The 2003 Hugo’s were just announced and Neil Gaiman took the best novella award for his children book, Coraline. Here’s a brief Guardian article about it. The thing about Neil Gaiman (I find) is that all the photos of him look as though he’s just been shaken from bed and asked to sit in front of a camera.

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At Neil Gaiman’s blog, the issue of “slash” fiction has recently been addressed. I thought slash fiction was “slasher” fiction: horrific I’m-gonna-cut-you-up stories. According to this Gaiman:

Slash fiction is basically erotic fan fiction, normally TV series based, pairing off two (er or more I suppose) members of the same sex who don't normally couple for the cameras. From the "/" mark in the middle of "Kirk/Spock" or "K/S" fiction, which is where it all started. ("But Spock," said Kirk, huskily, realizing, finally, irrevocably, what his true self had been trying to tell him ever since the beginning of season one, "it's so huge. And it's green." "And it would be logical for you to... touch it, Captain," said Spock. And so on.)

(I wasn't making up the Knight Rider thing either: I remember a table selling printed fanzine slash fiction, before there was ever a world wide web, with several volumes of "Now impale yourself upon my throbbing gearshift" stories which I thumbed through with delighted and horrified amusement. But then, I was never a David Hasselhof fan.)

If you would like a bit more information, check out this article.

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And I’ve been enlightened a couple times this morning. A friend is currently doing some research down in Antarctica and she sends periodic updates. In her most recent, I’ve learned that the southern lights are called “aurora australis”. Isn’t that interesting? Of course, if I knew any Latin, I’d realize aurora australis literally translates into ‘southern dawn’ and aurora borealis into ‘northern dawn’. For some reason, I always thought (a) aurora didn’t occur in the southern hemisphere, or if they did, (b) the episodes would be called aurora borealis as well.

Also, she mentions how she saw Sirius, the dog star, the other night. I smacked myself on the forehead. That’s why in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry’s godfather Sirius changes into a dog. What a dum dum I am. But, hey, you learn something new everyday.

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