It is my turn today, and a privilege to honor one of our most supportive #RRBC member. Jan Hawke is relentless, and tireless in supporting and profiling #RRBC members that she deserves to be supported. Please, let us come out in droves to show her or love, and support.
The Fantasy Freebooting Tour – Part 2
A pirate by any other name?
Having made a decision to write about creating online roleplay personas, inevitably I needed to address the murky world of freebooting, because essentially, that’s what fan communities do – pirate their literary or cinematic idols identities and worlds.
Here’s what the Oxford English Dictionary has to say on the subject…
Definition of freebooter in English:
A pirate or lawless adventurer.
Synonyms: pirate, marauder, raider;
bandit, bandito, robber;
archaic: buccaneer, corsair
• Similar standards did not exist elsewhere in a world much beset by brigandage, freebooting, dacoity and the insolence of outlaws.
• But it would be small, often mutually competitive units of traders, freebooting adventurers, and penitential pilgrims who would make the running in the Mediterranean.
• Like many other impecunious Caribbean drifters at the time, Dampier slipped into a life of freebooting and buccaneering, hopping from ship to ship, raiding Spanish vessels and towns.
Late 16th century: from Dutch vrijbuiter, from vrij ‘free’ + buit ‘booty’, + the noun suffix -er. Compare with filibuster.
Or, if you prefer something a little more up to date, this is what Wiktionary says about the act itself…
• Piracy or plundering.
• (computing) Software piracy, or plagiarism or unauthorized rehosting of digital content.
• 1982, InfoWorld (volume 4, number 15, page 30)
Your recent issue about the problems of electronic software piracy or “freebooting” — if you will — was excellent and timely. However, I wonder if both sides have failed to understand the social significance of the struggle.
• 2014, Brady Haran, Hello Internet: Episode #5: Freebooting (the first use of the term with this sense):
Oh those freebooters taking our videos! I’m sick of it. Freebooting, you know, it’s a serious issue!
So – a big problem immediately arose because, although Tolkien had never written about a character called Janowyn, I’d placed her in a faux Rivendell, singing about original characters and events. I couldn’t write a book using the name of Rivendell, Imladris or The Last Homely House (the Professor was a great one for giving everything and everyone more than one name), or any other characters or locations from The Lord of the Rings universe, without getting into deep legal and fiscal doo-doo when I came to publish!
What to do… Well of course my recourse was to do what any other self-preserving hack does – change the names to protect the not so innocent! Jano was OK, but it was kind of fun finding other ways to ‘reinvent’ her tales of Middle Earth’s heroes and histories so that they had new labels, but still ‘worked’ in my reweaving, and at least retained some of the look and feel of the revered originals.
There was also the ‘problem’ of other people’s characters that Jano played with. I’d lost touch with some of them, though others are still my good friends and fellow authors. Where there’s a will there’s a way – I indulged in a little jiggery-pokery with the disclaimers and came up with this little catch-all…
This is a memoir with the focus on the author’s fantasy world. In the case of names, characters and places, from the fan websites, these have all been changed from the accepted canon of the original books and motion pictures to avoid copyright infringements, and where a fellow roleplayer’s permission has not been given to (or sought by) the author.
Luckily, the most important and significant roleplay characters I interacted with, were all happy for me to mention them in passing if needed. In fact, my friend who played Jano’s true love has written the foreword for me ‘in character’ – there’s not many authors who have a ennobled Wood Elf introducing their work!
Don’t worry about what freebooting is—that’ll be explained very soon if you’re not already familiar with the concept. For those of you who are, or at least know that ‘booting’ has something to do with going online (well computers anyway…), you’re on the right track, but it’s very much an inveterately human activity still.
As you can tell from the subtitle, this is a semi auto-biographical work, but the almanac assignment is a more truthful description of what goes on between the covers. This is because the tapestry of words contained within is essentially a series of snapshots taken during a lifetime’s journey, that encompasses one person’s struggles with health, achievement, emotion and, most of all, dreams and imagination. Yes, it’s me, me, me all the way through, but the fantasy twist is that often I’m behind a mask, or in shadow, or slipping a veil over things as I explore various personas and character facets. This may or may not be a conscious experience since we’re dealing with the Fantasia of Life and there’s been a fair amount of ‘making it up as I go’ action going on, alongside a great deal of ‘I have no idea what I’m doing’ prevarication.
All I can assure you of as you go further into this work of faction, is that it doesn’t matter whether it really happened or not—life is as much a journey of the mind as one of physical experience, through a series of events and encounters in the ‘real world’. After all, even if you think you don’t believe in fantasy or magic, your dreams are not always yours to command, or even to remember, and science is still left with plenty of work to do in unlocking the secrets our brains’ conjure within all that mushy grey matter and electrical impulses. Freebooting is a fluid and undefined undertaking, much like setting forth into uncharted waters without a map of any real description, or even an idea of what to expect, which is why an almanac is always handy, if only to use as a journal to jot down the course you chart.
‘Magic always happens for a reason, wherever and however it is created. Inside the fantasy, or springing from it…’
Siân Glírdan is the fusion persona of the elven roleplay character, Janowyn (Jano), High Bard of the River Kingdom and her ‘real world’ creator, author, Jan Hawke. Glírdan is the elven word for ‘songsmith’, and Siân is a Welsh variant of Jan (in case you were wondering!). When it became obvious to Jan that Jano had a far better handle than she could ever have on writing in the fantasy genres, Siân was born, fully formed and raring to go. A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac, which is basically the manual on how Jano was brought into being and developed, is Siân and Jano’s first official collaboration. They’re currently working hard on an epic future fantasy series, Tomes of the Havenlands, loosely based on the ancient Celtic world. The first volume should reach the shelves at the end of 2016.
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Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac back blurb
This is poetry, wrapped in fantasy, within a memoir… Or, to put it another way, it’s a true tale that might well apply to many fantasy fans and gamers who can’t be bothered with keeping their realities separated from their more lurid imaginings. In my case, this is a sort of ‘real’ cyberspace profiling, during a phase of my life when roleplay truly did need to be therapy, because what was happening around me for real was not what I wanted to participate in. So, buckle up your swash and prepare to witness a titanic battle played out on the field of sanity – where what happens in your head is the only truth that matters.
“The tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”