It's hard to find words to describe Martin "PCHammer" Rose. He's not a founding member of Eyrie, and yet he's managed to leave his mark on several of their projects. In addition to being able to write with an anime fic collective he's also churned out some projects of his own. I will say one thing, though; his brand of humor brings a very lovely air to the Eyrie group.

Q: First of all, how did you get into anime?
PCHammer: Ah, that's a story in itself. I'll have to lay the blame for this on a friend of mine who was rooming at our house while we both went to the U of M (University of Michigan). We were both animation hounds, and this was about the time that the Transformers movie was out. He somehow managed to link up with someone entirely other, a guy my younger brothers knew from school, who said he could get a copy of the movie on tape. Well, the tape arrived, and included what he said was "a Robotech movie". This, of course, was "Macross Summer '84: Do You Remember Love?", and once we got wind of the local anime club (now called Animania) it all snowballed from there.
<Thbbbbbpt!> Q: Second, how did you get into fanfic?
PCHammer: That's a lot less sharply-defined in my mind. I suppose to some extent I was always "into" it: watch a show, sit around, let the scenario, the characters, the whole shebang flounder around in the ol' mental blender for a while, then inevitably begin imagining how things would go differently if one more character was tossed in to mix things up. It wasn't until the latter half of Anime War Crisis -- a sort of parody of the feud between the original AnimeCon and Anime America, add EFNet #anime! personalities and various anime elements, shake well and type into VI at some absurd hour -- that I actually started laying such things down as text. The AWC project was started by someone else, but after the fourth chapter he couldn't continue and just handed it off to me, so I ran with it from there.
Q: For those of us relatively "new" anime fans, could you explain what the Anime War Crisis was? Is any part of it still floating in the ether?
PCHammer: I'm sure it is. The RAAC archive never deletes anything -- well, except for that one KOR lemon that was proven to be simple find-and-replace plagiarism on a non-anime lemon, but anyway.
Anime War Crisis was born from the bizarre mental stew that you get when you take a bunch of nutball IRC personalities (or their nicknames, anyway) mix and match them with a bunch of anime references (primarily BGC, as the title implies, but also "Vampire Princess Miyu" and a bunch of others to lesser degrees), and superimpose -that- on an overdone takeoff on what was the big fan war at the time. AnimeCon was only a couple years old or so when a second con, Anime America, was founded, and the infighting between the two camps was pretty amazing. There was a point where the cons were being scheduled just a week apart from each other, and both on the West Coast -- it was kind of silly, especially with a fan base that was still relatively small and kind of wary from the old C/FO days. AnimeCon eventually reorganized and became Anime Expo. Anime America seems to have faded into obscurity.
I should probably also point out that I'm not completely sure about the numbers here -- I went back and reread some AWC, an inherently painful experience in itself, and the text was already referring to Anime Expo, so my AX/AA relative timeframe is probably a bit off.
Q: C/FO days? What does that refer to?
PCHammer: The Cartoon/Fantasy Organization was the dominant national fan organization in the earliest days of American anime fandom, two decades ago or so. It became so utterly wracked with organizational in-fighting that it eventually collapsed under its own weight. I don't know the details myself -- my entry into the wonderful world of anime came just as C/FO was on its way out, and Ann Arbor's first anime club leadership made very strong recommendations to avoid being associated with them. I've never been a close observer of fan politics myself.
Q: What made you decide to "join" the Eyrie crew?
PCHammer: This, also, is a bit of a strange tale. It all started with a half-joking threat after UF3 that if they persisted in being all morose and angsty and stuff that I'd have no choice but to lay the humorous textual smack down, so to speak. Well, UF4 came and went, and they were still all angsty and stuff, so I set to work. UF wasn't quite as "closed" as it could have been, when I sat down to examine it -- there was, and still is, a lot of room for addition, refinement and embellishment. I was the first to slip in through the cracks in the plot wall, so to speak, and "Hammer Time Book One" arose from that. I fired it off to Zoner to look over, enjoyed a small snicker at what must have been someone's expense, and, having no life, set to work on Book Two.
The overall plot timeframe that one ended in pretty much shot any hope of closing with any sort of joke all to hell -- it was a slightly slower go than the first, too, kind of like being in a time-travel movie where you had to eke a path for yourself that didn't interfere with the grand scheme -- and, when it was done by my standards, I sent that to Zoner for perusal as well. I still didn't really consider myself "in" by any meaning of the word, I was just some fanboy with delusions of grandeur horning in on what was an elaborate inside joke.
Ironically, it was an Act of Zoner that put the Mark of Eyrie on my forehead, when he went ahead and dumped Book Two on r.a.a.stories (the original anime fanfic newsgroup which he moderated, later renamed to r.a.a.creative) with no fanfare or warning. Such is the power of the moderator -- stroke of the key, law of the land, and like a John Madden sportscast, BAM! I was an Eyrie author.
The cleanup came in the next couple weeks, as Book One was also put on the group (I guess the first-cut continuity reversal was the only thing that really made this whole episode stick in my head <grin>) and Gryph finally got a chance to give my intrusion the nod, which he did, quite graciously.
Q: What, in your opinion, is a "gweep"?
PCHammer: A gweep is one who gweeps. <grin> More helpfully, it'd be someone who emerged from the peculiar subculture of computer geekdom, with a knowledge of and love for the ways of the computer, the ability to make it do what they want, and -- most importantly -- no desire to be L33T, K3WL, or otherwise use the machine to make the lives of other reasonable people miserable. Otherwise you're just another h@XX0r/w@r3zd00d. If you've ever ended up with BackOrifice unwittingly installed on your machine, or you've intentionally gotten it installed on someone else's machine, you're not a gweep. <grin>
Q: BackOrifice? Do I want to know what that refers to? <grin>
PCHammer: Well, if you're smart and never run any program that appears in an email message you'll probably never have to deal with it. <grin> BackOrifice -- a cute wordplay on Microsoft's BackOffice -- is a l33t haXX0rz utility, a server that runs in the background on any Windows machine, and, once installed, gives anyone with a BO client complete and total access to your machine, everything from the hard drive to the webcam. I was pointed to a website of BackOrifice tricks once, including a pop-up window prank one guy pulled on some other hapless sod and including a priceless webcam shot of the victim's utterly dumbfounded look.
Q: If you still had the time/energy to change some of the stuff you've written, what would you change and why?
Must.... finish... my story! PCHammer: Egad. I'd probably end up revising most of it. Hindsight can be a brutal critic -- brutally honest, but still painful. AWC sucked, especially the parts for which I have no one to blame but myself. Besides, I'm so far behind on *current* projects (like UF stuff that's been sitting idle for two or three years) that going back to improve the opening scene of "Pretty Painful, Sailor Eek!" would hardly be fair. <grin>
Q: Oh now, this sounds interesting. <grin> What's that story all about and where can I find it?
PCHammer: PPSE is what I got when I fused "Eek! the Cat" and "Sailor Moon." Eek! is a roundish little purple cat whose motto is, "It never hurts to help!" He's always helpful, and also always proving his motto wrong -- the show has a cruel, evil, brutal sense of humor. I love it. I love everything about it. Well, except for the Klutter segments they tried adding sometime in the later seasons, about the not-very-funny adventures of a living pile of bedroom kipple, but everything else is hysterical. It's not my first Eekfic -- that would be "Hurt! Eekzer-One", where I first proved to myself how well I understood the Eek! cast and how poorly I remembered "Fight! Iczer-One".
I've had both of them enshrined on a couple of Eek! fan sites ( http://www.cyberspace.org/~suz/eek.html and http://www.angelfire.com/tv/eekthecat/), and they're on the r.a.a.c archive as well, of course.
Q: What do you read on a regular basis, both fanfiction and non-fan fiction?
PCHammer: Not an awful lot, sadly. Most of my reading at present is news blurbs, technical documents, product FAQs, bug lists and game reviews. This "job" thing really saps the life out of your Muse. The last non-techie work I've read is "Samurai Cat Goes to Hell" by Mark E. Rogers, which I loved all to pieces, since I was turned on to Samurai Cat about the same time I got into anime.
Q: What do you do? And where can I find that story?
PCHammer: At work I'm mainly a programmer, though I also deal with database installations and small-scale Linux admin work. I've taken to referring to my position as "general-purpose computer geek".
As for the Samurai Cat books, I'm a little less certain. Even a big bookstore might only have one of the later three in the science fiction section, if you're lucky -- there are six in all, all paperback, and the first three are graphic-novel sized. They're primarily text, but Rogers also illustrates them with a few paintings scattered throughout the works.
Q: Again, in your opinion, what work of your own do you consider to be the best?
PCHammer: My personal favorites would have to be my Eekfics. "Eek! the Cat" is one of my all-time favorite shows. It's fun and goofy, but with a vicious and sadistic style of humor, and I think I've captured all those aspects rather well. I still have one more Eek! fusion idea that I need to get out of my system, just because the title is so awful. After that, I suppose I'll be forced to do some Mad Jack the Pirate fusions in the same vein. <grin>
Q: Who's Mad Jack the Pirate?
PCHammer: Mad Jack was the (sadly short-lived) spiritual successor to Eek on Fox Kids. The show's star is, well, Mad Jack, a greedy, grumpy, craven, cowardly, down-on-his-luck pirate who lives on a world so provably flat that the residents call it "the Slab" -- he's sailed off the edge more than once. The only crew on his ship is a kind-hearted rat the size of a portly ten-year-old named Snuk, and Jack is harmed in brutally comical ways several times per episode. It was every bit as much fun as Eek. I only wish it'd lasted longer than one season. Fox seems to be into dumping anything that's not the next Power Rangers phenomenon.
As for the title of that last Eek fusion ... that will have to remain a secret until it's released, lest my [Eyrie Productions Unlimited] compatriots kill me in my sleep for lethal punnery before I can even lay down a word of it.
Q: C'mon... as a pun fan, I've got to know. <grin>
PCHammer: Sorry, these fingers are sealed. You'll have to wait. <grin>
Q: What do you have that's lurking in your hard drive for the UF-verse?
PCHammer: Oh, bunches and loads of it. I'm not sure what I can talk about without stepping on my collaborators' toes, or whether I can even mention anything by name for fear that the entire idea would erase itself from continuity out of pure spite.
Coincidentally enough, four of the pieces can be categorized as "<character>'s Personal Day Of Reckoning" stories -- you know, where <character> is forced to come to terms with some aspect of their history or themselves that they've been trying to evade for a while. Naming names would be meaningless to anyone who isn't fully familiar with UF. We're brutal on folks who neglect to do their prereading. <grin>
Q: I talked to a couple female fanfic writers who expounded on why they write fanfic. Why do you write fanfic?
PCHammer: Mostly because it amuses me, I'd say. That's the only real explanation for my Eekfics -- some idea popped into my head, flopped around for a while, proved sufficiently well-formed (or malformed, as the case may be) to write, and then became text. And then got pounded on in NoteTab Light until it looked something like the idea did in the first place. If someone else finds the end result equally amusing, then I've done my good deed for the day.
Q: What anime series have you seen that you would never want to see Eyrie get a hold of and tweak?
You don't like my universe?  I'll show you! PCHammer: "Dr. Slump". It's plenty strange without our help. I'd also say Dragonball, mostly because I have less than no idea at all what could be done to help it. Aside from those and maybe some of the more obscure crap -- which is obscure for a reason, usually, just look at "Flint the Time Detective" -- I doubt there's anything genuinely off-limits, save what the gang just plain doesn't like. If nothing else, we could just maim it nearly beyond recognition and give it a UF walk-on to see who gets it. <grin>
Q: What work of others in Eyrie do you consider to be the best? If there are any other fanfics out there by other authors you like, which of those works do you consider to be the best?
PCHammer: Best? Wow, that would be, like, assuming I had time to read any of it. I'd have to bury my Dreamcast (and Saturn and Jaguar and Genesis stack and SNES) to make room in my schedule. (Did I mention I'm a gamer-geek? All my complaints of having no free time kind of hinge on that little character flaw, which happily devours my disposable income as well.)
Still, back when I did read this stuff, I considered Ryan Mathews' material beyond reproach. I suppose "The Ballad of Lord Robin" and the sequel he did with Larry Mann, "Reunions", will always stand out in my mind. That, and the Dirty Pair story where Ryan took the Adam Warren over-cybered scenario to its logical conclusion. If I only chose from the EPU camp, I'd have to pick "Gods Willing" and "Warrior's Legacy" as favorites, being more light-hearted in nature, not to mention familiar, in WL's case. <grin>
Oh, and I mustn't forget good ol' Twoflower, who wrote the only Ranma fic I ever actually cared about. He's got a terrific sense of goofballness.
Q: Which games are your current favorites?
PCHammer: Well, right now I'm still getting into "Dead or Alive 2", a really gorgeous fighting game. That and "SoulCalibur" are pretty much at the top of that genre at the moment. "House of the Dead 2" is a terrific gun game, probably the best I've ever seen, and even after six months I've still only picked up about half of the emblems in "Sonic Adventure". And when I want to get my butt kicked I plug the phone line into the DC for a few online rounds of "Chu Chu Rocket". Of course, by the time this is on your webpage I'll probably have moved on to "Rayman 2", but such is the way of the obsessive-compulsive nerdboy, I suppose. <grin>
Q: As you probably already know, DJ Croft, from your "Neon Exodus Evangelion" was voted Worst New Character in the 1999 Chicken Ball Awards. What is your personal reply to that?
PCHammer: Personally, I wasn't involved in NXE at all. But I'll opine that the vote was probably based primarily on hearsay, reputation, rampant purism and a poor memory of the first few episodes of the series. An objective comparison with other added-character fics would most likely put poor ol' Deej down around the bottom of the Mary-Sue scale, especially when compared with other Evangelion-based stuff.
Q: If there was any advice you could give to someone just starting out in fanfic, what would you say?
PCHammer: Strive to be your own worst critic; even when you reach that point, there's no substitute for good peer review; don't do it for the glory or the praise, because there isn't any; contrary to what Timothy Zahn may say, fanfic isn't going to put food on the table or games in the Dreamcast; and never let a d-ckweed flamer ruin your day.
...Okay, I probably wouldn't say any of that, my mouth locks up whenever I try to give a speech. I'd probably just give the poor person a blank look and hand them a dictionary and a style guide. There are few things that will get your work dismissed without a so much as a read-through like an inability to properly wield the English language.


Back to the main Eyrie page for the Picks