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(Slate)   A defense of fan-fic, by the author of Wool. Unlike a lot of fan-fic, article is SFW   (slate.com) divider line 39
    More: Interesting, training wheels, original work, Joseph Campbell  
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1037 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 Jan 2014 at 10:29 AM (27 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-15 09:50:22 AM
Hugh Howey rocks. Buy all the Wools, Shifts and Dust books. Don't mess around, just buy the omnibuses. Buy 'em, buy 'em now*.

Not only are they really good reads but from everything I've read about Howey he is a really cool guy who tries to help other authors every chance he gets. The universe he has created is basically the literary version of open sourced programing. And he is the very definition of boot strappy. There is something for everyone to love about the guy.


*Do not read if you are currently taking medication for depression or have a history of depression.
 
2014-01-15 10:19:40 AM
 
2014-01-15 10:35:51 AM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Hugh Howey rocks. Buy all the Wools, Shifts and Dust books. Don't mess around, just buy the omnibuses. Buy 'em, buy 'em now*.

Not only are they really good reads but from everything I've read about Howey he is a really cool guy who tries to help other authors every chance he gets. The universe he has created is basically the literary version of open sourced programing. And he is the very definition of boot strappy. There is something for everyone to love about the guy.


*Do not read if you are currently taking medication for depression or have a history of depression.


I have the 'Wool' series, yet can't quite get into the second installment -- because I wasn't thrilled with the first. Everytime I'm looking for something to read, I think "There's always 'Wool'", then I select something else. Trust me, I WANT to love it and I suspect that if I plod through, I will in the end.

I'm also apparently the only person who hated 'Gone Girl'. Like HATED hated it. Totally wanted my money and time refunded.
 
2014-01-15 10:42:42 AM
I miss 'Zines
 
2014-01-15 10:59:46 AM

MutantMotherMouse: I have the 'Wool' series, yet can't quite get into the second installment -- because I wasn't thrilled with the first. Everytime I'm looking for something to read, I think "There's always 'Wool'", then I select something else. Trust me, I WANT to love it and I suspect that if I plod through, I will in the end.

I'm also apparently the only person who hated 'Gone Girl'. Like HATED hated it. Totally wanted my money and time refunded.



The first one is only like 20 pages. If you give up after 20 pages just let it go, you don't want to read it.
 
2014-01-15 11:02:51 AM
Wool is a beautiful piece of post-apocalypse. Each installment builds the tension while approaching from a slightly different genre base (mystery, military, ...).

The prequel was a bit predictable, more plodding, and less interesting. I still want to read the new series, though.
 
2014-01-15 11:03:38 AM
I enjoyed Wool. It was worth the, what, 99 cents I paid for it? A little slow to get into it (as a percentage of length. I've had novels that took longer than this whole work to get into), but definitely worth it in the end.
 
2014-01-15 11:09:13 AM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Hugh Howey rocks. Buy all the Wools, Shifts and Dust books. Don't mess around, just buy the omnibuses. Buy 'em, buy 'em now*.

Not only are they really good reads but from everything I've read about Howey he is a really cool guy who tries to help other authors every chance he gets. The universe he has created is basically the literary version of open sourced programing. And he is the very definition of boot strappy. There is something for everyone to love about the guy.


*Do not read if you are currently taking medication for depression or have a history of depression.


What's up with that last line?

/has depression
 
2014-01-15 11:21:07 AM
Ugh, I hate fan-fic. Most of it is middle aged perverts or 12 year old girls having cartoon characters screw.
 
2014-01-15 11:22:29 AM

neversubmit: What's up with that last line?

/has depression


It's a caveat. I'd recommend the books to anyone and everyone just so long as they don't have clinical depression. They are some really dark stories with little to no hope in them. Don't get me wrong there is some hope but you could go entire stories without seeing any. Just not a good book to pick up if you're already already in a state.
 
2014-01-15 11:24:36 AM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Hugh Howey rocks. Buy all the Wools, Shifts and Dust books. Don't mess around, just buy the omnibuses. Buy 'em, buy 'em now*.

Not only are they really good reads but from everything I've read about Howey he is a really cool guy who tries to help other authors every chance he gets. The universe he has created is basically the literary version of open sourced programing. And he is the very definition of boot strappy. There is something for everyone to love about the guy.


*Do not read if you are currently taking medication for depression or have a history of depression.


I read wool. I enjoyed it. mostly.
GREAT. Now I have two books coming in the mail friday.
 
2014-01-15 11:25:33 AM

neversubmit: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Hugh Howey rocks. Buy all the Wools, Shifts and Dust books. Don't mess around, just buy the omnibuses. Buy 'em, buy 'em now*.

Not only are they really good reads but from everything I've read about Howey he is a really cool guy who tries to help other authors every chance he gets. The universe he has created is basically the literary version of open sourced programing. And he is the very definition of boot strappy. There is something for everyone to love about the guy.


*Do not read if you are currently taking medication for depression or have a history of depression.

What's up with that last line?

/has depression


Because  WoolShift, and Dust can/will depress the fark out you if you let them. Don't get me wrong: They are good stories. But remember that the definition of "adventure" is "people far away going through some really traumatic shiat."
There are lots of stories in those books, but a strictly limited number of happy endings.
 
2014-01-15 11:26:17 AM
I like his work, but there's different levels of fan-fic.  It's one thing to write Slaughterhouse Five fan fiction that helps a person work out their own issues with tragedy and another to take Billy Pilgrim and have him kung fu fight his way through time with a T-rex sidekick, or have him fight vampires with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

He says we are all telling the same story with slightly different variations.  Cool, but those variations might also be deeply personal to the writer and they might not want someone playing in their sandbox if they're just going to take a shiat in it and kick over all the sandcastles.

I don't know about the whole campfire analogy at the end, but we are certainly in a time where creators of content and the users of it have a much greater exchange of ideas and ways to spread those ideas and themes.  I'm not against fan-fic at all, but just because he wrote fan-fic without treating it like writing with the training wheels on doesn't mean others don't use it like a creative crutch.  Good on him though for being cool enough to share his ideas and use his writing to create a community though.
 
2014-01-15 11:29:10 AM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Hugh Howey rocks. Buy all the Wools, Shifts and Dust books. Don't mess around, just buy the omnibuses. Buy 'em, buy 'em now*.

Not only are they really good reads but from everything I've read about Howey he is a really cool guy who tries to help other authors every chance he gets. The universe he has created is basically the literary version of open sourced programing. And he is the very definition of boot strappy. There is something for everyone to love about the guy.


*Do not read if you are currently taking medication for depression or have a history of depression.


I prefer the shared-worlds projects where the creators maintain some level of control over who can climb into the sandbox. Sanctuary (aka Vulgar Unicorn) in the 80s was awesome. I liked how Niven opened up the Man-Kzin Wars era too.

On the other side, look at the 1632/Grantville Gazette project: some good output, but the 'early-adopter' people on those discussion boards are major assholes. I posted one setting/canon question and got ripped up and down for (a) using the boards wrong, (b) historical ignorance, (c) suggesting a plot idea that somebody else was already talking about.  Excuse me for not running an AI search on the entire board and reading your impenetrable and incomplete FAQ seven times. Screw them.
 
2014-01-15 11:30:23 AM
I read Wool and Shift but not Dust (yet, I forgot all about it and just put it on my kindle).  I have also read a couple of the fan-fic versions and they were good too (esp silo archipelago)
 
2014-01-15 11:31:40 AM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Hugh Howey rocks. Buy all the Wools, Shifts and Dust books. Don't mess around, just buy the omnibuses.



I'm in complete agreement with this statement.
 
2014-01-15 11:31:40 AM

give me doughnuts: Because Wool, Shift, and Dust can/will depress the fark out you if you let them. Don't get me wrong: They are good stories. But remember that the definition of "adventure" is "people far away going through some really traumatic shiat."
There are lots of stories in those books, but a strictly limited number of happy endings.


Yeah, don't read Thomas Covenant if you're depressed, either.  I made that mistake once.
 
2014-01-15 11:41:30 AM

FrancoFile: I liked how Niven opened up the Man-Kzin Wars era too.



Niven said he did that because he didn't know how to write a convincing war-story.
I think he does okay at it.

One of me favorites is "A Children's Hour." As much for the Casablanca story-line as anything else.
 
2014-01-15 11:42:27 AM
Look, Wool is OK, but it's teenager quality entry-level sci-fi at best.

I really don't understand all the praise for Howey.  Unless somehow the internet is full of teenagers who haven't actually read much sci-fi and don't have anything to base a comparison on.  But what are the odds of that?
 
2014-01-15 11:48:24 AM

MutantMotherMouse: I have the 'Wool' series, yet can't quite get into the second installment -- because I wasn't thrilled with the first. Everytime I'm looking for something to read, I think "There's always 'Wool'", then I select something else. Trust me, I WANT to love it and I suspect that if I plod through, I will in the end.


Yeah, Wool was pretty good, but it started to fall apart with the nutty dude in the abandoned silo.  I was pretty bored by everything else after.  I think a lot of people read it and give it good reviews because the pressure is that it is what you are supposed to do.
 
2014-01-15 11:50:54 AM
If your fan-fic is not wholly intended as inserting yourself into an erotic scene with characters from at least two different realities (and/or species...) you are DOING IT WRONG.  ;)

Now, if you'll excuse me, Princess Lea and River Tamm aren't just going to start jello-wrestling on their own...
 
2014-01-15 11:56:38 AM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: *Do not read if you are currently taking medication for depression or have a history of depression.


No thanks then.  I don't have depression; I just have an allergy to deus angst machina.


neversubmit: /has depression


If you have depression yet are interested in a super-dark post-apocalyptic "everybody dies" story that won't make you hate yourself, Yokohama Shopping Log.  Which I think is in some ways more accurate than almost all of the "darker and edgier" stuff out there.  Namely, the answer people have for "life sucks" isn't hope; it's adaptation.
That said it's not for everyone, oohhhhh no.  It's an extremely slow. . . well, I can't even call it a "burn" because it doesn't go anywhere; that's not the point.  Don't waste any time expecting it to pick up speed; the idea is to get lost in the minutae.
 
2014-01-15 12:15:57 PM

FrancoFile: Yeah, don't read Thomas Covenant if you're depressed, either. I made that mistake once.


FTFY
 
2014-01-15 12:19:31 PM

Mobutu: If your fan-fic is not wholly intended as inserting yourself into an erotic scene with characters from at least two different realities (and/or species...) you are DOING IT WRONG.  ;)

Now, if you'll excuse me, Princess Lea and River Tamm aren't just going to start jello-wrestling on their own...


Leia.

Tam.

You disgust me, sir.
 
2014-01-15 12:26:01 PM

Superjew: Look, Wool is OK, but it's teenager quality entry-level sci-fi at best.



No.
 
2014-01-15 12:29:03 PM

No Such Agency: Mobutu: If your fan-fic is not wholly intended as inserting yourself into an erotic scene with characters from at least two different realities (and/or species...) you are DOING IT WRONG.  ;)

Now, if you'll excuse me, Princess Lea and River Tamm aren't just going to start jello-wrestling on their own...

Leia.

Tam.

You disgust me, sir.



This may be a "that's the joke" moment.  Have you not read much fan-fic?
 
2014-01-15 12:31:33 PM

Superjew: Look, Wool is OK, but it's teenager quality entry-level sci-fi at best.

I really don't understand all the praise for Howey.  Unless somehow the internet is full of teenagers who haven't actually read much sci-fi and don't have anything to base a comparison on.  But what are the odds of that?


This is precisely why Cory Doctorow has a career now.
 
2014-01-15 12:49:09 PM
Fanfic is like anything written, you have tons of bad, some good, little great and damn few excellent.  It seems like a nice way to get into writing, and improve your skills, because you don't have to worry as much about the baseline world building, it's already done for you.

It can be similar to writing an EU story about an established IP.

Yeah, you do have a ton of porn fics, bizaare fics, and downright wtf fics, but hey, makes the genre more interesting.
 
2014-01-15 12:52:19 PM

AspectRatio: Superjew: Look, Wool is OK, but it's teenager quality entry-level sci-fi at best.

I really don't understand all the praise for Howey.  Unless somehow the internet is full of teenagers who haven't actually read much sci-fi and don't have anything to base a comparison on.  But what are the odds of that?

This is precisely why Cory Doctorow has a career now.


Sure, he's written some coming of age stories that are are along familiar and not very challenging themes, but Doctorow has also written some really good stuff too.  Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town for example is an imaginative multi-layered story about identity and he uses some really interesting narrative devices (such as some odd naming conventions and fantasy elements that are absurd) and makes them work well within the context of the story.

As far as Howey, as long as it's well done and enjoyable I don't see what the problem is.
 
2014-01-15 01:04:02 PM

Blues_X: Superjew: Look, Wool is OK, but it's teenager quality entry-level sci-fi at best.


No.


Yes.  It reads like heinlein's juvenile stuff.  That's not bad, per se, but it definitely is what it is.
 
2014-01-15 01:29:07 PM

SavageWombat: No Such Agency: Mobutu: If your fan-fic is not wholly intended as inserting yourself into an erotic scene with characters from at least two different realities (and/or species...) you are DOING IT WRONG.  ;)

Now, if you'll excuse me, Princess Lea and River Tamm aren't just going to start jello-wrestling on their own...

Leia.

Tam.

You disgust me, sir.


This may be a "that's the joke" moment.  Have you not read much fan-fic?


Well, in my story, Gordi LaForge is the villain, so...
 
2014-01-15 01:48:49 PM
I really enjoyed the Silo Trilogy (Wool, Shift, Dust) and didn't find them that depressing, but there are definitely parts that are (especially in Shift). I am about 2/3 done with his latest, Sand, and it is much more depressing than Wool was for me. It is still good, but not quite as riveting. He did say it is intentionally a more gritty/dark story than Wool though.

I have read a couple of the Kindle Worlds books and while one was pretty good, the other fell very flat for me (unbelievable concept in the context of the Silo's). I will probably try a couple more that have had some good reviews. I also enjoyed one parody short story (Shear Terror), although, I got it for free when it first came out (before Kindle Worlds).

dragonchild: The Stealth Hippopotamus: *Do not read if you are currently taking medication for depression or have a history of depression.
No thanks then.  I don't have depression; I just have an allergy to deus angst machina.


I don't think Wool falls into that category, there are depressing things that happen, but they make sense within the context of the story and aren't just random acts of badness befalling the protagonists.

Also, the first Wool story is free for anyone to try, it barely touches on the true story line, but it does give a good feel for the world.
 
2014-01-15 03:15:21 PM

Richard C Stanford: Ugh, I hate fan-fic. Most of it is middle aged perverts or 12 year old girls having cartoon characters screw.


And that's not counting the communities who take those fanfictions and give them the MST3K treatment. Don't hear too much of them nowadays after that Fifty Shades thing. That was like their 9-11 moment.
 
2014-01-15 03:53:28 PM
If you're a good enough writer to write good fan-fiction, you're capable of writing an original story instead. Fanfic is the territory of the lazy, the inexperienced, and the perverse.
 
2014-01-15 04:38:25 PM
This is the best fanfic,NSFW language.
/While looking for that I saw one that was an M rated fanfic about Jesus and Hitler.
//WTF?
 
2014-01-15 08:46:09 PM
FrancoFile:

On the other side, look at the 1632/Grantville Gazette project: some good output, but the 'early-adopter' people on those discussion boards are major assholes. I posted one setting/canon question and got ripped up and down for (a) using the boards wrong, (b) historical ignorance, (c) suggesting a plot idea that somebody else was already talking about.  Excuse me for not running an AI search on the entire board and reading your impenetrable and incomplete FAQ seven times. Screw them.

Baen's Bar is a shiathole, where you can and will get jumped for expressing that you don't like an author's work. And seeing as I'm apparently one of those very rare Liberal/Socialist non-Populists who enjoy military scifi/fantasy, a lot of the stuff there I find... jarring. Offputting.

But where I come from in the wide world, open universes are common. In Furry, the three that come to mind are Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe and Chakona Space for the scifi, and Metamor Keep for the fantasy. I know there's more out there, too.
 
2014-01-15 10:09:14 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Hugh Howey rocks. Buy all the Wools, Shifts and Dust books. Don't mess around, just buy the omnibuses. Buy 'em, buy 'em now*.

Not only are they really good reads but from everything I've read about Howey he is a really cool guy who tries to help other authors every chance he gets. The universe he has created is basically the literary version of open sourced programing. And he is the very definition of boot strappy. There is something for everyone to love about the guy.


*Do not read if you are currently taking medication for depression or have a history of depression.


I really tried to like Wool. Read about 75% of it then just gave up. Can't say why, but it was just an effort to read. Writing style I suspect, but can't put my finger on it.
 
2014-01-16 12:32:24 AM

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Fanfic is the territory of the lazy, the inexperienced, and the perverse.


No, it's not.  You're an idiot.  See, I can make bald assertions too, but I think I probably have a bit more evidence for mine than you have for yours.

I enjoy reading stories where I don't have to sit through 20 chapters of initial character and situation development before getting to the actual plot.  I already know the characters, and I know that I like them.

/How dare people not express their love of something the right way?
//Especially young female people
///Which is really everyone's problem with fanfic, in the end
 
2014-01-16 04:03:59 AM

if_i_really_have_to: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Fanfic is the territory of the lazy, the inexperienced, and the perverse.

No, it's not.  You're an idiot.  See, I can make bald assertions too, but I think I probably have a bit more evidence for mine than you have for yours.

I enjoy reading stories where I don't have to sit through 20 chapters of initial character and situation development before getting to the actual plot.  I already know the characters, and I know that I like them.

/How dare people not express their love of something the right way?
//Especially young female people
///Which is really everyone's problem with fanfic, in the end


Hmmm.

/Also you're aware that character development and setting basically is literature, aren't you? There are like 7 actual plots (8 if you consider "they screw" to be a plot).
//And your slashie comments, whew, talk about non-sequitur. I think that says a lot more about you than it does about anything else, and what it says is a bit scary.
 
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