Dear bestselling author John Ringo,
So I've reached chapter 24 of "When the Devil Dances",(spoilers
) and there's a tank named after a Sluggy Freelance character, Bun-Bun.
I'm always ranting about how
intrusive shout-outs often are in fanfics. I've relaxed my stance on that a little. There's a time and a place, folks, a time and a place. And I've noticed your habit, Mr. Ringo, of having characters make references to movies and stuff. This is backed up by your own afterword stating that you found Kipling was popular among the doughboys while you were still serving, and the fact that people occasionally look at the character making the reference and having no idea what they're talking about. They're mimetic
references, rather than fanfic's usual diegetic
has some stories taking place after Tron: Legacy when Sam occasionally makes a few references to pop-culture stuff. The story is tight-third person, so it makes sense when the narrative makes these references as well. Fanfics that are lighter in tone can "get away" with larger amounts of it, such as my own Fila Derrouge
, though even those can sink under the weight of "wacky injoke lol".
In the chapter I linked to, there is a piece of...artillery, to understate,that has recently been decorated with a picture of SF's Bun-Bun with a switchblade and the phrase "Let's Rock, Posleen-boy!"
I know your target audience is, well, geeks, but expecting all--or even most--of them to get a reference to a then-five year old comic strip
seems...unprofessional. As does the idea of the crew
drawing the thing in the first place. As does the series of other wacky injokes (lol) that follow. You mention that they were going to clear it with the higher-ups, but hadn't got a chance to.
The closest thing something like this has come to happening in the real world, AFAIK, is a bunch of Boy Scouts with a Dr. McNinja patch
This is not helped by the fact that I have only a vague idea what the references they're making are. I know very little about SF; it's part of the general geekery background noise, like Monty Python or Warhammer 40K. I was completely lost. At least with the poetical stuff, the reader can generally grok that it's poetical stuff. Same with pop-culture references. This is just...irritating. and I've really been liking the series so far.
EDIT: One of the characters mentioned "Bun-Bun" to a random officer, who not only knew what he was talking about, and he happened to be a big fan. So we have two people, in the middle of the apocalypse, who happen to have read the same webcomic. Most fanfics
wouldn't try to get us to believe that.