It's Valentine's Day here at apocrypha, and that means time for
hearts, flowers, smooching ... and a little stray murder on the side. It
also means it's time for us to announce our Blue Wall Award winners, so
trot on over to the fiction section and gaze at what you, the readers,
voted as your favorite selections in four categories this year. We love
'em all, but we're biased -- after all, we picked 'em in the first place!
"While there is nothing specific within your terms concerning age appropriate access or submissions, I have no doubt this is something you consider. Many of the stories posted within your site are rated in such a way as to suggest only adult perusal. Submissions containing slash material, for example, would clearly be inappropriate for younger readers."And this:
"This brings me the problem: One of the authors whose submissions you have posted is only thirteen years old.... I was appalled upon realizing that a child had written a story with such content.... Surely I can't be the only person who finds this matter unacceptable. If this young girl were to approach a book publishing agency with such a story in hand, the publisher would not be able to distance themselves from her quickly enough, fearing legal repercussions. It is one thing for an adult to read or write whatever material they choose. But I find it deeply disturbing that a child of this age is capable of writing stories with such content and then getting them published, most likely by misrepresenting her true age. I have to wonder where this girl's parents are."Horse. Carcass. Stick. Nevertheless, it is worth saying again: Freedom of speech is not abridged just because a person is not of a particular age. Anyone, of any age, may write whatever he or she likes. If it offends, and does so non-slanderously, there is no recourse in our legal system (nor should there be) to prevent them from doing so. Would courts actually go after a publisher who published the slash writings of a teenager? We sincerely doubt that. (Legal experts, have at it.) So. If the right to say things is not under question, it is important to question the underlying issue. As linguist Suzette Haden Elgin has noted in her many Verbal Self-Defense books, what is said is not often what is meant. The issue this reader had with the slash fic was in the content of the story, not the fact of the story. She is overwhelmed that a writer of a particular age would not only write sexually-oriented stories, but that they would not be heterosexual sexually-oriented stories. There is the Puritan no-sex angle, and the Biblical no-deviant-sex angle, coming head to head. So to speak.
We have never at apocrypha received any negative commentary about the heterosexual sex in our stories. Or how they are rated. We clearly indicate when sex is an issue, and include an extra icon when it is a slash story. The fact is that a story with slash sex will be reacted to with disgust, while that same story, with heterosexual sex, will not. The hypocrisy of the reaction is not lost on us.
If the subject matter of a story bothers you, do feel free to write us. But remember: The reaction is yours. The story is the author's. Examine what it is in you that reacted so negatively -- or positively -- before rendering judgment. And while you're chewing on all of this, here's another tidbit: One of our stories this issue was written by a professed 12 year old. Do we have proof? Only the author's word. Does it matter? Not a bit.
Though it does make us feel a little old....
So then, on to this issue! As we noted, the Blue Wall winners are up and ready for a re-reading, plus we've got four new fresh fanfic stories and six challenges to go by. Kor would like to point to her pick of the issue by wondering, "What does it mean when there are no doubts, no regrets, no guilt? "Cold Light of Dawn" is a thought-provoking glimpse of Claire outside the confines of her relationship with Jack, especially for anyone who believes (as she does) that their relationship was complicated and would not have lasted had she lived." Kitt, meanwhile, fell head over heels with the stylized "Scene But Not Heard," which also examines what might have happened had Claire lived. Sure, it's a well-worn topic, but these are two original takes on it. Additionally, We've also made our contest a little easier to figure out this time around, and what's up for grabs are the two Chris Noth Crossing Jordan episodes, on special review videotapes, no commercials! So, get cracking. Next issue will be out in June, probably midway through, so you've got some time to check out our most unusual challenge ... and research that contest answer. Enjoy, and always feel free to write us.
Looking forward to hearing from you -- and since it's still VD, spread the love as many ways as you can...
P.S. Psst! We've changed our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The old one doesn't work no more!