In your own space, share a book/song/movie/tv show/fanwork/etc that changed your life. Something that impacted on your consciousness in a way that left its mark on your soul. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.
I'm pretty sure I've had some version of this question before, and I'm pretty sure I have a few stock answers that I always give. I try to think of things that are different, but in the end, I come back to things that have shaped me and my fandom life.
And this year I'm going to talk about Amber.
My life would've been incredibly different without Roger Zelazny's Amber series. It's woven in and out of my life for such a long time, and at this point, I find it difficult to believe that it isn't somehow still affecting me. It's still a part of my vocabulary, that's for sure (as I often speak of the one true something of which all other somethings are but shadow). And it still influences my work, because Amber's Trump will always be an influence on things I do.
It actually started what feels like a lifetime ago. I read the original series while I was still in high school. The second series started about the time that I went off to college, and in my first weeks at college I was at the games club and got started talking to a guy about them somehow. His online nickname? Ghostwheel. I dated him for over a year. He's the one who got me started writing erotica stories (I published them on rec.arts.erotica at the time, we are talking internet ancient history here). This was back in the mid-80s. So folks who like reading my smut? You can thank a guy I met in 1986 all because we'd both read the same series of books by Roger Zelazny.
Moving on. Time passed, and I admit, I reread the series. I eventually read the whole second series. I kind of loved the entire concept of the books. Most people dreamed of discovering that they were lost princesses. I dreamed I was a lost child of another world entirely, that if I stepped in the right direction, small things would change in the world around me and I'd drift into another shadow. That I belonged to the royal family that lived in the one true world at the center of the universe. It was a lovely dream. Most people had no idea what I was talking about.
Then came the roleplaying game. Because the Amber Diceless RPG changed a whole lot of things.
For one, suddenly ALL MY FRIENDS loved Amber as much as I did. For two, I GOT TO PLAY A CHILD OF AMBER in an RPG. THIS WAS FUCKING AWESOME. In the games we played face to face, you were usually a lost child, someone that one of the Amberites sired and um, well, mostly never knew about until your character found their way to Amber. And the stories we told were epic! And the best part. THIS GAME WAS DICELESS. Everything revolved around the story, not random chance. It was exactly the kind of RPG I had always dreamed of.
It let me turn other diced games into diceless games. I may have been in RPG nirvana. And I played a lot of games at the time. A lot of games.
I grew up going to science fiction conventions, but never really went to a lot of gaming conventions. I did Genericon, because it was local. But then I went to Ambercon, and again, EVERYTHING changed. I knew these people via the Amber mailing list. I had friends all over the world (much like my friends from the vampyres mailing list). We met in Detroit and gamed for FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT. I knew so many people who loved to just sink into their characters and live as them, just the same way I did. It was BLISS.
And as we grew older, and had more responsibilities, the internet came more and more into our lives as well. We started playing games over email instead of face to face. We could play with friends from all over the world! We could get into long, intense conversations. We could write this huge, far-reaching stories. It was amazing.
For the record, I joined Livejournal because of an Amber game. Everyone was on LJ, and I wanted to join in the conversation. So I did. This was back in um, 2003 I think.
I ran an Amber gaming convention near Boston. I met one of my best friends there, and I still hold them dear to heart now (*blows kisses*). We don't see each other nearly often enough. I also used to travel every month to a game in Fall River--I started before I got married, and I was still doing it after Chick was born (she stayed with my folks). This got me to play with tornados once. And many fun road trips. And it's how I met matociquala
. Er, in general, I met an awful lot of authors because we were all playing Amber. Remember what I said about epic storytelling through RP?
Anyway, I was aiming for a point here. The GM of the game in Fall River said YOU MUST READ THESE BOOKS and told me to buy the first Harry Potter book. So I did. Then I bought the next ones and ALL THREE OF THEM over the weekend while running said Amber gaming convention near Boston. This was back in 2000, shortly before GoF came out. So you see, Amber is directly responsible for me falling in love with the Potterverse.
Wait, there's more. One of my Amber gaming friends was starting to transition from email gaming to playing on Livejournal (and eventually IJ and GJ too). And she told me I should join a Harry Potter game with her. So I did. And well, I fell down a huge rabbit hole of HP RPGs for a while there. But... I started writing background stories for my characters, and yes, there you have it, my entry into writing HP fanfic. It's all because of Amber.
And fanfic in general is because of Amber. I've been writing original work since I was a kid, but I only dabbled in fanfic rarely. But for the Amber games, I wrote novels and novels about my characters as game diaries. And one of my earliest Yuletide fics was Amber. I've never gotten around to bringing all my really old Amber fics to AO3, and honestly, now I probably won't. I kinda wince when I think how bad they probably are. But still. I wrote Amber first.
Every year during Yuletide, I go look for the new Amber stories. There always are a few (I read a fantastic one from Florimel's POV this year).
I don't tell as many people to go read the series now. It's dated, mired in the point of view of a misogynistic POV character written in the 70s. It doesn't appeal to the modern eye. But the bare bones, the concepts, those are still beautiful. Still inspiring. I could still wallow around in that world so easily. I read the books so many times, from Corwin's POV, to Dara's POV, and Brand's POV. I developed massive head canons. I have theories and thoughts and could branch off in so many directions. And oh goodness, there were shapeshifters. I could write an entire treatise on how getting to explore writing and RPing characters who could shift shape and/or were immortal allowed me to explore thoughts on gender and sexuality.
So yeah. Amber imprinted itself on my life. It's been a part of my life for more than thirty years, and there are so many points where without it, I would've become a different person.
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