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…
Eric Flint has set up something similar with periodic anthologies of fan-written stories in his 1632 universe. And Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar fan club was formed in the 1990s primarily as an outlet for fan fiction and fan art. The club-approved fanfic officially takes place in an alternate universe where a very popular character who died in the first trilogy survived instead.
Mike: I realize this makes me a Total Spelling Nerd, but the novel is Fifty Shades of GREY (not Gray). Martin
I eagerly await “Fifty Shades of Gray Lensman”.
@Michael Walsh: In the Rare Earth Press edition?
My son writes fan fiction, and he has commented on the Harry Potter series, stories written by females, in which Harry and Draco “do it” and one of them gets pregnant. He’s not sure if this is because the writers are virginal or lack biology lessons.
I was curious on one example, “Are there any Harry Dresden stories where he winds up in Eureka?”
I’ve been told by gay men that they resent slash stories written by straight women who know nothing about gay sex.
And I have problems with Holmes/Watson slash since that was the same period in which Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for same-sex activities with his clerks. It’s interesting to note that in the new, contemporary Sherlock series that Holmes and Watson have to keep denying they’re a couple as that’s the assumption most people who meet them have. (Mrs. Hudson in the first episode, for example.)
And stories I’ve seen of Severus Snape and Hermione Granger having sex are Right Out. Ugh.
I’ve been told that both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy have had problems with graphic illustrations of Kirk and Spock having anal sex, as it’s their faces in the illustrations.
Back when I was still in L. A., I was told that Lucasfilm didn’t want fans to ask permission to write fan fiction. If asked, they had to say no, to protect their trademarks and copyrights, but if not asked they could look the other way.
I did enjoy one Smallville/Buffy crossover just for the scene in which Lex Luthor invites Spike to join him in drinking some expensive vodka, and the two get pleasantly drunk together.