Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Worldbuilding and the Origin of Fandom -- Part I: The Fans

Blade Runner Cosplayers
This post originally appeared in 2012, but disappeared due to a glitch.

Some years ago, during the heyday of the Harry Potter craze, there was an interview with Rowling going around the internet where she revealed that the snake Harry freed from the zoo in the first book was actually Nagini, the bad guy's pet snake from the later books. Fans went crazy over it: here was yet more evidence of the intense amount of planning that went into Rowling's series, sure proof of the complexity and depth of her books.

Yet all I could think was that this was a meaningless detail. The whole thing turned out to be a hoax--but even if it had been true, why would it matter? Would it have added anything to Harry as a character, or to the villain? Would it have added meaning or direction to the plot? If Rowling revealed that Harry wore the same underwear the first night of class his second year as he did the first night his third year, that would technically be a connection within her world, but it still doesn't mean anything.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

On Review Length

 Part of a series on terrible Goodreads comments

For every job, there is a set of jokes that you will hear from your customers every single day. Whether it's the waiter who asks how the meals was only to hear 'we hated it' as they push clean-licked plates at him or the girl at the ice cream stand who must suffer through an endless sting of white-haired grandpas asking 'is it cold in there, or is it just you?', the world is chock full of boring people desperate to be seen as clever.

On Goodreads, the lazy joke du jour is 'This review is as long as the book!' Sure, it's bland and inane, but on closer inspection, there is a much deeper and more pervasive stupidity at work. Firstly, these are all people who voluntarily joined a book review site--let me reiterate that: they joined a site, the purpose of which is to read things other people have written based on things they have read in order to help you decide what to read next.