|Name:||alt.books.anne-rice, ABAR, a.b.a.r.|
|Fandom:||Anne Rice, Vampire Chronicles|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
"So what's alt.books.anne-rice all about? Ah, abar, where the women are women, the men are occasionally women (don't ask) and the chickens are frightened. abar is an internet newsgroup that was created for Anne Rice fans to have a place to get together with other fans and let the mayhem loose. On abar you'll find threads about the books, the movies, stories, characters and more non-sequiturs than you can shake a stick at." 
In the early days, fanfic was posted to the list. From the FAQ in 1996:
What are specs? -- Not an easy topic to nutshell, specs are, in essence, Anne Rice Fan Fiction. Consider them a creative way of discussing "What if?" ideas (such as "What if Lestat and Lasher met?" "What if Louis became mortal again?" etc.) that come up on the group anyway. This "What if?" is what inspired the name "Spec" since the story is a "Speculation" about what might happen. 
Up until 2000, it had a fiction archive: "The official abar Spec Archive can be found at http://www.eskimo.com/~ash or ftp.eskimo.com/u/a/ash. Heather Meloche is the keeper and Adonia updates the databases. Here you can find specs, poems, rpgs, Mayfair family trees, FAQs and everything else which makes abar and the archive the treasure that it is." 
The very first fanfic on the archive was Memnoch the Spec.
From the FAQ
Greetings, vampire boys and girls! Either you just delurked and found
this in your mailbox or you were innocently reading the group one day and stumbled across this nestled amongst all the posts, but one way or another, you just got your hands on the one and only alt.books.anne-rice FAQ.
Fine, you're thinking, but what the heck *is* this thing?
This thing (though it doesn't like to be called that to its face) is a quick and dirty reference for all the things you need to know about everyone and everything on the newsgroup alt.books.anne-rice. (Hence the wonderfully catchy title "alt.books.anne-rice FAQ".) Anything you ever wanted to know (and even a few things you didn't) about this wildand wacky newsgroup is right here at your fingertips.
Does a.b.a-r have any cool unofficial mottos or member names?
I'm glad you asked. Those on a.b.a-r tackled this very question themselves and the results were as follows:
Ricean Scholars, The Great Family, Ricecakes, Anne's Children, Anne-archists, The Outcasts, The a.b.a-r bunch, The Weirdoes, Rice-tafarians, Darling dears, a.b.a-r barians, The Vampire Chroniclers, Anne Rice Preternatural Patrol
- "Bite me."
- "Normal? Us?"
- "What are we? Trekkers??"
- "They are NOT gay!"
- "Yes they ARE!"
- "Antonio, what's with the hair?"
- "There are no such things as vampires."
- "The slightly confused gender group."
- "We're always looking for new blood."
- "I don't know why we need spoilers if nobody is reading the book."
FAMILIES, CHURCHES AND OTHER IN-JOKES
Heather Meloche put together a little FAQ of her own about all of this and she did such a good job that I thought it best to just quote her directly. The only thing I left out was the information about specs and the archive since that deserves a section on its own.
The "I" in this particular section refers to Heather. =)
**What is the ABAR Family?
The Family is, at this point, probably half the newsgroup! =) We're all connected in a great big and horribly complicated tree of "minions" and "masters" (you can read that as "fledglings" and "masters", if it's less confusing.) I suppose the family could be called a huge group of e-mail pen pals that you have to be sponsored into to join (by becoming someone's minion.)
**What are minions? How do you become one?"
Minions are family members. Just about every family member is a minion of someone else in the family. (I'm Doug's minion. I have 5 minions of my own. One of them has a minion. etc...) At first, when this all started, minions were junior spec writers who picked a senior writer they liked and latched onto them. Then we opened it up to anyone who wanted to join, writer or not. Nowadays, if you want to be a minion (and therefore part of the family) pick a current member of the family who you like and ask them, politely, if you can be their minion. What kind of hoops you have to jump through to get accepted depends on the individual you ask... But don't worry. We don't bite. Much. ;)
**So, hold on! Who's in the family?
Lots and lots of people. Most of the spec writers. For a current copy of the horribly confusing family tree go to the archive which is at http://www.eskimo.com/~ash or ftp.eskimo.com/u/a/ash It's under "Resources", as FamTree.txt
**What is TAC?
We don't hear this one too often any more, but I'll answer it anyways. TAC stands for "THE ARMAND CHANNEL", which was then opposed by "THE HOLOGRAPHIC NETWORK". It was a running thread on ABAR for months, started by a silly little exchange between JoAnne Soper-Cook and Stephanie Buday, in which JoAnne announced she was a hologram and Armand took exception to it. It got REALLY silly... And I, as archive keeper, collected every one of the darn posts and threaded them together into script form. So if you want to read all about TAC (so that you can appreciate any jokes made about it) then go to the archive, under "Silly Specs" and get The Armand Channel vs. The Hologram Network (TAC.txt)
**What is the unholy armandian church thing?????
It's another version of post Memnoch therapy. A large group of Armand fans banded together and decided that Armand had been rather badly treated in the books and downright slandered in Memnoch. MtD had to be a monumental joke, Armand was happy and well, and we all promptly formed a church around him. It sounds a bit silly at time but it's also serious- (Memnoch HAD to be a bad joke...) The official name of the church is The Unholy Roman Armandian Church", which leads to...
**What is TURAC?
See above. *grin*
**Who came up with this idea anyway?
The church was created by Popess Vanessa Delvalle and Cardinalette Stephanie Buday. It is the official Armand fan club. To get into it pester and mail one of the members. Or just declare your undying love for Aramnd on the newsgroup... I have saved all of the TURAC posts, just as I did for TAC, so at some time in the future, when I have enough spare time to do it, you'll all see the formation of TURAC in script form.
**Isn't there some kind of opposition to TURAC?
Yes. TURAC, in it's short life, has battled several enemies. First it was the Louis forces, and then the Lestat ones. And then we decided we had a real enemy- Dora. Our goal was to vent our anger on her. But now Dora has been put on hold for the current war.
Lord Benjamin, the Eternal Ronin, self styled heretic and infidel, has declared war upon TURAC and has threatened to destroy the church. He has made valiant efforts to unconvert our members, and has evensucceeded with a few. Currently, the situation is under control- Lord Benji is to meet Lady Death (Battlemistress of TURAC) on the field of private combat to resolve the war.
SPECS, THE ABAR ARCHIVE AND THE VAMPIRE CONNECTION
**What are specs?
Not an easy topic to nutshell, specs are, in essence, Anne Rice Fan Fiction. Consider them a creative way of discussing "What if?" ideas (such as "What if Lestat and Lasher met?" "What if Louis became mortal again?" etc.) that come up on the group anyway. This "What if?" is what inspired the name "Spec" since the story is a "Speculation" about what might happen.
**Why does the word "SPEC" appear in the subject heading?
For those who either don't like specs or *only* like specs, the word "SPEC" is put into the subject heading of any spec posting so that the stories can be easily found or avoided. Like spoiler warnings, this is another common courtesy which is suggested strongly enough that it's as close to an official rule as abar gets.
**Is there a FAQ about specs?
Yes. It can be found at the archive under the "Resources" section. It contains more rules about writing and posting specs and is a "must read" for any would-be spec writer.
**What's Memnoch the Spec?
MtS was the very first spec ever written on abar. It was an attempt by Mick and Susie to answer what was at the time the biggest topic of speculation on abar: What was going to happen in Memnoch the Devil?
**What happened to MtS?
MtS ran into a nasty snafu when one of the authors (Susie) basically disappeared. This has left Mick in a difficult position as far as finishing the story, but she's trying as best as she can to get back to it and finish it for the loyal MtS fans.
**What's this archive you keep mentioning?
The official abar Spec Archive can be found at http://www.eskimo.com/~ash or ftp.eskimo.com/u/a/ash. Heather Meloche is the keeper and Adonia updates the databases. Here you can find specs, poems, rpgs, Mayfair family trees, FAQs and everything else which makes abar and the archive the treasure that it is.
**What if I don't want my specs in the archive?
Just ask Heather not to include them and she won't. =)
**How often is the archive updated?
As often as possible. Heather tries to make sure that the archive doesn't get too far behind.
**Why hasn't the archive been updated recently?
Heather recently moved across country and lost her net access for over a month. She currently has a pile of work waiting for her with all of the specs, rpgs and whatnot that need archiving and threading and this list is only getting worse as each day goes by. She's doing the best she can while still taking time to do things like eat, work and go to the bathroom but obviously this is going to take some time. If you need a copy of a spec that was recently posted, but isn't in the archive yet, you can always post on abar or e-mail the author and ask directly.
**If MtS isn't finished, why is it under the "Finished Specs" section?
From the mouth of Heather herself:
"Parts 1-3 are in the FINISHED section of the archive because each section was written as a volume on it's own, so each volume is finished but there's still 2-3 more volumes to come. sorry..."
**Anything else I should read about the archive?
Yes. Read down to the "ABAR Pet Peeves" section to find it.
**So what's The Vampire Connection?
TVC, like my FAQ websites and Heather's archive, is another web site designed for abar to be both a resource and a place of fun. It's a place which provides "one-stop shopping" for spec fans who want to get in contact with their favorite spec authors but don't feel like searching through the archive for an e-mail address which might be out of date. Anyone who'd care to pass on words of praise, suggestions or a cry for help to any of the other spec authors can do so through TVC. And rather than make authors repeat themselves or leave other spec fans in the dark, the questions and answers are posted on the site and thus form a living SPEC FAQ of sorts.
The other fun part of TVC is that it also forms something of a living Spec because the same authors who put together the site are also working for the vamps and just as you can talk and ask questions of the Spec authors, you can do the same with the vamps with much the same results.
**How can I get a spec author (such as myself) listed at TVC?
Michel Pontmercy, who maintains the site, is always on the lookout for new names to add to the list at TVC. If you send him a request via one of the forms or via e-mail to [email protected], he'll happily track down the author you asked for to find out if they'd like to join in. If you are a spec author who'd like to join in, just send him an e-mail to let him know he can add your name to the list. There are no requirements to be on the list other than the fact that you (or the person you want) has written a spec and are willing to join in. For more information about who goes on the lists and why, check out the Spec Help section at TVC.