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Fan Fiction

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I checked in at the Booking Through Thursday blog, which is the host for a weekly book meme or blogging prompt. Here is this week’s prompt:

What do you think of fanfiction? In general—do you think it’s a fun thing or a trespass on an author/producer’s world? And of course, obviously specific authors have very firm and very differing opinions about this, yet it’s getting more popular and more mainstream all the time. Do you ever read or write it yourself?

I admire creativity of fan fiction and the writers’ nostalgia of a world lost and that can only be re-lived through the pages. I also have mixed feelings about writers’ tapping into a ready-made market. Somewhat like taking the easy way out, if not cheating. I think most publishers who scout fan-fiction simply look for popular works that can be repurposed as original novels. (In Bangkok, at the bookstore I overheard a conversation saying EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey originated as a piece of fan fiction based on the Twilight series. I don’t really care for either.) In spite of a few good ones, usually very esoteric, like The Gentle Axe, a take-off after Crime and Punishment, I see (the proliferation of) fan-fiction as the lowest point we’ve reached in the history of culture: it’s crass, celebrity-obsessed, naive, badly written, derivative, consumerist, unoriginal—anti-original. From this perspective it’s a disaster when a work of fan-fiction becomes the world’s number one bestseller and jump-starts a global trend.