What if J. Pierpont Morgan got Teddy Roosevelt pregnant? What if Commodore Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie were adventursome unicorns? Then Wall Street Journal readers could enjoy thematic fan fiction every bit as pedestrian as the fan-written works already receiving the Journal’s attention.
The success of Fifty Shades of Grey has been paralleled by endless articles about its fan-fic roots. These typically dwell on Kirk and Spock being amorous and Harry Potter’s remarkable lack of chastity, and end with the traditional question: why aren’t these writers being sued?
The Wall Street Journal only departs from the usual pattern because Orson Scott Card tells them he is about to do something completely unexpected:
After spending years fending off fan fiction, and occasionally sending out “cease and desist” letters through his lawyer to block potential copyright violations, science-fiction novelist Orson Scott Card has started courting fan writers. Mr. Card, author of the best-selling “Ender’s Game” series, is planning to host a contest for “Ender’s Game” fan fiction this fall. Fans will be able to submit their work to his Web site. The winning stories will be published as an anthology that will become part of the official “canon” of the “Ender’s Game” series.
“Every piece of fan fiction is an ad for my book,” Mr. Card says. “What kind of idiot would I be to want that to disappear?”
Update 06/20/2012: Fixed spelling of gray. Or was it grey…