Fan Fiction Studies Reader

The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is a collection of fan studies essays edited by Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse. It is a reprint anthology that republishes earlier scholarship.

This collection shows the historical roots of fan studies, and even as fan studies is expanding and moving in new directions it remains vital to know where we came from in order to understand where we are headed. (16)

All royalties of the reader go to the OTW, which helped finance the reprint fees. Karen and Kristina have written a general introduction as well as brief overviews for each of the book’s four sections. They have placed their introduction and the headnotes in the public domain, effective in 10 years’ time.

The essays are organized into four thematic sections. The first section addresses fan-created works as literary works. The second section discusses the relationship between fandom, identity, and feminism. The third section looks at fandom and affect. The fourth section talks about the role of creativity and performance in fan activities.

The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is part of the University of Iowa’s newly launched fan studies line (http://www.uiowapress.org/category/subjects/fan-studies). University of Iowa’s libraries have a special collections department that works with the OTW’s Fan Culture Preservation Project. It preserves fanzines and other nondigital forms of fan culture.

“The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is valuable in a number of ways, as a foundational text within classrooms teaching fan studies or media studies, for academics planning to build upon the previous thinking within the multidisciplinary study of fandom, and as a historical document of fan culture for critics and journalists that write about such issues.”
Keidra Chaney June 18, 2014 http://www.geekquality.com/fan-fiction-studies-review/

 

Read more reviews of the Fan Fiction Studies Reader:

Whether we identify fan fiction studies as its own academic field or a subset of other, pre-existing fields (it is, after all, interdisciplinary in nature), The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is a useful resource for students and professional academics. Hellekson and Busse introduce key concepts clearly and without unnecessary jargon, and they select arguably the most important and influential works on fan fiction to date. Even casual readers who don’t take a course on the subject will find the anthology interesting and useful, especially as the internet has allowed nearly everyone to express their fandom in new and exciting ways.
(Jon Lisi 6 May 2014, http://www.popmatters.com/review/181310-the-fan-fiction-studies-reader/)

By rigorously and widely citing scholarly literature from numerous disciplinary and ideological perspectives, Hellekson and Busse insistently frame their Fan Fiction Studies Reader not as one-stop shopping for everything one must know in order to go forth and write contemporary fan studies scholarship, but as a shared starting point and a first step. The volume thus does not create a sense of closure but demonstrates its own limits by repeatedly directing readers elsewhere, to the articles that exceed the space of the collection and the work yet to be written. Much like the fan fiction it analyzes, this volume offers endless opportunities to investigate further, and eventually to remix, rework, rewrite, and contribute to future scholarship. Ultimately, these texts are still poised to become a fan studies canon, with all that implies in terms of both increased coherence for the discipline and the possibility of the erasure of other works; yet as new generations of fan scholars enter the field, this text also serves as a vital form of memory, as well as an open invitation for readers to become the authors of a new generation of fan fiction studies.
(Anne Kustritz Cinema Journal 54.2 [2015])

Those already working in the field will have read most, if not all, of the pieces collected here, which Hellekson and Busse have arranged into four major sections: “Fan Fiction as Literature,” “Fan Identity and Feminism,” “Fan Communities and Affect,” and “Fan Creativity and Performance.” The editors recognize, however, that these are an “arbitrary division” and that “many of the essays could fit thematically in more than one section” (10). This kind of reflective move marks the book as a whole. In fact, Hellekson and Busse are almost hyper-aware of the problematics of canon formation, acknowledging that they are “foregrounding certain texts and not others” and so they must provide context for their choices (3). To do so, they devote significant attention (and word count) to justifying and historicizing their choices in every major section, and that work defines this book as far more than a first reader in a fledgling field.
(Amy Clemons Francis Marion University; Journal of Popular Culture 48.6 [2015])

Internet fan fiction is a remarkably synchronic institution; active readers and writers will often have encyclopedic knowledge of the fanfictional corpus of their preferred sources or platforms but very little understanding of how some foundational and still common terms and conventions (“shipping,” for example, or “slash”) came to be. The Reader easily corrects such gaps in knowledge, but from an embedded historical perspective rather than a simple overview with hindsight. When I taught from the book, the comparison between earlier and later treatments of fan fiction proved fruitful for class discussion. Such comparisons are facilitated by the excellent essays introducing each section and contextualizing the essays’ place in the history of the field and their relation to more contemporary debates.
(Anne Jamison, American Literary History Online Review 2016 http://oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/alhist/anne%20jamison%20online%20review%20alh%20online%20review%20series%20vi.pdf)

 

Read the Table of Contents:
Introduction: Why a Fan Fiction Studies Reader Now?
Part 1. Fan Fiction as Literature.
Henry Jenkins, Textual Poachers
Roberta Pearson, It’s Always 1895: Sherlock Holmes in Cyberspace
Cornel Sandvoss, The Death of the Reader? Literary Theory and the Study of Texts in Popular Culture

Part 2. Fan Identity and Feminism
Joanna Russ, Pornography by Women, for Women, with Love
Patricia Frazer Lamb and Diane Veith, Romantic Myth, Transcendence, and Star Trek Zines
Sara Gwenllian Jones, The Sex Lives of Cult Television Characters

Part 3. Fan Communities and Affect
Camille Bacon-Smith, Training New Members
Nicholas Abercrombie and Brian Longhurst, Fans and Enthusiasts
Constance Penley, Future Men

Part 4. Fan Creativity and Performance
Kurt Lancaster, Performing in Babylon Performing in Everyday Life
Francesca Coppa, Writing Bodies in Space: Media Fan Fiction as Theatrical Performance