A side-effect of my mind occupying the Shinra science department for a couple of months was that I encountered some very strange fic. Vincent/Hojo stans are not to be underestimated. I keep thinking of the one where Hojo had spent 30 years watching Vincent on a little TV screen because he fancied him (Lucrecia was to blame for everything bad, naturally. I think she also had a little screen of her own.). At some point, Hojo had to watch, powerless, as Valenwind happened. The fic was generally so far off the wall I couldn’t get into it, but I did like that it was weird in an unusual way, and hey, it was memorable.
Also, the one where Galian Beast was adopted by Bilbo Baggins.
This is a great thread but there are so many I can’t think where to start.
One that really sticks in my mind in a low-key way was a fic about Elena joining the Turks that I read many, many years ago. This fic characterised Elena as a shy shrinking violet who burst into tears at the drop of a hat, and yet for some inexplicable reason the Turks were eager to recruit her.
That was back in the days when I was still leaving actual criticism on fanfics, and I left a comment telling the author she needed to do a better job of explaining why the department of dirty tricks and assassinations would want to hire a little girl who couldn’t say boo to a goose and just wanted to cuddle kittens. I received a pretty dusty reply, probably quite rightly.
*looks around shiftily in Vincent*
(nah, he wasn’t that bad really.)
(That is something that annoys me in some Vinfic, though. If you’re gonna write the Turks as fluffy, it’s worth explaining how they ended up in their jobs. Especially since, if someone’s clicked on a Turkfic, they’re probably looking for the opposite… Or are they, actually, who knows? People seem to go to FF7 fic for timetravel werewolves, which weren’t the most prominent elements in the game, so I’ve no idea how anything works.)
Lmao, recently looked at some of the old reviews I left years ago. There was one where an author had an ending note with: “I worry this aspect was awkward” and I basically just went “yeah it was”. The absence of a reply was palpable. I find it refreshing when I get critique but now I don’t leave it unless the author requests it or I know them well enough I get the impression they can handle it.
So, reading something from the perspective of the Shinra Science Department. It was going well until the scientists had a bitter fight over what Jenova was, whereupon it went (paraphrased):
“Jenova can’t be a cetra! These cells multiply too viciously! The cetra were a peaceful race!”
(Also: what is the point of writing a fic centering on Lucrecia (or making a game, for that matter), if every paragraph goes like “she didn’t know why she did the things she did”. Okay, then write about someone else!)
(Also also fic where, midway through, Vincent suddenly has a panic attack, labelled as such. It’s not that the events are unreasonable, but the framing/labelling is so contemporary, it undermines all the scene-setting details about mechanical answering machines. Won’t someone please call it an attack of the nerves!)
Okay apparently I’m in a pile of weird fic right now so I’m just going to keep editing this. So character A and character B are casual friends (not romantically involved). Character A buys an apartment. Character B goes to visit. When he gets there, character A goes “your bedroom is over here!”. The fic is treating this like this is sweet and moving and somehow logical. Y-you can’t move someone into your HOUSE without asking them! What are you doing?!
So much fanfic is written by children and all the characters act like teenagers, only they don’t act like real teenagers, squeezing their spots, throwing temper tantrums when asked to set the table, doing stupid reckless shit, whinging endlessly about “unfair”, adopting extreme political positions and worrying whether they’re popular. They act the way teens think they act. I don’t blame them for it, can’t expect old heads on shoulders etc…, but it isn’t very interesting to read.
PS I have no problem with actual trans characters or characters made trans for an AU.
However, characters clearly intended by their author to be men but who act like women really bore me. Especially if they’re supposed to be gay. It feels homophobic somehow.
Pah, I was a good teenager, I’m sure! :P But I think it may be worse than this, in that the characters don’t act how they think they actually act, but how they wish they and their friends acted. And often those wishes aren’t genuine; it’s not coming from a place of real introspection but from a checklist they’ve seen online of “ways your friends should treat you in situation x”. These teens are trying to write and disseminate fanfic as an educational resource. Which I wouldn’t mind so much if they were actually educated. But the source material is often trash, based on false premises or just wrong. So we get: Final Fantasy 7: The Morality Play, in which Yuffie calls Reno a psychopath and the rest of the party stops what they’re doing to chastise her, one by one, because they feel she is causing stigma for people with psychosis. Perhaps Vincent will pipe up about how CAMHS helped him deal with Galian Beast. Or more likely, complain about the wait times.
But yeah, I like it when teens actually do write themselves because then you get stuff with more depth and not just the teen cliches that adults are likely to write, it’s just a shame when they write everyone as having the same worldview (that is being pushed via sources aimed at teenagers, so is also one that adults are unlikely to hold), or try to airbrush themselves into a moral lesson. Gets so repetitive.
I have as much issue with it as I have with any other misleading political propaganda, tbh. Since I know it’s being used to prop up a destructive industry I always feel like I might as well be reading a fanfic “Why McDonalds is Great” or “Why Nobody Needs The Rainforest Anyway”. (And at least someone who set out to write those would be compelled to approach it with humour.) I think an honest depiction from someone with 10+ years of experience could be really interesting, but instead we get people’s fantasies based on propaganda, so it’s all rather samey and unrealistic (even when they’re writing their own experiences, it’s coming through this filter of how they think they should feel, so it’s repeating the same false scripts; guessing you’ve seen that excellent (and timely lol) Helena piece where she talks about the self-deception: " By Any Other Name - by Helena - prude posting "). I think my patience for those false scripts in the FF7 fandom wears especially thin because the ideology clashes so badly with the themes of the game itself. I don’t think you can make transmed harmonise with it. So that leaves tucute, which tbf I think that world doesn’t have an explicit stance against, though personally I think the tucute approach is a way of entrenching sexism rather than removing it so it’s going to make me eyeroll if an author doesn’t address that and just treats it as self-evidently positive. But I’d say that’s more on a par with an author writing a fic where every character is antivaxx-- obviously wrong, but the game itself doesn’t have much to say about it.
So, eh, I have my issues. Obviously people should write whatever they want, but at this point a fic would have to work really fucking hard for me to stick with it if it wanted to frame things in those terms. I wouldn’t write it off since I have encountered otherwise-excellent book reviews which nevertheless contain the odd digression into religious catechism . So I can see how it’s possible for it not to destroy the work. But because of the political context (and in this case the shallowness of the philosophy itself), I think it’s likely to.
Depends what you mean by ‘act like women’, but assuming it’s like ‘doing stuff that usually gets men bullied for being “effeminate”’, I’m good with it if the fic establishes from the off that the culture has a different set of pressures/norms, or where the character has at some point faced abuse for it and gone ‘fuck it’. Where I find it odd is where the prejudices and norms are imported wholesale and seem to affect people/scenes selectively (usually just to make bad guys look badder :P). I mean yeah people are inconsistent but after a point it just reads like the author hasn’t given it any thought. In which case I still don’t really care if it’s lightweight stuff, just will annoy me if something’s setting out to be a more political work. Am tempted to say my issue’s with a lot of ficcers having an implicit belief in souls, and a desire to make the soul the main determinant of character, which seems to lead to a desire to tie morality to souls, and a rejection of how environments affect characters.
I mean when it’s a same sex relationship but the dynamics read like a het relationship. I’m not gay myself but I’ve read a lot of gay fiction by gay authors and the yaoi relationships in so much fanfic do not ring true. Partly the problem is that they haven’t created believable characters to start with; they’re created sock puppets for their morality play. If I can’t believe in it I’m not going to read it.
These teens are trying to write and disseminate fanfic as an educational resource. Which I wouldn’t mind so much if they were actually educated . But the source material is often trash, based on false premises or just wrong. So we get: Final Fantasy 7: The Morality Play, in which Yuffie calls Reno a psychopath and the rest of the party stops what they’re doing to chastise her, one by one, because they feel she is causing stigma for people with psychosis. Perhaps Vincent will pipe up about how CAMHS helped him deal with Galian Beast. Or more likely, complain about the wait times.
I haven’t read any fics like that; I have no doubt they’re out there but the writing is usually so immature that I don’t get past the first paragraph so I’ve never plumbed their full depths!
Yes, I read and was fascinated by the prudeposting piece, especially the role played by fanfic in her adoption of a fantasy masculinity.
This is why I read them! XD Not that much, because even I have a limit for badfic, but I do love it when I stumble across a truly horrendous one. Though tbf FF7 is a relatively decent fandom as far as that goes. It tends more to be “Cloud has panic attack, everyone helps him in cliched ways”. I can’t believe anyone particularly enjoys it but it’s not objectively worse a premise than “all of SOLDIER bang” which I think used to be the preferred material.
But yeah I think other fandoms get it worse. I saw a fair amount of HP fic where the characters educated each other. May have to dig some up…
I saw an interview with Helena where she talked more about how many good memories she had of her time in fandom and what a shame it was that experiences then had led her down such a destructive path, and I felt so bad for her because if she’d been born even ten years earlier? five? she’d have had all the positives of fandom with none of the new dangerous medical shit, while she was talking about it like it was some impossible dream. I’m concerned fandom’s going to face a backlash thanks to transmed because people are now not going to be able to imagine one without the other. Every so often I have to remind people that yaoi pre-dates ROGD, which is funny to me given how I’ve always disliked yaoi so I didn’t expect to need to defend it. But I think we’re gonna see wayyy more energy go on blaming teen girls writing fic than on blaming the creepy men medicalising them, and the implications around free speech concern me. When I think about how it feels like it’s gonna play out, it all feels a bit Alien vs Predator; whoever wins we lose. Well this is a long tangent…
I think yaoi doesn’t read like any kind of real relationship, gay or otherwise. XD Although it’s based on gender stereotypes, I think I would say it’s its own mysterious thing, sustained and influenced by other yaoi, of which I have never understood the appeal. But then I find men ugly. It was never to be.