’s not good for your eyes to be reading online all the time.
    Ah, cool. It sounds amusing, anyway.
    Apparently he is! I personally think he did an amazing job with the DB books, but there’s always room for failure, eh? And it depends on personal opinion and perspective.
    Also, I forgot to add… A BOOK WITH REVAN AND THE EXILE = ICKY. I hate canon, I really do. Those characters are supposed to be customizable, unique to each person who plays as them or writes fanfiction. With these things, I tend to ignore them, even though they annoy me.
    (“Hmph. Next time I hide something I’m packing explosives around it. Yes, explosives shaped like silver bananas. Gets rid of thieves, monkeys and monkey thieves in one fell swoop.” [I typed that off by heart. No googling or checking involved. I feel special. But it’s too awesome a quote to forget!])
    …..I think I got it all down. ^^’

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  6. Forgot paragraphs, ugh. Oh well! D:<

    I blame Inquisitor Lim! (Sorry for spamming your blog!)

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  7. Argh, I hate when posts get deleted. I tend to copy mine before sending just in case.

    I think the appeal of the ebook is that you can carry as many of them around as you like, in one device. But I like pages. I like that different books have different shapes, and those shapes are part of how I remember the book. So I agree with you.

    It really is personal opinion in terms of Karpyshyn. There's nothing wrong with disagreeing. XD

    I wouldn't go so far as to hate canon, but I certainly have been picking and choosing from it lately. And yes, the whole point of customizable characters is that people can imbue them with whatever they want...I guess Karpyshyn!Revan is just one more option. One more fancharacter.

    lol that is an awesome quote.

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  8. Pfffffft took me long enough to remember to reply to this.

    Right, right, I remember that. I still think it's weird.

    I can't tell you much about Benfic, except that a) it is an origin story and b) Mara will not be the mother. I'll leave you to ponder over this.

    True, true. It makes me wonder where the line is (or what the substantiality of the line is) between user-generated characters in copyrighted material, and original characters that can be copyrighted by their creators.

    I do accept that canonically Revan was a Human male; I'm not going to raeg about it. I'm just really not looking forward to him having a personality on the same level of development and appeal as Darth Bane.

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  9. Re: Benfic: I....have been pondering. Will you answer yes or no questions? Is Deena Shan involved? Origin story how?

    Yeah, I guess you'd have to ask the authors, who might be trained out of speaking about their characters in the same way fanwriters are. I figure there's going to be "Karpyshyn's Revan" and my Revan and they're still two different people.

    I'm going to blog about something happy one of these days I swear. Right. After I finish Portal 2.

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  10. In order: Maybe, no, self-explanatory.

    Yeah, I think of canon-Revan and my Revan as two completely separate people as well, and I don't even pretend like my Revan is canon. (If she was...there might be general revolts.)

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  11. Oops, forgot to check back and reply. Oh, well… better late than never, eh?

    Yeah, I do too. All the time. But when I forget to, I actually need to. It’s so frustrating! D:<
    I suppose, but I’d much rather a physical book that I hold in my hands. I also like pages (slightly yellowed ones with a rough texture are my favourite.) High five of agreement! *high fives you*

    Mmhmm. I loved his Darth Bane books, and I love Darth Bane. I know there are others who don’t.

    :/ Hmm, yeah. Hate is a strong word. I think it would be more accurate to say that I “dislike people who try to force canon onto others” and stuff like that. Hey, that’s a good way of looking at it. Just because it’s a published book and considered ‘canon’ doesn’t mean it can’t be considered as fan fiction and seen in the same light as all the other Kotor fanfics you find on the internet.

    I know, right? Kang has so many awesome quotes.

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