This is not the Big Intro post. (I'm procrastinating.) This is Random Thoughts.
Speaking of procrastinating, I'm putting off finishing The Queen of Attolia because I don't want it to be done. And I'm kind of hating everyone I know who didn't sit me down and tell me to Read This Dammit. I've read three-volume epics that didn't pack as much Good Stuff in as this little 250-page YA book. I have The King of Attolia on a shelf looking reproachfully at me, and I'm almost scared to start it. For QoA I was rather thoroughly spoiled, and have actually read most of the rest of the pages, just not in order. (A book has to get me really worked up to make me do that...) For KoA...I know the basic plot-motif, but none of the actual plot or the end.
But what I actually wanted to say was...I came (finally) to this series after being reminded by a Vokosigan crossover. And in my head, the minister of war is Aral Vorkosigan. Just is. I've no idea what he's doing there, or, contrarily, how he ended up on Barrayar later, but...same person. (And now I really want Eddis and Gregor to sit down and have a natter. Though I'm not sure Gregor and Attolia would do as well. Or possibly they'd do even better, and I'm just scared to bend my brain that way.)
Second random thought of the day, pulled over from a comment else-journal and refined a bit. Even though I'm still not writing the essay. Though I may go hunt up some of the academic work out there on fanfiction.
One of the things I find really fascinating about fanfic is that we can tell the same story--not just the same core theme/idea ("becoming a parent changes your relationship with the future") but the same basic plot with the same characters ("Gregor learns the truth about the Escobar invasion")--in many different ways. It becomes a prism, light coming through in different ways, reflecting and refracting. As soon as I hit that image, though, I was reminded of the way I describe Criminal Minds--it's a fugue on certain themes, hung on an episodic crime drama. They repeat and reverse and refine a set of themes about good and evil, about survival and recovery. There's a little more variation in the actual storytelling but...not much. Now I wonder if *really good* episodic TV (and crime series, both TV and book, since they have *such* a defined structure) aren't doing something very close. Of course, any sufficiently large body of work by a single author will usually start to show something similar--we all have our elephants--but there is something different--and, I think, richer--about multiple people telling the same story.
I'm starting to get really interested in looking at the various fandoms I've read extensively in and brushed against, and figuring out what stories tend to...ah, develop the largest prism, and isn't that metaphor becoming unwieldy? But...there are stories that get told once or twice, and then there are the ones we converge on.
And I'm stopping now, or this will turn into that essay I'm not writing. Or possibly a thesis.
(and, post scriptum, if you happen on this or any post of mine months or years from when it's posted, feel free to comment anyway. I'm happy to get blast-from-the-past commentary!)