Book review: NEW TAB by Guillaume Morissette

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Guillaume dodges the sophomore slump with his latest, New Tab, a semi-autobiographical take on underbelly city life and crippling self-doubt, two ideas that vary in magnitude. Montreal, as depicted by Gui, is lawless and completely dissimilar to our classical understanding of this picturesque town enhanced by our most famous literary exports. Imagine instead a much rougher appearance, and your favorite neighborhood looted by millenials. Wi-Fi signals are stolen with cash on stowaway. A young man's vision of desire is taken from him. Poor life choices lead to possible bereavement.

A network of relationships is at the core of this 'event'. As is Thomas' view on art for the sake of art. His self-awareness is not only a fundamental issue but also a hilarious plot device that conjures the best of the author's ability to alleviate and make sense of sadness.

The characters are intentionally homogenous to highlight Thomas' character. Shannon is especially well written. Her humorous quips in light of other more pressing issues are proof that Facebook chat is fast becoming a literary pastiche.

This is Guillaume's first full-length novel published through Véhicule Press. Guillaume's brand potential has almost overshadowed his overall end product, which raises important questions about the nature and the structure of Quebec's literary landscape. But his work far surpasses that, and its target audience is all consuming and ever expanding. Guillaume's anxiety is very much enjoyable as a second hand experience. If you happen to live in the Montreal area, you should try and hear him read a portion of New Tab while the getting is good.


Thumbnail image for GP"Trope [the word] refers to a conventional literary device or figure of speech in which elements within a story plot, setting, characterization, or 'behind the scenes' of a fanwork (or canon source material) are a common concept that audiences are already familiar with and can easily recognize. Tropes are related to the concept of clichés but are not actually the same thing, especially in that they are not necessarily overused to the point of being distracting. Rather tropes are significant or recurrent themes whose universality makes them a convenient conduit for familiar concepts." - Fanfiction Terminology

No matter how small a fandom might be, one can always count on finding at least one trope fic, if not dozens, hundreds, or even thousands more. The fact of the matter is, that trope writing is an inescapable aspect of fanfiction. One would be hard pressed to find a seasoned, or even moderate, fanfiction author that hasn't at the very least written one trope fic. Which is why, when exploring the world of fanfiction, one ought to become familiar with the most basic of tropes. The following review will not only list five of the most popular fanfiction tropes - but five of the oldest as well.

However, before moving on to the review itself, the reader should be made aware of the following terms prior to proceeding with the article.

Cannon: "refers to elements established by the original source material (TV show, book, movie, etc...) itself for either plot, setting, or character developments." - Fanfiction Terminology

Fandom: "refers to the fan-based community dedicated to a particular TV show or other cult-inducing medium, including movies, books, music, comics, and any other canon source material. The term "fandom" can be used to represent either the fans and the multitude of ways in which they follow and enjoy the original source material, or as a generic way of referring to the original source material that supports a fan-based community itself. Fandom includes both the internet presence and real-life existence, and is expressed in many ways including websites, mailing lists, archives, fanart, fanfic, Cons, etc..." - Fanfiction Terminology

The following is a list of some of the most popular tropes in fanfiction nowadays. No matter how small a fandom, it's likely you will find an example of at least one of these tropes - if not more. With them, I've included examples of fanfictions that fall into that particular trope category. In our last post, we discussed the top two most popular tropes: What If Fics, and The Fake Relationship/Mariage trope. In this post, we wrap-up our review of The Top Five Most Popular Tropes. Next post - we begin our examination of Five Fanfiction Tropes That Have Seemingly Been Around Since the Dawn of Time.

3. The Pregnancy/Baby trope is rather self explanatory. One of the characters is either pregnant, becomes pregnant or has a baby/child. The circumstances surrounding this particular situation depends entirely upon the time of sub-trope the author has chosen - of which there are too many to name. The pitfalls of this particular trope is once again dependent upon the particular sub-trope the author utilises, although an overall conscern with these fics is finding a delicate balance between over-exposing and under-exposing the subject. Examples include:

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"I Took A Wrong Turn Somewhere (Somehow I Ended Up Right)" By LadyChi: Felicity Smoak made one mistake in her whole life, and his name was Oliver Queen. They had one night together, and then the Queen's Gambit went down. Then she found herself crying in a dormitory bathroom, hoping what she knew down to her bones to be the truth was a lie...Felicity Smoak has Oliver Queen's children.

"Obligations" By A True Dreamer: Choices are made. Secrets are kept. Sides are taken. Nothing is the way its supposed to be, and the person with the power to make it all alright again refuses. Kessi Story.

Five Fanfiction Tropes that Have Seemingly Been Around Since the Dawn of Time:

The following is a list of some of the oldest fanfiction tropes around. Like the most popular tropes of today, it's highly likely that you will find at least one example, if not dozens more, of one or more of the following tropes. In addition to having been utilized in some of the most popular fanfictions around, the following tropes have also managed to spawn their own sub-tropes - some of which are even fandom specific. With them, I've included examples of fanfictions that fall into that particular trope category. In our last post, we wrapped-up our review of The Top Five Most Popular Tropes. In this post we examine the top two tropes of Five Fanfiction Tropes That Have Seemingly Been Around Since the Dawn of Time. In our next post, we shall reveal the last three tropes, and conclude our review.

1. Alternate Universe (AU) Fics "refer[s] to a story of which there is a (often major) plot, setting, or character deviation away from established canon. AUs may be anything, but there are some themes that are quite common in a variety of fandoms such as All Human AUs, Animal AUs, Highschool AUs, and/or Modern AUs, for example. Authors may also create and develop their own unique worlds in which to place familiar characters. Sometimes referred to as Alternate Realities, Alternate Timelines or Parallel Realities, but such precise distinctions are not usually necessary." - Fanfiction Terminology. Examples of Alternate Universe (AU) Fics include:

2.jpg"we keep all our promises (be us against the world)" By Tarafina: [au - no island] Oliver Queen has no idea what he's doing with his life, but when his father gives him an ultimatum, he has to figure it out. After meeting Felicity Smoak, he finds himself on a new path and his eyes are opened to what happiness really means and how finding it takes more courage than he ever thought he had.

"I Wish The Shadow Would Take Me Away" By pieanddeductions: Wendy Darling didn't think she would ever go back to Neverland. She didn't think she would ever want to. But when things change, and the real world begins to sting, The Shadow returns and takes her hand. This is the story of the deal she makes with Peter Pan, and the consequences it brings to them both.

The following is a list of some of the oldest fanfiction tropes around. Like the most popular tropes of today, it's highly likely that you will find at least one example, if not dozens more, of one or more of the following tropes. In addition to having been utilized in some of the most popular fanfictions around, the following tropes have also managed to spawn their own sub-tropes - some of which are even fandom specific. With them, I've included examples of fanfictions that fall into that particular trope category. In our final post, we conclude our review of Five Fanfiction Tropes That Have Seemingly Been Around Since the Dawn of Time.

3. Backstories explore the background of a particular character. We not only learn about that character's life before they've been introduced in the storyline cannon, but we learn more about them in the canon timeline. For example, character C is more of secondary character, despite her popularity with the audiences. As such, we don't know much about her save a few random facts. The backstory trope allows the fanfiction author to write an in-depth examination of the character. Examples include:

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"You Should Have Met Me in 1864" By Shnook35: Set after season 3, What if, after a spell gone wrong, Elena is sent back to 1864 in the middle of the Stefan/Katherine/Damon love triangle? Will she fall in love with Stefan all over again or choose the other brother. Full summary in first chapter.

"The Reunion" By Sandys18: Felicity can't find a date to her high school reunion and Felicity doesn't want Oliver's help. One thing leads to another and they both run into a bit of a problem, thanks to one of Felicity's enemies that she meets at the reunion.

"Once Upon A Time"... There Was Fanfiction.

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Once Upon A Time (2).jpgOver the course of the past year, Montrealites has explored the world of fanfiction. We have discussed such topics as Fanfiction Ethics and Fanfiction Reviewing Etiquette in two blog entries. We have interviewed no less than three fanfiction authors: Col3725, Lenora Colledge and threesquares. In addition we've been working on a review of the top five fanfiction tropes, which will be posted on Montrealites in weeks to come. We also plan to close off our segment with an interactive assignment on the various fanfiction downloading methods available. However, prior to posting our review and final assignment, we will, in the present feature article, examine the historical origins of fanfiction and its evolution.

First, the reader should be made to understand that the term fanfiction, is in and of itself, relatively new. The term fanfiction has only emerged in the past few decades, and its widespread use and definition, can be somewhat attributed to the advent of the internet. Nonetheless, the concept of fanfiction - the concept of "using existing characters and situations to develop new plots" has been around for centuries.

Thumbnail image for Lwowska_Galeria_Sztuki_-_Paul_Merwart_-_The_Flood.jpgNow, we might go on and on about the subject - and retrace the origins of fanfiction all the way back to ancient times. We could go into extensive detail about how ancient cultures were overly fond of merging various folktales, or how they would often incorporate the mythologies of other cultures, specifically those cultures which they had conquered, into their own mythologies - all in a bid to avoid alienating the newly incorporated populace, and homogenise their society and cultural history. This, of course, is the one of the reasons why there exists so many different versions of the same myth - for example, that of the flood myths. As a result of their different origins, the characters themselves often differ. But the end result is almost always the same - the human populace is reborn. Now, whether humanity is reconstructed through traditional means, or by throwing rocks over one's head, is once again dictated by the myth's origin.

Again, we can go on...

But really, we'd rather not - if only for the sake of expediency and a set word count.

 

Interview With "Bones" Fanfiction Author threesquares

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Bones Fanfiction Thread BannerThe following interview with Bones fanfiction author threesquares is the third - and final interview in a series of three. These interviews explore the world of fanfiction, as well as the opinions and experiences of these fanfiction authors. Fanfiction author threesquares has been writing fanfiction since 2011. Click on threesquares pename to view her fanfiction.net author profile.

 

Interview with Bones Fanfiction Author threesquares:

 

JV: Are you familiar with Kathy Reichs?

Threesquares: I am.  I am a reader, not a tv watcher primarily.  I had read all the books she had written at the time I first started watching bones, right around season 5, so 4 or so years ago.

JV: In that case, would you say that your interest in Reichs' Temperance Brennan murder mystery series is what initially attracted you to Bones?

Threesquares: Hmmm.  On the one hand, I don't think so.  I get very attached to characters so I was already attached to Tempe and Ryan and Katie and the whole world of Montreal vs. North Carolina.  So I was kind of passively uninterested in watching Bones.  But then I turned 40.  And I had migraines, for the first time in my life.  Took a few months to sort it all out and get medication that worked, so for a while, I would be up all night long trying to wrestle the things into submission before going to teach school.  And Bones marathons were on.  Then I was hooked on those characters.  I know KR is involved in Bones the TV show to some extent but they really might as well be two different things.

The Top Five Canadian Books to Read Right Now

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The long lull of Montreal winter can leave many craving the summertime sun, but as long as we're all stuck inside for a few weeks longer, why not read a good book or two? Below, I've compiled a list of Canadian books that people have been talking about as well as a few I think people should be talking about. Choose a title or two from the list to pass the time with a good literary adventure before all the slow melts and we can go off to have some adventures of our own.

What's in an Autograph? James Franco's Visit to Montreal

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When I first heard about the James Franco event in Montreal I was excited to learn more about his book, Actors Anonymous, but was soon disappointed to find out that it would be a signing event without a reading or question period. Though initially discouraged, I began to think about what the event might be like. What kind of people would wait in line just to get a signature? Would the people attending be interested in Franco as an author or as an actor in films like This is the End and Pineapple Express? What kind of relationship with these fans have with the work? What value does the signature have both in terms of emotional significance and monetary value?





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