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It's been fascinating testing the waters of a new fandom. I hadn't fully realised before just how localised conventions can be. While MfU fandom, with the horror of the Great Slash Wars still scarred upon living memory, makes incredibly fine distinctions between slash, het and gen, in order that no one should stumble accidentally on something that makes them go "Argh! My eyes!", and Wimsey fandom has so little slash that everyone turns up to gawp if by some unlikely chance any does get written, Hornblower fandom's default mode is slash. This is the first fandom I've been in where it's perfectly normal to read on a fic header "Gen" followed by details of the pairing. It also has a strong tendency towards slushy slash, where romantic feelings are more significant than hot monkey sex, so a lot of it is labelled PG13 where the MfU or Wimsey fandoms would feel that something so through-goingly slashy must need a higher rating. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I rather like it because it feels so relaxed, and it's not as if there isn't gen and het in the mix, it's just that no one seems especially worried by the differences. In fact, the main distinction seems to be between explicit shagging, regardless of who is the shagger, who the shaggee, and who might be watching, and everything else. It makes a nice change from the rather fraughter waters to be found in older fandoms.

Hornblower fandom is also really big on humorous vids, especially ones with added subtitles, some of which made me laugh like a drain, and on sarcastic picspam, which is equally funny. And it's really big on history. I hadn't realised until I started burrowing through the comms how little I know about either history or sailing, let alone the history of sailing. At one point I felt the nibble of a plot bunny, but I hadn't got past the opening line when I realised I didn't know the difference between a brig and a frigate, or what route a ship would take from Africa to England, or where the Indefatigable might encounter it on the way, and what orders would be given if it was sighted and...and... and... At which point I whacked the bunny firmly on the head and decided that if I was going to write any sailing stories, they had better be about two people on the Baltic in a folk boat. No wonder making silly vids is so popular.

Comments

Links are in order after this discourse. Of course, I suspect your purpose had something to do with the creative impulse in its many manifestations, but everything is perceived through a filter and mine highlighted "slash" and generated a dutiful urge to investigate.
LOL! Although actually, I think your perceptional filter got it right, and you might well enjoy some of the fic, both for its sensibility and its use of language (if you want to get a bit of a feel for the characters first, there are lots of clips and fragments of episodes up on youtube). Try following_sea, moderated by our very own sarlania - the most recent entry there is a very impressive poem that I think you'd appreciate.
they had better be about two people on the Baltic in a folk boat

I'm sure you can think of someway for Hornblower to do that. Though it might be easier for Aubrey and Maturin, as at least they definitely go there.

I have the first DVD from the library!
at least they definitely go there.

Book!Hornblower goes to the Baltic, in a, um, some kind of large sailing ship.

I have the first DVD from the library!

Good-oh! As long as you're prepared for rather meandering plots. You have to sit back and just go with the flow (or, like me, get up now and then to make tea or check your email). Let me know what you think!
Brig: Dr. Who character
Frigate: my response to vague stirrings that I ought to do something around the house.

See? That's cleared up for you.
Problem solved! As the fic wouldn't have been slash, he clearly wasn't in the brig.
I heard about major slash wars in B7, long before I got involved in it this century, in which even Paul Darrow got involved. I'm not sure I want to know more. A couple of years ago there was a bit of a blow-up about the definition of gen: to the new US fans it should be devoid of reference to any sort of relationship; to others it just doesn't contain sex.

As for Hornblower fic, could you write it as letters home or diary entries something like that which wouldn't need the technical bits?
A couple of years ago there was a bit of a blow-up about the definition of gen: to the new US fans it should be devoid of reference to any sort of relationship; to others it just doesn't contain sex.

Yes, this is the sort of discussion that crops up in MfU from time to time. If I were God of Fandom, gen would mean non-shippy, so relationships are okay (even sex is okay), as long as they're not the point of the fic.
I just checked out of pure curiosity, and was very surprised to find that there doesn't seem to be much Raffles slash. If I ever have encountered an obvious target for slash, Raffles and Bunny are it.
I noticed that too. Maybe a tad TOO obvious? Not enough of a challenge?
It's my impression that every fandom has a different take on headers and labelling. For an extreme example, Stargate SG-1 (where I'm most familiar with the fic) tends to require a label of "het", "slash", or "UST" if there's even a hint of sexual anything between MCs, and happily uses the / character for character combos in utterly gen friendship fics. (I still have trouble remembering not to do that.)

Have I mentioned lately that "laugh like a drain" always makes me giggle?

About ships (a topic on which I am geeky if a bit out of practice): a brig is a two-masted ship with a certain arrangement of square and fore-and-aft sails. A frigate is a warship with a certain (small) number of guns.

From where in Africa to England would your ship be taking a route?
a brig is a two-masted ship with a certain arrangement of square and fore-and-aft sails. A frigate is a warship with a certain (small) number of guns.

Ah, thank you! So can a brig also be a frigate, or does a frigate have more masts/ a different configuration of sails? No, wait, don't answer that, I can go and look it up.

From where in Africa to England would your ship be taking a route?

I don't even know that!
Oh, in the past there's been some fearsome aggro in Hornblower fandom between slashers and snti-slashers, to the extent that a lot of gen sites wouldn't even mention the existence of slash, let alone host it. Then there's book vs TV series, not to mention the Crumpeteers, in whose fandom Archie lives on... But probably the worst faux pas you can make in that fandom is to get nautical or historical details wrong.
Oh no, now I'm all disappointed! I thought I'd found a haven of harmony and tolerance. Still, at least it means I've been looking in at the comms where the sensible people hang out.

the Crumpeteers, in whose fandom Archie lives on...

I'm not a mortalist! Some of my favourite characters are dead!
When I was lurking in Hornblower fandom for a while back in 2005/2006, the great Slash Wars of the past seem to have passed me by completely. I perceived it as a very slash-centric fandom, and it's also the only one of my fandoms so far where I was all about the pretty boys in uniform and not about the ladies doing awesome stuff. I was very much a Horatio/Archie OTP shipper, but if you want me to, I can go hunt down some of my favourite fics from way back when.

(And yes, the level of nautical geekery was very impressive. All I may vaguely know about the Age of Sail I learned from Hornblower slash discussions.)

A Feature, Not a bugt

To me, one of the salient characteristics of fandom is our insatiable need to find ways to work harder, so I think for fans in a historical fandom, it's an advantage to have the *chance* to learn so much about matters that would otherwise be obscure to them.