Rachael Sabotini

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Name: Rachael Sabotini
Alias(es): Wickedwords
Alys Sanders, Alys
rache, one of the three authors in The Krell
Type: vidder, author, meta fan
Fandoms: Star Trek: TNG, The Sentinel
Other: Rachael Sabotini's House O'Fanfic
URL: streaming video site bamvidvault.ning.com/profile/RachaelSabotini
Rachael Sabotini (wickedwords) at (AO3)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Rachael Sabotini is a co-founder of the Media Cannibals and vidder with Sandy Herrold as part of Clucking Belles.

She is a former administrator of the ROG-L mailing list. Her first fanfic was a Worf/Riker story in 1989 in the print zine To Boldly Go....

In 25 Jan 1993, she joined the Virgule Mailing List under her Alys pseudonym using a borrowed university account. She also contributes to Fanlore as user:wickedwords.


Her Name

In 2007, she wrote: "My pseud 'Rachael Sabotini' is a riff off of Raphael Sabatini, the author of Scarmouche, Captain Blood, and many other swashbuckling novels, and my lj name 'WickedWords' is both a book about Curses, Insults, Put-Downs, and Other Formerly Unprintable Terms and a line of erotica novels I'll leave you to guess which one I pulled off the shelf when I was trying to figure out a name for my lj. Both names seem too long for email, so I usually go by rache." [1]

In 2000, she was the winner of a Citizens Against Bad Slash Tongue-in-Cheek Award: "I present this award to Rachael Sabotini, one of my favorite Sentinel writers, who also wins the award for the person who has her name mispelled [2] the most." [3]

A Self-Description

I am a woman of many names: Wickedwords for livejournal, Rachael Sabotini for fan fiction, and rache for vidding. I was also a part of the Media Cannibals vidding collective back in the 1990s, and currently vid as one of the Clucking Belles. Alys was my first pseud, but that was when I was writing for Man from UNCLE zines. I took Rachael Sabotini from Rafael Sabatini, as I always loved swashbucklers, and that the name I used when I started online in 1997.

If you see me at a con, I will usually answer to rache. [4]

About Me

My friend Sandy Herrold got me into fandom in the 1980s, first by giving me copies of Star Trek zines to read, and then by talking me into submitting my first story to Anne T. and Darlene for To Boldly Go, a ST:TNG zine. She also talked me into going to San Diego for my first media con, Koon-ut-Cali-Con. Kali-con was a real find, and I saw my first vids there. I also got to take home copies of old The Professionals episodes as well as old The Man From U.N.C.L.E. eps. After Kali-con, I wrote a lot in the MFU universe, and published them under my 'Alys' pseudonym. I became much more involved in fandom.

Sandy and I then went to the Starsky & Hutch 15th anniversary convention in LA in 1990, where we met another local fan, Sally, and made arrangements to get together once we all got home. She knew Deejay, so we met at Deejay's house, and eventually Deejay taught Sandy and I how to vid.

In addition Sandy (sense a theme here?) started the Virgule Mailing List in 1992, and I first joined it on 25 Jan 1993, under my Alys pseudonym and a borrowed university account. After my pregnancy-induced brush with death, I took a leave of absence for a bit; I'd rejoined by April 1994.

I posted a fairly long article on My Life as a Fan to LJ on Feb. 12th, 2007; it gives an overview of many of the fandoms that I have been in. [5]


In April 1998, in response to the Duncan character bashing going on on the ROG-L mailing list, I started a Recs list of Duncan-centric stories, ones I felt were light on the duncan!bashing.

In 1999, I wrote an essay on The Fannish Potlatch: Creation of Status Within the Fan Community, which was the first article discussing the fannish gift economy. It also broke the taboo about not talking about fan status, and over the years, I have gotten a lot of crap for that. It's also been cited a lot in academic works, as one of the first media fandom articles on the fannish gift economy. [6]

Also in 1999, I wrote an essay You Big Bully! or The dynamics of fan-created power imbalances, which talked about the problematic way that fans treat the protagonist of a Hero/Sidekick style of show. It also coined the terms apologyfic and grovelfic.

I also did a panel on The Genealogy of Vidding for vividcon in 2005.

I was interviewed by NPR about vidding in 2009, and I am part of the group of women in the MIT series on Vidding. I think it's fascinating that this hobby I've had for over 15 years is breaking into the limelight. It's absolutely wild.[7] [8]


As a member of Media Cannibals I took the lead on the following vids:

Lives in the Balance: A Wiseguy vid focused on Roger Lococo. Created in 1993, this is the vid that Sandy Herrold and I developed while I was on extended bedrest due to misdiagnosed Peripartum cardiomyopathy(heart failure at the time of pregnancy). She'd bring over the two VCRs and hook up the cables while I would lay on my left side and direct what clips we needed and where they would go; this pretty much set the stage for our future collaborations. The vid itself tied for first place at Revelcon in 1994, back when they still had vid contests rather than simply vid shows.

Turn Around: A multimedia vid set to a song by They Might Be Giants comparing and contrasting the comedy/horror universes of XFiles, Buffy, and The Sentinel. And as at the time, no one really thought of TS as being a horror universe, it sort of rocked people's boats. Between this and Cymbelene, The Sentinel-as-horror body count on tape 4 was pretty high.

Same Thing In Reverse: A constructed reality vid set in The Sentinel universe, with the big question being "What happened when Jim and Blair were outed?" I had my activist hat on when I made this vid, and while at the time, people were blown away by the parallelism we were able to illustrate using Katerine's video fader, for me, it was all about seeing the characters as gay.

Hair: Hair was my baby, a multimedia metavid about hair fans. Yes, I am serious. Hair fandom is huge, and it can make or break a series (right, Felicity?) Not to mention that whole fuss in Sentinel fandom when fans heard rumors that Blair Sandburg would have to cut. his. hair. Or making Ronon Dex 's actor wear a wig when he cut off his dreadlocks during the Stargate Atlantis hiatus before season 5. Fortunately, we realized that we were in luck early on, as characters usually either had hair or did not, and we were able to use aliens for those that were inbetween. The vid kinda sucks you in slowly, which is why we went with the original cast recording of the song, until it gets to it's first long pause--and god, doesn't that wet Castillo shot from Miami Vice just fit with the music there, mrrow. After that, the vid kicks into high gear, which is why we had to beg, borrow, and, well, coerce people from other states and other continents to give us source. There are simply too many fannish BSOs, and we wanted a lot of them for the vid.

One of the other novel things about it was that Sandy and I deliberately included women as some of the objects of adoration, which was different from most multimedia slash vids of the era, which usually only showed men. But the women got play as sex-objects in our vid, since it was all about the hair; it made no sense to the two of us to exclude them, because, hey, women are sexy and heroic and all kinds of fun. Plus some women have really good hair.[9]

Early Zine Stories

There is nothing really notable about any of the stories that I wrote during my zine years. I was learning how to write, and, well, that takes some time. What I wrote then probably counts as badfic, only it wasn't deliberate.

To Boldly Go was the first zine I published in. It was a ST:TNG zine published by Anne T. and Darlene, as part of Almost Fool Proof Press. What was notable about their zines were: #They were digest-sized, which made them cheaper to buy and cheaper to produce #They rejected no one that I know of #You had to produce the camera copy yourself.

So really, it wasn't that big of deal for them to take my first story (Arch by Alys. A loving Worf/Reiker tale written during season one, wherein Worf has ridges on his dick, the sex is incredibly painful, and either Worf or Reiker owns a cat.) (Yes, really. It was just. that. bad.) But for me, it was an incredible high. I got my first story published and got a free zine for my efforts. The world was my oyster after that.

More or less.

From TNG, I moved on to writing slash The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I had fallen in love with Eros as a writer, probably due to the zine City of Byzantium which I had bought at Koon-ut-Cali-con. She wrote in MFU, so I tracked down everything she had written, either under Eros or under her gen pen name--and then I moved on to other authors. I bought several multimedia zines, just to read the UNCLE stories in them, which is how I stumbled on Debra Hicks and Two Hawks, Dancing[10]. I think that one story helped make me a Hurt/comfort fan, whatever part of me hadn't already been turned by pon farr and pre-reform Vulcan. The story was laden with amnesia and implied torture, and the lovely little emotional gut punch there at the end; it was a slow reveal, and I have worked to try and write something like that for most of my writing life. I haven't gone back to read it, as I fear it won't stand up, but at the time, it formed a lot of what I wanted out of my slash.

There weren't a lot of slash MFU zines being published in the early 90s, and since I was a new writer and new to fandom, I had no connections, but I really wanted to write in the fandom. I ended up writing for a zine called "Exposures", and if I am lucky, no one can find a copy of it anymore. I became a good penpal friend of the publisher, who eventually went psycho, and the less said about that the better. Just a note of caution: Fandom has always attracted the crazies. I also underwent my first serious editor abuse here, from Tami and Paulie, on their Rose Tint My World series: they sent me notes requesting that I change from using character names so often and use more epithets instead. So Napoleon and Illya vanished for awhile, and the older agent and the blonde man became pretty dominate in my writing. After all, the editors made the suggestion, and the editors did know best...and I was too new to know what a horrible suggestion it was, and how badly this would screw up my writing over the next few years.

After that was my long-running love affair with The Professionals. I was a Bodie-girl in a sea of Doyle-ies where I lived, which was not the last time that sort of thing happened. I spent a lot of time in the fandom, and eventually connected up with a bunch of other Bodie-ites, via conventions and letterzines. It's also the fandom that taught me how to write, as there were so many fans who were interested in improving their own writing quality, and that of the fandom overall. I got a lot of rejections from zines like British Takeaway and the anything from Oblique Publications; British Takeaway gave Sandy and I a wonderful rejection letter, telling us that the story we submitted was 'sordid' in a very encouraging manner. Eventually, I did place a gen story with the zine, Winter Rain (Under my Alys pen name in British Takeaway VI) and was incredibly proud of myself for that.

Other zines I wrote for included the Chalk and Cheese series (Chalk and Cheese #6 published the first Pros story that Sherrold and I wrote under our Alyx and Alys pen names), including their Holiday Special The Hols of CI5(Story: Fish Out of Water, Pen Name: Alys Sanders); Other Times and Places, where I think I failed to make my female OC seem anything other than a Mary Sue (though of course I insist that she wasn't). I also solidified my love affair with the AU at that time, which is also the basis for my story in Guilty Pleasures [11]



Notable Vids with the Media Cannibals

Notable Vids with Clucking Belles


Notable Zine Stories

Early Fiction


Other Stuff