Why is There So Much...?

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Title: Why is There So Much...?
Creator: Lucy Gillam
Date(s): November 16, 1999
Medium: online
External Links: Why is There So Much.../WebCite
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Why is There So Much...? is a 1999 meta essay by Lucy Gillam. It is a companion piece to Why isn't there More...? (by Lucy Gillam) and Why is There So Much.../Why Isn't there More...? (by various authors).

It as part of a series at Fanfic Symposium.

The essay asks:

"Where the Heck Did That Come From? SW:TPM Slash":

Now, while I totally grok the appeal of TPM slash (it's my current fav, in fact), I also understand the befuddlement of those who either don't get it at all, or don't understand how it drew so many writers so quickly. Let's look at a few facts:
  • This is, basically, a kids movie, which doesn't rule out slash, but does mean the source text is a little simplistic.
  • The slashees, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan (god, it even rhymes) spend maybe, what, 10 minutes interacting on-screen, most of which is "I feel a disturbance in the Force." "Me too." Until the death scene, most of the emotional involvement between them is kept in the undercurrents.
  • As portrayed on-screen, and in the novelization, the relationship seems more parental than romantic. From what little we know of Jedi life, and the characters background (assuming you view the supplement books as canon), Obi-Wan has been with Qui-Gon from the age of 13, which means Qui-Gon more or less finished raising him. That's not the most conducive situation for romance.

"The What? Oh, you mean that cop show on UPN?" Sentinel Fic":

Fact the first: Outside of fandom, this was not a top-rated, or even terribly well known show. C'mon, admit it: we've all been there, looking at our friends' blanks stares as we talk about our favorite show. And that's usually the kinder reaction. I loved this show dearly, but there were times and circumstances under which I was more than a little hesitant to talk about that love. The huge amount of fanfic generated around TS proves a theory I've had for quite some time: that fanfic draws people to sources as often as sources draw people to fanfic. While I doubt that very many people went to see TPM solely because they'd read some good fic, I know a whooooooole lotta people, myself included, who didn't give TS much more than a second look until they stumbled across the fic. This has, IMNSHO, had some interesting effects on both the fic and the fandom, something I won't go into at great detail but might very well write a column later. I will say that I find it interesting, in light of my comment above about people writing fic about TPM before they've seen the movie, how many people begin writing TS fic before they've seen the show, or after only one or two eps. And I often wonder how many people watch the show more to get grist for the fic mill than just to watch the show (no judgments there, just idle speculation).

"Tapes, Swiss Rolls, and 70's hairdos: The Professionals":

Obligatory disclaimer: I like The Professionals. And yes, the guys are yummy. I get why it's so open to slashfic (if Pros genfic exists, I've never found it). I enjoy said slashfic.

But let's think about this for a minute (Lucy runs back to the fact board):

  • Unless I've been grossly misinformed, The Professionals has never aired in the US. Never. Not once. Nada.
  • Copying something taped in Britain to something that will be played in the US is not as simple as simple dubbing
  • While some Pros slash is written by people who've lived in the UK, a whoooooole lot is written by Yanks whose most profound exposure to British culture comes from ... well, Pros fic (again, not a judgment, just a hmmmn).
Now, you gotta admit that this is just odd. Yeah, the guys are yummy, and cool, and the set-up's nifty, but what did the show really have that couldn't be found in any number of past or present US shows?