Even before readers begin to interpret texts, copyright does not ensure the integrity of an author’s vision. Once a text reaches readers, the copyright owner loses control over its interpretation.
Moreover, the interest in the integrity of characters is not an interest in market share, but a general reputational concern, which copyright law does not formally recognize. One can have a soft spot for the Superman and Batman of yore and still apply standard fair use tenets, under which transformative, noncompeting use is favored. The price of widespread popularity is a loss of control over reception
Rebecca Tushnet, Legal Fictions: Copyright, Fan Fiction, and A New Common Law, 17 Loy. L.A. Ent. L.J. 651, 675 (1997) (footnotes omitted).
Unfortunately,most reviewers and interviewers seem to care less about the quality of Cheng’s writing than they do about the answers to these questions: Did the Chinese guy get it right? Can an authentic picture of the South come from a man of Asian descent who grew up in Queens?
Instead of addressing those questions directly, I would like to take a step back and look at the assumptions with which they’re laden. In doing so, I can’t help but recall the reception of another book I recently read, The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it won the Pulitzer for fiction earlier this year.
Johnson’s book is about North Korea, even though Johnson is plain old American. Even so, there are few questions as to the authenticity of his account. In fact, the book has been billed as a, “nuanced picture of what life in North Korea might be like," that "open[s] a frightening window on the mysterious kingdom of North Korea.” Instead of being asked, “Why, as an American, are you writing about North Korea?” Johnson is praised for the depth of his research. Reviewers assume that the white author has done his homework, and can be trusted as an authority. With Cheng, on the other hand, eyebrows are raised. The underlying question isn’t about authenticity. Rather, the question is: “Don’t you have your own heritage to write about?”
… That they don’t care about or actually want to read or know about.
So, there’s the Bechdel test.
I’ve got another test that works just as well. The Sexy Lamp test. If you can take out a female character and replace her with a sexy lamp, YOU’RE A FUCKING HACK.
Fiction writing is a twenty-four-hour-a-day occupation. You never leave your work behind. It is always with you, and to some extent, you are always thinking about it. You don’t take your work home; your work never leaves home. It lives inside you. It resides and grows and comes alive in your mind.
Posted here, with apologies to Joe, as a reminder. Joe just finished a staggering 52 books over the last 52 weeks — one of many things about him, if I’m being honest, that tightens me with admiration and envy, if not outright jealousy — and tweeted today about how, in sharing his Nibbler’s Strategy, which I just capitalized because it makes me laugh.
Keep in mind that’s 52 books while still writing like Joe Hill writes, in both quality and volume.
Anyway it’s still that time of year when new systems get implemented, new notebooks cracked ope, new years have yet to begin to suck and/or chew one up. Rather than whine about nothing ever changing or scoffing at anybody that might try to grow a little, I’d post it here in hopes of keeping myself a little honest.
Don’t think I finished a dozen prose books last year, not counting comics. I’d like to do differently this year.
Anyone claiming a media property/consumer product as “theirs” is a silly goose. In an expanding world and sphere of social interactions, being or pretending that you can remain parochial on issues is a sucker’s game. Rational people operate on spectra, not hard line strata. Trying to force the former into the latter is what gets you these idiot ramblings, be it in comics, in gaming, or in politics
. Because this shit is getting all too normal not just in our own little bubbles, but in bubbles everywhere
. The bubbles get bigger and more like mesh than hard-shelled, but clusters become easier to form. That isn’t to say that it’s okay to ignore them. It’s perfectly reasonable by normal, decent people to point out when specific clusters or even individuals are saying things that are stupid, evil, or both.
Oh, yeah. Creators not only don’t get a pass – it’s their asses if they don’t wake up and accept reality. I know the published/withdrawn RSC white paper in copyright had some interesting ideas, but the reality is with or without that type of government action the world doesn’t give a fuck what is desired, meant, or intended. Once it’s out there, the world will do what it wants with that material. So it’s worth embracing everyone who wants to share in your general passion and not be a dick. Unless these evil female cosplayers are using cons as an opportunity to eat nerds, AND THEY’RE NOT, what the fuck difference does it make?
I must say I like a gamingplace to have an extra flavor. I must say, when reading for exemple the Neo-anarchist guide to North America, I end up asking myself: ‘kay, what does this place have that makes it unique in comparison to Seattle.
And when it’s nothing, I just end up with a “bah well I skip that place as a gaming place”.
sk8bcn, Dumpshock Forums (Apologies for the typos. He’s not a native English speaker.)
YES! YES! YES!
If something isn’t distinguishable from the rest of the mass, it loses a great deal of weight to the consumers—and value to writers producing material. This isn’t politics. We’re not trying to build consensus and agreements. It’s not a system of laws where uniformity is valued. It’s a series of briefings on what makes particular plots and places unique and valuable in their own way—generally and, given recent formats, in how they fit into certain subject matter niches.
But gods do not have history. They have story. And that is something a writer always has the prerogative to twist.
Kieron Gillen, Journey Into Mystery #629 (2011).
When I moved, I threw away at least half of a 50-gallon bin worth of notebooks, notepads, loose papers, etc. of notes, stories, ideas, builds that covered the entire history of my time playing Shadowrun.
I don’t miss them. We can’t just hold onto that stuff forever. Sometimes, to quote a user on Shadowland, you have to burn it down and walk away. Louis C.K. put it more eloquently when he discussed George Carlin at a New York Public Library memorial that he’d do a whole special worth of material, and then destroy it, and start all over again. Just watch the video on YouTube.
Shadowrun Returns fiction. Story by Jordan Weisman. Writing by Malik Toms
Kat could think of better ways to spend her Saturday night than being tailed by ork gangers. They were behind her now, red leather jackets and pink mohawks blending into the chaotic mesh of bodies moving through downtown Seattle. She knew what they wanted—a pound of flesh, her cyberdeck, the…
Just a heads-up, but for several reasons most of what I’ve written in CoD is me making a bold statement followed by a mic drop.
I’ve said before that my two goals as a freelancer are to be useful and to be awesome because this is an ongoing creature—many writers came before me, and many will come after me. So all I can do is my best while I’m given the opportunity. I’m going to have to take a break for (in)voluntary reasons, so it only seems fair that I made a pretty bold set of statements in my last work for at least a year.
It’s also no secret that I’m not a huge fan of dragons, but that’s what made this so much fun. As Hubert Selby Jr. once said, “When you write about somebody you hate, write about them with love.” I put a lot of love into this one, and I did it with a great amount of care for what is happening—what is said, implied, and unsaid (for now).
Link to the inaugural post for Text and Violence, a group blog that will cover comics reviews and essays on comics-related subjects. It is written by myself and several others users from the Penny Arcade forums Graphic Violence subforum.
This piece is written by Erika/Arivia.
Neil Gaiman gives an inspiring commencement address.
"The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right."
He also drops a helpful bit of knowledge about freelancing:
"People keep working, in a freelance world, and more and more of today’s world is freelance, because their work is good, and because they are easy to get along with, and because they deliver the work on time. And you don’t even need all three. Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. They’ll forgive the lateness of the work if it’s good, and if they like you. And you don’t have to be as good as the others if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you."
I gave my first ever commencement speech to the graduating class of 2012 at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
I think I told them everything important that I knew about going out into the world and being an artist, so I may never need to give another one.
Awesome! Keep it up!
Not a ton but still, eff you writers block!