Happy Wednesday! Submit to our Holiday Gift Guide so that we’ll be able to pick books for you! Just tell us a few things about the person you want to buy a book for (by December 6th), and Whiskey Jenny and I will each pick out a book for you to give your person.
This week, we’re welcoming Kay of the Not Now I’m Reading podcast to answer all our questions about fanfiction and how we got into it. We encountered MANY PROBLEMS while recording in terms of like, Skype being monstrous? So if there’s any bits that sound slightly awkward, that’ll be why. But it’s just an almost-full hour of us nattering on about fanfiction, if that’s something you’d be into. You can listen to the podcast using the embedded player below, or download the file directly to take with you on the go!
Here are the time signatures if you want to skip around!
1:33 – What We’re Reading
6:22 – SEA OR SPACE
7:49 – How we all got into fanfiction!
15:53 – All our fanfiction questioned, answered
35:59 – Limited Release, by rageprufrock
50:06 – What We’re Reading for Next Time!
Books (and fics) mentioned:
Take the Lead and Dance with Me, Alexis Daria
Invisible No More, Andrea Ritchie
Wrong to Need You, Alisha Rai (the first one is Hate to Want You)
How a Moth Becomes a Boat, Josephine Rowe
the Mortal Instrument series, Cassandra Clare
the Vulture article that got me started reading fanfic in the first place
The Shoebox Project
Fic, Anne Jamison
1796 Broadway, rainproof and teaberryblue
Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
Attachments, Rainbow Rowell
Limited Release, rageprufrock
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil, Melina Marchetta
Again, please get at us in the holiday gift guide submission form and help us help you buy gifts for your loved ones. We love choosing books. We love it.
If You Liked the Book, You’ll Hate the Movie, by paperclipbitch
Tomorrow Belongs to Me, by valtyr
His Fate Will Be Unlearned, by scifigrl47
Maggie Fitzgerald and the Saltwater Drip, by antistar_e (kaikamahine)
Get at me on Twitter, email the podcast, and friend me (Gin Jenny) and Whiskey Jenny on Goodreads. Or if you wish, you can find us on iTunes (and if you enjoy the podcast, give us a good rating! We appreciate it very very much).
Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: The Illustrious Annalee
Theme song by: Jessie Barbour
Our transcript is below the cut!
THEME SONG: You don’t judge a book by its cover. Page one’s not a much better view. And shortly you’re gonna discover the middle won’t mollify you. So whether whiskey’s your go-to or you’re like my gin-drinking friend, no matter what you are imbibing, you’ll be better off in the end reading the end.
WHISKEY JENNY: Hello, and welcome back to the Reading the End Bookcast with the demographically similar Jennys. I’m Whiskey Jenny.
GIN JENNY: And I’m Gin Jenny.
WHISKEY JENNY: And today we have a very exciting special guest. We have with us Kay from Not Now, I’m Reading.
GIN JENNY: Welcome, Kay!
KAY: Hi. Thank you for having me.
GIN JENNY: We’re so delighted to have you.
WHISKEY JENNY: Thank you for being on.
KAY: I always love guesting for people. It’s way more fun than having to host yourself.
WHISKEY JENNY: So we will, as always chat about what we’re reading, and then we’re going to get into the meat of it, which is we’re going to talk about fanfic with Kay. And I’m probably just going to bombard her with questions.
KAY: Feel free.
WHISKEY JENNY: We read a fanfic this time called “Limited Release,” by rageprufrock which is in the X-Men fandom. And then lastly, Gin Jenny’s going to tell us what we’re reading next time, which is exciting for me as well, because I don’t know this time.
GIN JENNY: I know! It will be a total surprise.
WHISKEY JENNY: So Kay, what are you reading?
KAY: All of the things, basically. I just finished– have either of you read anything by Alexis Daria before?
WHISKEY JENNY: No, I never even heard of her.
KAY: OK, so she just had her debut romance novel out recently. It’s called Take the Lead. And the next book in the series is coming out– I think it’s next month. It might be this month– called Dance with Me. And they’re both– I’m surprised I like these as much as I do, because I’m not much of a reality TV person. But the heroines of both of these books are basically Dancing with the Stars type dancers. And they fall in love.
GIN JENNY: That sounds so fun.
KAY: They’re so great. I don’t even know how– I don’t want to spoil them too much, because it is one right after the other. But Take the Lead has a New York Puerto Rican heroine who falls in love with her dance partner, who is this big burly mountain man who’s very taciturn, whose family is on one of those really weird wilderness reality TV shows in the Alaskan wild.
GIN JENNY: Oh my God.
KAY: So I feel like this is right up your alley.
GIN JENNY: That sounds amazing. Whiskey Jenny won’t care about it at all, but I’m excited.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh my god, is looks so good.
GIN JENNY: Well your last romance recommendation for me, Kay, was really excellent, which was Lucy Parker’s book Pretty Face.
KAY: Oh, I love her books so much.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, it was delightful. So let’s see if you continue your winning streak.
KAY: Fingers crossed. So much pressure now.
WHISKEY JENNY: What was that rec about?
KAY: So it’s the second book in a series after Act Like It, which, Act Like It’s the fake dating one. Pretty Face is the one where you’ve got the young ingénue actress who’s mostly done TV stuff who wants to be taken seriously, and the very uptight silver fox Gregory Peck character who’s a theater director. And they fall in love. It’s so good.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh my goodness. Gregory Peck.
KAY: And her next book, I cannot remember what the title is, but I think it’s coming out early next year. And it’s about the character in Pretty Face with the pink hair who does panto acting. She’s the heroine of the next book.
GIN JENNY: Oh that’s great. I desperately want to go see a panto someday.
KAY: Oh, same.
GIN JENNY: And I’m not sure it’s going to happen for me, but I really, really want to.
KAY: I feel like that’s one of those things, you should go to London at Christmas and see a panto, you know?
GIN JENNY: I know! I would love to. It seems like such a weird art form.
KAY: If Patrick Stewart has done it at least once, I just have to at least see one, you know?
GIN JENNY: For sure. Yeah.
WHISKEY JENNY: I’m so sorry, what is a panto?
KAY: How on earth do you explain that?
GIN JENNY: Well, it’s hard for me to explain, because I don’t fully understand it myself. But what I have gleaned from reading a lot of British books is that it’s this special kind of somewhat participatory theater production that takes place during the holidays. And it seems to be a mash up of– I think they’ll be focused around one main story, but they’ll have lots of weird elements.
KAY: They’re fantastical, I think, and kind of aimed at children?
GIN JENNY: Right, but weird. Aimed at children, but weird.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh, man.
GIN JENNY: And they hiss at the villains, apparently, the audience does.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh sure. That’s fun.
KAY: Yeah, audience participation stuff is always fun.
GIN JENNY: And I think there’s special tropes that British people are aware of, that when such and such happens on stage, something particular is expected of the audience. British people are listening to this and they’re like, what are you talking about? [LAUGHTER]
WHISKEY JENNY: It’s not a puppet show, right? It’s not one of those guys.
KAY: I think are sometimes puppets or masks involved, but I don’t know that it’s always.
WHISKEY JENNY: OK.
GIN JENNY: Basically just pantos sound like a very bonkers time.
KAY: We will be the weird people without children in the audience.
WHISKEY JENNY: Well, great. Gin Jenny, what are you reading right now?
GIN JENNY: So I am reading a book called Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, by Andrea Ritchie. It is incredibly sad and hard to read, but it is coming due at the library really soon, so I’ve got to get through it.
And then in alternating chapters with that one, when I need a break, I’m reading Alisha Rai’s romance novel, which is the second in a series about two families who betrayed each other 10 years ago. And it’s about the grown children of those families. So the first one was about the daughter from one family and the son from the other family having a scandalous love. And then this one is about the widow of one of the sons who’s now in love with a different one of the sons.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh, yeah. Drama.
GIN JENNY: So yeah, that’s what I’m reading. What are you reading, Whiskey Jenny?
WHISKEY JENNY: I am reading How a Moth Becomes a Boat, by Josephine Rowe. She also wrote Tarcutta Wake, which I adored. And this is also a book of short stories. And she writes pretty short short stories. I’m really enjoying it, not quite as much as Tarcutta Wake, but still very well-written. And I enjoy how much she is able to get across in her very short short stories. And what a cool title.
GIN JENNY: I love that title.
WHISKEY JENNY: It’s an acrostic for all the different titles of the stories in the book.
KAY: Oh, that’s cool.
WHISKEY JENNY: OK, so we’re going to ask you what we ask all our guests, which is, with no context, sea or space?
KAY: Space. 100% space.
GIN JENNY: Ooh. Twist!
WHISKEY JENNY: Interesting, interesting. Say on.
KAY: I have no logical explanation.
GIN JENNY: Well then, get out!
KAY: I’ve always loved space. Literally no one in my family would be surprised if, when they start taking unspecialized people as space colonists, I signed on and just never came back to Earth, because I’ve just always been super into space. But the ocean is terrifying.
WHISKEY JENNY: It’s true.
KAY: I don’t know why I don’t think space is scary, but the ocean is terrifying.
GIN JENNY: You know there’s no oxygen in space, right?
KAY: I mean, yeah. You’ve got to bring that with you, but that’s OK. You’ve got to bring your oxygen with you if you go into the sea.
GIN JENNY: Yeah that’s true. That’s certainly true. But there’s oxygen already in there. In space, it’s just the Wild West, oxygen-wise.
KAY: I can’t freely utilize the oxygen in the sea. It’s not like that’s more easy access. [LAUGHTER]
GIN JENNY: I’m fascinated. You are only our second guest to say space. We have a resounding majority for sea.
KAY: I’m super baffled by this. Do you have just a lot of Master and Commander fans coming onto the podcast? [LAUGHTER]
GIN JENNY: As far as I know, zero.
KAY: The only thing I know about Master and Commander is that Temeraire series is Master and Commander fanfic with dragons.
GIN JENNY: That’s awesome.
WHISKEY JENNY: That sounds great.
GIN JENNY: Well, since you have already brought it up, I guess we can get to why we had you on this podcast. Kay, you are a super fanfic guru, so we wanted to have you on the podcast to talk about all our experiences of fanfic and get all our questions answered.
KAY: I am so ready for all of your fanfic questions. I am so hyped, you don’t even know.
GIN JENNY: Well, first I think we wanted to all talk about how we all came to fanfic. So how did you become a person who knows all the fanfic in the entire world? How did you reach this point?
KAY: Many poor life decisions, obviously, have led me to this place. [LAUGHTER] When you said earlier that you had figured out when you started reading fanfiction by looking at your chat logs, I was like, oh my God, that means it’s recently enough she could find logs for it? And my brain exploded a little, because I was trying to actually remember the first time I ever read fanfiction. And I think it had to be like third or fourth grade.
GIN JENNY: Awww!
KAY: Obviously, as most people in our general age cohort, Harry Potter was basically my first fandom that I was really into on the fanfiction side. And do you know how you stumble into Harry Potter fandom when you’re that little, in the fanfiction sense?
WHISKEY JENNY: I truly don’t at all.
KAY: You’re looking up spoilers online, and you’re like, wow, this seems like a weird thing that wouldn’t happen in the next book. But I’m in fourth grade, so I don’t know any better. And then later on you realize that’s fanfiction. And then it just becomes a thing that you read all the time.
GIN JENNY: That’s a really sweet origin story.
KAY: Is it? I’m pretty sure I accidentally read some things I definitely should not have been reading at that age.
GIN JENNY: OK, but we all did.
KAY: We all definitely did that.
WHISKEY JENNY: Kay, do you remember any plot points or anything that you read in that first fic that you thought were spoilers for the real thing?
KAY: Oh god, I’m sure it was just something terrible on FictionAlley, which I don’t know if either of you are familiar with that.
WHISKEY JENNY: No.
KAY: I don’t remember much of the early stuff that I read, no. It’s literally 20 years ago, almost. And see, I’d never read romance novels until after college. So that was my exposure to romancey stuff, was fanfiction.
GIN JENNY: I started reading romance novels and fanfiction for the same reason, which was that I hotly defended them as a woman’s genre for ages. And then eventually I reached a point where it was like, Jenny, you are such a hypocrite. You’re constantly defending these things that you have no familiarity with at all.
KAY: That’s just ridiculous. You’re not a hypocrite for not reading it. It was just a thing you hadn’t gotten to yet.
GIN JENNY: Actually, when I look back at my life, I realize there was a point that I could have started reading fanfiction if– maybe if I had had more reliable internet? I don’t know. But when the Lord of the Rings movies came out, I read it Cassandra Clare’s Very Secret Diaries. Do you remember those?
KAY: I do not look back at the time when I might have read Cassandra Clare with any fondness, So no.
GIN JENNY: Sure. [LAUGHTER] However, I would also have gained like 15 years of reading fanfic, so.
KAY: That amazing alternate universe. I’m just going to think about it every once in a while now.
GIN JENNY: I think about it all the time. I think little me would have benefited in a lot of ways. So like Kay said, I was able to find out to the day when I started reading fanfic. It was the Ides of March, 2015.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh my goodness.
KAY: It was a portentous day.
GIN JENNY: Because Vulture.com published this big, multi-part article that was like, what’s up with fanfiction? And as part of the article, they had ten recommendations of fanfics for people to read. And six were media properties I wasn’t familiar with. One was a cartoon, which I didn’t want. I wanted a piece of fiction. One was a Sherlock Holmes thing, and I don’t like Sherlock Holmes. And one was The Very Secret Diaries, which I was already familiar with. And the only remaining one was The Shoebox Project, by ladyjaida and dorkorific. So that was my very first fanfic.
KAY: Beautiful. I was not as into the Marauders side of Harry Potter fandom as a lot of people, but everyone read Shoebox Project.
GIN JENNY: Actually, Whiskey Jenny, one of the co-authors of it is the same person who called Harry Styles a flopsy-mopsy sex terrorist.
WHISKEY JENNY: Great, great, love it.
GIN JENNY: And we’ve killed our guest.
KAY: I just was trying not to spit take on my microphone.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, so that was my first ever fic. And then I read the book Fic, by Anne Jamison, which I’m really glad I read. Because she taught me what the omegaverse was. And I’m just grateful that I learned about that in a metatext. Because–
KAY: It’s really bizarre to stumble across in the wild without pre-exposure, yeah.
GIN JENNY: That’s what I would imagine. But then what really, really got me into fic is I read the entirety of this one called 1796 Broadway, which is an absolute monster of an epistolary fic. And it is like 500,000 words long, and because it’s epistolary, a lot of the chapters are just letters, and they’re short. So it has 708 chapters. And I read this entire thing on AO3, not realizing that you had the option of displaying the entire work. I thought you had to go through chapter by chapter. [LAUGHTER]
KAY: Wait, what fandom is this in?
GIN JENNY: It’s in the MCU. It’s very long. It’s very, very, very long. It was like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, because each of the units was very short, but then I kept being like, OK I’ll just read–
JENNYS: –one more.
GIN JENNY: And then I’ll go to bed. OK, I’ll just read one more after this and then I’ll go to bed.
KAY: OK, so see, we’re opposites. Because I couldn’t get into the Lizzie Bennet Diaries because it was in short bits. Once it was all out there, I watched the whole thing in a row and it was fine.
GIN JENNY: Well, it’s not so much that I would say that I was super into it being super short. It’s just that because they were short, I kept thinking I could read one more, read one more, read one more.
KAY: The reader’s eternal dilemma.
GIN JENNY: So I imprinted very heavily on epistolary fanfic, because The Shoebox Project, a lot of that is epistolary as well. And that is too bad for me, because there is not much of it.
KAY: There is not. I’m trying to remember the name of the X-Men epistolary fic I’m thinking of now.
GIN JENNY: Oh, well, if you find it, feel free to send it my way.
KAY: I will definitely send it your way. I think it’s a Hank and Alex are writing each other letters from across the country fic.
GIN JENNY: Aw
KAY: And I think there’s a road trip, if I’m remembering correctly.
GIN JENNY: You know how I feel about road trips.
KAY: I do.
GIN JENNY: So Whiskey Jenny, I know the answer to this, but tell us about your fic origin story.
WHISKEY JENNY: So my fic origin story happened pretty recently. We read Master and Commander for this podcast. Neither of us super loved it–
GIN JENNY: I think that’s fair.
KAY: That was so generous.
WHISKEY JENNY: So, so that we would have also something delightful to talk about, I guess, Gin Jenny looked up and found a Master and Commander fic that we both read also, and then spent most of our time talking about, because we both liked it a lot more.
KAY: That’s beautiful.
WHISKEY JENNY: There was a lot more banging and a lot less listing of sails, and it was just what I wanted.
KAY: I think a lot of books would be better if they went that way.
WHISKEY JENNY: You know what? I couldn’t agree more.
But since then, I’ve been slowly taking baby steps into the fanfiction pool via a lovely curated list that Kay made for me. I read some Leverage fanfiction. I read some Ocean’s Eleven fanfiction. I read some Fast and the Furious fanfiction. And they’ve all been super great.
And now reading the “Limited Release” that we read this time also, I told three people this week, oh my god, you guys, fanfiction is so much fun! [LAUGHTER] So I’m a little late to the game, but I’m telling everyone I know.
KAY: That is how everyone should react to their exposure. Yes.
GIN JENNY: Well, I think what we’ve learned is that there’s no bad time to start reading fanfiction.
KAY: No, there’s not.
WHISKEY JENNY: No, I was intimidated, but it’s been really lovely so far. And I haven’t read any Omegaverse stuff, so I haven’t been scared off or anything.
KAY: That’s kind of the deep end. I don’t think you need to really start there.
WHISKEY JENNY: I did sort of start with– the day that Gin Jenny sent the Master and Commander fic, we also found out together that penguin fic was a thing.
KAY: So beautiful.
WHISKEY JENNY: And that was a lot to take in.
KAY: I remember you guys talking about that on the podcast and hysterically laughing with my headphones on on the bus. And sometimes it’s worth it to look like the crazy person on the bus.
GIN JENNY: So Kay, I think we’re about to commence the interrogating you part of the podcast, if that’s cool.
WHISKEY JENNY: Is it me? Is it my turn?
GIN JENNY: Your turn.
WHISKEY JENNY: To interrogate?
GIN JENNY: Absolutely is.
WHISKEY JENNY: OK. Well, I have a whole list of questions, but I’ll start with– since I’m such a noob, I don’t really have a lot of the vocab. I have some of it. But are there any key vocabulary words that you would tell someone that would be helpful to know when you’re browsing the site? I will tell you what I know.
WHISKEY JENNY: I know headcanon, I know slashfic, I know shipping, I know OTP and OT3, I know penguin fic, [LAUGHTER] and I know omegaverse. Bag
KAY: I think that’s a really solid foundation. And at that point you’d need to just ask someone if you stumble across a thing and you don’t know what it is.
WHISKEY JENNY: OK. So there’s no other foundational words that–
KAY: No, I think a lot of stuff is fairly self-explanatory once you get past those.
WHISKEY JENNY: Great. Good to know.
KAY: Or it’s super obscure.
GIN JENNY: Up until about a year ago, Whiskey Jenny could never remember what slashfic meant. And she would always ask me and be like, it means people murder each other, or–?
WHISKEY JENNY: Absolutely true.
KAY: I’m a bad person, so I would have been like, yes.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh no! Then I couldn’t have read any of the slashfic. I’ve be like, I don’t want to read the slashfic, then. Why is fanfiction so murdery?
KAY: I mean, you know the origins of the term slash, right? It’s just because that’s how they would connotate it, like with a slash in between the two names.
WHISKEY JENNY: Yes.
KAY: It gets conflated, though, because you use that for het pairings, also.
WHISKEY JENNY: What’s a het pairing?
GIN JENNY: Het-erosexual.
WHISKEY JENNY: OK.
KAY: That is actually kind of an old school term, when people just call it het.
WHISKEY JENNY: Wait, so is slash fiction typically not het?
KAY: Yeah, slash fiction generally refers to male-male pairings, and then female-female pairings are generally referred to as femslash. Which, most popular pairings tend to male-male pairings. So that’s how the slash term kind of got conflated with the general ship term. But they’re not technically the same thing.
WHISKEY JENNY: Good to know.
KAY: But if you’re just looking for fanfic, you don’t actually need to know that. If someone’s trying to question your fangirl cred, you might need to know that. But screw those people.
WHISKEY JENNY: I mean, yeah. If someone’s trying to trip me up, I’m going to be like, well, I don’t want to be friends with you. Thanks for making that clear.
Gin Jenny, do you have any questions, or should I just keep running through this?
GIN JENNY: No, just keep going. I will probably jump in with very opinionated answers at some point. But for now, keep going.
WHISKEY JENNY: OK. I’m going to try to go from super basic to slightly less basic. So I have only been on AO3, Archive of Our Own. Is that the main one? Are there other ones that are well known?
KAY: OK, so currently AO3 is where a good at least 60% of current fanfiction fandom lives. There are still holdover archives from before, when every individual pairing or fandom had its own archive. But most of them are kind of dead, and there’s not new stuff being posted there.
There’s also a lot of fanfiction happening on Tumblr, which is a terrifying pit where nothing is archived properly and you can never find anything ever again.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh no.
KAY: I’m so sad there’s so much fanfic happening there, because you’ll just never find it. Like, someone will change their Tumblr name and then all their links will be broken and you can never find the thing. So I just tend to not venture there, because I don’t want to be heartbroken halfway through reading a thing because the rest of it has disappeared into the ether.
And then there’s always the Pit of Voles, fanfiction.net, which I refuse to go on just because it’s so hideous.
GIN JENNY: Oh, it’s so unpleasant.
WHISKEY JENNY: The Pit of Voles?
KAY: Yes, the Pit of Voles. I legitimately cannot remember how that name came about. It’s generally just referred to as the Pit.
WHISKEY JENNY: Sure, the Pit.
KAY: Which tells you fandom’s general opinion of fanfiction.net.
GIN JENNY: And notably, Whiskey Jenny, for AO3, fans own the servers, which is important because it means that no one can be like, this is too dirty to be on the internet, and take down the website.
WHISKEY JENNY: Kids these days!
GIN JENNY: Because that used to happen in the old days.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh, goodness.
KAY: Yeah, that’s happened to multiple archives over the years. Also people don’t get cease and desist letters from giant corporations as often now about fanfiction.
GIN JENNY: Which is nice.
WHISKEY JENNY: Does that still happen some, though?
KAY: I have heard it mostly happening with other kinds of transformative works and less with fanfiction. Like, fanvids still get taken down with fairly regularly.
GIN JENNY: And there was that big legal case with the fan film.
KAY: The Star Trek fan film, yeah. It happens sometimes, but it’s pretty rare now. Transformative works law is kind of a work in progress. And also that’s one of the things– AO3’s parent organization is the Order for Transformative Works, and they do have a legal branch that works on cases like that.
GIN JENNY: And they have an academic journal.
KAY: They do, and it’s awesome. I would say AO3 is the best place, still, to find fanfiction. It’s the most user-friendly. And actually, on my podcast we did an entire episode about the ways to get the most out of the interface. So if you guys wanted, you could always link to that episode. And we also had a ton of show notes.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, I will absolutely link that episode. It has many good tips and also good recommendations.
WHISKEY JENNY: That sounds super helpful.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, it is.
KAY: We rambled a lot, but I think we got most of the useful information in there at some point.
GIN JENNY: No, you guys got done and I was like, oh man, I wish they would talk about fic for two more hours.
KAY: I mean, we could basically always. It’s a problem.
WHISKEY JENNY: Can you– if you become a super famous fanfiction author, is there a way to make money out of it and support yourself on it?
GIN JENNY: Heavy sigh from me.
WHISKEY JENNY: Or does that ruin the spirit of fanfiction? Am I misunderstanding dramatically what it’s all about?
KAY: OK are you familiar with the term filing the serial numbers off?
WHISKEY JENNY: No. I mean, I am when you steal a car, but.
KAY: It’s basically a term for when you take a work of fanfiction and you file the serial numbers off by taking out any markers that prove it was a transformative work. And you turn it into a piece of original fiction by changing some minor things, and then you sell it. Like Fifty Shades of Gray. There are a lot of published works that started out as fanfiction.
You can also– it’s newer and I am very unfamiliar with it. What is that site with the ugly orange icon?
GIN JENNY: Is that Wattpad?
KAY: Yeah, Wattpad. My brain was like, no, you don’t actually know what that’s called. There’s actually a fair number of really young writers– like, I’m talking about under 20– who’ve been, scare quotes, “discovered” on Wattpad, where they have a fanfic that was read by a ton of people and they were actually approached by publishers to file the serial numbers off and publish. I think those have mostly been in various boy band fandoms, which are fairly popular over there, and with a slightly younger crowd than I am in. God, I sound like a bitter fan of old, which I kind of am.
GIN JENNY: You sound so curmudgeonly.
KAY: And then a lot of pro published authors now got their starts writing fanfiction and were developing their craft through writing fiction.
GIN JENNY: And you can tell if they came from fanfiction if they have non-gross sex scenes in their books.
KAY: It’s pretty surefire.
WHISKEY JENNY: Ooh, this is a fun test to know about. OK, cool.
GIN JENNY: In my opinion. It’s a test I have made up in my own brain, so don’t take it as gospel or anything.
KAY: I personally know upwards of 20 published authors who have told me, either in confidence or when they were doing interviews and stuff, that they started out writing fanfiction and that’s how they really learned how to hone their craft. In fact, one of my favorite writing teams, Kit Rocha is a writing team of my friends Bree and Donna, and they met writing X-Men fanfic back in the day when the original trilogy of movies were out. And they still write as a writing team together. I think they just published they’re 20-somethingth book.
But there are a lot of ways to, scare quotes, “go legit” out of writing fanfiction. It’s just a little tricky if you’re talking about actually publishing fanfic. That, you’re getting into tricky legal territory, and I would say just don’t do that.
GIN JENNY: I think there’s a stigma against people asking for money or getting money for fanfic, like within fandom, it seems to me.
KAY: Especially versus fan art, which people regularly commission and sell.
GIN JENNY: Yes.
KAY: There’s a lot of arguments to be had on both ends of that. And it mostly comes down to, people have been doing fan art professionally for a very long time, even before the internet was a thing. Like half of North American comics are basically fan art of a couple of dudes from the ‘40s.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, but I just don’t find that a compelling reason to continue this art-fiction divide.
KAY: Yeah. And there’s also a lot of stuff where people just don’t understand quite the legal implications of each of the different ones. And I don’t have enough of a legal background to really explain it properly. But basically, people are mostly worried about getting sued about getting paid for fanfiction.
The only thing I know people always seem to be fine with is when they do, like, fandom aid, where you will auction off yourself to write a fanfiction for someone, and they will pay money towards a charity. No one ever seems to have a problem with that. They seem to get cranky if you’re actually paying someone.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, if you’re working on commission, people don’t like that. It’s only OK for fan art. I think it’s annoying, and that is my– I think it’s really annoying. I think it’s a weird distinction, and I think it goes into– whatever. I don’t like it.
KAY: I agree, it’s kind of terrible. And as someone who frequently writes fanfiction as gifts for my friends, I also think it’s kind of weird that I don’t feel weird about writing it as a gift, but I would feel weird about writing it if someone was paying me for it. I don’t know why. I just would.
GIN JENNY: I think it’s because you’re brainwashed by the culture.
KAY: I mean, this is entirely possible.
WHISKEY JENNY: Well, since you mentioned gifts, can I ask about Yuletide?
KAY: I love Yuletide!
WHISKEY JENNY: I’ve heard a little bit about it, and it seems like the best idea ever.
KAY: It’s so wonderful. So it was actually started by Naomi Novik, I believe, the writer of Temeraire.
WHISKEY JENNY: What? Man, she is just killing it.
KAY: She’s given so many gifts to fandom over the years. But Yuletide is a small fandom fic exchange, where you sign up with the fandoms and characters you would be willing to write, and then you sign up with the fandoms and characters you want someone to write for you. And the computer matches everyone up, and then Christmas morning everyone gets a fic that’s at least 1,000 words long gifted to them.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh, Christmas morning.
GIN JENNY: It’s so beautiful.
WHISKEY JENNY: I’m touching my collarbone so much.
GIN JENNY: You mentioned small– yeah, it’s not a small exchange. It’s an exchange of fics in small fandoms. So it’s stuff that doesn’t get written about that often.
WHISKEY JENNY: Aw. Have you ever participated in it?
KAY: I have every year since 2010? 2011? I’m a big fan. And I usually will also put my name in to pinch hit, as well.
I was just about to ask if you’d ever actually had to pinch hit, or if everyone’s always come through.
KAY: I have done pinch hits three or four times.
GIN JENNY: Oh, OK.
KAY: There’s people who drop out every year for various reasons.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, the holidays are busy.
KAY: Some people drop out right after they get their match, because they’re like, oh, I don’t want to write whatever prompt they’re given. And so like, I want to put it back into the pool so someone who’d be more invested in it will write it for them. And then there are some people who are just jerks and drop out really late, so you have like a day or something to write it.
KAY: But no, I’ve done a lot of pinch hits.
WHISKEY JENNY: Can I ask a general fandom question? Are there any– you mentioned the boy bands. Are there any other super popular fandoms that you’re always surprised at how popular they are, or pairings that you’re like, why did everyone glom onto that one?
KAY: That’s almost every large fandom ever, to be honest.
WHISKEY JENNY: Really?
KAY: The weird confluence of events that has to happen for a megafandom or a megaship to form is like some weird, magical thing that I will never truly understand.
GIN JENNY: No one could ever explain Stargate Atlantis.
KAY: It literally makes no sense to god or man. [LAUGHTER] Such a gigantic fandom. We just had our giant retro fandom episode where we talked about that. If you were only in fandom now, you cannot conceive of how large Stargate Atlantis fandom became. It never makes sense. The source material is almost always mediocre to garbage. Which I think is probably why people love playing in that particular sandbox, because they want to fix the things they don’t like about the original.
WHISKEY JENNY: Sure.
KAY: But then you have the fandoms like Harry Potter, where the source material is actually fairly rich, and then people just really love filling in all of the gaps. But I don’t know. You don’t really get huge book fandoms anymore.
WHISKEY JENNY: Game of Thrones?
KAY: No, Game of Thrones is not a big fandom.
Yeah, Yeah, see, I didn’t think so.
WHISKEY JENNY: Really? That’s so surprising.
GIN JENNY: Maybe it’s because all the characters are mean.
WHISKEY JENNY: And already banging.
KAY: Everyone dies. But that’s what fix-it fic is for.
GIN JENNY: I guess.
WHISKEY JENNY: That’s what what is for? What’s this about people not dying? That sounds great.
KAY: There’s a whole subgenre of fiction where people will rewrite a thing changing one aspect. like death fixes are very popular.
GIN JENNY: Or like, if two characters are friends and then they stop being friends in the show, you can write a fix-it fic where they get back together as friends or—banging partners.
WHISKEY JENNY: [GIGGLES] Banging partners.
KAY: I’m referring to pairings as banging partners from now one.
WHISKEY JENNY: They recently formed a banging partnership.
GIN JENNY: I know that’s what happens in Master and Commander.
KAY: You need to stop saying that, because I’m going to try and read it and there’s going to be no banging.
GIN JENNY: Oh, Kay, don’t. Save yourself. It’s so boring.
WHISKEY JENNY: Well, you could just read the fiction and then have a baseline understanding of the characters.
GIN JENNY: That’s my plan for Stargate Atlantis, actually.
KAY: It’s the same with Teen Wolf, where I told Chelsea she just needed to watch the first two seasons and then she was good for the fanfiction. So literally that’s what she did.
GIN JENNY: Oh my god, yeah. Teen Wolf is one that I find baffling. There is so much– that fandom is massive, and I don’t know why.
KAY: The main pairing in that interacts in maybe 20 scenes total.
GIN JENNY: Oh shut up, you’re kidding? I thought they were best best friends.
GIN JENNY: Oh. OK wait, I have a follow up question to that. If you see a bunch of authors you like writing in a fandom, do you seek out the property, or do you just jump straight into the fic?
KAY: I will usually read one short fic from an author I really like first, and if I am intrigued enough, I will go check out the property.
GIN JENNY: Interesting.
KAY: Which happens maybe one in ten times of me trying it.
WHISKEY JENNY: Well, Kay, we talked about your origin story. Can you tell us the most recent thing you got into, and what you’re really enjoying right now?
KAY: Random, random SVU spiral recently.
GIN JENNY: Oh, you sure are. Yeah.
WHISKEY JENNY: Like Law and Order?
KAY: Yeah. And I don’t like procedural television, generally. And Law and Order is fairly boring a lot of the time. And then you have SVU, where you also have all this violence against women and children. But also, they’ve had a really fantastic cast for the last few seasons. So I’ve just been catching up with that, and then falling down the hole of really mediocre Barba/Carisi fanfiction.
GIN JENNY: I was going to say, to your point about the cast, Kay, I feel that there is some star of stage and screen in SVU.
KAY: We love us some Raúl Esparza.
WHISKEY JENNY: I’m Googling him now.
GIN JENNY: He was in the, like, 2010 production of Arcadia in New York that I saw twice and spent all my grocery money on.
KAY: Sound life choice.
GIN JENNY: Thank you. I didn’t eat cheese for three weeks, Kay.
KAY: [GASP] Yeah, I know how much that means to you.
GIN JENNY: I had only beans and rice type dinners, because I had spent all my money on Arcadia.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh, I like his deep-set eyes.
GIN JENNY: So you said you’re reading a bunch of mediocre fic. Is there not a lot of good SVU fic?
KAY: No, there is not. There’s just not a lot in SVU fandom.
GIN JENNY: I’m spoiled for this, too, because my first two fandoms were Harry Potter and MCU, and those are both enormous.
KAY: Huge fandoms, yeah.
GIN JENNY: Yeah. And I can really picky when I’m reading those.
KAY: I don’t know if either of you DNF books a lot, but I do all the time.
GIN JENNY: I do!
KAY: And I will X out of a fanfic so fast if there’s one tiny thing I don’t like.
WHISKEY JENNY: I wish that there was a– I was a little disappointed when I was reading this that I couldn’t put it on Goodreads that I was reading it.
KAY: Would you actually want to do that?
WHISKEY JENNY: I would want to for some things. I probably wouldn’t– I probably would read some stuff and be like, yeah, all right. I don’t need to tell anyone else about that.
KAY: Because some people do put fanfiction on Goodreads. But I know that some authors request that you don’t do that.
WHISKEY JENNY: Sure.
GIN JENNY: But Whiskey Jenny, you can create an AO3 account, and you can have bookmarks there. If you read fic that you really like, you can save it in your account to come back to.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh, good to know.
KAY: I love my bookmarks.
WHISKEY JENNY: OK, I have one last question. And then I feel like you deserve a cookie for withstanding me just bombarding you.
KAY: Go for it.
WHISKEY JENNY: My other previous experience before Master and Commander with fanfiction was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. And I’m just curious how that work was received in the world of fandom.
KAY: So some people really, really loved it and thought it was very reflective of their fandom experience. And there were other people– possibly someone speaking right now– who did not love the book at all. It’s mostly an “I don’t love Rainbow Rowell’s writing” problem. But also, I did not find the book to be particularly reflective of my own fandom experience. Which is not necessarily what I needed out of the book. I just– yeah, I didn’t like it.
Although it did bring on a spate of, there a lot of books coming out with more fandom elements.
GIN JENNY: Which I love! I’m so excited about that.
KAY: Which I love. And I’m pretty sure that has a lot to do with how successful that book was. So I am grateful for that, at least. Rainbow’s just not my favorite. I think my favorite of her books was–
GIN JENNY: Don’t say Attachments.
KAY: Yeah, Attachments. Attachments was my favorite of hers.
WHISKEY JENNY: Kay, Kay, Kay.
KAY: I still only gave it three stars, but it’s my favorite book of hers that I’ve read. I know.
GIN JENNY: I did not care for it. No, my friend Alice really loves that one, too, and I think it’s her favorite to this day. I liked Fangirl a lot. And I didn’t like Carry On as much, but I was really hoping that someone would write a lengthy fanfic about one of the characters’ future life in Los Angeles, which is where, in my imagination, she ends up. And so far that has not happened. I check back every now and then, and I’m always like, aw, no Agatha fic still.
KAY: Is there much of a Carry On fandom?
GIN JENNY: It’s been a little bit since I checked, but last I checked, not really.
KAY: I mean, you could definitely sign up for Yuletide next year and request that.
GIN JENNY: Kay, I tried to sign up for Yuletide this year and it was way too confusing! I was looking at it and I was like, oh my god, there’s so many elements to this!
WHISKEY JENNY: I can confirm that. Gin Jenny sent me the FAQs before you sign up sheet, and it was like 13 pages long and very confusing.
KAY: Next year, text to me and we will screenshare, and I will just walk you through it.
GIN JENNY: I was honestly going to be like, can I just come to you and we’ll go through it together?
KAY: I have legitimately done that for several people in the past. I have no problem doing that next year.
GIN JENNY: OK, I will then. I will. Whiskey Jenny and Friend of the Podcast Ashley and I are doing a mini, just for the three of us Yuletide this year. So that will be my practice one.
WHISKEY JENNY: I’m so excited!
KAY: There’s one of those that I’m not involved with, but it’s a group of friends every year who does Yule-Terrible. And I always read all their fics that they write for each other for that.
GIN JENNY: Aw!
KAY: You probably are familiar with a couple of the people. It’s waldorph and rageprufrock, and leupagus, and those people.
GIN JENNY: Oh, sure. So we actually read a rageprufrock fic for this podcast. Kay so kindly offered us a bunch of options of fics that we could read for this podcast, which I will link in the show notes in case anyone’s interested. And Whiskey Jenny was immediately like, oh, the prison break one, for sure.
WHISKEY JENNY: Obviously.
GIN JENNY: So Kay, why don’t you tell us a little bit about this one and why you picked it.
KAY: Well, I wanted to pick one that people listening to the podcast could really read without much exposure either to fanfiction or even a particular fandom. Because I actually think “Limited Release” can just be read as a standalone novel without knowing that much about the X-Men.
WHISKEY JENNY: I can confirm that.
KAY: Right? It kind of just reads like a thriller. And I think the world building is really strong.
WHISKEY JENNY: Same.
KAY: Yeah, and I feel like you get a lot of the different characters’ interior lives. And I know you guys love team feels, which I do too. And there’s not quite a getting the band together thing going on, but there’s a little bit of that, because they’re adding new people to the team. And also there’s a lot of sibling feelings, which I don’t know if that’s a thing for you guys, but that’s a thing for me.
WHISKEY JENNY: It is. I would say it is.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, it is for me, too.
KAY: But also, I think that rageprufrock is just consistently one of the best fanfiction authors who’s been writing consistently for the last decade. So that way if you liked it, you could go back and read a ton of her stuff.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, I’ve read stuff by her before.
KAY: And she’s written in all the fandoms. All of them.
GIN JENNY: She’s written a lot of different– yeah.
So the premise of this one is that Erik Lehnsherr works for the government doing mutant investigating cases. He works for the FBI. And he’s investigating this guy called Shaw, who’s trying to incite war between humans and mutants. And Alex Summers, who is Cyclops’s brother, if people have seen the movies and are not familiar with the X-Men, becomes an informant for this investigation to rescue his younger brother, who we find out– this is a little bit of a spoiler, I guess, but you can probably guess it pretty early on– who Shaw has kidnapped. Whiskey Jenny, what did you think?
WHISKEY JENNY: I loved it. I told you already, I kept telling people that fanfiction is the greatest. And I had so much fun reading this.
WHISKEY JENNY: I kept talking about it. It was so much fun. I started it on a plane ride that I was on recently and teared up on page 2, I think. I super love protective older brothers, which was Alex, like 1,000%. And it was just really great. It was so great. A lot of my notes for this are just like, oh my god, this is so great! They’re not very coherent, but they’re very excited.
GIN JENNY: Fanfiction is excellent plane reading.
KAY: I always read fanfic on the plane.
GIN JENNY: I’ll often save a very long fanfic for when I have plane travel, and it almost always pays off.
KAY: And AO3 makes it easy, because you can just download an ebook version of it.
GIN JENNY: So convenient!
WHISKEY JENNY: So I had no idea about that, and then I just did it and was like, oh, this makes everything a lot easier.
GIN JENNY: Whiskey Jenny’s like, this changes everything.
WHISKEY JENNY: It does change everything.
GIN JENNY: Yay!
WHISKEY JENNY: Gin Jenny, did you like the fic? I feel like we didn’t cover your general feelings about it.
GIN JENNY: I did. I thought it was extremely funny and delightful. It’s a little bit case-ficcy, and I like case fic, even when it’s in fandoms I don’t care that much about. Like, the one and only Sherlock fic that I’ve read, I still didn’t care for it. It was a bit much. But a lot of it was just a series of case fics, and that was fun and nice, and I was into it.
So I liked that this is all of the whole team doing all this investigating, and they’re going from clue to clue, and making plans. That was really fun. And I also just thought the writing was really funny and delightful. And obviously the protective sibling thing is right in my wheelhouse.
KAY: All the found family feels with this one for me. You get to be in everyone’s head a little bit, and you get bits of information parsed out about each of the different people. Over the course of the fic, you got to know everyone at a really nice pace.
GIN JENNY: I have a friend who reads, not exclusively, but she reads a lot of X-Men fanfic. And I keep having it in the back of my mind that at some point I’ll get her to make me an enormous rec list, and I’ll just really be in it with X-Men. But I haven’t done that yet.
KAY: Do you know what their ships are?
GIN JENNY: I don’t specifically, but I’m guessing Magneto and Professor X.
KAY: So X-Men has had two very distinct periods in fandom. Where when the original trilogy of movies were coming out they were big. And the big pairing there was Logan and Rogue.
GIN JENNY: Oh sure.
KAY: When the new trilogy of prequel movies came out, they had another moment, and they’re all Charles and Erik, basically.
WHISKEY JENNY: Can I tell you the emotional journey that I went on with this? I did not know that– what’s his name? Lenser?
GIN JENNY: Lehnsherr.
WHISKEY JENNY: –was Erik. And so that was a big revelation for me. [LAUGHTER] And it was like, oh my god! That’s the same person. This is so great. Because in my head at first, I was like, oh cool, cool, Erik and Alex can have a little romance. And that I wasn’t at all disappointed when that didn’t happen. I was like, oh my god, it’s Magneto and Professor X! This is the best! So that was really fun.
KAY: Are you the person who always wants to have the list of characters?
GIN JENNY: Yes, she is.
KAY: The beautiful thing about reading on AO3 is you almost always will have a character list at the top. But Pru is like one of the two people who refuses to ever do that. You never know what her pairings or characters are. But generally you’ll have the list of everyone who’s in it and what the pairings will be at the top.
WHISKEY JENNY: It was a pretty fun revelation for me. But I can see how in other things, it would be very helpful to have.
GIN JENNY: Especially with comics stuff. Because oftentimes, people will be writing in the movie fandom, but then they’ll toss in characters from the comics. I’ve encountered that a lot.
KAY: It happens a lot in Marvel fandoms, yeah.
GIN JENNY: I know some of the Marvel comics stuff, but not a lot, so it helps me to have the tags.
KAY: I have a fairly solid Marvel comics background, but then I’ve been on a break for a while now, because Marvel needs to stop being the worst.
WHISKEY JENNY: So could we do a rundown of who’s who? And I’m apologizing in advance, but I have only ever seen the movies.
KAY: Oh for sure.
GIN JENNY: There’s no need to apologize for that.
WHISKEY JENNY: Well, I mean, you know.
GIN JENNY: No. I refuse to accept your apology. [LAUGHTER]
WHISKEY JENNY: OK, so grumpy Erik is Magneto. Charles is Charles Xavier, Professor X. Raven is Mystique?
GIN JENNY: Yup.
WHISKEY JENNY: Hank McCoy is Beast?
GIN JENNY: You’re doing great so far.
WHISKEY JENNY: Thank you so much. As we mentioned, Scott Summers is Cyclops. Alex is his older brother. And that’s a person?
KAY: I can never remember his code name.
GIN JENNY: I don’t know and I’ve never known.
WHISKEY JENNY: So now I need y’all to tell me who was who.
GIN JENNY: There’s girl Angel, and that’s confusing to me because I’m only familiar with the original X-Man, boy Angel. But I think girl Angel is in the first James McAvoy X-Men movie.
KAY: Yeah, played by Zoe Kravitz.
GIN JENNY: Right! Played by Zoe Kravitz, exactly. But I don’t really know too much about her as a character. And I don’t know anything about the Darwin character at all.
WHISKEY JENNY: Who is also known as Armando, right?
KAY: Armando Muñoz. And his power is that he can literally adapt to anything. So the fact that they killed him off in the first movie makes no sense.
WHISKEY JENNY: Wait, he could adapt to anything? Like, what kind of things?
KAY: In canon, he discovered he had powers because he was four and was going to get hit by a car. He rolled up and had armadillo type plates and was fine. Which, I think she used that in this fic.
WHISKEY JENNY: Yeah, she did.
KAY: Who else? Sean, who’s Banshee.
GIN JENNY: Is Shaw, the villain, a character from canon?
KAY: Yes. Did you see the prequel movies?
GIN JENNY: I did, but a long time ago. Most of what I remember is Michael Fassbender smiling like a shark and killing Nazis.
WHISKEY JENNY: You know, this did mention him smiling like a shark a lot, and I did like that detail.
GIN JENNY: It’s true.
KAY: That’s now a thing that everyone has to write in their X-Men fic, and it drives me crazy. It is accurate. That is how he smiles.
GIN JENNY: He does! He just has so many teeth.
KAY: So, Sebastian Shaw is a canon character, and he was the bad guy in the first of the prequel movies.
GIN JENNY: OK, I probably sort of remember that.
KAY: And Emma Frost is another one of the bad guys.
WHISKEY JENNY: I don’t know– who is Emma Frost?
KAY: She’s a telepath who also turns into a human crystal.
GIN JENNY: She’s a super powerful telepath. In one of the movies she’s played by January Jones, but I don’t remember which one, or anything else about it.
KAY: In the prequel ones she does. And then you’ve got the minor bad guys who don’t really show up much. I think that’s everyone.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, I think that’s everyone. Like you said, it was a good team up, and it was nice that we got to spend time with each of the characters in their heads. That was fun.
WHISKEY JENNY: Except for Hank. We didn’t see enough of Hank’s point of view.
KAY: We got some, but not as much as I would have liked. I always want more of Hank.
WHISKEY JENNY: He was so sweet. He was such a bunny. More Hank and more Alex, I feel like, would have been great.
GIN JENNY: Yeah, now I want to read more Hank/Alex fic.
KAY: I promise I will find that epistolary fic for you.
WHISKEY JENNY: And I feel– I mean, I don’t feel robbed, but I wanted a little bit more of them getting together.
GIN JENNY: And also more of them– especially Alex. I feel like Alex didn’t have as much to do as I was expecting slash hoping.
WHISKEY JENNY: Yeah. He gets him back to prison for the big climax. Like, we don’t even get to see him have feelings about that. But you just know that would be really rough for him.
KAY: It felt a little Bilbo Baggins, where he gets knocked out for the final battle.
GIN JENNY: Yeah! Aw, Alex.
KAY: Alex is the Bilbo.
GIN JENNY: But still, a good decision on the part of the responsible adults, though.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh, fair. Yeah, great job FBI for being like– but feelings-wise, I wanted more Alex and Hank. Did you all read the little bonus things at the end?
GIN JENNY: I didn’t, because I wasn’t sure if we were.
KAY: I read the epilogue, and then I didn’t read the Raven part.
GIN JENNY: Did you read them, Whiskey Jenny?
WHISKEY JENNY: I did read them.
GIN JENNY: And how were they?
WHISKEY JENNY: They were good. There was a little bit more of Alex and Hank and the last one.
GIN JENNY: Dammit! Well, I will definitely go back and read those, then.
WHISKEY JENNY: Just a teensy bit more.
KAY: It was kind of a time stamp, just attached to the end instead of as a new fic.
GIN JENNY: Sure, sure. Although most often what I’m familiar with is people will write T-rated fics, and then they’ll be like, and now an epilogue full of sex.
KAY: I want everyone to have a happy ending. So sometimes I like when they end before–
GIN JENNY: Badum ching.
GIN JENNY: Sorry, continue.
KAY: I like where she ended the fic, just because everything is full of promise, but we don’t know exactly how everything is going to shake out.
WHISKEY JENNY: Same. I liked that, too. I really enjoyed the little glimpses of the daily life struggles of having wings, and backless shirts you have to buy, and that sort of thing.
GIN JENNY: Oh, definitely.
WHISKEY JENNY: I always like those little daily details, and I want more of those always forever.
KAY: I also loved all the little New York details in this. You can really tell that Pru lived there.
GIN JENNY: There were a lot of good little details and jokes that I enjoyed a lot.
KAY: I wish I had more critical things to say about this. But mostly I’m just like, I loved it. It’s case fic, so I don’t want to spoil it too much in case someone wants to read it.
GIN JENNY: I’m so glad you also think it’s case fic, because I said that and then I got really insecure, because I only pretty recently learned the term case fic, so I wasn’t super confident that I was applying it correctly.
WHISKEY JENNY: Um, what is it?
KAY: I mean, it’s Pru, so it’s fairly lush for case fic, but it definitely falls under that umbrella.
GIN JENNY: It’s when they’re doing a case, Whiskey Jenny.
WHISKEY JENNY: OK.
KAY: I think the terminology originated in X-Files fandom. So people would write a fic that’s basically just about them solving a case. But people have been doing that in fandom for forever, since Sherlock, you know.
GIN JENNY: I dig it.
WHISKEY JENNY: Can I just say the three more things that I really liked about this fic?
WHISKEY JENNY: OK, great. I really like it when dudes have messed up knuckles from punching people for the right reasons.
GIN JENNY: Don’t we all?
WHISKEY JENNY: And then just generally going on rampages for the right reasons. Alex was talking about salting and burning the earth for Scott, his your brother, and it was great.
GIN JENNY: You know what? As I was reading it, I wrote at that part, I was like, oh, Whiskey Jenny will love this.
WHISKEY JENNY: I did. I really, really, really did. I mean, Alex could not have been more written for me.
GIN JENNY: True. OK, that was the number two thing you liked. What was the number three thing?
WHISKEY JENNY: Number three is I think there were just some really beautiful representations of love, particularly when Charles and Erik were talking about each other. There was just some really beautiful quotes about love that I really enjoyed. There was one line about, Charles always says hello not with skin, but with a sudden sensation of affection. And that was just really sweet, and I like that phrasing. And then there was a really beautiful passage where Charles is talking about Erik, and talking about everyday details about him. And people loving everyday details about other people is apparently a thing that gets to me.
GIN JENNY: Oh, good to know for our mini-Yuletide.
WHISKEY JENNY: Exactly. Yeah, but he was talking about, he genuinely hates cats, but he loves until the ends of the earth. And I was like, all right, great. Marking this passage. That was beautiful.
This is probably a hallmark of fanfiction– you guys are both like, yeah, duh– but it was really sweet about the relationships, and about describing their love in general.
KAY: I love how much they love each other.
GIN JENNY: I do, too. I was going to say, I think that I wouldn’t say necessarily it’s a hallmark of fanfiction, but I do think that fanfiction takes relationships really seriously and goes to a lot of trouble to describe how people feel about each other accurately and insightfully.
KAY: And I think Pru’s really great at taking various moments where you wouldn’t really think about oh, this is showing so much about their relationship. But like there’s that scene where Erik is talking to Alex in the interrogation room thing. And he says, “20. That’s how many freight rail cars I derailed on my way from DC to New York after Charles got shot.”
And there’s another scene where he’s in the kitchen and Alex is saying, “I bet you Charles would be mad if you murdered me.” And Erik’s like, no he wouldn’t.
WHISKEY JENNY: Like yeah, we talked about it. It’d be fine. We got a whole plan for that.
KAY: That’s how much they love each other.
WHISKEY JENNY: Gosh, yes.
GIN JENNY: Well, overall I have to say, this is a fantastic recommendation, Kay.
WHISKEY JENNY: Yes, thank you so much.
GIN JENNY: Really worked out well for us all.
KAY: I’m so glad you guys liked it.
GIN JENNY: Well, this has been wonderful.
WHISKEY JENNY: Kay, thank you for joining us.
KAY: Thank you so much for having me on.
WHISKEY JENNY: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
KAY: Thanks for holding out through many technical difficulties.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh God, thank you.
GIN JENNY: So for next time, Whiskey Jenny, do you want to hear what we’re reading?
WHISKEY JENNY: I do!
GIN JENNY: You’re not going to be that excited, because I floated this idea with you before. So I think you’re just going to be like, well, predictable. So for next time, we’re reading a mystery novel called Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil, by Melina Marchetta.
WHISKEY JENNY: Oh, yeah.
GIN JENNY: So she’s an Australian YA novelist that I like a lot. She has written a couple of contemporary YA novels and then a series of fantasy novels that kind of reminded me of Megan Whelan Turner, but bleaker.
Oh, hey, Whiskey Jenny. No pressure, Whiskey Jenny, but how are you feeling about reading Queen of Attolia sometime?
WHISKEY JENNY: Yeah, I want to. I just haven’t yet. Is that the one after The Thief?
GIN JENNY: Yeah.
WHISKEY JENNY: I would like to. I just haven’t.
GIN JENNY: OK. I just want to make sure it’s still on your radar.
WHISKEY JENNY: OK, cool.
GIN JENNY: Sorry.
WHISKEY JENNY: Yeah, super chill and low-key.
GIN JENNY: OK, so Tell the Truth Shame the Devil is an adult mystery novel about a suspended cop whose daughter is injured in a bus bombing, and the suspect is the teenage daughter of a notorious crime and mayhem family. And the suspended cop has a past. I don’t know, it sounds great. And I think right up Whiskey Jenny’s alley, hopefully.
WHISKEY JENNY: I can’t wait.
GIN JENNY: Well, this has been the Reading the End bookcast with a demographically similar Jennys and special guest star Kay. Kay, where can people find you?
KAY: Generally I live on Twitter. I’m at kaytaylorrea basically everywhere on the internet. You can also check out my nerdy podcast, which is Not Now, I’m Reading.
GIN JENNY: Which is wonderful. Well, thank you for coming on. It was such a treat.
WHISKEY JENNY: Thank you so much.
KAY: So much fun to be here.
GIN JENNY: You can visit the blog at readingtheend.com. You can follow us on Twitter at Readingtheend. We are both on Goodreads as Whiskey Jenny and Gin Jenny. And you can email us, please do, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our holiday gift guide is also still live. So if you go to readingtheend.co m/holidaygiftguide, we really want to give you suggestions for holiday gifts for your loved ones. Just give us your name and some information about the person you want to buy for, and we will give you several book recommendations on our December 13 podcast for what you can buy for those people. And if you’re listening to us on iTunes, please leave us a review. It helps other people find the podcast.
And until next time, a quote from Umami, by Laia Jufresa. “Maybe that’s all love is. Maybe that’s all writing is. An attempt to put someone in words, even when you know full well that person is a kaleidoscope, their thousand reflections in the eyes of a fly.”
THEME SONG: You don’t judge a book by its cover. Page one’s not a much better view. And shortly you’re gonna discover the middle won’t mollify you. So whether whiskey’s your go-to, or you’re like my gin-drinking friend, no matter what you are imbibing, you’ll be better off in the end reading the end.
GIN JENNY: I wonder if she can hear us during these times of crisis. I guess she can hear us just being like, oh, we wish Kay were here.
KAY: I heard that!
WHISKEY JENNY: What did you say last time? Gosh, it’d sure be great if Kay was here.
KAY: Wait, I totally heard that again. Is that the magic words, guys? What on earth?
GIN JENNY: If only Kay were here.
WHISKEY JENNY: Dammit.
GIN JENNY: Maybe I didn’t say it with enough sincerity. But I really did mean it.
WHISKEY JENNY: Yeah.
GIN JENNY: If only Kay were here.
I wish Kay were not here!
WHISKEY JENNY: [GASP] Take it back!
GIN JENNY: This podcast is better without her!
GIN JENNY: Yes, David in the Bible tells Jonathan that he has a love for him surpassing the love of women.
WHISKEY JENNY: What?
GIN JENNY: Yeah. That’s a quote from the Bible. Bible quote.
WHISKEY JENNY: Huh. Well that seems–
GIN JENNY: Kay’s over there like, I have so much to say to this! I wish you were here so that we could hear what her thoughts are.