Mazes and Monsters Lives On

mazes-cover-22Looking up Mazes and Monsters, Rona Jaffe’s 1981 novel about Dungeons & Dragons, for a previous post introduced me to an astonishing phenomenon: the Mazes and Monsters fan community. Yes, it exists! Sort of!

There are two things worth noting about the Mazes and Monsters fan community.

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Fan Pumpkins

Here’s some Halloween pumpkins with fan themes. Follow the jump for Star Wars, Spiderman, Dr. Who, Shaun of the Dead and more.

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Blade Runner’s Hong Kong (Or, How to Read Those Dull Academic Papers)

Blade-Runner-posterIt’s so frustrating to run across an academic paper about your favorite comic or movie or TV show. Academics always say one or two smart things and then spend the rest of a 20-page paper gabbling about incomprehensible theories we ordinary people don’t have time for.

It’s kind of cute, really. I picture a tenure-seeking associate professor of film or cultural studies (like the authors of 90% of these papers) tapping away on her trusty laptop — until she’s brought up short! She realizes she’s gone three whole paragraphs without citing Slavoj Žižek and she’s in danger of failing the intellectual Voight-Kampff test! TIME TO GET THEORY’D UP!!

blade-runner-eye2

For a normal person, the only way to read one of these articles is according to the following rule:

If a paragraph has a lot of scholarly references, skip it.

Take this neat paper I found about how Blade Runner and other movies with a grunge-tech vibe (Ghost in the Shell, Johnny Mnemonic, Akira, Hackers) all used one particular area of Hong Kong as their template. What makes a scruffy Asian urban neighborhood more “futuristic” than a scruffy American urban neighborhood? Answers after the jump.

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Pure Fandom

Just how experienced a fan are you? Find out by answering these questions taken verbatim from a variety of fandom purity tests.

Or you could just try to figure out which fandoms they all come from. If you’re not man enough to know the answers, that is.

——

-Who was supposed to die in the pilot episode?
-Can you name at least 5 letterers?
-Have you ever named a slashfic character after yourself?
-Do you own a Holy Anorankh?
-Have you ever called for the horrible, gruesome, bloody death of Joel Schumacher?

 joel-schumacher

-Who spoke these lines: “It changes nothing. Tauvo is dead. Struck down by a weak, pathetic, inferior being. It must be avenged! I swear in Tauvo’s name, you will die in my hands.”
-Have you ever seen any Dragon Ball? Do you think it is the best anime ever, far above all others, and the standard by which all other anime should be judged?
-Have you sung any ‘Monty Python’ song at Rocky Horror?

rocky-horror

-Did you rent The Professional just because it had Transformers episodes playing in the background in several scenes? Did you repeatedly watch The Professional in order to figure out which episodes they were? Did you figure it out?
-Have you ever told an anti-Alliance joke?
-Do you know which singer Neil Gaiman is friends with?
-Did you buy the Lexx DVD set and take its included purity test?
-Have you spent between $1000 and $10,000 on Animaniacs-related stuff?

animaniacs

-How many Land of the Lost episodes do you have a specific memory of?
-Where’s the Crouching Groucho?
-Do you know the significance of Totter’s yard?
-Have you ever met any Seiyuu?
-Have you ever asked someone if they can see the thestrals too, then refused to explain what a thestral is?
-Do you know what the opening music for Gundam Wing is called?
-How many theme songs do you know by heart and sing along with? (Just give yourself a bunch of points.)
-Have you ever had to prove to somebody’s family that you’re not a psychotic axe-murderer?

(I might have made up a couple of the questions.)

Plus, a special bonus question after the jump.

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Hellraiser/Star Trek: More crossover fanfic

More Star Trek/Hellraiser crossover fanfic.

star-trek-borg-torso MISDIRECTED CALL by LILYWHITE
a.k.a. “The Borg get Pwned”
What happens: The Borg try to assimilate Hell, but it doesn’t work out like they’d hoped.
Notable cheese: “a set of chains latched onto the [Borg] soldier. It made an animal sound of pain, never having learned how to scream.” [“Moo!” –ed.]

“We are here to show you the full capacity of experience for the flesh.” [say the Cenobites.]

“The flesh is irrelevant. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” [say the Borg.]

Xiphos blinked. “The flesh is irrelevant?” A worse blasphemy could hardly be spoken! Surely these creatures were in denial. But then, they began to attack. The four cenobites caused the other hallways to close on themselves, crushing the soldiers who had not yet egressed.

pinhead-hellraiser-dollHELLTREK by NIKOLAI KINGSLEY
Which Trek: Next Generation (but with this guy’s friends standing in for some characters, I think)
What happens: Holodeck pranks spook a crewmember. She arrives on the “bridge” to find that, well… “The crew weren’t wearing regulation Starfleet uniforms. Commander Riker – like the others – was dressed in some sort of black leather ceremonial robe.” Etc.
Notable cheese: “The doors of a turbolift appeared in the wall behind her, trails of spider-web stretched across the opening. It had [a] tomb-like, gothic air, and was poorly lit.”

Excerpts:

“She carefully pushed aside a few of the chains and made her way down to her station, shuddering when she had to touch a chain with a large chunk of dead, rotted flesh spitted on the hook.” …

“Acting Ensign Strepsil was working the navigational console with skewers through his cheeks, poking out from the sides of his head, and she barely fought down the impulse to shrink back in her seat when he gave her a horrible grin.” …

“Captain Picard stepped down to her station and placed a hand on her shoulder, the white fingers resembling frozen earthworms. ” …

“Amber went over to Acting Science Officer Arifel and whispered, “What the hell is going on here?” She tried to ignore the spikes which, inserted underneath his chin, crossed over inside his mouth and emerged from his temples. Amber wished she’d retained some of the Betazed powers in her ancestry; now, more than ever, she wanted to know what he was feeling.

Note that Amber’s first concern (like Bashir’s, yesterday) when faced with this situation is to act like everything is normal. Sit at your station, find something appropriate to say, ignore the captain’s earthworm fingers, and all will be well. Trekkian optimism at its finest!

Hellraiser/Star Trek: Weirdest crossover ever?

There is such a thing as Hellraiser/Star Trek fanfiction.

It’s not actually as surreal as I expected — and not just because the Borg and Clive Barker’s Cenobites clearly shop from the same closet.

hellraiser-star-trek-borg-outfits

Actually, Hellraiser’s demon-summoning puzzle box makes quite a nice symbol for Star Trek’s main theme of humans grappling with the unexpected dangers of technology.

hellraiser-puzzle-boxInstead of a puzzle box, the Trek characters have puzzles, a different one every week: a spaceborne malady, an inscrutable alien culture, an engine malfunction. In Star Trek, though, solving the puzzle always leads to a happy end. In Hellraiser, solving the puzzle leads to, well, Hell.

Whether a character is deliberately trying to reach the Cenobite world (read: purposeful technological development) or just tinkering innocently with what they think is an ordinary toy (unchannelled human curiosity), conquering the box triggers their doom. If only the Cenobites would obey the prime directive!

(Puzzling — and mockable — story excerpt after the jump.)

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Furries are artsy

Aha! A-HAAAA! So you people (in my head) had me thinking furries were passé and thus no longer mockable, but NOT HARDLY! In fact, furriness has entered the avant-garde mainstream. Make that fur, as in Fur, the new Diane Arbus biopic.

So nyah, all you “too mature to mock ludicrous fetishes” types. Now that it’s timely, I will laugh at them constantly. Check this out! (NSFW) HA! And this! (also NSFW) Hahahahaha! Furries are STUPID, get it?

And from the looks of it, so is the movie.

Here’s another couple of “Aminals” by artist Catharine Lyons.

aminal

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Celebrity gossip site dishes on Megatron

megatron-transformers-1The Superficial is a celebrity gossip site covering the likes of K-Fed, Jared Leto … and now Megatron. “Megatron gets ass raped,” the site declared Friday over a giant pic. “[This item is] not really celebrity related, but what did those bastards do to Megatron?”

The site’s stable of commenters weighed in with their own objections, noting, “Michael Bay is a tard,” “That’s Darth Vader’s fuckdoll” and “It’s the Super Shredder from TMNT2… not Megatron.”

I guess there isn’t such a hard-and-fast line between geek news and gossip as some people would like to believe. “Some people” being the management at Reddit, who have a whole separate site, Lipstick, for the sorts of things the ladies are interested in. Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian describes Lipstick as “a bit of a guilty pleasure for us – it’s like braincandy.” As opposed to Reddit, where all topics are crucially important and mind-bendingly complex.

But getting back to Megatron, here’s more from The Superficial:

“Megatron’s maw looks like a metallic, puckered butthole”

“It’s Lindsay Lohans who ha”

“If Megatron isn’t a celebrity in this day and age I don’t want to live anymore. That being said, that is the stuff of nightmares and German industrial singer jizz”

For more Megatron comments, see this post at I Watch Stuff.

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