Not Actually Fanfiction

As should be obvious, I really enjoy fanfiction. They are (often) fun stories by (presumably) amateur authors who can sometimes do amazing things unconstrained by thoughts of salability. They write because they have ideas they want to get out. And sometimes, it’s not actually fanfiction. Sometimes an amateur author, in the same spirit of fanfiction, will write an original story and post it online for anyone and everyone to enjoy.

There are even a few archives specifically for these types of short stories, presented like fanfiction except for being entirely original. The parallel for is ArchiveOfOurOwn simply added a category for Original Fiction.

Here are a few recommendations for original short stories presented online:

Suite for the Living and Dead
By Inland Territory
Summary: When he was twenty three years old, Mike Lafayette took it on himself to write an oratorio for a people without a god.
Why I like it: This is just beautiful. A beautiful concept and beautifully written, but also speaks directly of the particular pain of seeing a deadly and important conflict happening in front of you and, for one reason or another, not joining the fight.
Extra comment: This feels a bit like a fanfiction story in that it references a much more epic story with main characters who are minor characters here. It makes me wonder if there is a book out there this is connected to but I haven’t been able to find. My current assumption is that it is that the author of this short story has an idea for a book and maybe she’s even half-written it, but it’s not available anywhere.

Toad Words
By Ursula Vernon
Summary: Terri Windling posted recently about the old fairy tale of frogs falling from a girl’s lips, and I started thinking about what I’d do if that happened to me, and…well…
Why I like it: One of the problems with traditional fairytales that I (and many other women) are increasingly aware of is how they often reward young girls for being quiet, polite, beautiful, and awaiting rescue, while punishing young girls for being outspoken, ugly, and actively attempting their own rescue. This takes one such fairytale and shows the repercussions, and how a curse can ultimately be made a reward and a blessing can ultimately be a punishment.

Never the Same
By Polenth Blake
Genre: science fiction
No summary, but the first paragraph: Everyone thinks my brother is nice. He set up a rescue centre for birds, after the terraforming accident poisoned the lake. That’s always the image of him, holding a bird covered in sludge. The birds are never the same after they’re cleaned, but the gossips never talk about that.
Why I like it: This is a lovely little mystery, with a main character with mental health issues. With a somewhat unreliable narrator investigating a situation in a highly biased community, the story looks into the difference between right and wrong actions and right and wrong motivations.

The Emperor’s Last Concubine
By Yamanashi Moe
Warning: this has explicit sex in it
No summary, but I bookmarked it as: a story of love and politics
Why I like it: This story has the standard Cinderella structure but focuses on what happens after the handsome prince whisks his beloved away and the difficulties faced by both prince and beloved as they both become aware of the golden cage the palace makes.

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