Site ColumnsBy Michelle
June 8, 2007 - 10:15 PM
I watched from close personal range a pair of explosions in fandom in the past couple of weeks. One involved the deletion of a number of fan blogs at LiveJournal, with the CEO at first explaining that they did not meet community standards, and then - when it was discovered that those journals had been targeted by a extremist right-wing group claiming to want to protect children - apologizing and allowing most of the journals to be restored. Many of the blogs in question contained adult fan fiction and role playing games. Although there have occasionally been flaps in fandom before over such issues - George Lucas, for instance, was willing to grant permission to use his characters in fan projects so long as the projects weren't deemed obscene or inappropriate - this one hit home for a lot of people, in part because the witch hunt came not from a publisher, writer, host or producer who objected to the source material being manipulated, but by a group who seemingly couldn't or wouldn't draw a distinction between fiction and reality.
The other explosion concerns a new web site called FanLib.com - a commercial attempt to cash in on the stories that fans have been producing for one another for decades. There are several disturbing aspects to this: for one, FanLib's terms of service give them ownership and control of the stories posted on the site, and for another, since FanLib is working with professionals connected with several franchises (in the case of Star Trek, George Takei and Wil Wheaton are among the recruits) to get fans to write officially sanctioned group stories to generate traffic to the for-profit FanLib. It's interesting to me that, several weeks into its beta launch, not one of the hundreds of superlative fan writers I know will go near the site, except in certain cases to register usernames so someone else can't take on the same alias.
LiveJournal and fan fiction hosting sites have been terrific forums for fans to meet and work together, but as they become big business, it's the same story as always: the potential for profit comes first. And fandom ultimately goes about its own business elsewhere.
Trek BBS Today
Below are some of the topics currently being discussed at the Trek BBS:
Many more topics can be found at the Trek BBS!
Trek Two Years Ago
These were some of the major news items from June 2005:
- UPN To Air Last 'Enterprise' This Weekend
UPN scheduled its last-ever episode of Star Trek: Enterprise for weekend broadcast, concluding more than ten years of first-run broadcasts of Star Trek, while Friday night reruns were replaced with movies.
- Straczynski Still Wants To Run Star Trek
In a panel at the WizardWorld convention in Philadelphia, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski was critical of Paramount for its mismanagement of the Star Trek franchise and said that he would like to work on a reboot of the series when the studio is ready to produce more Trek.
- Braga Says 'Lost' Opened Door For Genre Serials
Producer Brannon Braga said that he had great confidence in the power of science fiction, and was pleased that in the wake of the success of ABC's Lost, other networks were signing up for new genre series such as his own Threshold on CBS.
More news can be found in the archives.
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Today is the birthday of James Darren, who played Vic Fontaine in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Wednesday, June 13th is the birthday of Malcolm McDowell, who played Dr. Soran in Star Trek Generations.