Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Constable Katie

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Constable Katie
Interviewer: Abigail De Kosnik
Interviewee: Constable Katie
Date(s): November 1, 2012
Medium: audio, print transcript
Fandom(s):
External Links: Fiction Oral History Project with Constable Katie
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Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Constable Katie was conducted in 2012 by Abigail De Kosnik and archived at the University of Iowa Libraries.

This interview's medium is audio (length: 1:32:09), and it has a written 24-page transcript.

It was part of the series: Fan Fiction Oral History Project also referred to as "an Fiction and Internet Memory Research Project" and "Fan Fiction and Internet Memory."

The interviews conducted for this project were used for the book by Abigail De Kosnik called Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom.

Some Topics Discussed

Excerpts

I guess, probably around 1991 or '92, I was introduced to Usenet. And discovered fan fiction on Usenet. Alt.startrek.creative and also the X-Files. So when the X-Files... I started watching that ... it was pretty early on, maybe the fourth or fifth episode. And I actually ended up joining the David Duchovny Estrogen Brigade II, not the first one, but the second one. Well, they had very distinct personalities. There were three of them, and they had very distinct personalities. And I was a member of the second one, which I joined when my son was four months old. He's eighteen, now, it boggles my mind. And I'm still friends with most of the people that I met through DDEBs. And I wrote some X-Files fan fiction. Then got back into Star Trek through the Usenet group. Through ATX ... not ATX, that's the X-Files group. Through the Star Trek creative group. And I was active with that group for, well, quite a while.
I read Jamelia's stories online, and I wrote her a ... I sent her an e-mail and said how much I really enjoyed this one story of hers. And then she sent me this other thing, and said, "What do you think of this?" And my e-mail program I was using at the time was Eudora, and there was a column in there that shows you how large the e-mail was in bytes, megabytes, or whatever, and my column was too narrow, so I thought it was shorter than it was. And I started reading it, and it wasn't until, somewhere that I realized, This is a lot longer than ... You know, I thought it was 50K and it turned out to be like 500K. By the time I realized, it was too late and I was up till, like, three o'clock in the morning reading this thing. So, of course, I had to write and tell her that.
I got involved with the Star Trek fan fiction archive, which was not known as Trekiverse at that time. It was known as the ASC archive, for alt.startrek.creative. And the woman who was the archivist two archivists before me ... I got to know her through Usenet. And it's weird, because ... it ... there's too many names going through my head right now. Alara. Her name was Alara.
Well, I became the archivist in 1997. So it had to have been at least, I would say at least a couple of years before that. '96, something like that. Off the top of my head, I don't remember exactly. I could pin it down more precisely by digging back around in my old e-mail files, but it would have been around then. Actually, you know what, if you look at the Trekiverse website, it says when Alara was archivist. When she stepped down from the archivist, that's when I got involved with the archive. Because Dina Lerret then became the archivist, succeeding Alara, and I was ... I was reformatting stories. So she was doing the archiving, and I was re-formatting the stories. Alara used to do all of that, and it was just too much, so we basically decided to divide the duties up a little more. So I did that until Dina decided that she'd had enough. And then I took that over. And I kept on with that until ... it would be ... that would have been actually 2003. I know I'm still listed as the archivist, but I actually haven't been archiving there since... 2003. And I kept thinking I was going to get back involved with it. And Stephen and I had ... Stephen Ratliff and I had set up a little mailing list that we called the ASC VSO, which was the alt.startrek.creative Virtual Staff Office. Because at one point, we had so many involved with doing different aspects of the fandom, with the archive, and with the various awards, and with keeping track of the stories, and what was being posted. Because, at one point, it was just ... I used to keep statistics on it, and I'd have to go back and pull them out—the number of stories that were being posted. Because there was just this explosion of it. I mean, that group had been active for a number of years before the X-Files came out, and it was like, the X-Files really kicked all of that into high gear on Usenet. And when they got their archive going, Gossamer.
And then, somewhere in there, I guess, it was probably around 2002, 2003, I think, when LiveJournal started taking off, and people started posting stuff on LiveJournal — and I never got into LiveJournal — and then there were people who were posting stuff on there ... It became cheaper to get your own website, because it used to be, you know, What's free? Where can I find this thing? And then people were just doing more elaborate stuff with their websites, they were posting their own fan fiction. Trekiverse still is the largest Star Trek archive of fan fiction out there, but I would say in terms of look and feel and the user interface and how things look, it lags behind a lot of that, because we really never spent that time on that. It was more like getting the stories out there. And based on Alara's guiding principle, which was, "Text is more important than graphics." So that's really kind of shaped a lot of what we were doing with the archive.
...one thing I think I've always really envied Gossamer is, that they have a very complete history of the archive. And how it came about, and who was involved with it, who did what. I mean, Gossamer grew out of an archive—an FTP archive—that was hosted by a guy named Vince Juodvalkis. But at one point, when he was still hosting that, people were saying ... Because it was an FTP archive, it didn't have an index. And for a while, I was keeping a list of stories that had been posted. And I did it for ... it was less than a year. Because it got to be too overwhelming, because the fandom just exploded. And I just, you know, I couldn't keep up. I had a baby, you know.
The X-Files fandom was getting huge amounts of press. Because ... it just seemed, I think, to a lot of people, seemed to be like this phenomenon that no one could fathom. And, How did this happen? And, Why is this happening? And, Gosh, this is so interesting. And Chris Carter actually had some interaction with the fandom, which, you know, made them all very happy. And then there were these little groups that were these subsets of the fandom, like the DDEBs, and at one point, there was also the Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade, the GATB. And then there were others. There were the Duchovniks. I was part of that group for a while, but it was just like, I can't deal with this. This is just ... You know. It was huge, and unwieldy, and it was all ... it was much more ... fangirl than I was prepared to deal with. And I got into the DDEBs at that point, which was a whole different experience, because it was a smaller group, so we got to know each other very well. As opposed to this larger group, where it was like, Okay, we've got all these ... I was basically a lurker in that group. So ... And it was just such an intense experience. After comparing the two, it was like, You know what? I like this one better. So, I don't want to deal with this group anymore.
I think, was, also, a lot of people looked down on the folks coming in from — when AOL added Usenet, and the AOL people came in, and the people who were there first were like, "These AOL people nothing!" So ... Grr (makes sound of people fighting ) "No top posting!" And all the netiquette stuff. "You're not doing this! And you're not doing that!" And people saying, "Well, what's the big deal?" And then there was the annual influx of when the college students would come, a big group of college students would come in, and it was like, These people know nothing! Why are they ...? And so when they'd go on vacation, it would be nice. Oh, it's so quiet without the college students here. So it was just like, this whole ... I don't know. In some ways, it was very cliquish. And I don't know, at some point I just stopped reading. I'd go looking for stories but I wasn't reading the discussions of the stories.

References