Whoosh! Issue 53 - February 2001

XENA & GABRIELLE IN YOUR FIRST PERIOD PSYCHOLOGY CLASS:
TRENDS IN UBER FAN FICTION

By Rachel Gordon
Content copyright ©2000 held by author
Whoosh! Edition copyright ©2000 held by Whoosh!
5523 words



THE BASICS (01)
ORIGINS OF UBER (02-04)
A CONTEMPORARY DEFINITION OF UBER (05-07)
TYPES OF UBER FICTION (08-11)
MODERN UBER: FOR EXAMPLE (12)
TRADITIONAL VS. MODERN UBER (13-27)
   Age (13-16)
   Sexual Power and Experience (17-23)
   Socio-Economic Status (24-27)
ESCAPING THE TELEVISION (28-34)
THE NEW HEROES (35-38)
THIS IS YOUR LIFE (39-40)
CONCLUSIONS (41-45)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (46)
ARTICLES
BIOGRAPHY



Xena & Gabrielle in Your First Period Psychology Class:
Trends in Uber Fan Fiction




The Basics

[01] Since its inception in the Xenaverse in 1997, Uber fan fiction has become increasingly popular and increasingly diverse. Efforts have been made to categorize the different types, most notably in Kym Taborn's article: "What is This...Uber?" and on the website Uber über Alles. Yet on the most basic level, in the vast majority of Uber fiction, there is one significant area of common ground: Uber Xena and Uber Gabrielle look like their namesakes, as well as the actors that portray them. It is this fact that plays one of the largest roles in Uber fiction's appeal.


Origins of Uber

Xena: Warrior Princess starring Renee O'Connor...hmm, I like it!
The XENA SCROLLS
had the power to turn myth into history,
and history into fan fiction

[02] When Renee O'Connor first appeared in THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210), revealed in a slow camera movement starting with her boots and ending with her Indiana Jones-style fedora, a new era was born. Or perhaps, more accurately, it was reborn. Whenever a television character wears a particular outfit on a regular basis, that outfit becomes their uniform. The uniform becomes a part of the character, aiding in defining the individual, as well as visually and psychologically separating them from the audience. When a television character's uniform is removed and replaced with attire that is not only familiar to the audience but that projects an emotional resonance, the result can be extremely powerful.

[03] Examples of this technique can be seen in episodes from STAR TREK (TV, 1966-1969). In order to infiltrate many alien societies and fulfill their missions, the members of the crew of the Enterprise were frequently required to don the local attire. They appeared in World War II Nazi uniforms, 1920's gangster-wear, and perhaps most famously, 1930's civilian-wear. This last example was seen in THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER, an episode frequently selected by STAR TREK fans as their favorite. In it, Kirk removes his Starfleet uniform in favor of a red plaid shirt and brown jacket and falls in love with Edith Keeler. The character peels off his layers of armor, bringing him closer to us, as it brings him closer to his heart.

I'm such a caring and sensitive guy....
But really, he only cares about Spock

[04] This represents much of the allure of Uber fiction: the ability to take characters that are separated from us by time or space and bring them into a familiar world that we believe we can know and, indirectly, influence.


A Contemporary Definition of Uber

[05] As previously noted, braver souls than I have attempted over the years to define and categorize Uber fiction. The task is a complex one, in part because Uber did not evolve out of a conscious, organized decision on the part of the creators of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (XWP) or the creators of fan fiction. Further complicating the issue is the presence of Original fiction on XWP sites and written by authors of XWP and Uber fan fiction.

[06] It can be argued that the line between Uber fiction and Original fiction has been blurred. More often than not, the reader must make this distinction in his or her own mind. For the purposes of this article, a very simple definition of Uber will be used. Consider that a story is Uber if it fulfills two criteria:

1) The actors that portray Xena (X) and Gabrielle (G) can be visualized in the roles of Uber Xena (UX) and Uber Gabrielle (UG) in the fiction.

2) UX and UG have sufficient character traits in common with Xena and Gabrielle to remain recognizable to the reader as incarnations of X and G.

[07] This definition allows for one of the primary purposes of Uber: to bring Xena and Gabrielle, and on some level the actors who play them, into another world. This is frequently our world, or at least a world familiar to us, and is controlled by the author of the story.


Types of Uber Fiction

Well I'm Gabrielle and you're Xena, but who on earth is that creepy guy?
Fan-created cover for S.L. Bower's
"Lucifer Rising", an early
contemporary noir Traditional Uber

[08] In the beginning, Uber fiction usually depicted a dark hero (UX), once innocent but propelled into sinister dealings by circumstances beyond her control. These usually involved the death of an even more innocent young man in her life, with whom she maintained a platonic relationship. She proceeded to meet an innocent young woman (UG) who then led her back to the light, and to her destined path, by walking it with her. "Toward the Sunset" by Della Street, considered the first written Uber, easily fits this model with Jess Chambers as UX and Mattie Brunson as UG. The same is true of Jude Lucien (UX) and Elizabeth Gardner (UG) in "Lucifer Rising" by Sharon Bowers.

[09] This type of fiction does not make realism its primary goal, and much of its appeal is in fantasy and role-playing. Hence, it is reminiscent of the STAR TREK concept previously described. The titles cited are both excellent literary works. Their influence on fan fiction is still seen today where this type of Uber continues to be written. I will refer to this genre as Traditional Uber.

[10] More recently, another type of Uber has evolved from the backbone of Traditional Uber. Relying strongly on the archetypes and three-dimensional characters created by the earlier Ubers, this new breed subtly, or not so subtly, alters the traditional, established formulas of characterization and plot, while retaining much of the essence of the original. In these works, UX is not always dark, or older than UG, or sexually experienced, or suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. UG is not always angelic, or young, or inexperienced, and does not always have a lower socio-economic status than UX. Correlations are not always present between Uber supporting characters and characters seen on XWP. The worlds that these characters inhabit are also not necessarily fantastical. In fact, they can be reassuringly ordinary. This is Modern Uber.

[11] Modern Uber takes a step further away from XWP by creating characters with personality traits unique to the writer who birthed them. Yet, UX and UG maintain certain characteristics in common with X and G that the reader can recognize. They also maintain their emotional connection to one another. In this way, the story takes on a new type of mass appeal. Unlike completely original fiction, these works do not solely depict the author's vision—consisting of people the author knew, or dreamed of, living through the author's experiences, or near experiences, or imagined experiences—but a fusion of the writer's creativity and the collective imagination.


Modern Uber: For Example

[12] In order to examine some of the trends in Uber as well as the implications of these trends, three sets of characters from Modern Uber fiction will be referenced. They are: Laura Kasdan (UX) and Chris Hanson (UG) from "The Deal" by Maggie Ryan; Harper Kingsley (UX) and Kelsey Stanton (UG) from "Exposure" by Fanatic and T. Novan; and Ryan O'Flaherty (UX) and Jamie Evans (UG) from "I Found My Heart in San Francisco" by S. X. Meagher. All three novels create vivid, compelling characters, contain superior writing, and lend themselves to multiple readings. They also exemplify a new realm of fiction.

Hey Gabrielle, I'm younger than you in this story...what a great idea!
Fan-designed cover for
"Exposure," a Modern Uber

Traditional vs. Modern Uber

[13] Certain character traits are commonly present in UX and UG in Traditional Uber. These characteristics can relate to age, sexual power and sexual experience, and socio-economic status, to name just a few. In general, UX is older, sexually experienced, aware of her formidable sexual power, and rich. UG is younger, sexually innocent, and not particularly wealthy. The net effect of these portrayals is to give UX the majority of power in the relationship. Modern Uber is able to change some of these standards in character portrayal without sacrificing character recognition or the connection between UX and UG. Citing the aforementioned examples of Modern Uber and Traditional Uber, we can observe some of the changes in these trends.

Age

[14] In examining age, we find that in "Toward The Sunset" and "Lucifer Rising" UX is considerably older and worldlier than UG. In contrast in "I Found My Heart in San Francisco" both UX and UG are juniors in college, and eventually meet in their 8am Psychology class.

[15] In "Exposure", UG is actually older than UX. From Season I Episode 4, Harper (UX) speaks to Kelsey (UG):

"Besides, you're too young. What are you thirty-five?" She looks aghast, that I would think her that old.

"Thirty-two."

[16] Later, in Episode 5, Harper reveals her own age to be twenty-five.


Sexual Power and Experience

Lucy considers a career as a masseuse now that XENA is finishing.
Gabrielle gets a massage
in PARADISE FOUND

[17] First, let us look at Traditional Uber and UX. From "Toward The Sunset" part 2, Jess' gang of outlaws is chatting around the campfire:

Tyson chuckled. He liked this story. "We heard there was a gold shipment being guarded at the fort, but they had practically the whole d*mn*d Army stationed there. Not that a little thing like that would bother Jess, of course."

He paused in his tale to take another swig of . . . whatever he was drinking, and Mattie glared at him. Why didn't he just get on with it?

"So Jess goes in there as Sister Mary Margaret or somethin'." He grinned at her. "One more thing she's goin' to Hell for . . . ."

Jess laughed.

". . . and ends up bedding both the commander's kids. The time comes to haul the stuff out, and they're pulling each other's hair out over which one gets to hand over the keys."

Mattie pursed her lips. It figured, Jess Chambers using her body to dupe innocent young men into trusting her. Disgusting.

"Don't remember which one got the honor, do you, Jess?"

Jess shook her head.

"I think it was the girl," Tyson recalled, chuckling. "She had a mean right hook."

[18] From "Lucifer Rising" part VII - Internet Version, Jude makes an entrance:

The evening's revelries were well underway by the time she made her first appearance. A wanton pulse coursed throughout the Club, its patrons unknowingly responding to the wild flame in Jude's blood. Sasha had discreetly advised the disc jockeys and bartenders to "crank it up tonight." So the music was a little more sensual, the drinks a little more effective and the patrons a little more uninhibited as the night reached out its beckoning hand for them.

Jude absorbed the happenings around her with a satisfied curl of her lip. The teeming, seething, writhing masses of people below were her creatures; and she moved smoothly through them, a regal tilt to her head. Vaguely familiar faces hailed her, welcoming her back to her territory with grateful eyes. Men around her nodded, pleased to be basking in the reflected glow of her malevolent grace. Women whose bodies she had possessed—and those who wished her to do so—brushed teasingly against her, tempting her senses with their nearness.

A dance, a drink, a tease—slender arms around her neck, the taste of tequila in her mouth, smoky laughter drifting pleasantly over her ears. All those unwanted thoughts were at last mercifully crushed beneath the ruthless heel of sensory overload. Jude walked among her subjects, the gleam in her eye enticing some and warning others with its ravening strength.

[19] In contrast, look at Modern Uber and Laura (UX) in "The Deal" - part 6 - Internet version:

Laura shook her head and went back to the bed. Sitting down on the edge she cracked her knuckles, first on [sic] hand and then the other, the noise stark and loud in the quiet. "Just a hunch, but I'm fairly certain that you haven't spent the night with too many thirty year old virgins."

Chris frowned and nodded, "That's – pretty accurate." She paused. "How does one get to be thirty without –"

"Having sex?" Laura drew a breath through her teeth. "I'd say that the opportunity never presented itself, or that nobody asked, but that'd be a lie." She looked away. "I just didn't have time, then I didn't want to." She blew out an impatient breath, "It wasn't important, I never really socialized and the guys I knew were jerks. The next thing I know, I'm thirty and in a drainage ditch, kissing one of my anchors."

"That's a pretty simplified answer."

She looked up, slightly annoyed, "What were you expecting? There was no tragedy, no near rape, no abuse – I was – am... a machine – I played golf, I went to school, I worked my *ss off and I was comfortable with it. Now everything's changed and I'm not handling it terribly well."

[20] Now let us look at Traditional Uber and UG. From "Toward The Sunset" part 1 when Jess and Mattie meet:

"I'm Mattie. Mattie Brunson." She edged forward in the water and awkwardly extended a hand.

Jess answered with her own, smiling slightly at the quaint gesture. Sheltered, she decided, noting the young woman's careful efforts to keep her eyes from straying anywhere inappropriate. Jess straightened, bringing more of her torso into view, and bit back a laugh when the woman involuntarily lowered her gaze for an instant, her face flushing red.

[21] And later:

"You do have a gun."

"Yes, I do," Jess said. "Do you think I'd use it on you?"

"I wouldn't know."

Jess propped a foot on the edge of the rock, and rested a hand on her thigh. "Some would, you know. Some would see you there in the water, naked, and decide to have their way with you."

Mattie's mouth fell open.

"They might even think you look so scrumptious, they'd go in there after you."

The color was rising fast, making quick progress past Mattie's throat to her face. She couldn't believe what this woman was saying to her.

"I don't believe this is a proper subject for ladies to be discussing," she said.

"Oh, I'm no lady."

[22] In contrast look at "I Found My Heart in San Francisco", book 3 part 9 where Jamie (UG) is buying Ryan (UX) clothing:

"My treat, Babe. It's only fair for me to pay since the clothes are not for you," she reasoned. "I'm buying them for me."

"But I thought you wanted me to get something elegant," she said with confusion.

"Oh, you'll be wearing them, but they're for me." Jamie's sexy tone left Ryan no doubt that her role was to serve as eye candy for her partner.
Who took my Tiger Woods polo shirt?
Fan-designed cover for M. Ryan's "The Deal"

[23] Even more vividly, let us look at "The Deal" part 7 as Laura (UX) and Chris (UG) have a late night conversation:.

Laura's breath was shallow as Chris moved closer. Pushing aside years of denial she reached tentatively for the woman she wanted to be with more than anything else in the world. Green eyes never wavered from her own as she asked in a low murmur, "Will you stay?"

Chris closed her eyes, willing strength to come from somewhere that wasn't clawing her with need. "No. I won't." Laura stopped breathing at the apparent rejection and her eyes clouded with confusion. Then Chris went on, her voice low and slowly seductive, "When we make love for the first time, it'll be when we have plenty of time, not when we both have to be at work in five hours." Taking Laura's hand she kissed the palm, tracing a pattern with her tongue. "You'll feel things you've never felt before, and wonder how you ever lived without it." Chris leaned forward pushing aside the collar of Laura's blouse and laid a line of kisses along the prominent collarbone as the taller woman shuddered. "And you'll need me, the way I need you now." One hand skimmed up a muscled arm to caress an angled jaw, softly touching, almost tickling before sliding around the strong elegant column of Laura's neck and pulling her head down to barely touch lips, "And you'll want me. You'll ache with wanting me."

The kiss was invasive and rough, filled with the promises of sensations to come and doing nothing to disguise the raw emotion felt by the smaller woman. This was not a gentle exploration, but an act of possession, searing in its intensity. Before Laura could react, Chris broke it off, replacing her lips with gentle fingers. Gasping at the absence of contact, but the overload of feeling, Laura opened her mouth but nothing came out.

"Shhh. You were right about the grape Kool-Aid. It kinda grows on you." And with a smirk, Chris left the apartment, closing the door softly behind her, leaving Laura swaying in the middle of the living room.

D*mn, she's good.

Socio-Economic Status

All dressed up and no one to crucify...the trials of being the Conqueror
The Conqueror in all her plumage.
From HERCULES:THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS
ARMAGEDDON NOW II (H73/414)

[24] "In Toward The Sunset" part 2 Mattie (UG) and Jess (UX) discuss the possibility of traveling together:

"I'm going to go get our stash, the extra money and gold we've stowed away over the years. It was supposed to set us up in Mexico when the time came, and they're going to want it back." Jess softened her tone. "Now do you see?"

The schoolteacher's ashen face gave Jess her answer. "Why not just let them have it?" Mattie asked.

"What? No way. I earned that money."

"But . . . ." Mattie held her hands out. "It's . . . ."

"Stolen? I don't give a d*mn. It's mine now."

"You don't need it," Mattie persisted.

"Do you just expect us to live in the woods? You don't ever want a new dress? Or a bath in a real tub? Or a new book? That's no life."

[25] Clearly, Jess envisions herself as the financial provider in the partnership. In "Lucifer Rising" Part III - Internet Version, Jude (UX) has purchased a Powerbook for Elizabeth (UG) who is recovering from a bullet wound at Jude's home:

"This is way too expensive, I mean--"

"Liz..." Jude held out a hand to forestall any further argument. "Look around you. What I spent for the laptop is nothing to me."

[26] Jude is wealthy and generous with her money. This gives her power that Liz does not have. In contrast let us look at "I Found My Heart in San Francisco" book 3 part 9 where Jamie's (UG) economic status helps to create a balance of power in her relationship with Ryan (UX).

"Look at my most recent trust statement for the Smith trust." She held one of the papers out to Ryan, forcing her to focus on it. "Now look in the corner here and tell me what my average daily earnings were for the March quarter."

"Holy cr*p!" Ryan's mouth fell open in amazement. "This can't be accurate!"

"Ryan, not only is this accurate, it doesn't reflect the money I'll get from the Dunlop Trust when I turn 30. That's where the real bucks are. Plus, due to wise investments, my mother has lots more than I do, and I'm her only heir."

Ryan sank back onto the tile, her feet still in the water. "This is kinda making me sick to my stomach," she said weakly.

"That's how I feel some times, Ryan. It's way too much money for one person to handle."

"So, you're basically telling me that you could buy anything you want and never have to even look at a price tag." She spoke slowly as realization dawned and she came to an acute awareness of just how immense Jamie's assets were.

"Yes, Ryan. And I could do the same for all of my friends, not just you. I could buy anything, and I do mean anything, that I wanted, and not even give it a moment's thought."

[27] By allowing for deviations from the Traditional Uber formula, the authors of Modern Uber have created characters with a universal appeal. These versions of Xena and Gabrielle are less intimidating, and more approachable because they are more equal to one another. They also can appear more like people the reader might actually know.


Escaping the Television

Now lil 'ol Lucy here will stand up and....hey, where'd she go?
Renée O'Connor directs a scene in
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN

[28] A theme that supports the notion of the Modern Uber decreasing the separation between the characters (as well as the actors that we visualize portraying them) and the audience is the use of television and video in these novels. In "The Deal", much of the action takes place in the television news setting. Chris (UG) is a news anchor and a reporter, with Laura (UX) as a News Director. By depicting the inner workings of a television news station, Maggie Ryan has removed the usual distance the reader feels when dealing with famous people, even fictionally famous people, through familiarity.

[29] In "Exposure", Kelsey (UG) is also a news anchor. Harper (UX) first sees her when she is reporting the news on television. From Episode One, Powder Blues:

Gary laughs as he drains his glass. "Oh look, it's the Ice B*tch." He points to the TV above the bar.

I turn my head from the dark blonde that had caught my attention to the screen. There I find another blonde. Oh, now she is cute. I grin. "Ice B*tch, huh? Doesn't look very frosty to me. Actually she looks like she'd be quite a sweet treat." I sip my beer.

"Kelsey Stanton? Are you kidding? Oh, you need to get out more, my friend. She has quite the reputation for being a man-eater."

I nearly choke on my beer at his words. I glance up again, study the woman on-screen. Nope, not her, she's 'family.' "Gary, she's a lipstick lesbian." I explain patiently, as if to a child; most men are. "The words 'man' and 'eater' do not commingle in her vocabulary."

I am proud of myself for finding a non-sexual way to use the word commingle in a sentence.
Lawless always tries to make a quick exit when O'Connor starts on her Shakespearian soliloquies
Renée O'Connor discusses a scene with Lucy Lawless in
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN

[30] Kelsey first sees Harper, a camerawomen and aspiring producer, when she is interviewed on television. From Episode Two, Powder Room:

Gail finally leaves me in peace and I can sip at my tea and glance at all the screens. She was right: Harper Kingsley adorns each one of them at some point. A two-shot shows her to be the same height as Channel 7's Bruce Adams. And I know from experience the clean-cut man towers above me. She has raven black hair that's pulled away from her angular face and I just can't get over the color of those eyes. Despite myself, I find I'm cranking up the volume on the set. She's answering the questions in a husky dark voice. She shows no emotion or any real interest in the proceedings but she's dutifully plugging True TV along the way and I sneer.

[31] And later, having a drink in a bar and glancing at the TV:

I look up into those blue eyes and watch mesmerized as she brushes a lock of black hair behind her ear. Her hand is large but well constructed, the fingers long and narrow. There are a lot of things fingers like that are good for, I admit, before Erik's laughter brings me back.

"You want her."

[32] When the two eventually meet in person, the reader shares with the characters some of the emotion of breaking down the barriers between what is seen on TV, what is coveted, and what can be experienced first hand.

[33] In part 4 of the sequel to "The Deal", entitled Shell Game, Chris (UG) reflects on this theme while watching Laura (UX) play golf in the U.S. Amateur:

Tim and Chris didn't move from the sofa for the next hour. ESPN 2 was following Laura pretty closely, so they kept going back to her match regularly. There were still almost no crowds and Chris wondered if that helped Laura to focus. There, Charles said something to make her laugh. She watched as her boss stripped of [sic] her glove and slapped it once against her thigh. It was odd to watch someone so far away and still know the intimate details of their behavior. Does she feel like this when she watches me during a 'cast? Remote but close? Weird.

[34] Interestingly, in "I Found My Heart in San Francisco", where Ryan (UX) and Jamie (UG) are not famous personalities, television and video are used to signify the risk of lost privacy when the two newlyweds become aware that their actions during their honeymoon are being videotaped. This is also the case when they fear their impromptu and amorous stage activities after the AIDS ride may have been televised. It is as if Ryan, Jamie, and the audience are already so intimate with each other that the camera can only intrude upon our connection.


We never had bridges like this in Anciect Greece
Fan-designed cover of S.X. Meagher's
"I Found My Heart in San Francisco"

The New Heroes

[35] Another theme in the Modern Uber pertains to heroism. Contemporary, real-life heroes are less likely to battle bad guys or sacrifice themselves for the greater good, than they are, for example, to swim very fast. One only had to watch a portion of the Summer Olympic coverage to observe the modern definition of heroism. Frequent video essays of competing athletes were shown, filmed with the kind of dramatic lighting and rapid-cut editing style seen most commonly in music videos, which presented tales of obstacles overcome and challenges well met - all in the quest for Olympic greatness.

[36] The Modern Uber recognizes the athlete as hero. In "The Deal", UX must try to suppress the emotional turmoil of her misunderstandings with UG in her bid to win the US Open Golf Championship. Her efforts to triumph in sport and in love, as well as her motivations for success, help to define her heroism. In "I Found My Heart in San Francisco", Ryan (UX) is a remarkable athlete in a variety of sports. She is a rugby hero to her family of athletic men. From Beginnings book2d:

She [Jamie] found it totally charming that the men appreciated their only female cousin and let her play on their obviously important team. Rory set her straight on her misperception when he explained that not only was Ryan welcome, she was the vital link to their success.

"Ryan plays the "fly back" or the number ten position," he explained. "The ten is a bit like the quarterback in football. She makes all of the tactical decisions concerning whether the ball will be kicked or run with. Also, since she is easily the fastest player, she advances the ball better than anyone does on the team. When you add in the fact that she's absolutely fearless, you get the accurate picture of what she means to us."

[37] Jamie's decision in Book 3 to try out for Berkeley's golf team suggests that further competitions will be integrated into the storyline, as well as the opportunity for heroic athletic achievements.

[38] Ryan's decidedly non-heroic golf experiences at Pebble Beach bring us to another element of the Modern Uber and a theme that is truly unique to the Internet.


This is Your Life

[39] In "The Deal", the US Open is an integral part of the storyline. We expect details, to a certain degree, because they help to build suspense and set the scene for the outcome of the tournament. Yet, sports and other events in "I Found My Heart in San Francisco" exist in the story for a different reason. At times a vivid, engrossing novel, and at other times closer to a play-by-play account of its characters' lives, this work defies the usual conventions of exposition in novels and allows the reader to live vicariously through its characters to an unprecedented degree. An audience that may never ride a bike in the AIDS ride or play 18 holes of golf at Pebble Beach can experience each day of the ride or play each hole of golf as if in real time.

[40] Furthermore, the experiences are more important in and of themselves than they are in advancing the plot. The means have become the ends as character development becomes the story, taking precedence over narrative pacing. Only on the Internet, with its absence of restrictions on story length, can such a literary device be fully utilized. When combined with the aforementioned connection between character and audience, the result goes a step further. As character and reader merge, character development becomes reader development, and the audience experiences a type of literary virtual reality.


Conclusions

[41] Ultimately the Modern Uber does not simply take Xena and Gabrielle out of the television, but it makes them part of our existence. As readers, we share vicariously in the power of the author who has taken these two women and clothed them in the fabric and pattern of our lives. From I Found My Heart in San Francisco", book 3, part 11:

When she [Ryan] emerged, she noticed that Jamie had set out a little outfit for her to wear. "Mmm, dress up time?" the dark woman asked.

"Yep," the green eyes danced. "I love having my own life-sized dress-up doll."

[42] The implications of these trends in Uber remain to be seen. On the positive side, fantasy is healthy and psychological studies have shown that the perception of happiness can have positive effects on an individual regardless of whether or not that happiness is derived from real or imagined interactions. Having control, even imaginary control, over characters and the actors that may play them can be empowering. The introduction of familiar elements in unfamiliar situations and settings can create a greater bond between author and reader in the transfer of experiences and emotions.

[43] On the negative side, there is the risk of objectification of the principle players in these stories. There is also the potential blurring of the line between the actors we are unlikely to ever have the opportunity to associate with, and the characters we know so intimately. Perhaps these are risks inherent in any dealings with film and television media and their stars.

[44] Of course, this essay has only touched upon a few trends in Uber fiction, and they are by no means present in all examples of Modern Uber fan fiction. Nor does all of Uber fiction fall into the categories of Traditional or Modern. Definitions are used to help organize analyses and illustrate perceptions, not to exclude or diminish a writer's creativity.

[45] As the Internet continues to break down barriers between individuals, both within the audience and between the audience and those we observe, it will be interesting to see where these trends in Uber fiction lead us. One thing is certain however: we will definitely be in for a fascinating read.


Acknowledgements

[46] A very special thank you to Calli for the gracious offer of the use of her fan fiction covers for "Lucifer Rising", "Exposure", "The Deal", and "I Found My Heart in San Francisco".


Articles

Rachel Gordon , "How Subversive is XWP? A Brief Examination of the Post-Rift Gabrielle" WHOOSH #21 (June 1998)

Rachel Gordon , "Sexual Power in Xena: Warrior Princess" WHOOSH #27 (December 1998)

Rachel Gordon , "Sexual Objectification in Xena: Warrior Princess, Or, Where Are The Three Naked Dancing Autolyci?" WHOOSH #44 (May 2000)

Rachel Gordon , "Subversion, Power, and Sex: Reflections on XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS" WHOOSH #50 (November 2000)



Biography

nina knapp Rachel Gordon

Rachel Gordon is a New York City-based physician. She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied as many of the liberal arts as her Pre-Med requirements would allow. Rachel has watched XWP since its inception and has read XWP fan fiction since 1997. She maintains high hopes for the future of both.

Favorite episodes: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302); ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313); LEGACY (117/605)
Favorite line: Klion: "Oh, go away, you're not even a good actress." Xena: "Now that was a little uncalled for . . . CHEE-YAH !" THE PLAY'S THE THING
First episode seen: SINS OF THE PAST (01/101)
Least favorite episode: LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE; MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS.

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