Fandom/Fanfic/Searches!

Well today started well I must say! I am on my own all afternoon, doing very repetitive jobs (as they are the most important thing on my list for the rest of the week) and I have only gone and forgotten my mp3 player. I made sure last night I put it somewhere I could see it, when I really should have put it back in my workbag – but oh no, I had to be clever! So now I am sitting here realising that this afternoon is going to be very lonely and VERY quiet all because I was a total ditz and left the blasted thing on my bookcase. Here I have to add that this bookcase is right in front of my bed!. How stupid am I?

I had an idea for a fic yesterday (I always say fic when I mean fanfic – a story, to me at least, is an original piece). This fic is based 10 years after the end of Ark Angel (an Alex Rider book), Alex is burnt out, has had no life outside of MI6 since he was 14 and wants to go out and experience a world where he isn’t being threatened or shot at, he has lost touch with all his friends because he is forced to keep his life a secret and, because of this, he is very lonely. I know that the original books are kids’ stuff…well, at least they are according to the publishers, but I find the books offer me something that I currently can’t find in books meant for grownups – fun!

For a while I have been struggling to find another fandom, something that intrigues me, makes me laugh, can make me cry – I have ploughed through so many books it’s getting ridiculous, but nothing has screamed at me “join a mailing list, join a group, find other like-minded people”. Sure, I have joined a few new mailing lists (most recently for the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon), but the groups are boring, the writing is mediocre at best (which is surprising considering most of the writers are older) and I am left feeling as though I have no choice but to return to Harry (don’t get me wrong I still love Harry, but there are only so many times you can read the same plots, right? – I am not going to feel guilty for feeling that the fandom is becoming a little tired of late!).

At present the Alex Rider fandom is full of little girls who take one look at Alex Pettyfer, the actor who is portraying the teen spy in the up-coming movie (he is very pretty after all), and go – “oooh, I’m going to write a story where Alex (Rider, not his actor counterpart – although perhaps it is Alex P) falls in love with a girl who looks just like me” (does this scream adolescent creation of Mary-Sue to anyone else?). The few boys that write about the teenage MI6 hostage want to be just like him – adventure after adventure, without considering the consequences psychologically (as I am sure Horowitz must, to a point at least) of being the youngest spy for his country – and he doesn’t even get paid!

I was sitting at my desk yesterday and realised that the one thing I know I won’t get from these books is the day when Alex Rider quits. Horowitz has stated (in the inside cover of the most recent Alex Rider book Ark Angel that you will know when the series is finished when Alex celebrates his fifteenth birthday – something which has yet to happen. A seventh book is due out sometime next year (and is currently rumoured to have the title Snakehead source: Alex Rider official website ), but there is no news on whether this will be Alex’s last outing as a super teenage secret spy.

The movie Stormbreaker (based on the first book) is out today, and the reviews I have seen so far from the press have been mixed. One American reviewer stated that he felt the movie was not funny and didn’t match up to something that had already been done, namely Agent Cody Banks with Frankie Muniz.

Personally I feel that the similarities between Banks and Rider are few and far between. Banks chooses to be a spy, he already has an interest in many of the things that make up being a spy, and he is given a choice, he can say no…Rider on the other hand is virtually dragged into the situation he is in. His uncle (a spy for MI6 masquerading as a staid bank manager) is killed by an assassin because of something he has found out on a recent mission, and Alex gets drawn into it when he realises that he has been lied to about the cause of death. Along the way Alex discovers things about his deceased parents that he would have never been told (I won’t spoil the books in case you do decide that you want to pick them up and flick through them). Needless to say, the similarities begin and end with the fact that Banks and Rider are both teenagers. Where Banks’ missions lead him into comedic adventures (with a sidekick/helper or two), Rider is completely alone. He has to figure out how to do things by himself. Sure he gets nifty gadgets from Smithers (who, in the film, is played by Stephen Fry), but he isn’t led into a mission that involves him pretending to play the clarinet in a private music summer school, or going to a girl’s birthday party!

Needless to say, I have yet to see the film (but I will), so I will have to reserve judgement. It has a cast full of the cream of British acting (Stephen Fry, Sophie Okonedo, Bill Nighy, Ewan McGregor, Robbie Coltraine [Hagrid to you HP fans], Andy Serkis [yes, Gollum], Damian Lewis) and a few Americans (Mickey Rourke, Alicia Silverstone), so even if they have totally destroyed the storyline (as it appears in the book) we know that the acting won’t be all bad (Alicia Silverstone is a sticky wicket as she ranges from Valley Girl to pointless, and they have made her strangely ooc for those who have read the books). In the books she can’t cook, she trained to be a lawyer, and had it not been for Ian Rider’s untimely death she would have been in Paris studying art source: Alex Rider official website. In the movie it appears that she is a weapons and fighting expert (but as I said, have yet to see it so will reserve judgement).

Anyway, what was it I was talking about before I got side-tracked with discussing the film? Oh yes, fanfic. I am dismayed to find that the communities on Livejournal and also on Yahoogroups are dominated by little squeeing fangirls who try their hand at writing fiction only so they can put themselves in the place of the girl they see as ideal for Alex (I wish I hadn’t thrown half my old note books out – would be curious to see if that is what I did when I was in my early teens). I wish I could press more of my friends into reading the books so that they would start to write AR fiction, give me something to read when I am stuck for ideas and the original fiction is flowing about as well as jelly (that’s jell-o to you Americans).

I do enjoy HP still, but it’s taking me that much longer to get into the stuff that is written, and so many of the authors that I love are turning their hands at something else, be it original, or another fandom. Every once in a while I come across a treasure, only for them to vanish within the next moment.

There are some really good authors in every fandom, and then there are the hacks (you know who you are… well…actually you don’t! You think that you are the rulers of the universe, that people should pay to worship at your gates and that every single time you put something out there everyone should bow down and thank whatever deity they worship that you exist – and before anyone says anything, if you were on my flist I wouldn’t be backwards in telling you that I think you have an ego the size of the Sun).

I think I should start a movement…the “get my flist to read Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider books” movement. Anyone going to join?

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