Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Phat Tuesday!

"I have come to kick butt and to chew pancakes...and I'm all outta pancakes."
--Snuffles the Dragon, overheard on Fat Tuesday

As I write this, Super Fat Tuesday (contracted to "Phat Tuesday") is drawing to a close. This unofficial holiday is also known as Carnival, which roughly translates as, "Hasta la vista...meat."

Or, in our world, "Hasta la vista...fiction." As you know, I'm taking Lent as an opportunity to kick my fiction addiction (ooh, that rhymes) and read some nonfiction that has kept sliding down my list from where it belongs because new comic books keep showing up in the mail.

But Phat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins, is an opportunity to get rid of all that spare whatever-you're-giving-up by finishing it off, so Snuffles and I have both been hard at work finishing off our spare fiction. He's over there plowing through volumes of manga at twice his usual rate, and I of course am looking at the seventh color volume of Bone, Ghost Circles. Though I won't be able to review it until after Lent, I can tell you now that Steve Hamaker's color keeps getting better. This is one volume that, probably more than any other in the series, has cried out to be colored, and at last that cry has been answered with stunning virtuosity. I'll tell you about it when the Read-a-Thon is over (stunning virtuosity, incidentally, is one of those things we book reviewers keep in reserve for those times when we can't think of anything meaningful to say, but the color really is good!).

No holiday is more (unofficially) self-indulgent than Phat Tuesday, and no form of fiction is more officially self-indulgent than fan fiction. I've spoken of fan fiction previously on this blog. Many authors dislike fan fiction, and the site Fanfiction.net even maintains a list of writers and publishers who have asked that their work not appear in fan fiction stories (don't ask me how I know that). Even Strong Bad hates fan fiction. But personally, I think fan fiction is the greatest compliment to an artist's work; it proves that he has built something so wonderful, it invigorates imaginations in a way that demands responsive creative output.

But it recently occurred to me that no form of fan-fiction could be more indulgent than self-referencing fan fiction. Now that this blog actually has a moderately respectable readership, and now that we are in the midst of a self-indulgent holiday, I have decided to produce, in honor of Phat Tuesday, some examples of what Sci Fi Catholic fan fiction might look like if someone out there were actually producing Sci Fi Catholic fan fiction. So grab your plastic beads, put on those pants with the butt cut out, and gather 'round for some serious self-indulgence.

First, we have that form of fan fiction tht attempts to be as true as possible to the original material. SF Cath fan fic of this nature would look something like this:

Around 10:00 on a Monday night, D. G. D. lay in the middle of his living room floor with a cheap paperback open across his face.

"Hey, Snuffles," he muttered in an alcohol-slurred voice, "get me 'nother beer, huh?"

"You're pathetic and stupid and I hate you," Snuffles said from across the room where he had his snout buried in yet another volume of Cardcaptor Sakura.

"Man, this is lame," D. G. D. said. "Maybe instead of getting drunk and reading sci-fi every night, I should get a woman or something."

"Yeah," Snuffles agreed, "but before you can do that, you have to get something else first."

"What?" D. G. D. asked. "Axe Body Spray? Already got some."

"No," Snuffles answered, "it's called a life. You should seriously think about getting one."

See? The characters and situations are true to life. This is a conversation these two could really have...um, because we actually had this very conversation last night.

Another type of fan fiction is the sort written by fourteen-year-old girls, who are fond of taking underdeveloped or ambiguous relationships in their favorite fiction and blowing them up into sappy, cliché-laden romances. Observe:

D. G. D. sat down next to Lucky the Goldfish's bowl. "Lucky," he said in that deep, charming voice, "it's time we talked...really talked."

"You mean...?" Lucky gasped, her fish-sized heart missing a few beats.

D. G. D. lay a hand tragically against his forehead. "I know I've been neglecting you," he said, "but I can't deny my true feelings anymore. I can't deny my passion for you. I don't want to be like that lame-o Darren who so totally dumped the author of this fan fic just so he could go out with Melissa, who he only likes because she's a cheerleader, not to mention a little slut."

"That Darren is, like, a total jerk-wad," Lucky agreed.

"But I don't want to be a jerk-wad anymore," D. G. D. said manfully. "Even though you've been cursed to be a goldfish, I know what kind of person you really are. I can see the beautiful princess you once were and can be again, unlike Darren, who can't see the beauty of this fan fic's author just because she has glasses, braces, and acne."

"Oh, like, wow!" Lucky gasped, her golfish heart skipping for joy.

Lucky's curse made him so sad, D. G. D. cried two pure, perfect, beautiful, manly tears, which fell into Lucky's bowl. Because of the purity of D. G. D.'s love for her, the magic tears transformed Lucky back into a princess. She rose with joy out of her bowl, restored to human form, and melted into D. G. D.'s arms.

Then they, like, totally made out.

And they say fan fiction has no literary merit. Take a close look at that last piece and you might notice what appears to be a second narrative running under the main narrative! It's, like, genius!

But that brings us around to sappy romance's twisted uncle, or maybe twisted younger brother--you guessed it, the fan fiction known as...slash.

"I can't help it," Snuffles the Dragon said with a fierce gaze in his draconic eyes. "When you came home from the field in that all-leather outfit, it seriously turned me on."

"Oh, really?" D. G. D. said, lifting one eyebrow and--

Whoa! Hold the phone! I'm cutting that one off early; it was, like, totally grossing me out.

So there you have it. Sci Fi Catholic fan fiction. And here's from all of us--me, Snuffles, Lucky, Frederick, Phenny, and even Rocky--hoping you have one really super Phat Tuesday!
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