When is fanfic not fanfic?
1. I don’t know this guy. Never heard of him. He may well be a perfectly nice fellow. Probably is, actually. I don’t necessarily grudge him this project.
2. Yes, I realize that the Oz books are in the public domain.
3. Yes, there are plenty of Oz reimaginings/adaptations/alternate universe sorts of things in other media.
But none of that means that this project is not fanfic. It doesn’t mean those other projects aren’t fanfic, either. Every adaptation is fanfic on some level, even when it’s licensed, for works not in the public domain. This isn’t inherently a problem, of course.
What is a problem, IMHO, is that this guy is being taken seriously for what he’s doing when the very same thing has been done hundreds—thousands—of times for free by (mostly female) authors, and which is most often referred to derisively, if it’s spoken of in polite company at all (and that’s regardless of whether the work has erotic and/or slash elements.) When women make works based in someone else’s universe, it’s “fanfic,” and not taken seriously. When men do it, it’s an “adaptation” and they get to ask for lots of money to do it.
Bear with me on the comparison, but how is what this guy is doing qualitatively different from what E.L. James did? Putting aside the (not insignificant) issues of public domain and erotica, how is this creatively different? Why is her work, for which she ultimately created new characters and a new universe, even though they were originally traced on Twilight, something shady and his isn’t? Is it because she got her start as a fanfic author and then turned pro, instead of the other way around, as this guy apparently is doing? Because if so, then call me (and a few dozen other fandom-active authors) guilty as well.
(For the record: I do dislike what James did because what she did was, though legal, an unethical profiting off of someone else’s work that’s not in the public domain. There’s an unwritten code among fic authors that you don’t try to make money off of your work, not just out of respect for copyright, but out of respect for the person who made the work you’re playing with.)
What bothers me about this project is that if I, as an author who got started with fanfic before doing original work, were to do something similar (say, writing a story in which Ozma goes to Kansas to be with Dorothy and become a suffragette), no publisher at all would take me seriously. Goodness knows I wouldn’t have well-known SFF authors promoting my Kickstarter for it. Yet this guy, untainted by an association with icky fanfic, gets to think of and promote his work as far more legit than mine ever would be. I’m not saying this guy is a sexist, FWIW. He may or may not be. However, I do think a system that allows him to promote fanfic-for-profit when a female author would risk ridicule for the same thing most definitely is.
Amazon Publishing Introduces Kindle Worlds
“Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment division for its New York Times best-selling book series Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar; Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard; and Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith; and plans to announce more licenses soon. Through these licenses, Kindle Worlds will allow any writer to publish authorized stories inspired by these popular Worlds and make them available for readers to purchase in the Kindle Store.
Amazon Publishing will pay royalties to both the rights holders of the Worlds and the author. The standard author’s royalty rate (for works of at least 10,000 words) will be 35% of net revenue. As with all titles from Amazon Publishing, Kindle Worlds will base net revenue off of sales price—rather than the lower, industry standard of wholesale price—and royalties will be paid monthly.”
So basically …
TPTB saw a few shady fic writers making money from their venture, and decided that, instead of suing for copyright, they’d find a way to take a cut, at least for certain properties. It’s a win-win for them, and for the dipshits who’d be trying to make money from someone else’s creation.
It’s also a lose for everyone else.
Original creators who want to retain control over who gets money for the worlds and characters they spent long hours making are now going to feel pressured to let other people take a cut without having any say over the end result.
And the millions of ethical fic writers who wouldn’t dream of asking for money for their hobby are now going to find themselves fighting the onslaught of unethical dicks who think there’s nothing wrong with that.
Speaking as someone with a foot on both sides (I write both original novels and fanfic), there’s an enormous difference between the two. I would have no problems whatsoever with folks writing fic or doing other fanworks involving the worlds and characters I’ve created from scratch, but I would want a say in any money made from them. Which is why I would never, ever try to monetize the fic I write.
If I wanted to, essentially, write legit tie-in stories for an existing world, I’d pitch the idea to the people who made it to begin with. Hell, I’d love to write a Primeval tie-in novel, or maybe a Leverage one. But until/unless that happens, I’m perfectly happy to just write the occasional fic set in those worlds, solely for my own entertainment and that of other fans.
The other aspect of this that makes me uncomfortable is that a great deal of fic is stuff that would not, and should not ever make it into official canon. My massive Primeval fic novel is about as pervy as pervy can get. I wouldn’t even want the actors who play the characters involved to read it. Gods, no. The more involved TPTB are with fic, the less free I think fic writers are going to feel to write whatever the hell they feel like. Fic is and should be a fantasyland where everyone can let their Id run free. With networks and publishers looking over our shoulders, will that still be possible?
Another fic up!
Still planning to transfer my entire works over to AO3 eventually, but figured this one was appropriate for the day:
More fic posted to AO3!
All adult-rated, and please note the warnings!
Following Orders: Becker/Jenny, Christine
Girls Only: Abby/Jenny/Emily
Any Port in a Storm: Matt/Officer Sam Leonard (Allen Leech—the sub pilot from 5x02!)
Instinct: Connor/George (Crossover with Being Human)
Or This Man: Hatter/Jack (Alice)
A Fine Line Between: Kyle (Return to House on Haunted Hill)/Kenneth (Red Mist) - One of my Doppelbangers—pairings of Andrew’s characters.
Finally got my AO3 account!
And now setting about transferring all my old stuff from LJ, though that’ll take a while.
First up is one of my favorites: Solace, a Connor/Jenny h/c sort of thing. Porny, as 99% of my stuff is, so kiddies, please avoid!
Top 5 Fanworks
Figured this might be a fun thing to share around:
- List/link your top 5 fanworks created by others.
- List/link your top 5 fanworks created by you.
Any fandom, and any type of fanwork: fic, vid, art, mixes, picspams, gifs, cosplay, w’ev. If you were inspired by a piece of pop culture to create something yourself, link it!
My lists are below, and I look forward to seeing what others post!
Fanworks by others:
1. Drawing: “Under the Heart Tree" by bubug (Game of Thrones/ASoIaF)
A phenomenal, incredibly detailed piece of work. I could stare at it for hours and still see stuff I missed.
2. Painting: Steampunk Hatter, by Erin Allen (Alice)
Erin is one of the most talented painters I’ve seen. Her work is breathtaking, and this is one of my favorites.
3: Vid: Hell Above Water, by Starbuck76 (BSG)
One of my all-time favorite showcases of Badass Starbuck. Regardless of your orientation, if you don’t want to have raunchy sex with her by the time this vid is over, you may be dead below the waist.
4. Song: An Open Letter to Stephen Fry, by Molly Lewis
OK, so this is stretching it on the fanworks concept, but damn, it’s funny as hell.
5. Wallpaper: Despair, by Luvconnor
This one image totally encapsulates Connor’s grief in 5x06. Perfect.
Fanworks by me:
I’ve done some non-Primeval/Andrew stuff, but that’s been most of it!
1. Fic: Both Worlds
My Abby/Becker/Connor epic fic novel of OT3 doom. Angsty, romantic, fluffy and (very) smutty, all in one big package.
2. Vid: Heroes
My video tribute to all five series.
3. Vid: Brighter than the Sun
Three giddy minutes of my A/B/C obsession.
4. Photo story: Lord of the Anomalies
This is my completely silly comparison of Connor’s journey with Frodo’s.
This is a Connor/Hatter thing I did ages ago—my first foray back into fic after six years away from (any) fandom. It was the first of many of my “Doppelbanger" fics.
Like these T-Shirts? Please help spread the word by reblogging this post!
That one on the right? That’s the entire Primeval fandom right there, yo. We are a fucking PARTY CRUISE, people.
So, should I get an account on Archive of our Own and repost all my Doppelbanger and Primeval smuit there? It feels like it’s kind of gathering dust over on LJ these days, but I’m wary of the raptors on FFnet.
Actors, objectification and fan culture
So, apparently Simon Pegg and a geek feminist (and joiners from both camps) went a few rounds yesterday over Pegg’s tweet drooling over some Slave Leia cosplayers at SDCC, and his subsequent “damn those uptight feminists” reaction to being called on it.
My take on this specific incident is at the bottom of this post*, but there’s another issue this brings up that I want to get into: the general ethics of being an openly lecherous fanthing. If objectifying people—even those who are dressing/acting in a sexy way—is wrong, then are fans doing something wrong by sexualizing our favorite performers? Are we making it harder for actors—especially women—to be taken seriously as artists by posting sexy pics of them or writing pervy fic about their characters?
Yes, many—maybe even most—performers accept that their sexuality will be incorporated into their work and their public image. Some even enjoy this. But that’s not a guarantee. Unlike porn actors, they don’t do what they do solely to be someone’s fap material. It’s usually a pretty fair bet that if someone specifically plays up their looks/sexuality—doing sex scenes, racy promo photos, etc.—then they’re OK with being seen that way, but that’s not always the case. Many women, for instance, are pressured by managers, publicists, etc. into playing up their sexuality to further their careers. So are we making their lives harder by highlighting that in how we behave as fans? Am I, by writing raunchy fanfic about her Primeval character, contributing to an environment in which Hannah Spearritt might have future career trouble when she ages out of being attractive to shallow het guys?
The short answer, for those in tl;dr mode: Unlikely.
The way female fans (even non-traditional ones like myself) experience and interact with their favorite performers—including their sexuality—is different enough from male fan activity that it doesn’t necessarily contribute to an overall increase in harmful objectification. On the contrary, by broadening the ways in which these performers are seen and portrayed—even in a sexual context—we may actually be helping to cut down the overall objectifcation of them.
Seem counter-intuitive? Read on for a deeper exploration of these questions after the cut.
Singer of classical stuffs.
Shameless fanthing.Queer/Genderqueer. Feminist. Progressive. Gen X. Northwest snob. Journalist and media-deconstruction nerd. Happily married and an adoptive parent of a most excellent little boy. Endless pontificator on topics both sublime and ridiculous. Expect both breathless pop-culture squee and wordy rageflails about social justice.
My "home" fandom is Primeval, but these days I'm most heavily into Vikings, Game of Thrones and Arrow. Check my fandoms masterlist to see the other stuff I usually post about. If it has a kickass chick, a charming rogue, and/or an adorkable nerd in it, I probably like it.
I'm an incurable OT3 shipper, particularly of the alpha male/beta male/alpha female flavor, but I ship some pairs, too (het, slash and femslash.) See my ship list for details.
I don't have much time to make fanworks these days, but I have a few fics up on AO3 and some vids on YouTube (under Talea100.)
Fun fact: I had crushes on both C-3P0 and Data.