I have known about fan fiction for a long time. When Buffy the Vampire Slayer finished, I needed more. There were so many places the story arc could have gone, so many possibilities of what had come before or what could come after. There was the odd book around at, and at first it was enough, but the local library could only get so many, but I needed more. In my desperation I turned to the internet. A girl I knew at uni had told me about Star Trek fan fiction, she knew a site, or knew a site that could get me to a site.
Soon I found it, pages and pages of fan fiction, it was more than I could ever hope to read. Every possible theme was there. What if’s, possible futures and possible pasts. Flame wars between Buffy/Spike fans and Buffy/Angel… (I stayed out of those, being Dawn/Xander myself). I eventually expanded, I read the odd Harry Potter story, or Dr Who piece. I even wrote a story myself about the future Slayers being trained by a sumo wrestler. Shameful stuff.
Eventually I escaped thanks to new professional books, more Terry Pratchett’s were out, and I hadn’t read all the Harry Potter Series. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was in the cinema, there were ways to turn away from the “Reality TV” of the prose world and back to publications on actual paper, with editing and spell checks. I could hold my head up at book clubs or trendy cafes again.
Recently I have relapsed, the lure was too strong. There was some fiction I wanted and the licensed products were not enough. Again it was a Joss Whedon series. This time Firefly. At least I knew I was not alone. When Firefly, a space western, was cancelled thousands of “Browncoats” protested outside Fox, headquarters, and a worldwide campaign led to a movie being made (Serenity). But I wanted more, I re-watched the series, I bought the movie, I read the graphic novels, but still I wanted more. And once again, I found it in fan fiction.
This time I stumbled onto it by accident. I was browsing YouTube for new Lizzie Bennet episodes when I saw it: “Browncoats Redemption”, a Firefly fan film made for charity. Fan fiction had become motion pictures, and I couldn’t stop. There was Star Wars, Star Trek Animated Series, and all for free! Hours of it waiting for me to hit download. The quality of many were terrible, but some almost looked as good as standard TV!
YouTube and Vimeo have given these projects a new life. Fan fiction is no longer one person at a typewriter, it’s now a large group in front of ever easier to access video cameras. Has fan fiction finally become acceptable? It only took a few thousand years. If you think about it, every rewriting of the King Arthur legend was fan fiction, every different version of a fairy tale, we just didn’t call it fan fiction. I guess there were fan films before the internet, apparently there is an Indian Jones fan remake that took years to make and was passed around in near secret until George Lucas saw it and loved it.
Maybe my hidden shame can come out into the open now that video making software is readily available and everyone has a semi decent camera on one of their devices somewhere. Maybe instead of reality TV being the cheap timeslot filler, I can tell people about the latest fan film I watched and have other people know what I am talking about. At least now though, I can hold my head up high in public, and say, “I may watch programs made by amateurs in backyards and uploaded to the internet, but at least I am not watching The Shire”.
Are you a fan of fan fiction? Do you like fan fiction? Have you ever had a show canceled and been left wanting more?
Mazi Gray has written 20 posts.
Freelance writer, Information manager and traveler. I dream of visiting all the countries that people say don’t exist or a left over out posts of a more Empirical past. South Ossetia, Principality of Hutt River, Macao or Saint Pierre and Miquelon. I also work here.