miss_pryss: (Sabriel)
[personal profile] miss_pryss
Gotta keep on top of my life; gotta keep moving...

(the reader who gets that reference gets a peanut.)

Here are some things I would like to accomplish this weekend.

1. Mom birthday mix: sadly late
2. Groceries
3. Compress a bunch of video files
4. Post about books I've just read
5. Post about Supernatural
6. Post some recs
7. Import photos off camera
8. Pick up clothes
9. Finish the work I brought home from the office
10. Pick up new birth control pills
11. Make reservation at Vermont inn this summer for our friends' wedding
12. Memorize a bunch of Bach for stupid, stupid choir

So, in keeping with these goals, here's a start:

BOOKS I HAVE JUST READ.

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi

I've been meaning to read this for a while, and it is really lovely. An autobiographical graphic novel about being a little girl (and then a young woman) in a progressive Iranian family during the Islamic Revolution.

I learned a lot about the history of Iran and about the Islamic Revolution reading this, but the author never skimps on the personal story, which is equally fascinating and funny and terrifying. What a thing to live through. The story itself doesn't really hang together until about halfway through, when it suddenly picks up steam and grabs you hard and doesn't let you go until you reach the final, heartbreaking page. The art is wonderful, too: simple and expressive, in stark black and white. I highly recommend it.

Has anyone read the sequel? I've heard it's disappointing.


City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare

Yes, I read it. Yes, I even bought it. Yes, that probably lowered my karmic standing considerably. Yes, I'm sorry. It wasn't worth it.

Don't get me wrong -- the book has its entertaining elements, even a couple of arguably original moments. And, AND: (this is important) it is not worse than A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY or TWILIGHT. There's a lot of mediocre YA fiction out there that does very very well in the marketplace for one reason or another, and CITY OF BONES is squarely and justly in company with a whole slew of clumsy, shamelessly derivative, inconsistent, shallow YA fantasy novels of the last few years.

But I still feel crankier about Clare than I did about Bray or Meyer, and that's because I know a little about her fannish history. I wasn't really in Harry Potter fandom when it all went down, but it's impossible to be in almost any fandom and not know a little about the whole drama. And as ugly and excessive as the fannish outcry became when her book deal was announced, it does make a person feel a little sour about the publishing business to see poor behavior fiscally rewarded.

I don't believe, as I have seen suggested on Fandom Wank, that she got the book deal on the strength of her internet notoriety, however. For one thing, I think it's absurd to privilege a corner of fandom to that extent as a market force, or to assume that publishers would even know or care about fandom as a market force to begin with. Clare has advantages other than her fannish infamy. She has a solid and attentive agent. In addition, the last few years have generally been very good for writers of YA fantasy trilogies (everyone's buying them) and Clare's brand of overwrought, over-plotted, morally and emotionally simplistic, paint-by-numbers, highly derivative urban fantasy is a comfortable genre for unadventurous publishers.

I will admit, I secretly hoped CITY OF BONES would be excellent. It would have been nice to see a fannish villain redeem herself by getting something terrific published. As it is, the fact that the series is so solidly mediocre just makes me feel vaguely embarrassed for everyone involved -- including me, the reader.


ADDENDUM: I recently realized I've actually read some of Clare's fanfic: she wrote a very funny and engaging series in the HP universe that I read at least five years ago where Draco was having this terrifically dysfunctional affair with Harry and they all lived in a crumbling garret and I think Hermione was a kick-ass crime-fighter in a cat suit? And in the end Voldemort rang the doorbell and the building fell on him, and I kind of think Ron had something to do with that. Anyway, it was pretty interesting -- and funny -- and it would have been nice if her book had had some of the originality shown in that fanfic.

(Does anyone know the fic I'm talking about? Care to share a link?)

Date: 2007-04-29 12:59 am (UTC)
hesychasm: (trio (HP))
From: [personal profile] hesychasm
I am intrigued by your thoughts on CC's book! I read some of it in a bookstore recently, but my curiosity wasn't strong enough to buy. Plus, yeah, what I read of it wasn't that good.

I think if you google her, there's like a fandomhistory thing where people link to archived versions of her fanfic.

Date: 2007-04-29 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ivy03.livejournal.com
I'd forgotten Cassandra's book was coming out... I was never in HP fandom, but along with everyone else has heard about her. I actually read the first in her Draco trilogy on the strength of the squeeing of one of my friends and found it no better but not much worse than a lot of the fic I've read. Just...longer.

As for the fandom-to-pro thing, speaking as a fan who works in publishing and who's spoken to a lot of other fans in publishing, I don't think any of us think fandom is a market force. (Just ask me if I see a future for original slash. Come on. I dare ya.) What it can get you (and has gotten people before) is recognition. A lot of us are pulling for fan writers we like to turn pro, if only to give us the excuse of reading their stuff for work. Of course, thinking that your fanfic will get you an editor banging on your door is about as likely as being discovered by a Hollywood talent agent while walking your dog. It happens, but not often.

Date: 2007-04-29 03:00 am (UTC)
copracat: Emma Peel looking up from a newspaper (Emma reading)
From: [personal profile] copracat
The market force of fandom is that fans will probably buy your book. I've no idea what useful percentage of all book buyers that might be. Probably more in HP fandom than in any other: a whole lot of HP fans are young people who buy and read books.

Date: 2007-04-29 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ivy03.livejournal.com
Fans buy books, yes, but there are nowhere near enough of us to make a book profitable if we're the only ones buying it. To make publishing a book make economic sense, you have to be pulling in more readers than just that. That's what I meant by fandom is not a market force.

We can have more effect on books than on TV because a book can be succesful if it sells around 25,000 copies (depending on a lot of things, like size of the advance), but a TV show has to have millions of viewers. But we're still not a large enough audience to be catered to specifically by any of the big houses.

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