The New York Times
By "Circuits" Page G8
A short but telling article on the presence of XWP on the internet. Quoted are Lucy Lawless, Betsy Book, and Tom Simpson. Calls WHOOSH "one of the most elegantly designed and irresistible 'Xena' comfort stations on the information highway". The following articles were mentioned: "Xena and Heathcliff: Classic Byronic Heroes," (Cathy H. McLain) and "The Female Hero, Duality of Gender and Post-Modern Feminism in 'Xena: Warrior Princess,'" (Rhonda Nelson). Also discusses Tom Simpson's (WHOOSH Consultant) Tom's Xena Page.
The syndicated television show "Xena: Warrior Princess" had its debut on the airwaves in the fall of 1995, arguably about the same time the popularity of the Internet began to explode across America, and the two entities have been intertwined ever since. Xena's weekly dose of evil-battling swordplay, skimpy action wear and refreshingly saucy feminism is eagerly awaited by her fans, and even the tiniest of plot points and nuanced lines are dissected with glee across Usenet newsgroups, chat rooms and unofficial but enthusiastic Web pages. "I think the Internet has given some really hard-core nutballs, as I call them, a kind of community where they can bounce off ideas," said the star of "Xena," Lucy Lawless, who has been known to venture into cyberspace herself. "I truly think that the show would not be where it is today without the Internet fandom," said Betsy Book, a Web designer in New York. "It enables fandom to grow so quickly. The ultimate fandom granddaddy, 'Star Trek,' took two decades to develop. The Internet sped all that process up." Ms. Book, 27, is also the Webmaster for Whoosh (whoosh.org), a monthly on-line magazine that bills itself as the journal of the International Association of Xena Studies, a group founded by a California lawyer, Kym Masera Taborn. Whoosh, one of the most elegantly designed and irresistible "Xena" comfort stations on the information highway, is a thorough compendium of episode summaries, breaking news, gossip and thoughtful articles written by fans and Xena Studies association members. Treatises like "Xena and Heathcliff: Classic Byronic Heroes," by Cathy H. McLain, appeared in issue No. 6; "The Female Hero, Duality of Gender and Post-Modern Feminism in 'Xena: Warrior Princess,' " by Rhonda Nelson, appeared in No. 13. One of the most popular "Xena" sites on the Web is Tom's Xena Page (www.xenafan.com). Created by Tom Simpson, 24, the site is jampacked with 800 megabytes of downloadable sound clips, image files, video snippets and other digitized souvenirs, and it is the first stop on many a "Xena" fan's Web crawl. "I average about 5,000 hits a day, with 7 gigabytes of files downloaded daily," said Mr. Simpson, who jokingly referred to his site as "the Wal-Mart of Xena fandom." Like Whoosh, his site also contains a sprawling section devoted to the home-grown literary efforts of the "Xena" faithful. "Fan fiction is the most popular area," he noted. Each site has a trail of links leading to the others, but they are linked by more than just hypertext -- Ms. Book and Mr. Simpson are engaged to be married. Although they met through "Xena"-related E-mail, the romance developed later, when Mr. Simpson, moving from Utah last year, asked Ms. Book for help in finding an apartment. Both now work at iVillage, a Web-design company in Manhattan, so how can they avoid the common intrusion of work into home life? "Spend no longer than 10 minutes a day talking shop," Ms. Lawless advised. She should know -- she is engaged to marry the executive producer of "Xena," Rob Tapert, in the spring.
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