arduinna: a tarot-card version of Linus from Peanuts, carrying a lamp as The Hermit (Default)
[personal profile] kass asked me to talk about my first fannish love, and I've been mullling that over since she mentioned it. I'm not entirely sure how to define it.

It could be Lord of the Rings; I read it for the first time when I was 12, and wow. It was an annual re-read for me for years; I learned some Elvish; I memorized some of the poetry. It sparked my interest in Nordic legend and myth, and shoved me full-tilt into the SFF side of genre. ("It's just a phase," my parents thought. "She'll grow out of it." Hahahahaaaa not so much...)

Or it could be ST:TOS, which I watched in reruns starting god knows when, and bonded with my soon-to-be sister-in-law over when I was 13-14. I could recognize episodes from the first few seconds; I bought the novelizations and the fotonovels and the tie-ins as soon as they started appearing. I discovered my embarrassment squick through Plato's Children when Spock was forced to behave ridiculously; I started down the path of seeing humanity as a whole and being totally confused by nationalism. I found the Star Trek Concordance at the library and read it cover to cover, marveling at the stories about the first Star Trek conventions in New York and wishing I was brave enough to go to a con. (It really did have that little moving wheel on the cover, too – so cool!) TOS zines were the first I ever bought, and were my introduction to slash. ♥ No other ST series ever worked for me as well as the original.

It could be Star Wars, which came out when I was 12 and oh my GOD was I the right age for that. I wanted as much as I could get and then some; I saw it many times in the theater that summer and dozens of times in the theater over the next year or two. When my family got cable for the first time a few years later, I got up at 6am to watch it on HBO. (Dad: "... haven't you seen this before? Why are you awake?" me: "shhhhh!!!!!") I wanted the novelizations and the calendars and the t-shirts (... I still have the t-shirt *kof*) (... and the novelizations). I dressed up my dolls and stuffed animals as Star Wars characters. (You haven't lived till you've turned a stuffed skunk into a stormtrooper with careful application of tissues and scotch tape.)

It could be Battlestar Galactica (the original). This is the first canon for which I consciously made up stories, mostly about how Apollo and Starbuck were meant to be together, or how one of them needed to rescue the other, so that makes it a first as well. I hadn't quite gotten all the way to slash on my own yet, but I was right there on the verge.

Or it could be Forever Knight, which I watched religiously no matter how hard it was to find, and taped regularly (first show I ever taped for keeping!), and went looking online to see if anyone else watched it, too, when I first got online. I've talked about my early FK days here before – hah, actually, because Kass asked about it a few years ago. <3 That was what pushed me from being in SF fandom proper to being in media fandom, and man, I loved it. I loved the people, the energy, the creativity, the fan theories, the riffs and in-jokes, all of it. It was the first time I'd interacted with people who were writing fanfic, and it made me think that this was something I could maybe do? It wasn't the first fandom I wrote fic in (hah, I checked this time – usually I get this wrong and say FK was the first), but it was the second, and I made some really strong connections with people in that fandom.

So, uh. My first fannish love was sort of ... everything? Heh.
arduinna: a tarot-card version of Linus from Peanuts, carrying a lamp as The Hermit (Default)
for [personal profile] kass: reminisce about your first fandom. What did you love about it?

This ties back into the first post I did, about the people I encountered first in fandom: my first online fandom foray was Forever Knight, and I adored it. Part of it was the fandom itself; I really had a blast, met some great people, wrote my first fanfic there*. Part of it was just that it was the first time I realized that hey, I really am a media fan -- and wow, other people liked this weird little show that I loved! Cue fandom honeymoon phase. *g* I should say upfront, though, that this was nearly 20 years ago (wow, seriously -- next spring/summer will be my 20 year online-fandom anniversary), so I've lost a lot of details, and a lot of what's left has turned rosy in memory.

I kept going off on tangents here about my pre-FK background, but suffice to say that I didn't know any media fans, and was always surrounded by people who thought it was weird to want to watch a tv episode more than once, or tape it so you didn't miss an ep, or talk about a show in any depth. So to find people who not only liked to watch tv the way I did, but loved this one particular oddball, late-night show, was amazing. I only had a computer at work for the first year or two, so I would stay late and go in on the weekends to keep up with everything. I looked like the world's most dedicated employee. *kof*

Then I started going off on more tangents, because my remembered love of FK is inextricably linked to my delight in finding the internet and online fandom at large: the lists, the shared culture (and the bits that weren't shared), using tools like IRC and FTP, putting fannish images into a rotating screensaver, realizing that the lists were full of women -- not exclusively, but there were a lot of women, and it was so rare for me to find women who liked the things I liked.

So all of that was also great, and is a huge part of my memory of FK fandom.

I loved the way the fandom structured itself. The main list was Forkni-l. Basically everyone was on that list; that's where the fandom lived. There was also a fic list, fkfic-l, for gen fic, and an ftp archive to store the stories that got posted there; an erotica list, JADFE, for het or slash erotica (this kinda blew my mind, that you could get erotica so easily, and slash, too! that wasn't about Kirk and Spock!) (not that I was specifically looking for non-K/S, just that the only slash I'd seen in almost 15 years was K/S, and it was a revelation that people were writing it for other characters. IDK, I was sheltered or something.). And partway through second season, another list was created, FKSPOILR, for spoilery discussion, to keep the main list safe for people who didn't want spoilers. I actually joined the spoiler list! ... For about a day, then realized nope, I really didn't want to know. I was happier on the now-spoiler-free main list. (No, I didn't imprint at all on the idea that spoilers should be kept completely separate from general conversation, why do you ask?) And the different factions would form off-list "loops", where they could focus more intently on the characters or pairings they liked, without taking over the main list, which then got to stay for general show discussion that everyone could participate it. It was the best of all worlds, IMO; a really centralized place where the entire fandom hung out together, and lots of smaller offshoot areas where people could focus on their own thing.

It was a great gateway fandom for me all around. The list was active and full of people who liked all sorts of different things about the show, and that "we all like different aspects and characters" was built in to the list culture in the form of factions. Which I guess might sound confrontational? But they weren't; factions were just a way of letting people know what character or pairing you liked best, and it absolutely didn't mean you were bashing other characters or fans of other characters. (There was even a faction for people who liked all the characters equally.) It made it really weird for me later in other fandoms, when things started turning into "well, if you like that pairing, you must hate this other one!" because -- no? It's just not my thing, and that's okay. And there was never a limit on factions; as the fandom grew, the number of factions grew, as people liked more and more things. There was room for absolutely everyone. Not that people didn't some time get a little over-invested in their factions, but mostly the point was to have a good time with it.

The faction thing was also the first way I learned about fandom wars -- but not like any other fandom's wars. FK wars were giant round-robins where factions competed and collaborated and had a blast. They wouldn't have been nearly as much fun if everyone approached the show from the same direction.

Forever Knight also started me on the road to technical competence, as I learned how to hook two VCRs together to dub tapes so I could swap with other people (this seems so meaninglessly easy now, but it was hard then; I had an idea of what I wanted to do and knew it was possible, but the guys at Radio Shack were utterly flummoxed. And the cables I used were like nothing I've used since; they were specifically for dubbing VCR to VCR, and when I finally unhooked those two original VCRs last year -- no, really, they'd been hooked up all that time -- I didn't even recognize the cables). I learned what IRC was and how to use it, including things like dcc'ing files around, and then made friends with people in the IRC channel who I'm still in touch with nearly 20 years later, and it's still one of my favorite ways to get to know someone. I learned not to be shy about contacting people, whether to see if I could get tapes with the Canadian eps (which I could, and which I still have some somewhere <3) or just to strike up an offlist conversation.

I went to parties and gatherings, mostly with the local slash contingent, where we had a good time. My favorite memory of that was someone trying to figure out the name of the episode where a particular thing happened, and everyone saying no, that never happened, until someone realized she was talking about a Susan Garrett story. *g* (Seriously, very easy to mistake one of her stories for canon -- she created an OC that was so well-drawn that he had his own faction.)

I got my hands on whatever images I could; I just found a folder with a bunch of FK images from 1996 and 1997, although I don't know whether I got these over email, IRC, AOL chats, or what. They're mostly tiny by today's standards, but I loved them; I think I put them into a rotating screensaver. At least one is a digital manip. I'm grinning all over my face looking at them now; I remember them so well!

I got exposed very fast to the idea that TPTB were around and interacting with the fans; we had both actors and behind the scenes folks on the list, and while Nigel Bennett (Lacroix) never said anything publicly that I remember, Fred Mollin (the music guy) used to post fairly regularly. When Sony decided to try tie-in novels, they read the archive and hired three fanfic writers to write them. Really good training for the steady erosion of the fourth wall, when you get right down to it.

FK was the first time I heard people talking about songs that went well with particular fandoms; basically they were talking about vidsongs, although I'm not sure if I quite understood that at the time. I remember a conversation with someone where I was all "oh, huh, it never occurred to me to listen to music like that, to match it to a show" and them saying that once you start doing it, you can't help it, you do it all the time. I think I thought that was a little silly. hahaha. *looks at 'vid ideas' music directory*

Basically, reading that list was my favorite part of the day. I got into huge offlist conversations with people, often because we had different takes on things and it was fascinating to see how other people interpreted things. I found out about other fandoms there as well; there was a lot of overlap between FK and Highlander, especially, and people would mention what was happening on Highla-L or hlfic-l, not to mention all the crossovers. There was a little less cross-cultural stuff with the Due South list, but there was some, and I'm pretty sure FK is how I found the DS lists.

I loved that it was my entry into online fandom, and that it just kept going long after I'd moved on. I still recognize names as I move around fandom, especially if they're faction-based; there's just no mistaking a faction-based name for anything but what it is, and I smile every time I see one.

♥ FK ♥

* ahaha, no I didn't. I just made myself check. I'm always completely positive that I wrote my first fanfic in FK, and I'm always wrong; it was Due South, after which I wrote a couple of FK stories. But FK was such a well of firsts in other ways that it feels like the first one I wrote in, regardless of the truth. It is, however, the only fandom where I ever wrote fic under my real name. *g* At the time I figured I'd do gen under my real name and slash under a pseud, but that was way too unwieldy so I just switched to all-pseud, all the time. (back to post)


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arduinna: a tarot-card version of Linus from Peanuts, carrying a lamp as The Hermit (Default)
For [personal profile] james:

the first or one of the first people you encountered in fandom

This is cracking me up, because James is one of the first people I remember coming across online (which is the fandom I'm defining this as). *g* (hi James, I have known you foreeevvvver!) I don't think I ever said boo back then, though, other than probably sending in an age statement for JADFE (♥) So I'm not sure if it counts as "encountered" or not.

The first person I encountered face-to-face was a woman whose name I no longer remember, although I have visual memories of her and her home.

I was all about Forever Knight in those very early days, mostly lurking on Forkni-l, and someone offered to host people for... something. Season premiere night, maybe? Just general tape-watching? I don't even remember, but I decided to go, and showed up to find the house decorated in Raven images because she was a Ravenette. *g* I was pretty charmed, and we had a good time, even though I was the only person to show up, which was a tad awkward what with us not knowing each other at all. Those were the days when people actually did think that if you met a person from the internet in person, they would turn out to be an ax murderer, so it was nice to have that disproved!

I lost touch with her almost immediately, probably because I wasn't in her faction (much though I love Janette), so I wasn't hanging out on her faction loop at all. Someone posted to the main list about the list's IRC channel, I think on Efnet back then. I had no idea what IRC was, but the post included some instructions, so I got a copy of mIRC and logged on one night. It was great! Turns out it's one of my favorite ways to be fannish to this day, although now I tend to avoid public channels.

Back then, #foreverknight (that's an IRC channel, not a hashtag) was full of tons of people (for mid-90s values of "tons of people") chatting away pretty much 24/7. I got to know a bunch of people pretty well, enough that our conversations would start to dominate the main channel and annoy people, so we broke off into a private channel instead, where we hung out for ages.

And I'm still friends with a handful of them! (waves to [personal profile] eviltammy, [personal profile] ithildin, [personal profile] ninjababe). I've never met Ninj in person, sadly, but got together with Ith, Tammy, and a couple of other friends at Syndicon East in 1997 (that con was a vector -- for years and years later, I'd run across people and find out they'd been there, too); Tammy and another friend came to visit me for a few days at my place; Ith, Tammy, and that same friend and I all went and spent a week on Cape Cod one bright, cold November, where at least one waitress couldn't take it and had to ask us where we knew each other from, because we all had such vastly different accents. *g* And where we accidentally broke into a pirate museum. ♥

Off IRC, meanwhile, I was eventually hanging out with the UFfers, both online and locally. One of the oddest moments was realizing at an UFfish party that I was talking to a woman who went to the church where my cousin had been a priest, and that we'd both been at the same Mass at that church at least once. And she remembered the priest I remembered from my childhood, who'd switched from my parish to hers before moving on again later. It's a small, small world, people. Alas, I've long since lost touch with all of those folks; something about the faction itself, or the faction loop, or something, got less appealing to me, and I just moved on to Due South without much of a backward look at some point, really.

It's really amazing how many people I still know from the 90s in fandom, though. Although huh, thinking about it, I'm still in touch with people from FK, and people from TS (good lord, I still know so many people from TS!), and a few people from Pros, but I think the only people I still know from my DS days are those who moved on to TS about the same time I did. Strange.


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October 2017

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