Daily Archives: May 23, 2007

FanLib to Fanficcers: All Your Writing Are Belong To us

Blogger Lis Riba did some looking around on Teh Intarweebs for more information on FanLib, the “legal” fan fiction site sponsored by a number of media companies, and found this .pdf brochure in which the company pitches the FanLib fanfic experience to content creators, and in doing so reveals that they don’t actually understand how fan fiction works in the slightest, they’re under the mistaken impression that they’re going to be able to control how stories get written, and that most fanfic writers will be pleased to have their work subsequently hijacked by others.

For example, on page 3 of the .pdf file, in the “Managed and Moderated to the Max” heading, FanLib touts to media folks “a customized environment YOU control,” in which “players must ‘stay within the lines'” with “restrictive terms-of-service,” a “profanity filter” and “full monitoring & management of submissions.” And here’s the kicker: “Completed work is just 1st draft to be polished by the pros.”

Now, I don’t pretend to be incredibly intimate with the thought processes of fan writers, but honestly. Telling a fervent fanficcer he or she can only write a certain approved way? Yeah, that’s going to work. Also, personally speaking, there’s only one way I’d allow anyone to consider any story I wrote as a “1st draft to be polished by pros,” and that would be if there were payment involved of at least the WGA minimum (which, for an hour-long drama, would be $12,299, thank you very much). Otherwise they could kiss my ass, fanfic or not. It’s important to note that nowhere in the FanLib brochure is the idea that fan writers might get financially compensated for their work.

So here’s the thing: Fanfic writers appear to have two choices here: Accept that what they’re doing is fundamentally a violation of copyright and do it on the down low, and in doing so, have the freedom to play with the characters they love any way they want — or play the FanLib game, in which they’re controlled and exploited as cheap labor by the copyright holders. Again, I’m not someone who writes fanfic, but if I were, I know which of these I’d be doing, and it’s not the one that has a brochure attached.

(See Lis Riba’s take on all this here)

Back on the Market: House for Rent

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Hey, look at that: Our house in Sterling is back on the rental market. If you or someone you know is looking for a place in the general Washington DC area, you could be living here. And, you know, loving it.

Here are the details of the house:

* 3 levels (house + full basement); house levels approx. 2300 sq. ft.
* 3 bedrooms (HUGE master bedroom is 22×12)
* 2.5 baths
* Living room is 14 X 14
* Dining room is 10 X 11
* Family room is 19 X 12
* Kitchen is 16 X 12
* Very recently refinished and carpeted basement level includes three additional rooms plus full bath plus very large workshop
* Washer/Dryer, Microwave, Dishwasher and of course standard oven and fridge
* Air conditioning/heater plus vent fan
* Carpeted floors with hardwood hallway (kitchen is tiled)
* Working fireplace
* Located on family-friendly cul-de-sac (with good neighbors)
* Close to Rt. 7, Toll Road and tons of shopping and restaurants
* Pets okay with additional deposit
* House comes with gorgeous full-sized single slate pool table

The lot is small (.11 acre) but the back opens up on a .33 acre “common area” that effectively belongs to the house (you can’t get to it except by going onto the property), so the back yard is pretty nicely-sized.

$1,850 per month (plus one month deposit); year-to-year lease. No subletting. Renter pays utilities; we pay homeowner association fee.

The house is available now (we can prorate rents).

If you’re interested, drop me an e-mail. Also feel free to share this with people you know looking for housing in the DC area.

Sagan, Monette and Scalzi on SF Master Godfrey Winton

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Subterranean Online has released the first chunk of content from its Summer 2007 edition — the special Elizabeth Bear issue, don’t you know — and in addition to the Bear audio highlighted yesterday, a Bear column and a Joe Lansdale story, the issue also features a transcription of a panel at this year’s Penguicon convention on underappreciated Golden Age science fiction master Godfrey Winton, featuring me, Sarah Monette and Nick Sagan discussing the life and times of this obscure genius.

For those of you who aren’t aware of Winton’s life and work, this will be a treat for you: Nick, Sarah and I hit all the highlights of his career, including his novels and his film work in Italy, the controversies surrounding his many genre awards, his feuds with such science fiction luminaries as Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, Alfred Bester and Philip K. Dick, and a glimpse into his unconventional romantic life — unconventional even for science fiction. Very few people know the details of Winton’s career and life better than Nick, Sarah and I, so this is the next best thing to talking to Winton himself. If you’re a fan of SF history and authors, you don’t want to miss this transcript. Here’s the link again. Enjoy.