Worlds & Time

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jobbed and Wikied

Guess what I did today? I had a job.

Not a paying job, of course, but still, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside to know that I helped a friend out. Boo-yah.

I also heard that Jenna Bush is publishing a book about a Panamanian 17 year old HIV+ single mother. An interview (the first article that popped up for me was this one) says that Jenna hopes that her book will be as influential as the Anne Frank Diaries or Number the Stars. My mother actually started laughing out loud when she heard that, but I pointed out that perhaps she just shelled out millions for the best ghostwriter ever.

I'm disgusted and yet I know I'll probably end up reading it. I promise to check it out of a library, and only after it's published.

Also, I was finally exploring Diane Duane's page (yes, I added it to the sidebar without having seen it, see next paragraph for reason) when I came across The Errantry Concordance wiki.

If you don't know who Diane Duane is, you should. She published a few of my favorite books, specifically So You Want To Be A Wizard which belongs to her Young Wizard series. She also wrote a half dozen Star Trek books and co-wrote the TNG episode "Where No One Has Gone Before."

Really, she's one of the people that is in the position that I'd someday like to be in. She's just below Michelle West on the list of people that I would write wiki entries for (but since the Young Wizard books are YA, it'd be much easier).

But then, if you go to the Ground Rules for the Errantry Concordance, you find out that legally Diane is the only person allowed to write the entries . . .

Oh.

Well, that's okay, because I'm sure that when she's not writing fiction that I love she has time to pound out some really great work on her private wiki. Because I'm sure a single busy author can take the time to fill in the thousands of required pages for a good wiki . . .

No?

Crap.

Well, what about Tom and Carl? They're the Advisories of Earth, and I suspect that they're a gay couple (although that could never be mentioned in a YA book)! Surely I'll have my suspicions confirmed or denied at last!

Or not.

I'm sure to a lawyer somewhere it all makes sense, but to me it's beyond nonsensical. (I've been sitting here for a few minutes trying to explain exactly how mad I am at the stupid f***ing miserable universe that can't handle derivative works or fan fiction without the author loosing the rights to their work but I haven't come up with an acceptable sentence, so you get a run-on parenthetical instead.)

We can't even fill in the blanks, because if someone accidentally said something that Diane hasn't actually said yet, and then writes a book later that uses that information then the wiki editor could sue her for copyright.

I know this happened to Marion Zimmer Bradley (by way of Mercedes Lackey, but I found this looking for the link which is itself interesting), and that sucks (I apparently wasn't remembering the details correctly. See the Lackey page for all that I knew about it). It really does, but as much as it sucks for the author, the end results are starting to suck for the fans a whole lot worse.

That's an exaggeration, but I know why people read and imagine and write fan-fiction: because it's so much easier than forming your own huge world. I know how difficult it is to create a world. I've got several, thanks for asking. Sometimes though, I like the escapism of pretending that I can channel, or that I'm a Companion, or that I'm a Young Wizard, or Mage-born or Bard-born. If the world is already fully formed in your head, it's so much easier to escape too.

There's so much red tape now that sometimes it's actually scary. What if Harlan Ellison found my blog. Do you think he'd sue just because I used his name?

There's got to be some legal wrangling that would allow me to both publish and allow others to write fanfic that won't eventually result in me getting sued or loosing the copyright to my work.

Oh, right, about the Errantry wiki. Doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of a wiki? If only one person is editing it, wouldn't it be easier (and less taunting) to just use a normal website? I mean, you don't even have Tom and Carl pages! The thing is useless!

Couldn't I just sell Diane the rights to my work on the Errantry Concordance wiki, and at the same time agree to let her use my ideas in any future work? Eliott would represent me, and my price would be extraordinarily high: A nod of thanks. (Not even a printed one, I mean a literal nod. One toward her computer screen would be more than enough.) Heck, I'd even sign something! It's Diane Duane. It's like I imagine ghost writing for Oprah would be: there's no money and no recognition, but it's still so cool that you can't stop yourself.

Find ten people like me that are big (or bigger) fans, and we could fill in the bare bones of those entries. Such as this Nita character, who is so minor at this point that she's barely got a redirect to her name.

Anyway, I really, really want like to know if Tom and Carl are gay.

Finally, on the topic of wikis, John Scalzi, who wrote the tearjerker Being Poor blog back around the time Katrina was just becoming a national disaster showed up on my radar again, and somehow I guess I lost my head and blew up on his talk page (or it felt that way when I was writing it). I really should ask him for an interview, but I usually wait until I'm reasonably conversant in a person's books before I do that.

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