I just finished Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments, which Kinsey has already reviewed, so I’m just adding on that I LOVED it, and everyone should go read that, too (right after Good Omens). It was seriously one of those books where I was disappointed that it actually ended because I would have been happy to keep reading it for months.
Anyway, this is not a post about Attachments, much as I loved it. In order to get some more Rainbow Rowell after finishing the book, I immediately went on twitter and followed her, and she is currently talking about a very interesting new event in the literary world: Amazon is buying the rights to tv shows in order to try to monetize the corresponding fanfic.
It is all very new and embryonic, so no one is quite sure how it is going to work, but just that it is certainly going to change things up and it will be quite interesting to see how. Rowell and her followers bring up some very interesting points about what it means to monetize a previously free art form and to normalize a fringe culture (particularly a female-dominated creative outlet into a male-dominated media field).
Rebecca has previously given a basic overview into the world of fanfic here, and wants to think over this new development before commenting (she concurs with Rowell’s tweet, that she has many thoughts but few opinions yet on this news).
Discussing it with Rebecca, though, it occurred to me that this isn’t quite as much a sudden new development as it is being reported. Rowell brings up that every author after Stan Lee that used the character Spiderman was in essence writing fan fiction. Sherlock Holmes works continue to be published long after Conan Doyle’s death. Publishing houses have already started searching out popular fanfic authors for original works, and have even published fanfic pieces, just with changed names. So we keep moving forward at a fairly steady pace, I guess?
So, I’ve had some time to form opinions (ie, read the blog posts of other people who have actual read through the press release and thought through the implications), and come to the realization that not only is this not a particularly new development, but it’s not a particularly good one either. It could be good or bad in a small way for specific fanfic writers, but it’s mostly a way for Amazon and various copyright holders to capitalize on the writer’s creations, not just monetarily but the original ideas and characters involved, which they gain copyright for.
For more on this, John Scalzi (an excellent author I’ve reviewed before) has his thoughts here
Malinda Lo at Huffington Post has her thoughts here.
I’m so glad that you liked Attachments! I am also proud of you for following her on Twitter and using it to learn stuff–see how cool Twitter is?
Dude, I am now fully integrated with twitter, but it has really made an impact (and not a positive one) on my daily productivity!