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Sun, Jan. 19th, 2014, 04:49 pm
wneleh: Media References to Fanfic, the week ending 1/18/14

Lots of Sherlock (and ACD) this week! Alfred Joyner wrote about Sherlock and the Power of Fan Fiction for International Business Times.

In a Los Angeles Times review, Robert Lloyd wrote [Sherlock’s] return is anticipated within the series itself by a group of Sherlock cultists called the Empty Hearse (also the title of the first episode), to echo "The Adventure of the Empty House," the story in which Arthur Conan Doyle brought the original Holmes back from the presumed dead — and also to reflect Cumberbatch's own followers. Its bickering members imagine the ways in which Sherlock cheated death, including a takeoff on fan-written "slash fiction," in which Holmes and nemesis "Jim" Moriarty nearly kiss.

The Wire’s Alexander Abad-Santos proclaimed Chinese Women Can't Stop Reading and Writing Gay 'Sherlock' Fan Fiction.

For N.C. State’s The Techniciain, Katie Sanders wrote, of 03x01, Sherlock kisses two different secondary characters, both times in fantasy situations with little to no actual point. This seems to be an unnecessary nod to R-rated Tumblr fan fiction and extreme aficionados of the show.

From Associated Press’s Fu Ting: fondness for the performers has helped fuel a fad for Sherlock fan fiction in China. Some stories play on Holmes and Watson’s complicated relationship by making them a gay couple.

The Murfreesboro Post columnist Larry Burriss wrote A couple of weeks ago, a Chicago judge ruled that the characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson have lost most of their copyright protection, and are in the public domain. 

The ruling means a whole legion of fans can now create what is commonly known as “fan fiction,” or what some copyright holders refer to as “rip-off writing.”

And, Block News Alliance’s Rob Owen wrote In The Empty Hearse, different characters offer multiple theories of how Holmes survived his fall. Some are quite cheeky and seem to be inspired by obsessive fan fiction, a clever tweaking of the show’s devotees.

Radio.com’s Shannon Carlin asked Is Prince Writing ‘New Girl’ Fanfic?

In a review in The News on Sunday, Sameen Amer wrote There is a middle ground between being overly constrained by the original material and overusing your creative licence and taking pointless liberties, and The Desolation of Smaug fails to find that balance; at times it starts to feel like fan fiction, and not particularly good one.

For the Bucks County Courier Times, high school student Kimberly Winters William wrote Between my parents and two older brothers, I can easily enjoy conversation on diverse topics as such politics, religion, Reddit posts, Naruto fanfiction and my oldest brother’s incomprehensible science classes.

Teen author Beth Reeks told South Wales Argus’s Sophie Brownson I have always been interested in reading from a young age – reading Harry Potter from aged seven and writing what is now known as fan fiction as I grew impatient waiting for the next book to come out.

Timothy McCormack wrote about fan parodies for Seattle P-I.

For St. Albert Gazette, Nicole Starker looked to library teen services coordinator Alison Watson for new book recommendations; regarding Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl: “It’s a sort of coming of age tale of a fan fiction writer and her first love,” says Watson. “So it’s reality, it’s contemporary, it has all these elements of modern life in it. That one is, I think, going to continue to be popular.”

Perhaps inspired by Lynn S. Zubernis and Katherine Larsen’s Fangasm, NPR’s Neda Ulaby had a nice piece on Supernatural fandom which included some discussion of fanfic, including Wincest. Quoting from a slightly abridged transcript on the KOSU website: Zubernis says Supernatural even dares to gesture towards slash fiction — the sort of fan fiction, usually written by women, that imagines a homoerotic relationship between a show’s male characters. (On Supernatural, that’s especially loaded. The characters are brothers whose last name is Winchester, so this kind of slash is called “Wincest” by fans. And it’s probably why Supernatural’s publicists did not return any of my emails seeking comments by the show’s writers about fan engagement.

In a piece about Kindle Worlds for Main Street, Craig Donofrio wrote Making Money Writing Fan Fiction? Really? Really.

From a Nikhil Varma piece in The Hindu on how the internet influences TV consumption: Sahil Agarwal, who followed the Breaking Bad and Dexter series closely says, “The Internet has ensured that I do not miss these shows. There are multiple blogs and fan pages that describe each of the characters, provide back stories to the characters and fan fiction about what happens next. Characters such as Dexter and Walter White have dedicated pages on Wikia and Wikipedia.”

Finally, for Slate, Wool author Hugh Howey wrote Writing in Vonnegut’s World: On training wheels, fan fiction, and stories in the cave.

Mon, Jan. 20th, 2014 01:08 am (UTC)

Great Slate article. I would imagine Vonnegut would be very hard to fanfic.

Mon, Jan. 20th, 2014 02:21 am (UTC)

I really liked that he was backing away from "fanfic as training wheels."

RE: Vonnegut - I think I've read his entire oeuvre, but all before I was 20. I don't recall ever wanting *more* from a Vonnegut novel, but I might now.

Mon, Jan. 20th, 2014 06:11 am (UTC)

If there's one thing Sherlock has done, it's to embed the traditional meaning of 'slash' (two guys kissing) into the mainstream media.

Mon, Jan. 20th, 2014 01:49 pm (UTC)

Hey, you're right! I hope it sticks.

Mon, Jan. 20th, 2014 06:23 am (UTC)

First article is wrong about the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself being fan fiction, because the comic book universes are generally collaborations from the start (if only writer and artist) are work for hire, owned by corporations, and are forever being retconned. It's a fine distinction, but, I think, a valid one.

Mon, Jan. 20th, 2014 01:59 pm (UTC)

The "what is fanfic" thing - argh. When I tell people I write fanfic, I mean something very specific - I write short stories using (mostly) established characters from movies, books, and television shows, which I post on-line on sites where anyone can access them fee-free. OTOH, there's something to be said for Everything Is Fanfic, especially if you're trying to make a point about ficcers not being uncreative weirdos.

And between the fic I write, and the "Hamlet is fanfic" crowd, there's Wide Sargasso Sea and Star Trek tie-in novels, some written out of passion, some purely for the $$. Personally, when it comes to whether I consider a work-for-pay to be fanfic, it's about FEEL. The Seven Percent Solution (Sherlock Holmes) is one of the few commercial works I gift with the fanfic designation; and the Star Trek tie-in novel Ishmael. But War and Peace also feels fanficcy, I've no clue why.

Comic books (and other collaborations)... I just don't know. I guess it comes down to what point you're trying to make.

Edited at 2014-01-20 02:02 pm (UTC)

Mon, Jan. 20th, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)

I think that something is fanfic if it is written out of love (or exasperation) for the original, featuring characters that are close enough to the original to be instantly recognisable, even if under other names. (So, Tanith Lee's "Kill the Dead" is fanfic because I instantly recognised the Avon and Vila dialogue from a writer I knew to be in love with Blake's Seven, and Thackery's 'Rebecca and Rowena' is fix-it fanfic of Ivanhoe, because, like many, he couldn't bear Rebecca and Ivanhoe to remain separated.)

Sat, Jan. 25th, 2014 12:57 pm (UTC)

I think this is a good general definition. I've been thinking about it a lot this past week, in relationship to my own fic. Most is pretty squarely typical fanfic, though I do try to get creative with how things are put together. But I have several stories/novellas which are primary driven by OCs, bit characters, or much younger versions of familiar characters (sometimes all three) - so not necessarily immediately recognizable. But these stories are fanfic, I think, because they've been written in response to canon. Ditto with fic I've written for Yuletide, where I've gone in not knowing canon very well. For these fics, there's not much love or exasperation going in, but in the course of putting something together that I hope my recipient will like I've also tried to say something to/about the original source, or fandom's reactions to canon.

I hate the fanfic-as-training-wheels analogy, but I do think it's much easier and cleaner, for me at least, to mine stories out of commonly-understood characters and situations. To start a conversation w/o having to define all the terms first. And then to just post and go onto the next idea w/o having to scare up readers.

Sat, Jan. 25th, 2014 01:21 pm (UTC)

Yeah, we're not far apart on this.