Thursday, June 30, 2011

Episode 14 - The Frolics and Freak-outs of Fandom

Trekkies, MSTies, Browncoats, Twi-hards, Gleeks, Whovians, Deleteheads.... How does a story spawn its own subculture? Fanfiction writer Laura Fischer joins us to discuss what drives fans to create new fiction, art, and communities about their favorite story universes.

Then stay tuned for a sample of Laura's fanfiction, Nick and Tim pitching one of their nerdiest ideas yet, and some sweet fandom-related music, of both the rocking and poignant variety. It's all here in the latest episode of Derailed Trains of Thought.


Show Notes

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  1. One fandom I was involved in to some extent but didn't have the opportunity to mentioned was Wheel of Time. In high school, I had a group of friends who would discuss the latest theories. I found Aes Sedai lightbulb jokes online, fan music, and interacted with a Wheel of Time MUD for a short time. I don't remember fan fiction, but I wasn't looking either, I don't think. It inspired a lot of my writing of the time, though.

    What fandoms are you/have you been a part of?

  2. I should add that Mercedes Lackey has changed her view on fanfiction. From Wikipedia:

    --Despite getting her own start as a fanfic author, she and her agent strongly forbade fanfiction based on her own books for many years, whether distributed offline or online. Lackey stated on her website[4] that this was due to the 1992 Marion Zimmer Bradley fan fiction affair, when a fan accused Bradley of copying the fan's work, and demanded writing credit and remuneration.[5] After several years, Lackey's policy permitted offline fanfic, but only if the author got a release form from Mercedes Lackey that said the author acknowledged that they were using characters that belong to Mercedes Lackey and that the author's work essentially became Mercedes Lackey's property to prevent "infringing on my right to make a living from my own imagination". As of 2009 this policy appears to have changed per the author's official website.--

    She also wrote a pep talk for NaNo specifically praising the worth of fanfiction:

    Other writers, including Anne Rice, P. N. Elrod, Archie Comics, Dennis L. McKiernan, Irene Radford, J.R. Ward, Laurell K. Hamilton, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Raymond Feist, Robin Hobb, Robin McKinley, and Terry Goodkind still disallow fanfiction, and will not publish fanfics based on their works.

  3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel/Fray (Joss Whedon rules my fandom heart)
    Supernatural (I’m reserving judgment on the odd season finale with the hooky directing in the ending scene til next season. Oh, Cas,WHY)
    Gargoyles (before they kicked Greg Weisman and continued with an AU season 3)
    The Big Bang Theory (I’m a Shamey fan and proud of it! Also, Raj is totally gay who are you kidding writers? Doth protest too much)
    Naruto (ITACHI IS NOT GOOD – I cannot accept they ruined a good dark younger bro character development for a crazy dead guy plot twist. Yes, I protest too much. At least I still have Kakashi *clings*)
    Star Trek (but not much to be titled Trekkie – DS9 is my fave)
    Smallville (when it was bearable i.e. seasons 1-mid4) in this fandom, fan fiction was always better than the real thing
    Psyche (but it got lousy and predictable last season, Shawn in a relationship does not make good tv)
    House (pre House/Cuddy because House just got OOC real quick and the finale just sucked. Wilson? Wilson Who?)
    Castle (quickly growing on me but still haven't found my way to fandom)
    Scrubs (before they decided to live longer than they needed to.)


  4. Personal confession time: I must be a bit of a recluse when it comes to online communities. I can spend hours reading through a wiki or admiring fanart about a story universe I'm interested in -- whether that's Star Wars, Lost, Doctor Who, Kingdom Hearts, Babylon 5, or something else -- but the only fan community I've ever really interacted with much has been the Muppet fan community and even that's been sporadic.

    Well...that is aside from a period of time in high school when I was spending tons of my free time on the Muppet Central forums, trying to keep up with everything. I think the huge amount of time I put into that for awhile might be what eventually turned me off from participating heavily in fandoms, aside from admiring them from afar. I love being being able to read about or talk with someone about my current favorite show/story universe in great depth and detail, but I'm afraid of the commitment of becoming invested in a community about it. I admire those who stick with it, though. :-)

    P.S. I empathize with the commentor above me who lamented Itachi's storyline in Naruto. I understand why the author wanted to extend Sasuke's revenge saga, but that twist certainly strained suspension of disbelief.

  5. I used to write fanfiction myself, including Godzilla, Star Trek, and Indiana Jones. Godzilla was the one I wrote for the most.

    It's interesting that you say that you don't want to see "Lord of the Rings" and "Narnia" fanfiction. I was told once that C.S. Lewis had once told a child to write her own Narnia stories. What do you think of that?

  6. A "Lost" fighting game? That is the nerdiest, goofiest, most brillaint thing I've ever heard! Get me in on this action!

  7. Nathan - Concerning Narnia and Middle-earth, I have more leeway, personally, for Narnia because it's a much looser world than Tolkien's. Plus, having a child write a "fanfiction," which will usually be flights of fancy, and an adult, who, one way or another, is going to say something, may make a difference.

    Godzilla fanfic! I should have guessed. ;-)