Fanfiction

productimage-picture-discover-fanfiction-today-9528Fanfiction

I have not been reading just Ayn Rand this whole time. That would have driven me completely crazy. I’ve also been reading a fair amount of fanfiction as some light-hearted, palate cleansers. I won’t be reviewing a lot of fanfiction on this site, but I do feel like I should introduce it as a genre, at least.

Fanfiction is a term that describes when fans of a particular story line decide to expand upon that story line by creating their own additions. While the practice has been going on for as long as anyone has been telling stories, the term “fanfiction” is more recent, first gaining wide usage by fans of the original StarTrek series. Now, there is fanfiction for pretty much any book, movie, tv-show, or other type of media that you can think of.

The genre lives in a bit of a legal gray zone since, if the original source is recent enough to be under copyright, then such stories and pieces of artwork are potentially infringing on that copyright. However, fanfiction is generally not produced for commercial gain, reading it comes with the expectation of prior consumption of the original source, and no case of fanfiction has ever been judged in a U.S. court. Published authors vary between actively promoting fanfiction based on their works and actively discouraging it.

As a genre like any other, it also ranges wildly in quality, from extremely shoddy works to amazingly spectacular masterpieces. The amateur nature of the genre allows writers to push at boundaries and experiment with ideas and characters in a way that publishing houses discourage. The online community is well aware of the way they are pushing boundaries, and compensates for it by generally beginning any story with a summary and a series of warnings. These warnings will let you know what source materials (AKA “canon”) you are expected to already know, what characters the author will be using, what romantic relationships will be included, what levels of violence and or sexual content will be included, and any events that readers might have problems with. Fanfiction writers write for fun and readers are expected to approach it for fun, too: use the warnings to read what you expect to enjoy and avoid what you expect to dislike.

The genre as a whole is a living demonstration of the multi-worlds theory: anything that could potentially happen in any universe or with any character, can be written and read with fanfiction. I love it.

Rather than just find fanfiction at random, your best bet is to follow recommendations and browse friends’ bookmark lists. The two biggest online fanfiction compendiums are Fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own, both of which include reviewing and bookmarking functions.

Here are some good introductory fanfiction stories (ie, fun, short, not too different from their original source material, and no necessary warnings):

Flying Monkeys
by Thimblerig
It can be read on Archive of Our Own.
To understand what’s going on in this story, you should have watched the Marvel movie The Avengers.

The summary is:
The inevitable, horrifying debrief.
“Is this some kind of hobby for you? Planning our imminent destruction?”

The reason I like it is:
First, it’s hilarious. Second, it creates a series of scenes for after the events of the movie, about Clint Barton being debriefed from his time as a mind controlled slave of Loki. The author uses a rich universe and makes it just that much richer by showing some details that just couldn’t have fit into the movie.

Prediction, Protection
By Icarus_chained
It can be read on Archive of Our Own.
To understand what’s going on in this story, you should have watched both the current TV show Person of Interest and the 1990s TV show The Pretender.

The summary is:
Harold was a failed Pretender experiment. Years later, Jarod tracks him down. What follows is a somewhat tense negotiation.

The reason I like it is:
This story uses some background from The Pretender to explain a mystery in Person of Interest. This story makes a connection between these two unrelated universes and asks what if they are the same universe.

Food for Thought
By Ruth Stewart
This can be read on Fanfiction.net (as plain text) or on Livejournal.com (as an entire fake livejournal account, completely with many illustrations.)
To understand what’s going on in this story, you should have read C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series.

The summary is:
A modern teenage girl goes into the Wardrobe, meets Aslan, and learns an important lesson that does not include falling in love with a King.

The reason I like it is:
This is an outsider’s perspective on Susan Pevensie’s life. Susan has died and her grandson and great-granddaughter have come to sort through her belongings. This story is written as a series of blog posts by her great granddaughter, learning about Susan’s life from the records she left behind. This author does an amazing job of researching and then showing recent British history.

Day One
By Zee Viate
This can be read on Fanfiction.net.
To understand this story, you should have watched the TV show NCIS.

The summary is:
The night DiNozzo and Gibbs first met.

The reason I like it:
I stopped watching NCIS around season 7, because the characters were going in directions that I didn’t care for, but this is a look back at young Tony DiNozzo and Gibbs before he knew him, and it reminded me why I loved this show so much for so long.

Followers of the Carpenter
By PaBurke
This can be read on Fanfiction.net.
To understand this story, you should have read book eight of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and watched the TV show Criminal Minds.

The summary is:
A serial killer moved to Chicago and followed his normal MO, but this time, he bit off more than he could chew.

The reason I like it:
There’s something wonderful about an outsider’s perspective on some of the characters and events of urban fantasy novels.

Five Scenes Over a Goban
By Opalish
This can be read on Fanfiction.net.
To understand this story, you should have read the manga or watched the anime Hikaru no Go.

The summary is:
Ichikawa laughs until she chokes, and Akira suddenly understands why Shindo spends so much of his time yelling at people to stop hitting him already.

The reason I like it is:
I just love these little looks at how these characters view and interact with each other. This is a peak at everything that made me love these characters in the first place. There isn’t any plot arc, but just some fun character studies.

Evening Encounter
By Maeniel
This can be read on Fanfiction.net.
To understand this story, you should have read the manga or watched the anime Rurouni Kenshin.

The summary is:
Okita’s heading home at the end of the war and encounters a certain redhead. What do they say to each other?

The reason I like it:
In the series, we don’t get much of a look at this time period in Kenshin’s life, but it’s a major turning point for him, and seeing him in this time really shows off his thoughts. Plus, it also develops Okita, who is given very little attention at all in the series, and creates a connection between the fictional series and the real history of the time period.

8 comments on “Fanfiction

  1. I think the idea of fan fiction is great and the one on Narnia is actually really clever

  2. Kinsey says:

    I think this is one of the best summaries of fanfic I have ever seen and and awesome way to structure recommendations. With as much bad fanfic as there is out there, you could have a whole blog like this. Honestly, I like fanfic but I don’t read much anymore because it’s such a pain to find good stuff.

    • Rebecca says:

      Thanks! And yeah, I mostly hop around recommendation sites rather than trying to find the good stuff on my own because there really is a lot of bad stuff. Of course, the same is true for books, too, at this point. Do you have a favorite fandom?

      • Kinsey says:

        If I say was a X-Files fanfic person, does that date me? These days I mostly like the various X-Men incarnations.

        • Rebecca says:

          Hee. Maybe a little, but then again, my favorite fandom is Highlander.

          Have you read Gods and Monsters by ashurbadaktu?
          Summary: Charles teaches Erik a lesson about power
          This is short, but hard-hitting as we see why Charles thinks control is so necessary for mutants.

          I also really wanted to recommend A Villain State of Mind by Mikkeneko in this post, but it’s unfinished at the moment, longer than the rest of these short stories, and pushing a few more boundaries than really makes a good introductory fanfic.
          Summary: SHIELD has Loki in custody, with the gag on to keep him from spellcasting, but they don’t really know what to DO with him. They can’t give him food or water or attempt to interrogate him with the gag on, and they don’t dare take it off. Their solution? Call in a telepath! But Charles Xavier may find more things in Loki’s head than SHIELD bargained for…
          It’s really an excellent story, even incomplete, and I particularly appreciate the power negotiations between Charles Xavier and Nick Fury and their discussion of what “making the hard decisions” really means.

  3. Anna says:

    Man, I have to stay diligent with Atlas Shrugged, but I’m diving into all of these when I’m done – thanks so much for the recommendations, Rebecca! I think the last time I was regularly reading fanfic was during what I feel might have been a fanfic bubble just after the release of Star Wars Episode 1 (really dating myself), and at that time I went a little too far down the slash rabbit hole, so have been a bit wary every since.

    • Rebecca says:

      Hah! I didn’t know that you had ever really read much fanfic. But yeah, it’s easy to go a bit too far.

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