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Your name in lights

Ever wondered why sometimes the names of characters in works of fiction are ... familiar? In the SF field there's a somewhat tongue-in-cheek tradition called Tuckerization (after SF author Wilson Tucker), whereby authors sometimes use the names of friends or acquaintances in their stories.

There's another SF tradition, called the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, "created in 1953 for the purpose of providing funds to bring well-known and popular members of science fiction fandom familiar to fans on both sides of the ocean, across the Atlantic" (as wikipedia puts it).

This year the TAFF fund administrators are running an auction, and they've got a bunch of SF writers (including yours truly) to join in. Here's your chance to get your name into a story or novel by, variously, folks like me, Mary Robinette Kowal, Elizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow, David Brin, Nalo Hopkinson, or Julie Czerneda. It's on eBay, it's due to end in the small hours on Tuesday night, and it's in a good cause.

28 Comments

1:

Well you're out front at $255 and tied with a 1st edition of "1984". Pretty good company.
Sincerely,
Michael Adamson (a good Scot name, don't you think?) :)

2:

Bizarre; I'd rather be remembered for what I'd done, rather than what I could afford to buy. If that means I remain a non-entity remembered by one person (if I'm lucky) then so be it.

But then that sort of matches my concept of a "good person"; if I've made just one person's life better (without any real negative impact on anyone else) then I've led a good life and been a good person. It was only when I met Tori that I raised myself from being neutral.

I don't want to change the world; just make it better for one person.

3:

Now I'm wondering if Manfred Macx got his start in life this way.

4:

This would make a great holiday gift...

5:

Or we can just comment here on a semi-regular basis in the hopes that our names will tickle your subconscious. :-D

6:

Charlie's auction is up a bit from when I mentioned the TAFF auctions on Making Light.

Stephen Haris @2, you can have any name put in from a consenting person (or, I suppose, your dog). This is a fairly common way of raising money in fandom and you don't know that your name will belong to a good person, or if it will be more than on a clerk's badge. I'm sure there are people who want their name in a book, but this is done mostly to raise money.

When an author very loosely based a character on me, I was very happy that he used Genevieve instead of my real name.

7:

After one israeli blogger asked Russian Sci-Fi author Sergey Lukyanenko (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Lukyanenko) a several questions in Lukyanenko's blog which Lukyanenko did not like, to revenge a blogger, in one of his books Lukyanenko ("Last Watch") made a stupid vampire character with the same exact name as blogger (Alexei Sapojnikov, i am not sure about English spelling)

8:

After one israeli blogger asked Russian Sci-Fi author Sergey Lukyanenko (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Lukyanenko) a several questions in Lukyanenko's blog which Lukyanenko did not like, to revenge a blogger, in one of his books Lukyanenko ("Last Watch") made a stupid vampire character with the same exact name as blogger (Alexei Sapojnikov, i am not sure about English spelling)

9:

Anything riding on who gets the highest bid?

10:

I was tuckerised as part of a Baen's Universe subscription - and was rather pleased by the result...

It is a very guilty pleasure!

-- Andrew

11:

You know sooner or later someone's going to exploit this and there'll be a bunch of books with 'Hugh J Cockmonster' as the protagonist.

12:

Even though the price has gone a bit high for me, I'm soooo tempted to still put a late bid in.

The rationilization that it's "For Charity" can calm my beating heart (or that of my bank manager).

Of course I'd also be hoping that if said Tuckerized character was going to get it, then it would be in an interesting and plot driving way.

Then again, a piano falling on said characters head would probably do!

13:

Robin @11: tough as this may sound, I reserve the right to say "here's your money back -- now fuck off".

Luckily it's a very cost-ineffective way to send spam ...

14:

I'm the current highest bidder, for what it's worth: I bet Serraphin @12 isn't the only person out there considering a late bid... Stephen Haris @2 implicitly asked the question of why pay for something so vain as to be named in a book. It's a fair question. I followed the link from Whatever, and bid because it sounds like fun: I have all bar one of our host's books, and it just appealed to appear, however tangentially or trivially, in a future story. I don't *think* that makes me a bad person...

The thought which did make me pause is that it feels to some extent like intruding on a private party. I'm a fan, but not a Fan. I don't go to cons or the local SF group. I just buy the books. Reading everything Dave Langford and PLOKTA put on the web doesn't count. I'm not involved in TAFF in any way. Is it ok, as an outsider to fandom, to bid?

15:

>Is it ok, as an outsider to fandom, to bid?
Oh noes. You've broken the sacred covenant. The end times are surely upon us!

Charlie@13 - Made me laugh and I needed a laugh today. Thanks!

Although I wasn't thinking of it as spam, just as one of those 'for the lulz' things people do. But a cunning viral marketer might put the name of an unknown but up and coming product in there.

16:

Looking at that set of actions... this is a very direct way to find out which authors have fans that find out about this stuff. I hope nobody's ego is too badly wounded by places in their books fetching lower prices.

17:

>>Is it ok, as an outsider to fandom, to bid?
>Oh noes. You've broken the sacred covenant. The end times >are surely upon us!

It was a rhetorical question. Can we glue the sacred covenant thingy back together?

>Charlie@13 - Made me laugh

Quite. It's an interesting choice - a Tuckerization for $x or a FOAD email from Charlie for free.

18:

Two problems for me:

a) Michael Crichton already did it in The Andromeda Strain.

b) Who knows what a now-famous New Zealand film director would think of whatever the character got up to?

One advantage for me:

I'm actually quite hard to find on the Internet, as a needle in a stack of cultish needles.

19:

Quercus2010 @14, Fandom is a bit bigger than you think. Back in the day, just reading SFF made you a fan, and reading fanzines and going to cons made you a big fan. Ansible was a fanzine, although it's been elevated, and Plokta still is (the last time I saw Sue Mason in person she was in Mpls as the TAFF person).

Reading blogs and journals from sftnal folk with stfnal ideas (like Charlie's here), watching video discussions about stfnal ideas, and contributing to stfnal discussions are all fannish.

You read the books, the fanzines, and contribute to/read the blogs, so you're a fan. From our definition, at least. If you'd rather not be pinned with that title, that's okay, too.

20:

The Cory Doctorow tucker is up to $510. I guess that means there will be a character named Cory in his next book. :)

21:

Although it is generally favorable to bid at the last moment instead of early, in this case you should do the opposite. If you favor the TAFF, then bid early, to drive the price higher!

By early, I mean now!

22:

>You read the books, the fanzines, and contribute to/read the blogs, so you're a fan. From our definition, at least.

Eeeew. I feel all icky. This is why I'm not a fan. Fans display a level of enthusiasm that's just that little bit too much for my British sense of propriety.

Like a parent gushing over their child's poop.

23:

Robin @22, as I said, if you don't want to be called a fan, fine. I do object to stfnal elements (like Charlie's blog) being likened to poop.

24:

@23: Marilee, are you talking about this blog after we're all done with it, or when it leaves Charlie?

Didn't see the winning bid, but congrats to all who won.

25:

The auction's over: it went for $510, which is the same as Cory's winning bid (and a bit more than the winning bid for David Brin -- hah!). I'm now waiting to hear back from the winner about which work of fiction he wants to be in; "Rule 34" only has vacancies for villains, so he may want to wait for the next Laundry novel ...

26:

heteromeles @24, both -- when it leaves him and then as we add things. He doesn't have to like the comments, but that's been true of fanzines for ages.

27:

"Back in the day, just reading SFF made you a fan"

Actually, from the first fan groups and clubs, sf fans distinguished between people doing something to be active in fandom, whether that be corresponding by mail, coming to a club meeting, or any other activity that brought a fan into contact with ative fandom, and people who were readers, and otherwise inactive.

That activity is what gave fans their identity as fans. Fans distinguished fans from readers uninterested in fandom because fans were looking for fellow fans to engage with.

Read, say, Jack Speer in Up To Now, written in 1939, for a bunch of examples and explication in the first work of fanhistory ever done.

Writing blog comments is, of course, no different than letterhacking a prozine, and is fanac just the same as any other fanac.

28:

@Charlie
"Rule 34" only has vacancies for villains, so he may want to wait for the next Laundry novel"

Well, I don't know about the person who won the auction, but I believe that appearing in someone's book as a villain would be much more fun than being a hero (and I've recently discovered that the webcomic author Randy Milholland apparently shares my sentiments: http://www.somethingpositive.net/sp12172009.shtml )

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on December 6, 2009 1:13 PM.

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