OTW Fannews: Fanfic From Past to Present

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  • Library Journal wrote about the OTW’s partner library at the University of Iowa. They have begun digitizing fanfiction. “High acid paper is flaking and finely rendered illustrations are fading, and with them, the records of thriving fan communities stretching back as far as the 1930s, predating heated debates over Kirk vs Picard by decades. These communities were as lively as any message board conversation or LiveJournal debate…’This is not an overview or analysis of science fiction; these are the very objects that built it, publications made by fans for fans, in basements and living rooms across the world—this is the material history of the genre…Science fiction is an immense tapestry, and all of these publications must be recognized as threads in order to better understand the whole picture.’”
  • Tech Times tried to give a snapshot of fanfic history. “Jumping ahead to the 20th century, the actual term “fanfiction” was coined in 1939 by the sci-fi community as a derogatory term to differentiate between crude, amateur sci-fi fiction and professional fiction, or “pro fiction.”…It popped up again in a 1944 lexiconic fandom handbook titled Fancyclopedia…as: ‘[sometimes] improperly used to mean fan science fiction, that is, ordinary fantasy published in a fan magazine… occasionally bringing in some famous characters stf [science fiction] stories. […] Fictitious elements are often interspersed in account of fan activities, which may make them more interesting, but plays hob with a truth-seeker like [Greek philosopher] Thukydides. Round robins have been attempted in the fan fiction field.'”
  • An article at Huffington Post discussed the similarities and differences of fanfic and profic. “[T]he unpolished prose of a pre-Mockingbird Lee seems like a bit of self-conscious Mary-Sue-ism. Meanwhile, Atticus’ darker edge calls to mind the weirder, grittier fanfics — the ones where Edward Cullen becomes a violent dominant with a tortured past, for example. He’s been abruptly jerked to fit into a new character mold, with some conflicted authorial consciousness of his old one. Go Set a Watchman has more to offer than typical fanfic, at least in one particular way: It’s asking (particularly white) readers to confront the idea that their white savior idols aren’t worth putting on altars.”
  • Digital Spy reported that the Big Bang Theory’s writers have been reading the show’s fanfiction. “‘We started out a little bit nervous about it and we actually kind of got wrapped up in it,’ writer Steve Holland revealed. ‘It was a story about what happened to Amy on prom night that wasn’t part of the episode, and it was actually really sweet and affecting. So we started off a little bit as a joke reading this, and then we really got into the story and what was happening.’ Steven Molaro added: ‘There’s a storyline where Penny and Bernadette get so wrapped up in Amy’s fan fiction – that’s absolutely what happened to us in the writers’ room with the Big Bang Theory fan fiction that we found.'”

What part of fanfic’s history have you been a part of? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.