Turkey Reading

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Synonyms: MiSTing, sporking
See also: Badfic, evol fic, crack, Godawful Fan Fiction, Lord King Bad, brain bleach
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Turkey reading (also turkey-ing) is a type of MST3K-ing of badfic, generally done as a group activity in email loops, or in person at conventions.

Like other kinds of badfic mocking, turkey reading is a way for fans to show off their cleverness, and even cruelty, to their friends.

Unlike other kinds of badfic mocking, turkey reading is usually a private activity, not exposed where the writer might be able to read it.

The practice of "turkey reads" is older than the use of the specific phrase itself, which started to be used in the early 1990s.

Examples of Use

The Idea

1979

Replonza is not the longest piece in the zine, but certainly one of the most enjoyable. I remember at T'Con last year a bunch of us sitting around talking about the stupidity of Splinter of the... with Poblocki and Joyce reading choice bits aloud to illustrate examples.... Let's hear it for "Replonza"! [1]

1989

Lots of fans have gotten great (if unintended) amusement and delight from this zine. Great for sleepover meetings and late night communal readings at cons .... [2]

1990

And back by popular demand Dramatic Reading -- if you've got some really horrible story that you've written (and who doesn't) and are feeling brave (or drunk) enough to read it aloud, bring it along. it was a dark and stormy alley .... [3]

1992

I DID have the pleasure of attending a "Reading" in somebody's suite the night of the banquet. This is where a shamefully irreverent, wryly humorous orator (in this case, our own Beth Blighton) reads aloud sexually explicit B&B fanzine stories, accompanied by sarcasm, improvisation and audience-participatory sound effects. A lot of moisture involved here. You laugh so hard, you cry (dot, dot, dot), and this can be especially hazardous to those with a weak bladder.[4]

Basically the plot is that Vincent and Catherine attend a Halloween party in the gypsy community, then have one single, vastly prolonged sexual encounter in the park. Either you're going to love this zine or you're going to read it, shrieking with laughter, to your assembled 20 closest friends.

You've never seen anything quite like this. It's surely memorable! [5]

1996

There's a lot more bad fan fic out there because online fan fic doesn't go through an editor; many authors don't spell-check, proofread, or ask for feedback about characterization before posting (at the last Cleveland bash we had a hilarious reading of an online Kung Fu story; tense changes in the middle of sentences was the least of the problems). [6]

The Phrase Itself

1993

Special Events: * An extra long turkey reading is in the works. Money raised will be use to support the CUFF fund. * [7]
I've rarely engaged in an actual Turkey Read , as that gives too much attention for me to a story I find truly awful. But a friend and I might begin "retelling" the story, putting in extra details that might make the story more, let us say, interesting. Then we break into laughter... Of course, we must all remember that what is one fan's fodder for a Turkey Read is another fan's idea of a masterpiece. Different strokes and all that. [8]

1997

[The zine E-Man-Uelle is] probably enjoyable as a pure turkey read--if it weren't for that the author (and editor, presumably) had an interesting take on punctuation. Apparently, they didn't believe in it. Or they felt that they were rationed, could only have a couple of periods and commas to a page and rather than make the other sentences jealous, they just randomly chose where to place them. I also seem to remember Incredible Spontaneous Capitalisation. ("he went to the door, but Before he could open it...") [9]

1998

Our turkey read of Baccarat Figurines [at Escapade ] and some horrid Sentinel story by Little Eva was truly a high point. However, I shall be scarred for life by M Fae's lovely, rolling consonants actually being sullied by reading the words "boggy rectum". You had to be there, believe me, but if you read Baccarat Figurines, you'll know. [10]

1999

Took in part of the slash turkey reading where Predatrix was reading some stories that were so bad they were superb. I decided to go for the live action routine and tried to mimic some of Blake's supposed actions. (And I was stone-cold sober too - I almost never drink at conventions) All I can say is that the writer had a vivid imagination and we all had a good laugh. [11]

2002

Most people I know don't, [like Skinner as a "nancy-boy sweetie-pie."] either, or if they do, they turkey-read it later to their friends. This lazy, blinded personification of Skinner is as perplexing as the need to have Mulder (certainly one of television's most intelligent, perceptive, creative, and unusual characters ever) be turned into a brainless drooling cretin in need of diapers and psychotropic drugs. [12]

2003

I was given the copy of the script I had read from, and it is truly awfully hilarious. I could almost feel sorry for Paul Darrow: I doubt he knows that his 1981 effort at script writing is being turkey'd 22 years on by happy fen. (But I do admit that if I were ever at a con with him, I might try to get him to autograph it.) [13]

2006

Turkey Readings (Hospitality) -- Do you have a hideously bad novel stashed on your bookshelf? How about fanfic that elicits tears of blood? One story that makes you want to wash your brain with bleach? Well, we want ‘em all. Bring those turkeys to Caritas, and bring your loose change, too. We’re going to read them to you, and better yet, see if we can get you to act some of them out! [14]

2015

Even on the con circuit — a place you’d think voracious fandom would be welcomed — Kiki Jenkins has seen a rising trend of “bad fanfic” readings. Sometimes, explicit erotica is forced upon talent to read aloud in order to elicit an embarrassed and negative reaction. [15][16]

Meta

References

  1. ^ from a letter of comment in Pegasus #4
  2. ^ from Helpers' Network Quality Fanzine Review -- 1997, Archived version
  3. ^ from a progress report for SHareCon
  4. ^ by Kate Thomas in Lionheart #3
  5. ^ from Helpers' Network Quality Fanzine Review -- 1997, Archived version
  6. ^ from Rallying Call #18
  7. ^ from Wilfcon IX (July 27, 1993)
  8. ^ from Strange Bedfellows #1
  9. ^ December 5, 1997, Michelle Christian, at Virgule-L, quoted with permission
  10. ^ quoted anonymously with permission from Virgule-L (February 11, 1998)
  11. ^ Judith's Tale of Redemption (Judith Proctor), Archived version
  12. ^ from the essay Macho, macho man or, Why the fanfic wimpification of Skinner?
  13. ^ Jane Carnall's Con Report, Archived version
  14. ^ from the WriterCon program book
  15. ^ This is a reference to the 2013 Sherlock premiere; the moderator forced actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman to read slash fanfic starring their characters aloud. Fans were outraged, and the author of the fanfic was very upset. See Caitlin Moran's Fic Stunt.
  16. ^ Why fans are outraged at Sherlock and Watson reading sexy fanfic, Daily Dot, Aja Romano