Self-evidently, I haven't posted in more than two weeks - and I'm sure you've all been wondering why, as indicated by the deluge of worried email enquiries I didn't receive.
As <a href="http://www.scotlandsoftware.com/fiona/blog/?post=/general/no_news.html">Fiona mentioned</a>, I've been going through a serious X-Files phase, having bought series 1-6 on DVD for a silly amount of money (series 7-9 have yet to be released as DVD collections in the UK). I've also been doing something I haven't done in a while: reading fanfic, in this case X-Files fanfic.
For those unfamiliar with the term, "fanfic" is "fan fiction", whereby fans of a particular TV show (or whatever) write their own episodes or short stories set within the established fictional universe of that show. The body of authors seems to be largely comprised of teenagers and females in general, most of whom are surprisingly prolific. If I had to list the top ten things I like about the net (which I may do soon, now that I think about it), fanfic would definitely be included. Don't get me wrong; the vast bulk of it induces physical pain when read, due to a combination of corny, clichéd writing, laughable characterisation, and plot-lines which are either gratuitously sexual or waist-deep in angsty slush. However, perseverance always yields some gems, which I tend to download and collect. There is some truly clever and fresh writing to be found, given patience. I find it quite fascinating to see others' interpretations, hopes and indeed fantasies within an established dramatic framework - you can learn a great deal about people by reading such writing. Often, amateur writers can do justice to a story set within a mature framework, where they may resoundingly fail to create an entire fictional universe themselves. Another aspect which intrigues me is the "rough and ready" nature of a significant portion of fanfic; often written by students during a class, or such. Snatching time to commit to electronic paper their own "episodes" or vignettes within the X-Files universe, or that of whatever TV show or movie under consideration. It's a truly interesting phenomenon, and makes for some compelling (if all too often cringeworthy) reading. Entire sub-genres are rapidly formed, such as the pervasive "MSR" (Mulder/Scully Romance) sub-genre within the body of X-Files fanfic. Classification conventions are quite strictly adhered to, including lists of "spoilers" (real episodes to which the fanfic refers, thus indicating that those who have not seen those episodes should avoid the fanfic for fear of having plot developments revealed before actually seeing the show in question). From what I've observed, fanfic communities are remarkably close-knit, with a nearly universal practice of peer-editing of in-progress pieces. If after all this wittering about fanfic you'd like to see some for yourself, plenty of X-Files fanfic can be found at The Gossamer Project, and a Google search will quickly yield fanfic for other TV shows, movies and lord knows what else. A predilection towards Intense, obsessive phases like these is one of my defining characteristics, and my life could be charted by them. Inevitably, the X-Files has begun to invade my dreams, leading to some bizarre images and scenarios. No doubt things will return to some semblance of normality within a further week or two, including a greater frequency of posts here. Until that time, I'll no doubt continue to irritate Fiona by periodically calling her "Scully".