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Only by this meeting is a new world born

About half of of this journal - the half that's fanfic, squeeing over The X Files and talking about my PhD - is public, but there are some entries which are friends only. If you want to add me to your f-list feel free - the more the merrier! All I ask if that you want to be added to my f-list in return, please comment here or drop me a line. I'll more than likely add you back, especially if we hang round the same fandoms or have friends in common.


I can't believe it was 21 years ago The X-Files premiered! When the show first aired (in 1994 here in the UK, when I was 12) I actually didn't watch it. As I said in my article for Transformative Works and Cultures I was skeptical about the series:

I read Asimov and Bradbury, was interested in "proper" science fiction, and was determined to be a parapsychologist when I grew up. This series was bound to be inferior and paint us nerds in a poor way. But I watched it, and I was hooked.

A couple of years ago, after I moved house, I found a diary I kept at the age of 12. Inside I've painstakingly copied the Boyzone logo, my favourite band at the time, written poems based on Tolkein's Lord of the Rings and written stories about two FBI agents called Mulder and Scully.


The diary is covered in quotes and taglines: I want to believe; the truth is out there; trust no one; and I scrawled the logo on the front of my school books. I collected books and posters, and my grandmother bought me membership in The X-Files fan club. My early relationship with the series, then, was one that many fans will recognize, but as I have grown up so too has the way I view the show and what it means to me.

My love of the series moved beyond a love of the characters and storylines into a deeper, and more affective, investment. I joined fandom and wrote fan fiction (on the BBC Cult message boards to begin with), and in doing so I connected with other fans. One of the entries in that diary reads: "mam said The X-Files is just a TV show. What does she know?" Nineteen years later and I'm writing a PhD about that TV show. The obsession I found in the early 90s has done little to subside; instead, it's developed into a critical fascination with the series and its fans, and a lifelong love.


Because of The X-Files I've made new friends, travelled to different countries and met my idols. Because of The X-Files I'm getting a PhD, have presented papers at international conferences and am published in journals and books. Because of The X-Files I've gotten through the death of my grandparents, survived severe depression and helped other fans (friends) along the way. And all of that needs much, much more than a blog post to examine


But at the same time, it also needs much less. I am a fan. I might be lots of other things as well, but a fan one of the primary ways in which I identify myself. On a daily basis I think about, talk about and interact with fandom in a variety of different ways, and honestly? I can't imagine my life without that.

So here's to The X-Files, friends, fandom, and wanting to believe. And me updating here more often.

XF is Love

XF is love is running again this October and you should sign up.

But what is it? You ask. Well.

The X-Files is Love is a month-long multimedia celebration ofThe X-Files where each participant claims a date and then posts some new X-Files related fanworks on their day. This can be fic, graphics, icons, vids, podfic, essays, a memoir of your days in the X-Files fandom, or pretty much anything as long as it's new and original. You can do as little or as much as you want - the day is yours!

You don't even need a Livejournal account to participate. If you have a Twitter account, for example, you can use that to join and post to the community. If you'd rather, the mods can post on your behalf. And if you just want to comment on the entries, anonymous commenting is allowed, or you can log in using any social media account that supports OpenID (for example, Dreamwidth).

This year xf_is_love will run from October 1-31, culminating with a free-for-all on Halloween. 

Sign up at http://xf-is-love.livejournal.com/61749.html


Title: Four Times CGB Spender Thought He Was In Love and One Time He Knew It
Author: memories_child
Rating: NC-17(ish)
Warnings: None
Word count: 1,843
Kinks: Very mild BDSM
Disclaimer: There would be very little point in suing me.
Author's notes: This was written for heavenlyblack as part of the 2013 xf_santa gift exchange. heavenlyblack said that character pieces on CSM, Krycek, and Skinner would be nice, especially if you could work some romance or sex into them. I didn't quite manage the slash I was thinking of, but I hope that this works instead.

Summary: Love is a curious word. Heavy. Unweildy. It speaks of promise and hurt, relies on faith not logic. Things he has cautioned himself against.

This is the way it happens, though he doesn't expect it to.Collapse )
Originally posted by fanhackers_feed at [META] Storify by Bertha Chin: tweets and pictures of the Fan Studies Network Symposium 2013

I know I owe people who are wondering where I've gone a massive update (which will happen!) but in the meantime here's one of the things I've been involved in lately...

Infinite Earths: The Third Alternative

The piece I wrote on comics, depression and self-belief went up on Infinite Earths last week. I was nervous about publishing it but the response I've had so far has been overwhelmingly positive and I'm really pleased (and humbled) that it seems to have touched ao many people.

There is a trigger warning on it for one image and talk of depression and self harm, but if you'd like to read it it's up here: http://infiniteearths.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/the-third-alternative-bethan-jones-university-of-aberystwyth-wales/
I had to borrow £200 off my dad today to pay for my car insurance, and that led me to thinking about self-funding, which in turn led me to writing a new blog post. It's over at http://bethanvjones.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/on-finances-and-being-a-self-funding-student/ if anyone's interested.

(Writing this post I was interrupted by Loki bringing in a very small, very cute, very dead baby rabbit. He's now meowing mournfully at him cos I took his toy away...)


I actually got to see Meatloaf Sunday night, and he was brilliant! I wasn't looking forward to it because I was still feeling grumpy and cranky, but I pretty much forced myself to cheer up, and stuck Rock and Roll Hero on in the car on the way down, and that helped. We had pretty good seats too. The CIA isn't all that big anyway, and we were about a third of the way down the stands.

We had a really good view of the stage, though the photo doesn't show it that well, though it was a seated gig which kinda limited the ability to dance. There wasn't a support act, and Meat came on at 8. He played a couple of tracks off Bat II and Hang Cool Teddy Bear, then there was a 15 minute interval and a notice came up on the screens saying 15 minutes to Bat Out Of Hell. And fair play, he put everything into those songs. They interspersed them with footage from the Bat documentary that aired a couple of years ago, and Meat talked about the tracks as well. He got really emotional, bless him, especially when he thanked all of the fans for supporting him all these years. And when he was introducing Crying Out Loud he got really choked up and everyone 'awwed'. It was a really great concert, and I think a really fitting final tour for Meat.

Set List

01 Running for the red light
02 Life is a lemon
03 Deadringer for love
04 Break it
05 Los Angeloser
06 Giving tree
07 Objects in the rear view mirror
08 Out of frying pan

------ interval -------

09 Bat out of hell
10 You took the words
11 Heaven can wait
12 All revved up with no place to go
13 Two out of three aint bad
14 Paradise by the dashboard light
15 For crying out loud


16 Anything for love
17 Boneyard


In other news I'm starting to feel much better now! I went back into work today, and I'll be very glad to start the new job. I have no love left for what I'm currently doing now, which is a shame. I even managed to get some work done when I got home (not a lot, just replying to emails, etc., but it's a start).


I also found out last week that my abstract on Twilight and the gendered voice of anti-fandom has been accepted for the CATH postgraduate conference, 'New approaches to gender, film and television'. So that'll be up in Leicester at the end of June, and it looks like I'll be able to make it to Console-ing Passions too. I also had my funding application accepted, so I'm getting some money towards my travel up there. I've got a fair few conferences coming up this year. Exciting stuff :D
The big news in The X-Files fandom this week was the announcement that series creator Chris Carter has officially signed on as an executive producer to IDW comic series, making the comics the official season 10.

The X-Files season 10 cover

Set for release on June 19th the comic picks up shortly after I Want to Believe and, according to Geek Mom will begin with Mulder and Scully living normal lives together under secret identities. Bleeding Cool writes that
The first arc, beginning in June, will seek to bring the mythology of the Alien Conspiracy back up to date in a more paranoid, post-terror, post-wikileaks society, pulling in many story threads from the original series. The opening story will focus on bringing Mulder and Scully back to Agent status, as individuals associated with the X-Files are mysteriously killed one by one, forcing the two to come together again for their own protection, and for that of their friends and loved ones. Future stories will continue the mythos, as well as dropping in plenty of monster of the week stories.

So it seems like the comics are going to stay pretty true to the series, and Carter's involvement ensuring the comics stay canon has a lot of fans excited. I'm excited - I'll happily admit that. I remember the early Topps comics (I still have them on my bookcase, and foresee a re-read before season 10 is released) and Carter's involvement in the series gives it an official air (not that there's anything wrong with unofficial products - I'm a fanfic writer and doing a PhD on fan culture; I'm going to be the last one to argue that one is better than the other. But for a fandom which is going strong despite having only one new release since it went off air, something 'official' is nice). But I'm also a bit wary about this announcement. The Comics Alliance noted that IDW Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall likened Carter's involvement in the comic to that of Joss Whedon's on IDW's similar TV series continuation, Angel: After the Fall. Angel - and Buffy - have continued in comics format but there have been no new televisual or filmic incarnations of the series, and that's what worries me with the comics. Are Fox using this as a way to placate the fans who've been campaigning for a third film since the release of I Want to Believe? Are they using it to gauge interest in the franchise before deciding to greenlight a new film? Are they using it as a promotional opporunity for a film that's in the works? I'm hoping that it's the latter but there's a large part of me that worries it's the former.

Of course, thinking about this my academic (rather than fan) side takes over and asks "well what, exactly, is wrong with The X-Files continuing in comic format rather than on screen?" Nicolas Pillai opens his article Licensed comics and the freedom of transmedia storytelling (which I'd thoroughly recommend) in the X-Filesspecial issue of Science Fiction Film and Television, with an analysis of season five's Post-modern Prometheus. He writes that

Given the episode's interest in pop culture forms, we might take this challenge to Scully's assumptions [in the form of the validation of Izzy's comic] to mean that truth is as likely to be found in a comic book as in a television programme. (2013:102)

Pillai argues that the narratives developed in The X-Files comic books should not be viewed in isolation from those seen in the TV series and films. Certainly, it sounds as though IDW's series will be drawing heavily on the series and both films, as well as developing its own Monster of the Week storylines and bring the mytharc more firmly into the twenty-first century. But the position of licensed comics in both television studies and comic studies has been relegated to that of impure replication or mere merchandise (Pillai 2013:104). Thinking about this, my understanding of licensed comics - especially relating to The X-Files - has very much been the former. I collect X-Files comics and I read and enjoy them, but for me they are inferior to the telvision series and the films. I think to some extent this can tie into discussions around what constitues canon and what - to borrow Brooker's phrase - constitutes quasi-canon (1998:xi). As a primarily televisual text, X-Files canon for me has always been what is on screen. The authorised novelisations - of I Want to Believe and the earlier episodes like Darkness Falls - also constitue canon. However, the comics, the graphic novels, the books, the computer games - the list goes on - have never been canon for me. Even where the comics were greenlit by 1013 (as in the case of the Topps comics) or used the voices of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson (as in the PC games) I do not view them as canon. And so I'm still carrying some of this of snobbery - for want of a better phrase - into my somewhat checked excitement over season 10. Would I prefer there to be another season or TV, or a new film? Being totally honest, yes I would. But I am looking forward to the comics and I've already asked my local comic shop to order them in for me. I'm sure I'll be writing more on this topic when they arrive.

Reading the Fifty Shades Phenomenom

An article I co-wrote with Sarah Harman and Ruth Deller about Fifty Shades of Grey reader responses and our forthcoming special issue of the Sexualities Journal went up on Litro last week. You can read it here if you're so inclined: http://www.litro.co.uk/2013/02/reading-fifty-shades

Smart isn't sexy - it's a superpower

Over the past week or so, as some of you know, I've been involved in promoting a new comic created by media studies academic, Will Brooker. Will is best known for his work on Batman but he's also a staunch proponent of feminism and has criticised gender imbalances in popular culture, specifically in comics. With My So-Called Secret Identity Will's working with a predominantly female team to find a new, better way of representing women in superhero comics. The site opened for previews yesterday and I got to take my first proper look at issue one.

I'll admit I spent my first two or three read throughs squeeing, and that wasn't just because I've been waiting to read the comic since I found out about it. The artwork (by the amazingly talented Suze Shore and Sarah Zaidan) is gorgeous and the depiction of Cat, our main character, is spot on. This isn't some latex-clad superheroine in boots that would make any normal girl (or, y'know, me) fall over and break their neck; this is a young woman you'd pass in the street and say hi to - the best friend you'd catch up with over coffee and cupcakes.

That on its own is refreshing, but the thing I like about Cat most of all? She's "really, really goddamn smart." She reminds me of me, in a way, though before you think I'm getting grandiose delusions of myself as some Valleys Vigilante (though that does have a nice ring to it...) let me explain.

At school I was the smart one. I did well in English, had lunchtime debates on epistemology with my RE teacher, was published at fourteen, scored 100% on my history exams, got four A-Levels when that just wasn't done... And my school was a rough one. It was the school that you got sent to when you'd been expelled from the other schools in the valley. Being smart didn't meant that you were special. It meant that you were different. It was something bad. And I was lonely because of it. I had a small group of friends, but I wasn't one of the 'popular' kids. I was the geek that the popular kids picked on. And they did for the seven years I was at comprehensive school.

I'm a PhD student now, but I still feel the same, sometimes, as I did at school. I feel like I shouldn't show people that I'm smart and capable, that I should pretend I'm not all that intelligent so I don't put people off me, make them feel stupid. When Cat gets told, in issue #1, that she's "just a PhD student" who doesn't know it all, it's something I can relate to. And when she realises that she's been lying to herself, that being smart is her superpower, it's like she's telling me the same thing.

I haven't read many comics featuring a female character who's not wearing a ridiculous skin-tight costume and high heels to fight crime; with a young women who's not relegated to love interest or victim; where I have to decide how much misogyny I'm willing to overlook to get to the story. I've got one now though, and I can't wait to share more of my life with Cat.

My So-Called Secret Identity launches on 18th February at www.mysocalledsecretidentity.com. The first issue is available for free, and the website contains a whole host of behind the scenes sketches and character information. Subsequent issues will be funded by donations through the site (suggested $5 minimum, with original art and other rewards - including a chance to be included in the comic as a supporting character - for larger gifts). The money pays for the artists' fees and a proportion is also donated to a women's charity. For issue 2, the team are funding www.awayout.co.uk, an outreach charity for women and young people.

My So-Called Secret Identity is also on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MySoCalledSecretIdentity) and Twitter (@cat_abi_daniels), and the Facebook page offers more teasers and artwork as well as fan competitions.
Title: Three Times Teena Mulder Went Home with Bill
Author: memories_child
Spoilers: Little Green Men
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: The X Files, unfortunately, does not belong to me. Much as I'd love to say I came up with the idea.
Author's Notes: This was written for the 2012 12daysofxfiles community. It hasn't been betaed because I was awful at getting it done on time so all mistakes are my own.

Three Times Teena Mulder Went Home with BillCollapse )

My So-Called Secret Identity

Over the last few weeks I've been lucky enough to talk to Will Brooker, an academic who I admire and respect, about a new project he's involved in. Will is best known for his work on Batman - he's the author of Batman Unmasked and more recently Hunting The Dark Knight, but he's also written fiction and it's this he's returning to with My So-Called Secret Identity.

Writing about Batgirl in a Mindless Ones blogpost in November 2011, Will said “I wanted to like Barbara [Gordon]. I just wasn’t getting much to work with.” He concluded the post with the words “We are building a better Batgirl. Look out for her.” This 'better Batgirl' became My So-Called Secret Identity, “an experiment: a non-commercial project to prompt discussion and maybe suggest a different way of doing things, in terms of approach, aesthetic and practice” written by Will with the support of a predominantly female creative team. Around 20 artists have contributed character sketches and costume designs, including fan favourites Hanie Mohd, Lea Hernandez, Sandra Salsbury (Illustrating Reddit) and Paige Halsey Warren (Busty Girl Comics). Primary art is by Canadian illustrator Suze Shore (black and white linework) and PhD in comics studies Sarah Zaidan (painted colours and covers).

The heroine of My So-Called Secret Identity is Cat Abigail Daniels. "She’d tell you she’s nobody special, that she’s just like you. Just an average, Irish-American girl in her early twenties; a cop’s daughter, studying in the big city. Sure, she did OK at sports, she’s always got along with people pretty well, she’s happy enough with how she looks." Cat’s also very, very clever, though she's learned that it doesn’t get her anywhere to show her intelligence. She’s become used to hiding it – until she meets a young man called The Misper, and becomes drawn into a world of costumed heroes and villains.

Will and the team have taken everything they hated about superhero comics and flipped the script:

    No heroines running in stupid heels.

    No skimpy costumes or unrealistic proportions.

    No brainless, braless female characters or cheesecake pin-ups.

    No women as love-interest only, or victims to be rescued and revenged.

But they kept everything they loved. There are costumes, capes, secret identities and sidekicks. There’s a city full of larger-than-life characters – The Urbanite, Sekhmet, The Major, Carnival, Doll’s Eyes. There’s a conspiracy, a terror plot, a last-minute life-or-death choice; there are dual personalities and alternate earths.

My So-Called Secret Identity issue 1 will be online permanently for free, in full colour, on its dedicated website www.mysocalledsecretidentity.com, and will include sketches, designs and behind-the-scenes notes. Subsequent issues will be funded by donations through the site (suggested $5 minimum, with original art and other rewards for larger gifts). The money pays for the artists' fees and a proportion is then donated to a women's charity -- for issue 2, the team are funding www.awayout.co.uk, an outreach charity for women and young people. Will takes no profit from the project.

MSCSI is currently on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MySoCalledSecretIdentity) and on twitter (@cat_abi_daniels). There are interviews with the creative team coming up in the journals Participations (which I've co-authored) and Transformative Works and Cultures, and there are reviews at Geeked Magazine.

Will has drawn attention to the gender imbalances in comics and culture in his academic work, and I can't think of anyone better to head up this project. The comic goes live on 18th February and I'm really looking forward to reading the first issue in full. I hope you will too.

February Femslash

natabutts is running a Teen Wolf ladies comm which is doing February Femslash.

Teen Wolf Ladies does Femslash February.
Celebrate the ladies and the relationships they have with one another.

I'm not in Teen Wolf fandom, but would something similar for ladies of The X-Files appeal to anyone? We could run it at haremxf or I could set up a new comm for it.

Friending Memes and Fests

Thanks to wendelah1 I've signed up for two friending memes and have already added lots of interesting people. *waves at you all* I'll do a proper introduction post at some point, probably this weekend when I'm not shattered after a day at work.

LJ Is Alive!
A Multifandom LiveJournal Friending Meme
Tumblr is great, but my fandom heart is in LJ.

the shortest friending meme to ever friend-meme

Also, the porn battle is now live and will run until 30th January. Prompts can be found here: http://battle.oxoniensis.org/battle14prompts.html and entries are going up here: http://battle.oxoniensis.org/battle14posted.html. I'm definitely planning on writing something for The X-Files before it ends.

The other two comms that you should check out are 14valentines and halfamoon.

Half a Moon is a fourteen day challenge which celebrates female characters in fandom. It runs from February 1 through to Valentine's Day. Fanfiction, vids, recs, art, picspam, icons, meta, fanmixes, and outside links to content fitting the theme of this community are all welcome - the only rule is that the primary focus must be on a female character or characters.

14 Valentines was a concept/project pioneered by rageprufrock in 2006, based on the idea of fandom as a community composed of women and their allies and the power of the relationships there. It's meant to raise awareness of, and hopefully as a result increase participation in, organisations devoted to women's causes. 14 Valentines also runs for the first two weeks of February.

I've contributed to both of these before and they're great to be involved in.
So I've been chatting to Will about gender over the last few weeks, and more specifically about gender-fluidity and queerness after he sent me Crisis on Inbetween Earths, which was published earlier this week. I mentioned in one of my emails I was interested in genderswap fic, and it strikes me that Sherlock is perhaps the fandom where this is most successful. So, here are a list of fics I've been reading that feature fem!Sherlock or trans Sherlock. I'm not great at detailing why I like fics, but I think these are definitely worth reading and I'd love to know what you all think.

The Syntax of Things
When John looked at him, Sherlock felt whole, felt like he was who he was meant to be. Not a freak, an oddity, or a monster in-between.

Body of Evidence
You were born Sheridan Olivia Holmes. Your family called you Sheryl.
You didn’t like those names but it didn’t occur to you to switch to anything else. Not yet.

And Then You Wake
All her life Sherlock Holmes has fought for her place in the world. Too smart and too bloody arrogant to allow herself to be relegated to a ‘woman’s place’ she instead creates her own position and becomes the first Consulting Detective in London, quite possibly the first in the world. This does not, as she naively hoped, bring her any kind of contentment until one day, working in the labs at Bart’s; she is introduced to the man who will change her life.
Doctor John Watson is a medical man who went to war in the vain hope of saving lives, of making a difference in the world. In exchange for his naiveté he is captured, tortured, rescued and shot. Instead of a nation grateful for his sacrifices, John returns home to a world he can’t quite fit himself back into and, just when he’s considering giving up trying, a run in with an old friend introduces him to the woman who will change everything.
***WARNING*** fic contains events (or illusions thereof) that may be triggering for some readers including but not limited to: sexual assault (rape and lesser degradations both) and war-time torture (with the expected resulting PTSD)

John fantasizes about eating Sherlock out, and then Sherlock demands that he does.

A Room Untended
Please note the various tags for triggers. Sherlock had thought he'd excised his heart, years ago. The arrival of John complicates matters, but then, life has rarely been simple.

Nothing But What God Gave You
Co-ed means compromise. Apparently.

And here are some others.

Horse And Carriage
Sherlock proposes. John thinks the whole idea is ludicrous.

Seven Ways to Fall Asleep
John and Sherlock fall asleep together.

Other Things to do After Buying a Cat
It starts because of Sherlock (most things seem to). It's up to them to make it come to more than that.

And finally, here is wordstrings whose work I love.

12 Days of X-Files


Why 12 days of X-Files?

Because we're obsessed. Because we miss xf_santa. Because we want Philes everywhere to have another place to celebrate The X-Files, "in the bleak mid-winter."

Because wendelah1 is positive some wonderful fan writer somewhere once wrote a Phile version of "The 12 Days of Christmas." Now, if only she could find it...

The 12 Days of X-Files will run from January 1-12. This is completely arbitrary.

All fanworks are welcome: fanfiction of any length from a double-drabble on up (that's two hundred words); fanart, including icons, banners, and story illustrations; fanmixes and fanvids of any length; podfic would be great. Why isn't there more podfic of our stories? Meta? Absolutely! Episode reviews? Fantastic! Fanfic recs? You betcha. If you only have time to make five icons, post 'em. No theme is necessary. Every episode and character is fair game.

There is a sign-up sheet here, but if you forget to sign-up, and you are a member, and you still want to post on a particular day, it's all good. Just let us know. Anyone can sign up for any day. No limits. It would be lovely if every day was covered but I have a contingency plan if they aren't. See you there.

Sci-Fi Book Meme

Got this meme from wendelah1, write_out and littlegreen42:

Here is a list of Science Fiction and Fantasy books. I've bolded the ones I've read, italicised the ones I started and haven't finished (yet) and haven't done anything to the ones I haven't read. Given my book group reads a lot of science fiction I've actually read quite a few of these.

BooksCollapse )

I might do the same as littlegreen42 and make my own list of SFF books. There are quite a few that I love which didn't make this list.


Does anyone know if xf_santa is running again this year?

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