Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Bren Antrim aka Glacis
|Interviews by Fans|
|Title:||Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Bren Antrim aka Glacis|
|Interviewee:||Bren Antrim aka Glacis|
|Date(s):||February 25, 2012|
|External Links:||Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Bren Antrim aka Glacis|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
This interview was conducted in February 2012 and transcribed in 2013. The interview length is twenty-six minutes (4600 words). A written transcript is available.
For more information about the origins of this interview, where it is housed, contact information, suggestions regarding future interviewee candidates, and how to become volunteer interviewer, see the Media Fandom Oral History Project page.
Some Topics Discussed
- her first fanfic, Flashback
- watching Man from U.N.C.L.E. with her dad when she was six and thinking, "Well, of course those two are married."
- her Seeker stories: using a pseud for them, how they were best sellers at Comiket
- her two use of pseuds and why she employed them
- her extreme happiness that Donna Barr (Desert Peach) illustrated one her stories
- Nick Lea's reaction to reading one of her Mulder/Krycek stories
- being surprised by a fan artist's rendition of one of her characters: ""Holy cow! Really? That's how you visualized that? He looks kind of like Robert Plant...Hmmm. Legolas as Eroica. Ok."
- on how Skinner looks like her dad, so... ahhh, no thanks
- her views on curtainfic
- fannish expectations and the character of Krychek
- collaborating with Cody Nelson
- changes in fannish culture
- combining acafan activities with fan activities
Excerpts[about her first fanfic]:
[her introduction to zines]:I looked at [the actor who portrayed Julian Bashir] and I thought, "He's got very old eyes in such a young face," and then, "What could Bashir do with that?" And then I wrote a story called "Flashback" that was the first fan story that I published. I did not know anyone else ever read fanfiction; I'd never heard of fanfiction, so I got on one of the bulletin boards I was on and I went, "Um, I wrote this story, about this Star Trek character, he's kind of, you know, his background as a prostitute? And does anybody else wanna to read this?"... [laughing] And they were like, "Only the entire Internet wants to read this."... And I was like, "Really? There's something for this?"
[regarding a pseud]:it was either '94 or '95, I went to my first Escapade, with an old-time friend of mine whose pseudonym at that time was the Phantom. And the three of us were, she and I and another friend, were running around the dealer's room going, "Oh my god! They write about X-Files!" and, "Oh my god! There are zines on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.!" And like, "What are these 'zines'? We never heard of these!" And what I didn't realize until many years later was that some of the dealers had read – by then I'd written several stories, in both X-Files and Deep Space 9, and what I didn't realize was that many of the dealers were like, "Bren Antrim! I know her stories! She didn't know about zines?" [laughing] "Really?"
So people I became friends with later would talk about that and laugh and say, "Yeah, we remember your first Escapade. You were running around like a crazy person going, 'Zines!' " So that was my introduction to organized fandom and creative fandom.
[regarding a pseud]:One [of my best sellers at Comiket] was um, a, the Seeker series, which is a Snape/Harry, uh, porn, [laughter] set, essentially, nine stories that are pretty much pure porn. I spent a year where I had the pseudonym "Seeker" where I didn't tell anyone I was Seeker, because I wanted to see what people's reactions were. By then I'd been in fandom for fifteen-sixteen years, or, yeah, about that. And I wanted to see what people – because there were people who would not read my stories because they knew "what I wrote", in quotes, so they wouldn't, "Oh, I'm not interested in that," or, conversely, people who would go and read it because I wrote it. And I wanted to see what people's reactions were to the stories not knowing who wrote it.
And I started right after an Escapade, and the next Escapade, I came back, and I went to a Harry Potter panel. And I felt guilty that I was sitting in there listening to people discussing my stories, and they were talking about Seeker, "he" wrote these stories that did this and such. And I thought, hmmm. Because usually my stories are character-oriented, plot-oriented; um, I do a lot of crossovers. But these were pretty much pure, "How can I get Snape and Harry, or Snape and Remus, or Harry and Draco, or pretty much anybody naked in bed together?" And that pretty much drove all the Seeker stories. And they were much more explicit, and much more kinky and perverted than anything else I'd ever written.
So I was looking forward to kind of seeing what would happen as a reaction. And we, you know, female slash fans, assumed that because it was more pornish, that it was a guy writing it. And I was sitting there thinking, [evil laugh] "No," and at the end, at the very end, Regina, I think Regina was one of the mods for the panel, and, um, she said, "Well, you know, this is what we are thinking with the Seeker stories," and I said, "Well, good, because that's what I intended," and there was dead silence for a moment, and then the conversation continued. And I was like, "Hehehehehe." [laughter] And when the panel was over and several people kind of came over a little hesitantly, sort of crab-walking sideways, and said, "Did you say you were Seeker?" and I was like, "Yeah," and they were all, "Oh!"So that's the only time that I've ever been truly pseudonymous, because I wanted to see the difference. And I was told by people, “I didn't know you'd written them, or I wouldn't have read them," or, again, "I didn't know you'd written them, or I would have read them!" I was like, yeah, well, that was the point, wasn't it? So that was kind of fun.
[about bulletin boards and her first foray into slash]:And then when I went back to grad school the second time [I used a pseud], um, I was doing my thesis - my first master's degree was in Library and Information Science, but my second one was in Communication and Critical Studies, and I did my thesis on fan interpretation of Daniel Jackson's role as a cross-gender character, because he's a male fulfilling the communication-bridging role of a female. That was the first part of the thesis. I did content analysis on several episodes over the ten years, and then the second half was fanfiction based on that, fan interpretation of that. So at that point I started using a pseudonym because I had a lot of stuff on Area 52 under Bren Antrim, I had won several awards as a Stargate author, and I thought, I can't write a thesis if they know that I'm one of the authors involved in it. So when I was interviewing fan writers for that, I was like, "Okay, so, um, I can't lie to you about who I am, but pretend that I'm someone else right now." So that was a little awkward, and that's when I realized, starting from the bulletin boards and going through, you know, the groups, and into the lists, and now on to the Net, and on to Live Journal, and on to Tumblr, that it's harder and harder and harder to separate out. So for the first time ever I had to make and keep a pseudonym. But that's why I go by my real first name and my pseudonym, is because I'm not trying to hide who I am. I'm lucky that way, I don't have to. A lot of fans do. One of my best friends, M. Fae Glasgow, wrote in Professionals for years, and her profession would not allow her to be identified as a slash fan. So, yeah, to this day she's not identified. So, yeah.
[how fannish communities have changed]:Oh, there used to be alt-discussions, which were just bulletin boards, literally. Anybody could go on, and anybody could join. They were actually hosted by universities, and they were intended for students, and for faculty members who were involved in collaborative projects or whatever. They were actually totally taken over by the sci-fi fans. [laughter] And then we all discussed it! And there was a group, alt.startrek.sf, something like that – it's been twenty years – and one of the moderators on that group, Phyllis – I think she's passed on by now - but we were having a whole discussion about why can we not talk about Kirk's ripped shirt when everybody talks about Uhura's skirt length. And that led to the Terrorist Task Force – Star Trek Terrorist Task Force, WTTF. The Star Trek Woman's Terrorist Task Force was a group on its own, on a list of its own, that became a listserv, that became a Yahoo group that is still going strong. And those were my early writing partners. Those were the first people that I wrote with. And it was a really good thing that I did that, because I'd met a friend, who was just a regular fan friend, at a convention in, like 1995, something like that. And I sent that first Deep Space 9 story to her. And I got back an eight-page tirade about how it was filth, and I was sick, and I thought, "Hmm, okay. Perhaps everyone isn't interested in this. And perhaps no one should read this. And I don't care, because I really liked it anyway." So that board is what convinced me to not just write my stories and stick them in my drawer. [Interview interjects: It told you that the Internet does, in fact, love the prostitute backstory?] Well, indeed. [laughter] It told me that the whole "Let's beat up Bashir so he can be all vulnerable and pretty and win in the end" is absolutely a trope that many women enjoy! [laughter] And so that was fun! And the other fun part is, I've actually had, I've had a website since 1996, and I've been posting stories online since 1996. That website has gone through three different hosts, but it is where it's always been, and I still have it now, even though I have stuff on Archive of Our Own, and I have stuff on the various fan specific archives, and I have it on Live Journal. My, you know, castleskeep.net is just going strong, and will be as long as I keep writing. So I enjoy that.
[on bumping up against the fourth wall]:...the sense of community has changed. Now you have to look for community. It used to be the communities were where you went. Now you find individual fans, and construct communities of those individual fans. The Live Journal communities, The Archive of Our Own, those are – I think of them as post-selfishness. [laughter] The thing is, in the early 2000's, when Live Journal was like, "Oh, this is where we're at," the issue that I had with Live Journal as opposed to a list serve is a list serve was a group of people who had to get along with each other. Live Journal is a stage for one person with an audience. And you can have a back-and-forth between that audience, and you can even have discussion amongst the audience, with threaded discussions, but it's not a community. It's someone putting something up immediately after they've written it without even rereading it and saying, "Now give me kudos." And I'm the person who, on the list serve for X-Files, actually wrote to the list after one of my stories saying, "You know, I'm really glad you liked the story, but 'Polly want a cracker' feedback does me no good."
[Skinner looks to much like her dad]:Nick Lea's agent told me that he found my Mulder/Krycek stories to be pretty funny. [laughter] Really? Yeah, my very first – Cody Nelson and I were the first people to write Mulder/Krycek stories. We both wrote our first Krycek story at the same time. They hadn't even put Krycek's name on the credits yet. So I actually misspelled his name as the title of the story, and I've never changed it, because that's how we – and Mulder, like, kills him in the end. After they have sex. It's like, "Oh, now I have my memory back, you must die!" Nick Lea liked that story! And I thought, "I love you. You're a sick man." [laughter] Keep on keeping on, man. So, you know? So, It's fun, you know.
[on Krycek, collaborating, and fannish expectations]:There was always Skinner/Mulder, and that was M. Fae's big pairing, which was difficult for me, because Mitch Pileggi looks exactly like my dad did when he got out of the Marine Corps. So when I went over to her apartment and I saw a little photoshopped magnet with well-hung Mitch, I was just like, "Oh, my god! I need to scrub my brain! [laughter] Dad! Stop!" So that was pretty big. And then as soon as Krycek hit the screen? [explosion noise] Blew up.
There was an award that I won for a Krycek story, and I thought that was really interesting, because it wasn't a concept that I thought would go well. From the very beginning the fandom had very specific expectations about what they would seek, and that's what was so exciting for Cody and I, because when we first starting writing them, we didn't know each other, we weren't interacting with one another, it was kind of like the light bulb being invented in France and England at the same time, you know? It was like, "Oooh, Ratboy!" [snaps fingers] We wake up. And from the beginning there was no backlash at all. It was just like, absolutely, we need something besides Mulder and Scully, and this is perfect. And we need something besides Skinner for those of us who can't get into Skinner. Besides the whole "Dad looks just like Mitch Pileggi" thing, there was also the whole, he's too old for him, or he's too much, you know, he's his superior. I had issues with abuse of authority, abuse of responsibility issues. Krycek? One of my main kinks is opposite sides of the same coin. And I think that is why it exploded so big in X-Files, is because Krycek was what Mulder could have been, or vice versa. And there are few things sexier to many people than seeing dark mirror images hating and loving one another. The trope that grew hugely in that fandom that I could never understand was the domestic trope.