The Sober Universe
This is the forum to discuss materials relating to the Sober Universe SU. The Sober Universe is the canon material excluding interviews, documentaries, and additional material from JKR.
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ToManyLetters

As many have probably noticed, the Sober Universe is being mentioned outside of the Sober Universe forum - as well as outside of FanFiction.net and, unfortunately, not always in a positive light.

To clear up any ideas people may have about the Sober Universe and its forum, members, and ideals, I would like to start of by discussing what the Sober Universe is NOT.

1. It is not a way to dethrone Ms. Rowling in any way, shape, or form. Despite our snarkiness and dislike of some of the events that have been revealed to have transpired within the Harry Potter Universe, even outside of the books, J. K. Rowling is still the owner, creator, and - for lack of a better word - "goddess" of the Harry Potter Universe. She has every right to say what has happened after the books - they are hers, after all.

As she said during an interview, "So I know this sounds an awful lot of detail to go into for your own satisfaction and not because you're planning to write more books, but that's just how it was. I couldn't stop. I had to know what happened next. It gives me a certain satisfaction to say what I thought happened and to tell other people that because I would like my version to be the official version still - even though I've not written it in a book - because it's my world." (J. K. Rowling, J. K. Rowling, A Year in the Life) Her version still is the official version, even for us.

2. We do not shove our fanons down anyone's throats, despite claims to the contrary. We do not purport to have a world better than that which Rowling gave to us (as much as we may like our stories). Just like every other group of fanfictioneers out there, we create our modified versions of Rowling's marvelous universe and craft it into a new creature. We give characters that had no voice a voice - and characters that had a voice a slightly different one. Like all people of the fan fiction community, we hope to help others see the what-could-have-beens of the series, and hope they enjoy our little bits of writing. We show others just what could have happened if George married Katie, or if Harry found a romantic interest in Hermione. We show what might have happened if Lavender had died in the Battle of Hogwarts, or many other things that we don't know - or didn't know - for certain. We write stories to share our dreams, our take on the Potter Universe - and we love reviews, too, just like everyone else. Our stories are our creations, but we owe all we have to Ms. Rowling. She created this marvelous universe in which we play.

Now that we've established that fact, let us move on to what the Sober Universe is.

1. The Sober Universe is a tongue-in-cheek way of saying - just like "Alternate Universe" - that the story doesn't quite comply with every little canonical detail out there. What it does establish, however, is that it does comply with printed canonical information - the book series - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - as well as the three extra books printed to accompany them - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, and Tales of Beedle the Bard. These ten books constitute the whole of the Sober Universe - or the Sober Universe 'canon'. Canon outside of these ten books is applied as it is wanted. Hey, it's fan fiction. Things happen. I'm at least fairly certain J. K. Rowling would not even dream of Ginny and Draco on a date or a moonlit walk or Harry and Ron knowing each other more than men should in whatever room they might... but these things happen in fan fiction. The 'Sober Universe' is basically an "Alternate Universe" that is not quite as... alternate.

2. The Sober Universe is a place where people get together. Yes, that's right. We do social stuff here. We recommend fan fiction, we recommend regular fiction. We have a chat - we argue about football - both the real football and the American kind. (Yes, that's right, I just made a dig at my own country.) Even so - we come here to enjoy ourselves in a civil manner - a sober manner. The Sober Universe is one of the tamest forums here at Fanfiction.net. It's wonderful. There are lots of people to meet, to get to know - heck, who knows? Maybe someone will get hooked-up with someone else in real life after meeting here. It's great! So, kick off your shoes and sit back and enjoy this forum - and if you find you like it - spread the news!

ToManyLetters (Proudly Ravenclaw)

Administrator, The Sober Universe Forum

6/22/2010 . Edited 2/4/2011 #1
Josephine Stone

Wow. I did not know that anyone talked about this forum outside of its members. I really like this forum because most of you are really mature and it is still an active forum. I got feed up with a lot of other forums, because instead of discussions most of the people would just post 'ur stupid' or something similar whenever someone started a new topic. I also remember when I first came here reading something about how (even though we are writers of fanfiction) trying to stay as close to cannon as possible. (The cannon she actually wrote. It would be difficult for someone that didn't follow all of her interviews to even know anything else anyway. Though we all have the books to reference.) And even though I only ship same sex relationships and Ron/Hermione, I like the idea of staying as close to cannon as possible. I don't like reading stories and having dead people come back to life or having characters that didn't die end up dying. I like the books the way they are (for the most part.) I just do not like heterosexual relationships, at all. If there had been homosexual relationships in the books (Other than Dumbledore, who never really got to have a relationship) then I would probably not even need fanfiction. But, that is the reason we do need fanfiction, because there is no way any writer can give every fan what they want. Since Harry/Ginny happened that meant that Harry/Hermione, Harry/Draco, Harry/Ron, Harry/Luna shippers have to come here for their happy endings.

Plus, JKR is rather on the tragic side with every single character other than the DA.

George marrying his brother's ex girlfriend. Neither one of them ever getting over Fred's death.

Bill being bitten by a werewolf. Both Tonks/Lupin dying leaving Teddy an orphan.

Percy, just because he is so uptight, had a tragic life all together. The same with Draco you can never tell if they were ever really happy just because the way they act. (in an interview JKR said that Draco never was able to produce a patronus charm. That would mean that in his entire life he could not think of one happy memory. How is that not tragic?)

Dumbledore falls in love once at 17 or 18, but never gets to be in a relationship with him then has to send his only love to prison for the rest of his life.

Snape only ever loves Lily who chooses someone else and then dies.

I know that most of that in the books, because I don't actually read any of her interviews I don't know everything else she has come out with. But if it is going to continue to be this tragic, then I would rather just stick to the books and not deal with anymore heart ache.

6/22/2010 #2
Respitini

As many have probably noticed, the Sober Universe is being mentioned outside of the Sober Universe forum - as well as outside of FanFiction.net and, unfortunately, not always in a positive light.

Meh.

1) Some people really have far too much time on their hands.

2) Eff 'em if they can't take a joke. For realz.

Oh, and you forgot: 3. We write ludicrous crack!fic in the forum postings, because it's against the rules, and because we're just anarchists like that. Comme nous roulons...

6/22/2010 #3
Bad Mum

both the real football and the American kind

You wonderful man!

And Christopher, I'll just ditto your whole post...

6/22/2010 #4
Princess Gillybean

What Katy said.

6/23/2010 #5
Vera Rozalsky

Those with no taste for meta-, literary or mathematical, can skip the following.

Writing fanfiction is an exercise in axiomatics. J. K. Rowling's axiom set is as follows:

1) books 1-6

2) book 7, less the epilogue

3) book 7 epilogue

4) interviews, author website, author's working notes (including abandoned plot threads)

Fan-fiction is a game with axioms, like unto non-Euclidian geometry. The Big One above is (3), which plays a role in HP fanfiction analogous to Euclid's parallel postulate. You cannot prove it, only accept or reject it. :)

Your humble author affiliates with Sober Universe although her axiom set usually includes 1) and 2), with occasional thievery from subsets of (3) and (4) as the mood takes her. Getting into holy wars about it strikes me as about as silly as the hyperbolic geometry folks facing off against the elliptic and plane geometry folks. (Rulers and straightedges at the ready! May the best geometer win!)

The real reason that I affiliate with Sober Universe is that the folks over here are _sane_ for the most part. ;) My respect for JKR is unbounded; her generosity and sense of humor in allowing us all to play about in her sandbox should be acknowledged with gratitude. It's been a very important part of my own apprenticeship as a novelist. I might agree or disagree with her about her own view of her characters, but it's always intended to be civil. The vitriolic bile-spewing that I see in parts of this fandom (and to be just, others as well) just blows my mind sometimes. If I ever got as famous as JKR, I think I would be inclined to hide under the sofa and never, ever google myself on the internets. :)

Yours,

Vera Rozalsky

12/19/2010 #6
neonorne

My respect for JKR is unbounded; her generosity and sense of humor in allowing us all to play about in her sandbox should be acknowledged with gratitude. It's been a very important part of my own apprenticeship as a novelist. I might agree or disagree with her about her own view of her characters, but it's always intended to be civil. The vitriolic bile-spewing that I see in parts of this fandom (and to be just, others as well) just blows my mind sometimes.

Couldn't agree more. I disagree with JKR's view of her characters on several occasions - and also with parts of canon where the characters may seem too out of character for me - but I don't get the vitriol. I really don't.

12/24/2010 #7
Vera Rozalsky

Whence the vitriol? (Warning: I'm going to do some unlicensed internet psychoanlysis. Everybody duck.)

There are several scenarios: (a) fans who are way too attached to the story/film/whatever and have their own expectations of how it ought to turn out. When it doesn't, it's like their own life going wrong. (b) personal jealousy and resentment of a successful writer, and I will say here in JKR's case, _a successful female writer_. How dare she (and that's from male and female fans alike, though the personal agendas tend to differ by sex). (c) fan theorists who really ought to be novelists themselves but haven't worked up the courage yet. From personal experience, there's nothing more vitriolic, vicious and abusive than a frustrated artist. (d) oh yes, let's not forget differences of politics. JKR has a _lot_ of political dynamite in her book. I'm thinking here of the fanfictions I've read that adore the Malfoys and their circle and are 'revisionist' in the way that _Gone with the Wind_ is revisionist. If you can't get up and write your own dam' fanfiction, then you vent in essay form.

And then there's the confluence of (a) through (d) above with (e) various forms of mental illness and/or immaturity: hence the whackjobbery of some amount of what I read on this (& other subjects) on the internets.

Now that's not to say that I don't think there are both artistic and political failures in her work, but I read them in the spirit of 'there but for the grace of God go I.' JKR hit the jackpot, won the lottery, etc., and in interviews, she still seems to be as stunned by it as I would be in her place. Just writing fanfic gives one a taste of _audience attention_, and all it takes is one flame or off-the-wall review to make you wonder if you should hang it up or bow to public opinion. One thing that's been incredibly educational in reading fanfic is that everyone's working from the same initial conditions (characters, setting, back-story) so the Usual Story, the default narratives, stand out with unusual sharpness. What are the acceptable stories? Well, that varies from one person to another...

12/24/2010 #8
neonorne

I guess a) through d) may apply in some cases - but I suspect it's more often just a case of 'any public figure is free game'. You may vent and rant and flame to your heart's content just because you can. And to some, the fact that their readers neither see their face nor know their name is an added incitement. For many I think it's just a case of not liking the way the books turned out. They don't need to be too attached to them or feel their lives have gone wrong or anything. The vitriol is just their way of doing literary criticism. Like it's too many people's way of doing 'debates' on the internet, political or otherwise. That's why you need moderators on debate forums...

I suppose 'I don't get it' in my post above should read: 'I really despise it because I see no reason to behave like that, just because you can.' Mental issues or a too deep, unhealthy attachment to the books would at least be a reason, if not an excuse...

As for what is an acceptable reading of the books - yeah, that's the topic of a never-ending debate. Interesting, but not winnable. Not even the writer has the final word on that one.

12/27/2010 #9
ToManyLetters

Wewt. The term "Sober Universe" was included in this German ABC intro to fan fiction.

8/24/2011 #10
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