Hi friends, it’s me again, your friendly neighbourhood fledging academic, wanting to pick your brains about fandom things :D
So after months of research, I finally have a rough idea of what my Honours thesis is about :D The extremely brief CliffNotes version is: I am looking at hyperserial texts, which is basically the term I’ve come up with for networked collections of stories set in a single storyworld. i.e. something like the Star Trek universe, or Star Wars, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, etc etc.
You see, English Lit (and other disciplines that look at narrative texts) is great at talking about single texts, and also sequels, adaptations, even serial texts, and is starting to get into transmedial texts, but still hasn’t really managed to figure out how these huge, vast, hyperserial texts work and how we read them. SO that’s where I’ve stepped in.
My research question is basically asking what kinds of narrative desires are satisfied/enabled by these hyperserial texts. The traditionally recognised narrative desire is ‘desire for the end’, i.e. theorists reckon the only reason we enjoy texts is that we want to find out what happens and get closure.
But my hypothesis is that actually (and especially in the case of hyperserial texts) one of the pleasures we have in reading is inhabiting and expanding a fictional world.
Which is kind of one of those, yeah, duh, of course, why else would we watch 700 and whatever episodes of Star Trek and read novels and comics and play games and write fan fic and make art and playlists and talk about these fictional characters and events and settings and everything?
So now I just need to find the textual evidence to back up this claim. Ideally it would have been great to actually talk to people (my supervisor was like, OMG yes, I want to read that so much), but alas, I’m already halfway through this thesis and have 0 qualitative research training so far (she encouraged me to go and get some for my PhD lol), so I’ll have to stick to looking at texts like a good English Lit Honours student :P
Which is where you all come in! I was originally planning on not doing Star Trek (only because I’ve already got a paper on female-centred Star Trek fan fiction coming out in a few months), but now that I know what I’m looking for … well, this is the fandom I know best, have friends in, have read/watched/played the most stuff in, and also have a bunch of “non-fiction” in-universe books for, so Star Trek it is!
I’m already loosely thinking of looking at things like: fan fic which doesn’t have much of a traditional plot, but which explores character or worldbuilding, etc (i.e. most of it, lol); paratexts (fancy word for the stuff outside of the narrative texts) like the aforementioned in-universe books but also technical guides, series companions, the encyclopaedia, etc; and then fan discussions, meta, and any accounts of people’s reading processes or responses. Basically anything that can be used, and looked at closely, to go ‘look, see, this shows that people like inhabiting this fictional world!’ or ‘this shows that people like expanding this fictional world!’ (beyond the fact that all this stuff exists that is)
So I’m hoping that by throwing this open to other people I’ll come up with more ideas than I would by myself. I’m already going to dig through my boxes of Star Trek books in storage (and was excited to realise that the Vulcan Travel Guide I bought a few months ago could be a great text to use), and look here on Tumblr, and at fic, etc, but if this has twigged any ideas for anyone, please pass them on! I can’t interview people or anything (because academic ethics), but if you’ve had conversations or seen great meta posts talking about any of this, please send me links, or even email me at firstname.lastname@example.org :)
That’s a possibility! I didn’t mean to deny him credit where it’s due. His cat(s) don’t ever seem to have spots, so I guess there would have to be some kind of creative thought process behind the name. I always just assumed he looked over a list of popular human-given pet names and picked the first one off the top.
Yeah, I’m not sure where I stand on the redemption thing. Like I consider ‘just following orders’ unjustifiable, but given that Garrett almost literally MADE him (and before that, his life was shit)… I dunno.
For me, it’s going to depend on Fitz. Because Fitz is the one who believed in Ward when no one else did, and he’s the one of the main cast who was the most (physically) hurt by Ward’s actions. So if Fitz can forgive Ward, there’s a chance for him in my book. If Fitz tells Ward to fuck off, I’ll have to side with Fitz.