Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Frolicking in the Fan Fic Forest

And I'm back.
I just took the Internet equivalent of an oversees sight-seeing tour. After the momentous lead-up to Sidney's 1st birthday and Ken's Grand Canyon adventure, I needed a break to regroup, focus but (more importantly) consume.  Consume media that is.

  • Grey's Anatomy and The Office premiered this week
  • The Daily Show, where I get news analysis and a few laughs
  • My RSS reader, bulging from some of my favorite blogs gone unread
  • Indulging my geektastic tendencies, I delved into the fascinatingly & infinite depths of fan fiction.

For anyone who doesn't know what fan fiction is--it's a way to expand upon an established universe and canon of characters by writing stories that are unauthorized but intended for fans. The modern version of this phenomena was noted to start with Star Trek and has blossomed to the point that fanfic probably exists for 90% of all story, movie, cartoon & TV show universes. There are some VERY talented writers out there who have devoted a lot of time, passion and writing ability to this pursuit. They get no money from it and seeming live on the praise and comments of their readers. I read one based on Lord of the Rings that was so Tolkien-esque that any hardcore LOTR fan would be proud. The amount of detail was astounding and it was all well researched and highly satisfying sub-story in tandem with the main storyline from the introduction of Rohan in the Two Towers to the Corination of Elessar. Not to mention it turned the normally "PG" story into a hard "R". To be fair, that's realistic. You can't tell me that stuff wouldn't be going on in the background. But one can wander the halls of fan fiction until the end of time. There is so much stuff out there.

This journey for me all started as I rediscovered this old cartoon I used to watch on weekday mornings when I was in 6th grade called "The Galaxy Rangers." I was a geeky little nerd even then. At the time (1986) it was using computer animation in tandem with anime style. That was pretty cutting edge, evidently. The stories were kind of cheesy but the characters were likable. Clearly there was a fan base who agreed with me. They just released all the episodes on DVD and I have been Netflixing them. No guts, no glory. I would wager some nuggets of this show that may have influenced Firefly.

One thing that surprised me though was the amount the fanfic I found for the movie Labyrinth--also of 1986.  Clearly many people felt Jareth and Sarah needed a romantic plot line.  There was so much of that.  I like fan fic especially because you can explore a facet of the story that you feel needs to be told or in the case of Aliens 3 & aspects of Battlestar Galactica, simply retold.  I cannot express how angry I was at the beginning of Aliens 3 when they killed off Newt & Hicks.  After all they went through to escape in Aliens and then to open the next movie with them just dying in the shuttle crash.  STUPID.  That has sat badly with me for years.  For some stories, you can really get into it so deeply and care about the characters so much that you want to keep going beyond what their creators presented.  I applaud these people for doing it.  (Of course some of the exploration or retelling is just fanciful, indulgent smut.  Naturally.)

But it's time for me to emerge from the fan fic forest and get serious about creating again.

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