I'm a long-time lurker here who happens to currently be taking a
course at Harvard on the Anthropology of Science Fiction. We've been
assigned to conduct "field research" and write a paper about fan
experience and community. Of course I thought immediately of this
group [the Sith Academy]. I've put together a rather haphazard survey and would love as
many people as possible to respond. I'm sure most of you have run
into some survey about fandom/slash/sci-fi before, but that should
make it extra easy to dash off some quick thoughts on the subject.
Be as vague or detailed as you want. Any and all thoughts are
appreciated. There are lots of questions and questions-within-
questions. Feel free to ignore anything you don't feel like
answering. Only answer one question if you want. Any response is a
good response. Email your answers to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Phoenix, Arizona (location when I got hooked: Fairbanks, Alaska)
Age: 23 (17? when I got hooked)
Occupation: Student (market research representative is my paying job though)
How did you get interested in/why are you interested in:
a) Science fiction It was there. I read it. It was not boring, and it was a change from horse books, which I was growing out of fast.
b) Star Wars Teacher showed the movies in English class, I think. I got hooked.
c) Science fiction fandom I was sort of suborned by the http://www.dendarii.com mailing list, where I went because of the like-minded people who discussed Bujold.
d) Slash fan fiction Everything I Learned About Fandom, I Learned On The Bujold List. They linked me, I read some, I liked some, I was happy. (I may have read some early Star Trek slash in published books, but I think the first slash I read was actually Sith Academy.)
e) The Sith Academy Linked from the Bujold list.
FANDOM in general: What other fandoms are you involved in, and in
what ways are you involved? (read novels, watch movies, belong to
online communities, read fic, write fic, illustrate, etc.) Are you
primarily interested in any one genre, and if so, why?
Other fandoms: Harry Potter, Young Wizards, Lois McMaster Bujold. I read the novels. I write HP fanfic from time to time. I watch the movies. Oh, and Star Wars and Star Trek. (I watch the movies, but haven't watched the TV shows in a while.) I keep being suborned by the Buffy/Angel fandom, but I have yet to be fully dragged in. I'm on the Bujold e-mail list, and sometimes meet up in person with friends from there. Lately I've been lurking/no-mail. I'm on a few Harry Potter e-mail lists, but mostly lurk, unless there are personal friends there. I like science fiction/fantasy, and am not so thrilled with hardcore military space battle love (say, David Weber's boring bits).
SLASH v. HET v. GEN: Siubhan has an article on the website about the
origins of the Sith Academy that describes the unexpected change in
story submissions once Maul first slept with Obi. Would you be as
interested in the SA if the relationship (I know, I know, Sith
don't do relationships) had never become the key plot element of
the stories? Why or why not? Is your fandom interest primarily in
slash? Do you prefer slash to het pairings? Why or why not? Or is
your interest more often focused on the general world of your fandom
and not on pairings of any kind? Explain.
I came for the humor, I stayed for the humor, and the slash/romance became an added little joy. I like good stories, and when there's a good romance in, that's nice, but the plot comes first if I'm reading for, you know, story. I will also seek out smut, but too much PWP gets old fast. For my smut, I don't care whether it's slash or het. I can read good smut from a fandom I'm not in as long as the writer is good enough to make the story stand alone without knowing too much about the characters to start with. thebratqueen is good at that -- I was hooked on her Angel/Wesley stories for a while, though that did give me what my friends assure me is a very warped impression of canon.
ONLINE COMMUNITY: Now that the Sith Academy is closed to submissions
(and has been for a while), why do you still participate in the Grey
Side? Do you feel that the community has evolved, and in what ways?
I hang out, because they're interesting people, and I've still got contacts there, and the linkage and discussions are good. I'm not as attached to the community as I once was, because I'm more involved with the people I was chatting with on there in Livejournal now.
OFFLINE COMMUNITY: Does your involvement in fandom take place offline
as well as online? Have you met other Grey Side members in person?
Have you been to any conventions? Do your offline friends know you
I've met Sithkitten and Darth Rena offline (they're local to me now, and getting more local) as far as Grey Side members go, and have met in person at least one person from the Bujold list. I haven't gone to any cons yet, but that's on the list. There are almost enough fen at work to have mini-cons in the break room. My face-to-face friends get rapidly sucked in to becoming online friends as well -- that's how I know they're friends, because I'll tell them how to see me online. Most of my friends who are fen are either shown my shiny fic or could find it if they poked around. Heck, I post slash in my LJ. My *father* reads that.
Last but not least: Answers to any questions I should have asked? Any
Sith Academy is probably the only thing that's keeping my interest in Star Wars going at this point. Darth Lucas has really managed to alienate the fans. I watched Episode 2 with great hope, but aside from my lightsaber lighting up in class afterward, my interest fizzled as soon as I got enough sleep (though the ping-pong Yoda was pretty cool). Fans feed off each other for keeping the energy going, and ... that wasn't much to stir up the crowd. The negative reactions and the positive ones balanced each other in such a way to make things fizzle plop.